Hungary is by far one of the most underrated (and most affordable!) destinations in all of Europe. Most people think of Hungary and only think of its capital city, Budapest. But there’s so much more to Hungary! Rugged nature, extensive history, friendly citizens, quaint cities, and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten await in this underappreciated country tucked away in Central Europe.

Pastel colored lampshades strung above a street in Szentendre, Hungary.

With an abundance of thermal springs, horsemanship, and of course gulyás, Hungary has a little something for everyone.

Practical info

Facts about Hungary

Getting to Hungary

Getting to Hungary is super-straight forward. Your best bet is to fly into Budapest (BUD) or take a train from a neighboring country. From Austria and Slovakia, Budapest takes less than three hours by train.

If you’re coming from the USA (particularly the east coast), it’s super-affordable to take a flight to a major city in western Europe, like Paris or Spain, and then take a cheap RyanAir flight to Budapest if you’re a budget-conscious traveler. I flew from Boston to Budapest for under $200 USD (RT) by transiting through Barcelona and booking separate flights!

When to go

Shoulder season is my favorite time to visit any European country – this roughly corresponds with spring and fall (March-May & September-November). During shoulder season you’ll see lower prices and less tourists.

Summers can get pretty hot in Hungary, particularly the larger cities. This is also when most Europeans are taking their holidays and visiting their neighboring countries. Prices also rise during this time (though Hungary is a very affordable country, even on a budget).

During the holiday season in December and January, Hungary can be quite magical with snowfall and Christmas markets. Depending on your preferences, Hungary is great to visit year-round.

Hungarian horseman with horses riding in Puszta, Hungary.

what to see

Hungary has a lot of ‘undiscovered’ and lesser-known places that are worth visiting. Depending on your tastes, you can see some popular places to go below.

BudapestCastle Hill, Jewish History, Ruin Bars, Thermal Spas, Nightlife
Lake BalatonNational Parks, Beaches, Freshwater Lake, Resort Towns
SzentendreBaroque Architecture, Art Galleries, Quaint Town
HévízLakes, Hot Springs, Spa Town
EgerWine, Vineyards, Castle
EsztergomCastles, Museums, Cathedrals
PécsPécs Cathedral, Early Christian Mausoleum
SopronMuseums, Middle Ages, Forests, Wine
VisegrádCastles, Palaces, Renaissance
SiófokWater Parks, Lakes, Beaches
DebrecenGreat Plains Region, Museums
GyőrCathedrals, Churches, Monuments
HollókőCastles, Open-Air Museum, UNESCO
TapolcaCaves, Lakes, Hot Springs, Castles
GödöllőPalaces, Castles, Beekeeping

I could go on! There are so many interesting places in Hungary which I haven’t listed above.

Traveling within Hungary

Public transport in Budapest is fairly easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. The train system in Hungary falls somewhere between Western Europe and lesser-developed networks, such as Romania. Renting a car is also an option if you plan on traveling extensively throughout the country.

Detailed Hungary Articles

flight resources

Skyscanner is the website I use for all of my flights. Other travelers also like Momondo.

Money-saving tip: Don’t input any dates to scan the best available times to go OR simply input ‘Italy’ instead of a specific airport – you may get a much cheaper flight!

Buildings reflected on water in Tapolca, Hungary.

Accommodation Resources

When I travel, I personally prefer to use VRBO. I book an entire apartment, giving me my privacy and the comfort of home amenities, such as a kitchen and washing machine. Since my dog(s) travel with me, it also allows me to filter based on pet-friendliness without the stress of disturbing hotel guests.

If you’re traveling long-term, VRBO usually offers discounts for stays of a month or more – the discounts are significant, sometimes 50-60%! It winds up being cheaper than what I would have paid for my apartment rent back in the USA.

If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can get a discount by using my link below.

If you’re a budget-conscious traveler and not traveling long-term, hostels are a great option and are abundant in Hungary.

For standard hotel stays, usually offers the best deals.

Safety Tips

Hungary is generally a safe country to visit, however petty theft is common, particularly in Budapest. Keep your wits about you in crowded areas, such as train stations, on public transportation, and in tourist destinations. 

In general, trust your judgement, try not to stick out as a tourist, and be wary of unsolicited help. 8 Safety Travel Tips

Money Saving Tips

Hungary is a super-affordable country to visit! You can get great value on accommodations, and food is affordable at both restaurants and grocery stores.

If you want to spend even less on food but don’t have the will (or amenities) to cook for yourself, check out the many market halls for a midday snack or lunch to-go.

If you’re visiting Budapest, check out a free walking tour.

Get on Pinterest and find ‘free things to do in….’ whichever city you find yourself. There are a ton of free things to do in Hungary.

FAQs Traveling to Hungary

  1. Do I need a visa to visit Hungary?

    • Travelers from the United States and many other countries within the Schengen area can visit Hungary for short stays (up to 90 days) for tourism or business purposes without a visa. However, visa requirements can vary based on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. Check with the nearest Hungarian embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
  2. What’s the best time to visit Hungary?

    • Hungary is a year-round destination. Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) offer mild weather and fewer crowds. Summer (June to August) is perfect for outdoor activities, while winter (December to February) is great for enjoying the Christmas markets and thermal baths.
  3. What’s the currency in Hungary, and can I use credit cards?

    • The official currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF), and credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas. However, it’s a good idea to have some cash, especially when exploring rural regions.
  4. What languages are spoken in Hungary?

    • The official language is Hungarian, but you’ll find many Hungarians, especially in urban areas, who speak English and other languages. Learning a few basic Hungarian phrases can be appreciated in more remote or rural locations.
  5. Is tap water safe to drink in Hungary?

    • Yes, tap water is safe to drink throughout Hungary. You can refill your water bottle from public fountains and taps in many locations.
  6. How do I get around Hungary?

    • Hungary has an efficient public transportation system, including trains, trams, buses, and the Budapest Metro. For exploring the countryside and smaller towns, rental cars or bicycle rentals can be convenient options.
  7. What are some must-visit places in Hungary?

    • Hungary offers attractions such as Budapest (the capital), the historic town of Eger, Lake Balaton, and the stunning Baroque city of Pecs. Discover charming towns, thermal baths, and beautiful vineyards.
  8. What is Hungarian cuisine like, and are there vegetarian/vegan options?

    • Hungarian cuisine is known for hearty dishes like goulash, paprikash, and chimney cake. Vegetarian and vegan options are available in most restaurants, particularly in Budapest and larger cities.
  9. Is it customary to tip in Hungary?

    • Tipping is customary in Hungary. Service charges are often included in the bill, but it’s common to leave an additional 10-15% tip for good service in restaurants. In cafes, rounding up the bill is appreciated.
  10. Is it safe to travel in Hungary?

    • Hungary is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. Use common-sense precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings and staying aware of your surroundings.
  11. What should I pack for my trip to Hungary?

    • Pack clothing suitable for the season and activities you have planned. Comfortable walking shoes and layers are essential for exploring Hungary’s diverse landscapes.
  12. What is the legal drinking age in Hungary?

    • The legal drinking age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages is 18 years old in Hungary. Please respect this age restriction when ordering alcoholic drinks in bars and restaurants.
top resources for travel to Hungary.