To bracket Hungary with East European countries is something of a misnomer. This is because the country, with its distorted crab-like appearance, is actually located in the center of Europe. Essentially tribals from the Ural region Hungarians are known to be hardy survivors having survived the ravages wrought by the Turks, Tartars, Russians, even the Nazis in World War II. One of the main centers of Renaissance, it is at Hungary that the first uprising took place against Stalinism.
Traveling to Hungary can be exciting but you do need a valid passport with a three-month visa to gain an entrance. US passport-holders do not need a visa for up to ninety days while traveling on business or as tourists. Usually the best time to visit this country of Bartok and Liszt is between July and August. Long hours of sunshine make the promenades by the Danube even more romantic.
Budapest is great place to start your Hungarian journey with. The country’s capital is home to exotic Art Nouveau and Baroque architecture, lovely scenery surrounding the Danube, warm thermal baths, the city lights at nighttime and so much more. The Danube neatly bisects the city into two and strolling down either side reminds you of Johann Strauss’ eponymous creation.
If you want to stay at a five star luxury hotel in the city, look no further than Budapest Hilton in the gorgeous Castle Area offering up gorgeous views.
And if you are driving down to Pecs and looking for a luxury hotel we suggest you try the Palatinus which looks spectacular at night. It also has an English-speaking staff. The city’s turreted roof-tops, the ginger and cream buildings, and the tall minarets make this city invitingly eye-appeasing. Walking along Kiraly, one of Pecs’ main streets, you get to view the City Hall, over a century old. Street musicians and colored taverns make it particularly lively.
Traveling east, about 100 miles, you hit Eger which is in the midst of the country’s vineyard territory. Not to be missed are the Basilica and the 200 odd monuments, all done in Baroque style.
To view Baroque and Rococo monuments in a truly picture-book setting you must visit Szentendre located at about 20 kilometers from the capital. The proliferation of Serbian Orthodox churches bear testimony to the Serbian influx that occurred after the Balkans had been vanquished by the Ottomans.
If you decide to enter the country from the Austrian side, you might want to check out the quaint little town called Sopron which attracts Sunday shoppers from Vienna in droves thanks to its cheaper currency. Trekkers would love its little trails winding through the Loverek Hills and the forests. Sight-seers would love the monuments, square, and parts of the Old City.
To conclude, a visit to Hungary will leave you ‘hungry’ for more. But if you are planning a visit soon do be mindful of the sudden violence that can erupt on the street. There are sections of the populace that can get aggressive against people with a different sexual orientation. But the warmth of the place – and its people – more than makes up for it.