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As one of Europe’s oldest countries, Hungary is a treasure trove of Jewish heritage and fascinating history, where 2000 year old Roman ruins lie alongside 400 year old Turkish monuments. Hungary also boasts Europe’s largest fresh water lake, hundreds of mineral springs and a unique 1000 year old language. When the poppies and wild flowers are in bloom in the lush green fields, it’s easy to fall in love with Hungary.
Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is often called the ‘Paris of the East’ thanks to its fashionable culture and structural reminders of the grandeur of Austro-Hungarian rule. The twin cities of Buda and Pest reside regally on the banks of the romantic River Danube, and because Hungary sits on one of the richest geothermal and medicinal water resources in the world, visitors to Budapest can relax in the many spas and bath houses. Promenade around the stunning boulevard Andrássy út, cycle to a picnic at the picturesque Margaret Island, shop for local specialities in the Central Market, roam the heritage of the castle district and sample the fabulous art at such world-famous venues as the Royal Palace, where the National Gallery is housed. Be sure to capture the striking Great Synagogue and evocative Heroes’ Square too.
Families visiting Budapest will enjoy one of the many water parks, the Hungarian Railway Museum for vintage locomotives or the Palace of Miracles where there’s plenty of fun scientific games to try. After a walk around Old Buda to see Fisherman’s Bastion and the Church of St. Matthias, take a stroll up Gellert Hill to catch brilliant views over the Danube and the gothic, domed rooves of the Parliament building which looks superb against the city lights and a blushing sunset.
Escape from the metropolis and you’ll see sweeping open spaces, punctuated with storks’ nests and old farmhouses. Travel through the Great Hungarian Plain, Szeged, and stop in the natural paradise of Lake Balaton, which is affectionately known as the ‘Hungarian Sea’, and is Europe’s largest fresh water lake. Be sure to stop off in the small yet very charming town of Szentendre too, which has become a famous artistic centre.
Travel through the orchard and vineyard infused Transdanubia region for a visually pleasing journey to the city of Györ. Because it was founded by Romans, Györ has much historical interest and has luckily retained much of its mediaeval and baroque charm. Even further along the River Danube lies Esztergom, with its fine cathedral, large castle and St. Tamas Hill. River Danube itself should not be overlooked; cruise along it for a dream-like perspective of Hungary that you'll be talking about for years to come.
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