For many travelers, Hungary is the ideal gateway to both Central and Eastern Europe. It is a vibrant country of buzzing activity and is distinguished by a recent history of very important political events.

Visitors here don’t just passively look on at the environment surrounding them, they get involved. Fishing, bird-watching, horse riding and cycling are just a few of the activities you can throw yourself into in the nation’s capital, Budapest, and its surrounding areas.

And there is no shortage of magnificent things to see in this landlocked country. A focal point is the Danube River, the longest in the European Union and a common theme in many of Hungary’s most significant locations.

Start by checking out Lake Balaton, often referred to as the ‘Hungarian Sea’ and the place locals flock to in order to escape the summer heat. The northern and southern sides of this great block of water are grossly different; on the top side you will find dainty towns like Keszthely where taking in the sun in class and style is the order of the day.

A must see on your itinerary is the medieval city, Sopron, which is sometimes considered Hungary’s answer to Prague. Gothic archways give way to brooding lanes and a slow walk through the Inner Town will make you swear you have been transported back in time.

In terms of historical importance, few places rival the Hungarian seat of Roman Catholicism in Esztergom. For more than 1000 years it has held this station, with the nation’s first king St Stephen born here in 975. There really is an immense amount of information and architecture to take in at Esztergom, and those interested in history should not miss it.

Of course, the national capital, Budapest, has a great deal of modern life about it, with an infectious impatience for a better standard of life exhibited by its younger generations. Wining and dining in Budapest is a delight and at nighttime certain sectors of the city really come to life. Take a pleasure boat along the city’s section of the Danube or mingle in the several quality galleries to get a real sense of the place.

If you have done a little travel through Eastern Europe then one of the first things you will notice is the distinctive tongue spoken by the Hungarian population – vastly different in sound and style. Hungarians refer to themselves as Magyars and the name of their language is Magyar.

Hungary is a country full of understatement, of amazing history and with a fast-paced, zesty modern population. Spending time here is not at all difficult, and you may find a short stay quickly becomes much longer.

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