The country of Hungary has one of the most unique cultures and history in Europe. From the food to the people, Hungary is filled with hidden jewels that few people are aware of. Located centrally in the middle of Europe, Hungary can be a great gateway to exploring the rest of Europe. Millions of people flock to the natural beauty and warm nature of the people who call Hungary home. Hungary combines modern music and art with a long standing folk culture with music and dance as well as crafts.
Ancient forests, medieval castles and towns, and healing natural spas, Hungary has it all. While the capital city of Budapest is usually the first stop for most, not surprisingly though as the city is steeped in history and is endlessly fascinating place to explore. However, there is much to Hungary than Budapest so if you find yourself ready to explore one of the best cultures in Europe then head off the beaten track to some of these lesser-known locales in Hungary.
Located on the Great Hungarian Plains, the second largest city in Hungary, and the former capital, is the city of Debrecen. This city has been the intellectual and cultural center of Hungary for several hundred years. Here there is a large historic university surrounded by a city that has a rich music scene from everything from hard rock to classical. The city also hosts an annual flower festival, a particularly beautiful time to visit.
The city has countless museums, art galleries, and exhibitions all year around. The historic buildings and churches are a deep part of the history of the city. The cuisine here is unique to region of the Great Plains. From their famous pork sausage to local fish, there are numerous delicacies to try. However the city have countless world-class restaurants and renowned chefs serving a wide variety of food from all over the world. Not to be missed is the famous honey cakes, a sweet delicacy served all year around.
While in the city don't forget so spend at least one entire day at the thermal spa resort. These healing places will not only improve your health and alleviate many ailments but they will also bring a sense of calm and tranquility. Kids will enjoy the huge pools and waterparks in the summer as well. From the natural hot springs to any full service spa service, the Hungarians have understood the importance of the healing waters for centuries.
In northern Hungary you will find the third largest city. The main portion of the city is more industrial but the real jewel lies just outside the city in the suburb of Tapoica with its famous cave baths. Open all year around the natural baths are located inside of a beautiful cave, a common natural wonder that dots the land all over this region of Hungary. There is a large boat lake and an indoor and outdoor pool. Inside there is even a cave chapel where Catholic mass is held every Sunday all contributing the scenic beauty.
Nearby you will find another fantastic system of caves in the Aggetek National Park. Here stalagtites and stalagmites cling to the walls in this natural wonder that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It has the largest cave in all of Europe and areas of it are rich in minerals that are used by people to heal all kinds of ailments such as asthma or arthritis. There is an immense amount of wildlife in the area as well making it a perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. Also see the village of Holloko which is a remarkably preserved ancient village that really gives a great glimpse of old Hungarian roots.
If you want to do as the Hungarians do then a trip to their favorite summertime resort areas. This gigantic lake and the numerous resorts that surround it have it all. There is golfing, yachting, and world famous white wines. There is even the romantic Rose Stone where legend has it that if a couple sits on the rock with their backs facing the lake they will be married within a year. The lake is surrounded by volcanic stone mountains and mineral rich waters along with ancient villages giving the entire area a fairytale like feeling. In the village of Heviz you will find a large baroque palace and even a botanical wonder often called Balaton's little jungle with hundreds of unique species of plants and animals. There are numerous tiny villages, wineries, quiet cobblestone streets, and charming hotels to add the ambiance.