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Honeymoon in Hungary

This small country is the size of Indiana and one of the oldest European countries, situated in the middle of the continent in Central Europe.

Hungarians speak a language and form a culture unlike any other in the region: this distinctiveness has been both a source of pride and an obstacle for more than 1,100 years.

This is the country:

  • which boasts one of the world's most beautiful cities: Budapest, the "Pearl of the Danube"
  • where 2,000 year old Roman ruins and 400 year old Turkish monuments can be found side by side
  • where Central Europe's largest fresh water lake - Balaton - is located, providing natural paradise for its visitors
  • where hundreds of therapeutic mineral springs gush up from the depths

And there is something else that keeps bringing visitors back to us - the legendary Hungarian hospitality.

Highlights of Budapest

Buda

hungaryCastle Hill - home to what you might call Buda's 'old town' - has been a cultural and strategic focal point of the city for centuries and was also the site of over 30 sieges. The inevitable damage resulted in several episodes of rebuilding, often re-using stones from the rubble and lending to the district a fascinating mix of architectural styles. The showpieces are the spectacular Mátyás Church and the Buda Royal Palace to the south. In addition, the views over Pest from the Fishermen's Bastion will take your breath away.

hungaryBuda Royal Palace. The enormous building at the southern end of Castle Hill has been the royal palace, in various styles and guises, since the 14th century. It was rebuilt 400 years later and required major reconstruction work after World War II. It now houses the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery and the National Széchenyi Library.

Fishermen's Bastion. hungaryThe Fishermen's Bastion is often the first stop for tourists visiting Budapest, the fairytale turrets offering an elevated vantage point from which to view the city. The minarets and walls look medieval, but they were actually built in 1902 by Frigyes Schulek to complement Mátyás Church.

Gellért Hill. Visible from almost everywhere in Budapest, Gellért Hill, with the impressive Freedom Monument on its peak, is one of the city's memorable landmarks. The 14-metre monument was originally commissioned by Miklós Horthy as a memorial to his son, who died in a wartime air accident. When the Russians arrived, they replaced the propeller that the figure was originally meant to hold aloft with a palm frond to symbolize the country's liberation from the Nazis. Just beyond the monument is the Citadella, a fortress constructed by the Habsburgs following the 1848-1849 war of independence. It now houses an open-air museum chronicling the history of the hill.

hungaryThe Chain Bridge. The Chain Bridge was the first permanent link between Buda and Pest and is a fitting monument to István Széchenyi - known as the 'Greatest Hungarian'. The bridge has a British connection too: it was designed by William Tierney Clark and constructed by Adam Clark, after whom the roundabout on the Buda side is named.

hungaryMargaret Island. Budapest's playground, car-free Margaret Island has everything you need to enjoy a relaxing day - including sport stadium, numerous tennis courts, outdoor swimming complex, an open air theatre, Japanese and Rose gardens, early medieval ruins, two spa hotels and a beer garden.

Pest

Parliament.
The world's second largest parliament building is a postcard favourite, particularly when reflected in the River Danube below it. It is equally lavish on the inside, but tourists must be part of an organized sightseeing tour to enter.

St Stephen's Basilica.
Named after Szent István (St Stephen) founder of the Hungarian Christian state, the basilica is visible from all over Budapest. The dome, at 315 ft, is the exact height as that of the Parliament, whose builders decided not to go higher.

The Great Synagogue.
This synagogue is the second largest in the world (after the one in New York). It has three naves and following orthodox tradition, separate galleries for women. Together the naves and galleries can accommodate up to 3,000 worshippers. It is also a focal point of Budapest's thriving Jewish community, which holds an annual festival in and around the impressive building. The Jewish Museum can also be found here, and the Holocaust Documentation and Memorial Centre is an important and powerful reminder of one of the darkest periods in European history.

Andrássy Avenue.hungary It was named after the former prime minister who had done much to make Budapest a true metropolis. He was determined that Budapest should have an elegant thoroughfare to emulate Paris's Champs Elysees. The cream of Eclectic architecture is to be seen along the Avenue including the outstanding Opera House and many beautiful tenement blocks with intimate inner courtyards, statues and fountains. One of the special features of Andrássy Avenue is barely visible on the surface. The only give-away is the occasional wrought iron balustrade leading underground. Europe's first sub-surface railway was built under the road, and the more than 125 year old underground is still carrying passengers today along a line only slightly longer than the original.

hungaryHeros Square. The statues on Heroes' Square are very much a who's who of Hungarian history (with the notable exception of the unpopular Habsburg monarchy, whose statues were removed and replaced) and its scale and grandeur is an indication of the pride Hungarians have for their country. Behind it, City Park offers a host of attractions of its own, including the fairy- tale Vajdahunyad Castle, the Zoo and the obligatory Széchenyi Baths.

Day trip ideas

Hortobágy (The Puszta)hungary is one of Europe's largest expanses of protected prairie, where Hungarian grey cattle, stud horses, Racka sheep with spiral-shaped horns and buffalo herds graze on open pastures. A World Heritage site since 1999, the Hortobágy National Park stretches over an area of 200,000 acres. In this region the sun shines more hours than any other region in the country and abundantly flowing thermal water helps health-seekers to recuperate.

Lake Tisza. hungarySmooth water, huge bays, backwaters and islands, rich fish and wild stock - this is Lake Tisza. In the middle of the Great Plain, Lake Tisza is the second largest surface of water in the country. The Lake is situated on what was a flood-plain, and on the flooded territory of the River Tisza. In between water dams, there are sixteen islands and ten water channels. The shallow water areas, which warm up easily, are suitable for bathing. The deeper parts are for water sports such as sailing, water skiing and surfing. Lake Tisza is also the only lake in Europe where you can speed around by powerboat and jet-ski. Along the riverbank (approximately 50 miles) there are recreation areas, open-air baths, camp-sites and places to hire equipment.

Lake Balaton and Tihany.
The "Hungarian Sea", is the people's name for the 50 mile long lake with silky green-yellow water in the middle of Transdanubia. Lake Balaton is one of Hungary's most precious treasures and most frequented resorts. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe. Picturesque vineyards in the region produce an assortment of excellent wines that go very well with the delicious local food. Large numbers of inns and restaurants welcome guests from home and abroad. The twin-towered church of the Tihany peninsula is distinctly visible far and wide. The peninsula, inhabited almost a thousand years, is of volcanic origin, and has a profusion of rare plants and animals. The crypt of King András I, founded in 1055, survived the turbulent past and still stands in its original form. The present church was built over the crypt in the 18th century in Baroque style and has many precious wood carvings. In the Museum of the Benedictine Abbey, you can find an exhibition about ancient times. There are frequent organ concerts in the abbey church in summertime.

In Gödöllö
the 250-year-old Royal Mansion is one of the largest palaces in the country and is a significant work of Hungarian Baroque architecture. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy's ruling couple, Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Queen Elizabeth (known as Sissi) frequently stayed here. Most of the building has been restored to its former glory. Classical concerts and major festivals are organized in the state room and the ceremonial court of the palace.

If you’re a horse-lover then should definitely visit the Lázár Equestrian Park; which is run by driving world champions, the Lázár brothers! The stunning complex, located in the rolling hills, allows breathtaking views of the Domony Valley where everything is just, well, beautiful. There you’ll not only find the competition stables and training ground of the dynamic Lázár duo, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the regular special events and great Hungarian cuisine. The Lázár Park has a daily offer which you must take advantage of. Every day, by prior arrangement, a spectacular Horse Show is organized for a minimum of 20 lucky guests.

hungaryDanube Bend. Esztergom is the seat of the Roman Catholic Primate of Hungary. The Cathedral is the largest church in the country. Rebuilt in the 19th century in classical style, it has the largest altar-piece in the world painted on a single piece of canvas. The famous Bakócz Chapel was built of red marble at the beginning of the 16th century. The Cathedral Treasury holds the richest collection of Hungarian ecclesiastical treasures. The Romanesque Royal Palace with the royal oratory, the frescoed castle chapel and the rose-window are in the neighborhood of the Basilica. The Christian Museum is located in the Primate's Palace. Treasures of medieval Hungarian art and early Renaissance Italian paintings are preserved here.

Szentendre hungarywith its colorful houses, narrow alleys, and 24 museums, is the most frequently visited tourist center along the Danube. This Mediterranean-like town is the home of Serbs who fled from the Turks and settled here in the 14th-17th centuries. Seven church towers rise high in the sky. Four of them belong to the Orthodox Church. Icons, works of gold and silversmiths and other treasures are found in the Serb Orthodox Church Museum. The 13th-14th century Roman Catholic Parish Church stands on the Castle Hill, a sun-dial on its wall tells the time.

Source: www.gotohungary.com/

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