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About Hungary

VISIT HUNGARY!

Hungary is a country at the heart of Europe, but it is certainly different too in so many ways! While not large in terms of population (it has only 10 million inhabitants) Hungary has a wealth of culture and history, complemented by a language so completely different from its neighbours that almost no shared words exist! It can be said that ours is a land of great contrasts: Hungary is landlocked like its neighbours Austria, Slovakia and Serbia though it still deserves the nickname "land of waters", as it holds the largest lake in Europe (Lake Balaton) and is crossed by mighty rivers which divide and define its regions. Even its capital city is split by the Danube River, with Buda on the Western side and Pest on the Eastern bank. As well as water to cool off in, Hungary can be the perfect place to keep warm, as it is located over a very active geothermic area and has over a thousand thermal water springs and the second largest thermal Lake in the world for bathing (Lake Heviz). "Taking the waters" for relaxation or as clinical treatments, is an important part of the Hungarian culture.

Hungary is situated in the low, flat area of the Carpathian Basin, with a gently undulating landscape of hills and plains, and it features one of the largest continuous grasslands in Europe. Perhaps equaling these sights, are the wonders awaiting intrepid adventurers in the depths below the country. The very same elemental forces that brought about its thermal springs, also created hundreds of kilometres of limestone caves through erosion, a portion of which are navigable with guides and an even smaller portion that have been fitted with paving and steps for organised tours.

Not only the landscape, but also the culture and the people of Hungary also show great variety Traditions and regional customs have developed in all aspects of everyday life from food to music and dance, and from clothing to decor. These lifestyles have been kept alive through the ages, though of course the modern world and all innovations in communication and conveniences are not lacking here. Larger cities and especially the capital, are powerhouses of new ideas in all aspects of business and even leisure .One example of this is the phenomenon of the wave of ruin bars that have brought vibrant youthful stylish nightlife out of urban stagnation.

Finally, while Hungary may seem so far from our everyday life, it is actually closer to the rest of Europe than one might think and can be reached in a variety of ways! Most international flights of conventional and budget airlines come to Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport, just 30 minutes' drive from the capital. It is also just 3 hours' drive from Vienna, and even less by train. Budapest can even be visited as part of a Danube river cruise. As a member of the European Union since 2004, no specific visas are required for those arriving from within Shengen countries. It really is so easy to experience the Hungarians' love for life!


HUNGARY'S HISTORY IN A NUTSHELL

This country has more than a thousand years of history, full of great events, battles, kings, allies, intrigue and enemies and sometimes peaceful years. Here you can get a quick overview of the main events that have led the country and its people to be as they are today.

Hungarians were nomadic people and are believed to have moved to the Carpathian basin from the East, somewhere around the Ural Mountains. Under the leadership of Arpad, the Hungarians took over the land around 895.

In 1000, King Stephen I (St. Stephen) founded the state of Hungary, and accepted the Catholic religion as standard. Stephen was crowned with the Holy Crown of Hungary and blessed by the Pope. The crown is now displayed in the Parliament building.

In 1241-1242 the invasion of the Mongols caused serious destruction in the country, and half of the population were killed or deported as slaves (1 million people). After the invasion King Bela ordered the construction of a system of strong stone castles to defend the country from further attacks. The second Mongolian strike was stopped at Pest by the royal army thanks to these castles.

After a Turkish conquering army defeated the Hungarian royal army at Mohacs in 1526, the country split into three parts around 1541? the Hungarian Kingdom, the Habsburg dominion and the Turkish dominion. It took 150 years before the Hungarians could stand up to this situation, reunite and drive out the Turks. After the Turkish domination, the country became part of the Habsburg dominion, but under the leadership of Ferenc Rakoczi II. Hungarians partly took back their independence, and signed the treaty of peace at Szatmar in 1711.

In the 19th century very important reforms were made. Hungarian became the official language of the country, and the language was renewed and elected to a literary level. In 1848 there were independence revolutions in Europe, as well as in Hungary. The Magyars tried to remove the boundaries of the Habsburg dominion. After the suppression of the revolution, the silent resistance made the nation stronger than ever before. In 1867, a Hungarian delegation, led by Ferenc Deak finally came to an agreement with the Habsburgs and so the dualistic system of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy was born and peace descended across the land.

In World War I Hungary was ally to Germany and Austria and had to send hundreds of thousands of troops to die for foreign interests. In 1918 the Monarchy broke up, the first government was established and the country became the Republic of Hungary. After losing the war, the allied Atlantic countries overran Hungary and in accordance with the Treaty of Trianon, split up the country. The Hungary of more than 20 million became a small country of less than 8 million. Hungary was now in the shape we know today.

World War II brought more tribulations to the people of Hungary. Fighting alongside the Germans against the Soviets, the Hungarian government eventually tried to change sides to the allied Atlantic countries. Possibly fearing the sudden exposure from the vulnerable flank of the Hungarian plains perfect tank countrythe Germans then overran Hungary near the end of the war and deposed the government to their nationalist allies. Hundreds of thousands died during the war or were deported to German concentration camps.

After the Germans were beaten by the Allies, Soviets took over the country, drove out the Germans, and stayed for 44 years. In 1956 the people tried to force the leadership to stop this domination, and dictatorship by the soviets, but the attempt was unsuccessful and was punished unmercifully. However it did have some effect on the government and some concessions were made. The soviet domination lasted until 1989, when Hungary finally became an independent democracy.

In 1999 Hungary joined NATO, and in 2004 became a member of the European Union.

Source: Wikipedia
Picture: Arpad Feszty: Arrival of the Hungarians (oil painting)


PHONE – POST OFFICE – INTERNET

Telephone and dialing info, important numbers, internet cafes, free wifi.

Telephone, Fax Hungary country code: 36
Budapest area code: 1 (+7 digit number)
International predial: 00 + counry code + local number
Domestic long distance predial: 06 + area code + local number Cellphone numbers are 9digit,after dialing 06, the first two numbers depend on the telephone company: 20, 30 or 70.

Public phones require 10, 20, 50 or 100 Forint coins, or a prepurchased phone card (sold at newsstands, supermarkets, hotels and post offices).
Fax machines are available for tourists in main post offices and in many city hotels' Business Centers.
International collect calls can be made from a private line or public payphone. A coin or phone card has to be inserted to initiate the call.

International operators:

AT&T 00 8000 1111
MCI 00 8000 1411
SPRINT 00 800 0 1877

Important telephone numbers:

Ambulance: 104
Police: 107
Fire department: 105
Directory Assistance: 198
International Directory: 199
International Emergency Call: 112
Tourinform nonstop help and information: +36 1 438 80 80

Post Office Services

Post offices are usually open from Monday to Friday, from 818h.
There are two post offices next to the two central railway stations in Budapest that are open from Monday to Saturday, from 7 to 21h.
They are:
Nyugati Palyaudvar (VI. Terez korut 61.) open on Sunday, too: 10- 17 h Keleti Palyaudvar (VIII. Baross ter 11/c.)

Internet

There are Internet cafes all over Budapest and a growing number of hotels and cafes offer WiFi access for laptop users.
For a comprehensive listing, with maps, visit hotspotter.hu
There are free wifi in most of the hotels, bars and trains.


ENTERING AND LEAVING THE COUNTRY

ENTERING HUNGARY

Visas

For information on Visa, Entry and stay rules please visit the web pages of the Consular services of the ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Health Requirements

No immunizations are required. Medication: Tourists are permitted to bring medication for personal use. Products containing narcotic substances can only enter with the special permission of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Medication prescribed abroad can be purchased in pharmacies at full market price. Only a limited selection of overthecounter drugs are available in Hungary.

Customs Regulations

In addition to personal travel luggage, limited noncommercial quantities of goods may be brought into Hungary duty free: Alcohol – 1 litre of high proof spirits, 4 litres of wine and 16 litres of beer (applicable to passengers over the age of 17 only) in case of arriving by air 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250 g of tobacco (applicable to passengers over the age of 17 only) in case of arriving by air 500g Coffee, 100 g tea and other spices – up to 1 kg each (except paprika & its mixtures).

Customs duty does not apply if the total value of the goods, in addition to the personal travel luggage, does not exceed 430 Euros in case of air travel and 300 Euros in case of land and water travel. Electronics: photo camera, nonprofessional video camera, laptop computer, portable typewriter, portable musical equipment with the necessary accessories such as disks, records, photographic films up to 10 rolls.

Pets

Accompanying pets must have a health and vaccination certificate or the so called pet passport, dated no more than one week prior to arrival or a unique identification (tattoo or microchip) in the pet's body.

Currency Regulations

Passengers entering or leaving the European Union, carrying EUR 10,000 or more in cash (even if in different currencies), or any equivalent instruments (such as securities, bonds, shares, traveller's checks etc.) must file a written declaration. Such declaration shall be made at or presented to the customs authority upon entering or leaving the European Union.

If you have questions regarding custom regulations, please contact the Hungarian Customs and Finance Office. Email: vam.info@mail.vpop.hu

LEAVING HUNGARY

Noncommercial quantities of items purchased or received are not subject to custom duties in Hungary but might be subject to the custom fees and regulations of the destination country.

VAT Refund

Nonresident travellers may apply for a refund of up to 25% of the general sales tax (AFA) on goods purchased in Hungary, with the exception of works of art, collections and antiques,under the following conditions: The total value of the goods on one original invoice, including AFA, must exceed 50,000 Ft. Not more than 90 days may elapse between the time of purchase and the time of export. The goods must be taken out of the country unused, in their original packaging.

(GOTOHUNGARY.COM)


HUNGARY'S FOLK TRADITIONS

Hungary is a land of particularly rich folk heritage. Folk culture is not only preserved in museums, however traditions live on in many of Hungary's small villages, kept alive by local communities, and even modernday citydwellers do things that might surprise you first.

Hungary is very diverse when it comes to rural architecture, craftsmanship, folk music and dance. The black pottery of Mohacs, the opulence of the embroidery of Matyo and Kalocsa, the delicacy of the Halas lacework – they all tell the distinct story of the locals. For a comprehensive view of the architecture and a peak into the customs of Hungarian villages a couple of hundred years back, head to one of the numerous open air village museums scattered around the country. Probably the most prestigious one is the Skanzen OpenAir Ethnographic Museum near Szentendre, just a stonesthrow from Budapest (www.skanzen.hu).

Don't miss the Village Museum of Gocsej (actually the very first village museum to be established in Hungary) with a beautiful watermill from the 19th century at its heart. The Museum Village of Sosto is a mustsee too, as it's one of the most diverse in Hungary, showing the multicoloured folk architecture and customs of five ethnographical regions (Szatmar, Retkoz, Nyirseg, Nyiri Mezoseg and Bereg) – all in one ‘village'. The tavern is actually in use, so you can clink glasses here too. To travel back further in time, head to Tiszaalpar here you'll find a reconstructed village of the Arpadage (1000 – 1301), built according to archaeological finds, only using materials available at the time.

For a piece of living tradition, head to the beautifully preserved village of Holloko, that's actually a world heritage site . What makes Holloko really special is that it hasn't been turned into an openair museum – it's a living village with locals leading a traditionbound life. Of course there are other small villages where locals keep up their centuriesold traditions. A secret tip: visit Holloko in the spring – Easter celebrations bring out the most of this beautiful little village. Pottery, central to the folk culture of the Hungarians, is kept alive at the small villages of the Orseg and the Hortobagy regions. It is not just the architecture and the objects from the past, however, that define who we are.

It is the great variety of folksy customs that are just as alive today. Want to hear examples? Well, there is the socalled Busojaras, for a starter. In the carnival season people dressup in scary costumes and wooden masks roam the streets to scare winter (or the Turks, according to another interpretation...) away.

At Easter, boys sprinkle girls with perfume while citing one of the funny little poems written for these occasions. According to the tradition, women who are not ‘watered' will fade away – boys couldn't let that happen, could they? In old times, it used to be a bucket of cold water, however today it's a tamer version that's in use. Part of the Easter celebrations (and a favourite among kids) is the painting of eggs. In some regions eggpainting developed into an art form of its own, with local motifs scratched into and embroidered onto the egg – and guess what, sometimes eggs are even adorned with tiny horse shoes. Weddings in Hungary have their own choreography and traditions as well, of course. The wedding procession is particularly important and is usually followed by the whole village. The bridal dance is supposed to ensure the young couple's financial stability – guests have to pay to take the bride to dance. Breaking glasses will drive bad ghosts away, and by cleaning up the mess together the young couple can demonstrate how well they can cooperate.

Oh, and don't be surprised if the bride gets stolen. The young husband has to perform some tasks to get her back... And believe it or not, thereis no other event in Hungary where more palinka is drank than a wedding.

In fact every religious or ancient celebration will have their own customs that remain with us in some form such as the annual harvest and the pig sticking? as well as important days such as August 20th which celebrates the creation of the Hungarian state and remembering the Hungarian Revolution on March 15th. Make sure to visit Hungary for one of them and find out more about these odd people called Magyars!


MUSEUMS

Budapest is packed with museums and galleries, and there are plenty of temporary exhibitions in the most unlikely of settings, particularly in summer so keep your eyes peeled. Also note that most museums are closed on Mondays. Budapest Card holders can visit museums at a discounted rate. For a detailed list of museums included please visit: Budapest Card list of services.

Hungarian National Museum

Founded on the personal collection of philanthropist Count Ferenc Szechenyi, the National Museum has been home to a stunning array of Hungarian art since 1802. The artwork and artefacts on the inside are equally impressive and include St Stephen's coronation cloak and huge frescoes and wall friezes.

Hungarian National Gallery

Occupying three wings of the Buda Royal Palace, the National Gallery contains around 100,000 works of art from the 11th century onwards, including architectural remains, carvings, reliefs and paintings. Museum of Fine Arts One of Europe's most important art museums gives a home to the memories of universal art from antiquity till the present day. Visitors are welcomed with changing and permanent exhibitions with both Hungarian and foreign guides as well as activities for children.

House of Terror

For the much of the last century, 60 Andrassy Street was an address that struck fear into the hearts of Hungarians. First, it became the headquarters of the Hungarian ultraright party, the Arrow Cross regime in 1944, before being taken over by the Communist secret police until the shortlived 1956 revolution. The building has now been converted into a museum, incorporating the cellars and even the instruments used to torture prisoners. It is designed as much to remind visitors of the horrors of the totalitarianism as it is to educate.

Memento Park

After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, many of the Communist statues and monuments were immediately removed in Hungary. These items formed the basis for the current collection of the Statue Park. Marx, Engels and Lenin are just a few of the socialist heroes whose alter egos are found here. This is the world's unique such collection from the period of communist cultural politics and it's the most exciting outdoor museum in Central Europe. The Memento Park is accessible via public transport (direct bus) from Deak Square.

The Museum of Military History

The museum exhibits military objects and documents either of Hungarian origin or relating to the military history of Hungary. The exhibition "Thirteen Days about the 1956 Revolution" is well worth viewing.

Mansion Museum

The permanent collection of this attractive Baroque mansion includes over 300 items of furniture and suites in 28 rooms, plus tile stoves, chandeliers, carpets, tapestries, ceramics, glassware and gold and silversmith works.

The Budapest History Museum

The museum presents the 2000 year old history of the capital. The fascinating collection of artefacts and historical documents traces the city's and the castle's history via three distinct exhibitions. In summertime visitors can walk in the reconstructed mediaeval gardens, climb on the top of the castle walls and up the panoramic Buzogany Tower.

Museum of Ethnography

One of Europe's largest specialist museums with around 139,000 Hungarian and 53,000 international art objects. The ornate interior served as Hungary's Supreme Court until 1975. The exhibition includes a variety of temporary exhibitions of artwork, photography, clothing and jewellery.

Hungarian House of Photographers (Mai Mano Haza)

The museum houses contemporary and historic photographic exhibitions. Vasarely Museum. The museum is named after Hungarian born painter Gyozo Vasarhelyi who moved to Paris in 1930 to work and who as Victor Vasarely gained world fame as the founder of the opart movement. His pictures use sharp colours, geometric forms and optical illusions.

Ludwig Museum

Relocated to the newly built Palace of Arts, the Ludwig Museum was Hungary's first international showcase for contemporary art documenting the progression of Hungarian artists as they attempted to break out of Socialist Realism.

Museum of Applied Arts

Museum of Applied ArtsThe grand building with the green tiled roof you see as you enter the city from the airport, contains a wide range of textiles, ceramics and furniture handed down through the centuries. More than anything, it is worth visiting for its breathtaking interiors.

KOGart

KOGart is an Andrassy ut mansion dedicated to art and pleasure. Regular exhibitions, events and concerts are just part of the story, the building also boasts an excellent restaurant and coffee house.

Mucsarnok Exhibition Hall

To the left of Hosok tere, the Mucsarnok is Budapest's premier showcase for contemporary art.

Urania mozi

Small cinemas in Hungary are being upstaged by large and impersonal multiplexes and Hollywood blockbusters, but some bastions of smallscale, arty filmmaking remain. The Urania cinema is the perfect antidote to bright lights and popcorn, even if you don't catch a film, drop in for a coffee, it's quite an oppulent experience!


RELIGION

The history of the Hungarian state is the same age as Christianity in Hungary, for the state's founder was King St. Stephen, who one thousand years ago raised Christianity to a state religion. According to the 2001 census, approximately threequarters of the population stated that they were Christians, but all the historic churches and believers of other religions live together.

Among the rights declared in the Constitution of the Hungarian Republic, those of freedom of conscience and religion express the community's pluralism, founded upon the mutual tolerance and understanding of people of different persuasions. This freedom of conscience and religion applies not only to religious people but to every citizen.

According to the World Parliament of Religions, without dialogue among religions there will be no world peace. The world religions, who represent universal values, must not forget that God is universal, and that no single church or culture has the right to claim him as their own.

A good example can be found here, where in the heart of Europe the congregations of orthodox and neologian synagogues, Catholic and Protestant churches, mosques, Krishna temples and Buddhist stupas mutually respect each others' religions. Religious buildings receive many visitors as a result of their architectural, cultural and religious peculiarities. The majority of visitors are not primarily motivated by religion? they seek out religious buildings and sacred places, several of which are now listed World Heritage sites, to take in the spectacle, the wonderful works of art and to take a glimpse at "living" history. Naturally there are those amongst them who are motivated to travel to religious sites and events through their religious practices and outlook on the world. This they may do freely in Europe's Hungary, and as they live their spiritual lives they can also be enriched by an unparalleled cultural experience.


UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES

The preservation and transmission to a new generation of one's own culture, history and traditions is an important task for every nation. Recognition of this heritage is necessary for an understanding of the present and planning for the future. Some cultural and natural values have local significance, while others are important for the whole of mankind, because they are unique and special.

It was to preserve and protect the most outstanding of these values that the UNO created the World Heritage Committee and accepted the Agreement regarding the protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage, to which 175 countries have attached themselves. In 2005, 812 World Heritage sites in the territories of 137 states were added to the list. The original two categories have been joined by a third, that of cultural region. Here can be found treasures where the natural and man-made environments are tightly interdependent and mutually worthy of preservation.

  • Budapest including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrassy avenue (1987+2002)
  • Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape (2002)
  • Buso festivities at Mohacs: masked end-of-winter carnival custom (2009)
  • Old Village of Holloko and its surroundings (1987)
  • Ferto / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape (2001)
  • Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (1995)
  • Hortobagy National Park – the Puszta (1999)
  • Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment (1996)
  • Early Christian Necropolis of Pecs (2000)

gotohungary.com/world-heritage-sites


TRADITIONAL HUNGARIAN CUISINE

To understand Hungarian cuisine, we have to take a peek into the past. Today's Hungarian cuisine is a synthesis of ancient Asiatic components mixed with Germanic, Italian, and Slavic elements. The food of Hungary can be considered a melting pot of the continent, with its own original cuisine from the Magyar people.

The nomadic past of the Hungarians is apparent in the prominence of meat (mainly poultry, pork and beef) in Hungarian cuisine as well as the amount of dishes cooked over open fire – just think of goulash, porkolt (stew) or the fisherman's soup. In the 15th century King Matthias and his Neapolitan wife introduced new ingredients and spices like garlic and onions – things we couldn't imagine a proper Hungarian dish without today. Later, great numbers of Saxons, Armenians, Italians, Jews and Serbs settled in the Hungarian basin and in Transylvania and brought with them their own recipes. Elements of ancient Turkish cuisine were adopted during the Ottoman era, in the form of sweets, the cake called bejgli, the eggplant, stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage called toltott kaposzta. Hungarian cuisine was influenced by Austrian cuisine under the Austro-Hungarian Empire as well; dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed from Austrian cuisine, and vice versa.

Hungarian cuisine today shows great regional variety – and this promises a lot of excitement for gastro-curious travellers. Just take a look at the Northern parts of the Great Plain. This is where our most famous dish, the Goulash soups comes from, developed by the local herdsmen. Don't compare the Hungarian goulash to other kinds of goulash you might have eaten elsewhere, by the way – the original one is a rich and spicy soup, best made out of the meat of the Hungarian Grey cattle. The area has given birth to the Hortobagyi pancake as well, a savoury crepe filled with veal, today usually served as a starter. Or the slambuc, a hearty dish cooked on open fire out of potatoes and noodles, flavoured with some nice bacon. The region is proud to give home to Hungary's finest plums (in Szatmar) and apples (Szabolcs) – no lack of great palinkas for the folks of the Eastern Plain.

The area around Lake Tisza is particularly known for the lamb stew of Karcag, part of the UNESCO cultural heritage. What it's like? Well, it's nothing for the faint hearted, this one includes basically every part of the animal including the head, the feet and the giblets, cooked over a large open fire. Head to Karcag for the annual lamb stew cooking competition to give it a try. It's not an easy meal admittedly, so help your digestion with a shot of the 77 palinka of Nagykoru, made of 77 types of cherries.

The southern part of the Great Plain produces some of the finest veggies in the countryincluding the hot paprika (red chilli peppers) from Szeged, the onions from Mako, the green peppers from Szentes and the garlic from Batyai. Two of the most popular Hungarian sausages are made in the area as well, the sausage from Gyula and from Csaba, as well as the Pick salami are usually part of any souvenir pack. And the peach palinka from Kecskemet is one of the best in the country.

The area around Balaton has countless delicacies to offer as well, we'd advise you to try the fish dishes (the Maria fish soup, the catfish with galuska, a kind of gnocchi or the bream in sour cream). The Tihany-peninsula is well-known for its lavender – have you ever tried lavender liquor? There is so much new waiting for you to experience.

Hungarians are real soup-lovers, no doubt about that. A fine chicken soup is part of any proper Sunday lunch and comes in lots ofvarieties. The Ujhazi chicken soup for example is a rich soup packed with all kinds of vegetables, small slices of chicken and (preferably self-made) noodles. Vegetarians will be happy about the great offer of vegetable soups, on the other hand.

The lecso is a dish originating from the Balkans, but it has become an integral part of Hungarian cuisine – we couldn't imagine life without it. It's a real summer dish made of sweet-succulent tomatoes, fresh paprika and some onions. Of course there are countless local varieties – some enjoy it with slices of sausages, some with eggs – it is as multi-faced as Hungary itself.

Hungarians are quite sweet-toothed, so there is no lack in sugary delicacies either. The sweet scent of the traditional kurtoskalacs (chimney cake) fills the air of every Christmas fair – it's a favourite among the locals. The somloi galuska (sponge cake spilled with rich chocolate sauce and topped with light whipped cream) is a dessert offered at every proper Hungarian restaurant. The Dobos cake is a truly special Hungarian invention,a sponge cake layered with soft chocolate butter cream topped with a thin slice of caramel cracking in your mouth. Hmmmm... It's not all about great inventions, thoughas the most loved dessert for everyday has to be the pancake but is nothing like its American counterpart. It's as thin as a veil, filled with marmalade, cocoa powder, chocolate or vanilla sauce and wrapped up. Yummy!

gotohungary.com/traditional-food


ENDLESS VARIETY – THE WINES OF HUNGARY

When it comes to Hungarian wines, it's Tokaji that pops up in most heads first. However there is so much more to be discovered. Here's our crash course in the delicious Hungarian nectars.

Hungary has always been best known for the sweet wines created in the region of Tokaj in the North East of the country. Tokaji Aszu was the drink of choice for everyone from Louis XIV through to Beethoven and Peter the Great, it's the Wine of Kings, and the King of Wines – but you've probably heard that before. But did you know that the "nectar" from the grapes of Tokaj is mentioned in the national anthem of Hungary, too? More recently, as Hungarian wine making was homogenised under Communism, and its diverse range of grapes was sacrificed in the pursuit of ever greater yields, Hungary was also known for its "Bull's Blood," (Bikaver in Hungarian) But these two wines alone will not give you the complete picture, a picture that is getting more and more colourful.Hungarian winemaking has diversified a lot over the past years, with small wineries offering "artisan" wines mushrooming all over the country.

If you know what kind of wines you are looking for, it is worth knowing the main wine regions. There are 22 regions mentioned in a recent law, but the most important are Tokaj, Kunsag, Csongrad and Hajos-Baja, Eger, Villany and Szekszard. Tokaj, in northeast Hungary, at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains is best known for its sweet Tokaji Aszu wines, as well as the Furmint, Harslevelu and Muscat grapes..

Eger, in the north of the country produces elegant reds, in particular the Bikaver blends. If you wish to try the best of the Bull's Blood variety, look for the Bikaver Superior label, established by recent wine laws. Due to the latitude, wines from the Eger region do not have the body of reds from the south, but they are elegant and complex in a way that allows for a comparison to Burgundy. What better opportunity to taste it than at the yearly Egri Bikaver Festival (traditionally held in July) where a huge number of local wineries offer their take on the Bull's Blood, accompanied by some hearty bites and folksy tunes.

Kunsag, Csongrad and Hajos-Baja are all found in the large flat southern area between the Danube and the Tisza Rivers, also known as the Great Plain. This area accounts for about half of the wine produced in Hungary which tends to be quick drinking table wine mainly. . The naming of the Frittman winery from this region as Hungarian Winemaker of the Year 2007 brought about agrowth for the region – we'll hear more from it in the future.

If Eger is the Burgundy of Hungary, then Villany is its Bordeaux. Villany is Hungary's most southerly and hottest wine region, producing the country's best and most full-bodied red wines. Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are of key importance here, and Cabernet Franc has made a particular name for itself. Portugieser is also central, the second most widely planted grape in the region after Cabernet Sauvignon. Head north and you'll find Szekszard, fighting its southern rival hard for the crown of the producer of the best reds. In October every year a Red Wine Festival takes place in Villany, bringing out all the delicious reds the region has to offer with concerts providing for the acoustic backdrop.

Did we whet your appetite for some winetasting? We thought so. Good news is that you can do that in countless places in Hungary. Budapest holds a major wine festival in the Buda Castle every year in September, while in the summer Lake Balaton is surrounded by innumerable little festivals, each of them with their own tasting spots. If you're in Budapest, sip some nectars at Faust Wine Cellar, dine at Bock Bistro where the wine list is put together by one of the most respected Hungarian wine growers, Jozsef Bock, check out La Boutique des Vins owned by award-winning wine producer Malatinszky from the Villany region, go to Bortarsasag, one of the biggest wine distributors of the country with a vast offer at several shops throughout the city or sip your way through a tasting at the House of Hungarian Wines, which has some of the best wines from all regions.

Check out the best winebars in Budapest!

gotohungary.com/wines


BEST RUIN BARS IN BUDAPEST

What is this ruin bar madness in Budapest? Why they are so special and popular? We give you the answers and the list of the best ruin bars in the capital.

Ruin bars have no official definition yet, but if we try to describe it, a ruin bar is a bar, a pub if you like, situated inside or next to an old building, and using its crumbly walls, paving and atmosphere as interior. Ruin bars are decorated with many different type of objects, from handmade paper statues to foreign licence plates, from unique lanterns to grandma's old standard lamp - anything you can imagine. Your seat might have started life as a boat, bathtub, or even a trabant car, or just be comfy squashy armchairs (mismatched, of course.) If the walls aren't covered with pictures and objects than they are painted usually by young contemporary artists. The illumination in these bars is usually low, that makes them more intimate. The furnitures are also old and varied. But this all together, that everything is different somehow yet whole and relational. As you may think, it is very hard to write it down, so it's better if you visit them.

Here come the best nine:

Szimpla Garden [pron. simp-lah]
You may already heard about the Szimpla Kert, the most famous ruin bar in Budapest, and the one Lonely Planet chosen to the 100 best bars of the world toplist. Well, it's true Szimpla has a very unique atmosphere, and it's quite a large place. Szimpla is situated in the downtown, next to Astoria, in the Kazinczy Street.

Instant [pron. insh-tahnt]
Being in the instant is a pretty surreal experience. Varied decoration in every corner. You can't decide it is a western pub, or a large house party. Instant has several floors and rooms, you can almost get lost. The main difference to the Szimpla is that here's usually a party in the night, sometimes with famous foreign djs an mcs. You will find Instant on the Nagymezo Street.

Puder [pron. poo-der]
Interior of Puder looks like it's also spontaneous, little chaotic, but artistic and naughty. It's designed by a contemporary artist Bertalan Babos Zsili. The walls all overpainted, the decorations are oversized, but this together is the Puder (means powder), a cool ruin bar on Raday Street, already a popular place for pavement cafes. At night there are theatrical performances and DJs.

Grandio [pron. gran-dee-o]
The Grandio is inside the inner garden of a typical hundred years old house of Budapest. Green plants, leanders and trees (shady in the summertime), original ruinpub furnishing, and an extra large burger to eat, the Grandio. The pub includes a party hostel and club for concerts. Look for it on Nagydiofa Street.

Durer Garden [pron. du-rare]
Set up in the Ajtosi Durer Street next to the City Park in the former building of ELTE University. Durer Garden has so much for you, such as table tennis, table football, shady garden with a large projector, and a wide range of concerts and parties from indie to electro, from reggae to hardcore.

Yellow Zebra Bikes and Bar
This new underground ruin bar serves good micro-brews down below Kazinczy Street, a few blocks down Dohany steet from the Great Synagogue. The American owners run a bicycle-rental business out of the same premises, and you can see that the old arched cellar is inventively decorated with odd bits of bicycle-inspired decor: the metal legs of the tables are bike frames, there is even a bike-chain chandelier!

Fogas Haz [pron. foh-gash]
Varied furnitures and decoration, different types of lamps, weird objects hanging from the ceiling. Imitating a residential community place. But even so you can find in Fogas Haz an art gallery, table tennis room. Fogas Haz focusing on its cultural character instead of the ruin bar trait. So they organize exhibitions and screening movies. Fogas Haz is in the Kertesz Street.

Spiler [pron. shpee-lehr]
A higher quality place among ruin bars. Eclectic design, handcrafted beers, classic chat-bistro for everyone in the Gozsdu Garden, in the 7th district.

Csendes [pron. tshen-desh]
You will find this small, but lovely place close to Astoria. The classic interior is spiced up with vintage and contemporary decoration. The eclectic interior with dim light and soft chill-out music makes the place really intimate, and as the names says: silent.

gotohungary.com/music-concerts/-/article/best-ruin-bars-in-budapest-magazin


BOOZING AND DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY

Budapest has so much to offer for all you night owls out there. Mingling with the locals in one of the run-down ruin pubs in the city centre, getting down and dirty at the night clubs, clinking glasses at one of the numerous booze fests – it's up to you how you spend the late hours.

Friday night in Budapest's 7th district – the pavements are jammed with trendy young urbanites starting their night out. Over the last few years, the run-down inner-city area has become the city's hippest quarter, packed with what has become one of Budapest's trademarks - ruin pubs. Each ruin pub is unique, but they all share certain similarities: the main ingredient is an abandoned building or empty lot, spiced up with some thrift-shop decor and a dose of hipster vibe. Szimpla kert, the largest and probably best known of the ruin pubs was the pioneer. Enter Szimpla and you'll fell like a secret alternative world is opening up,one raw-brick room leads into the other, crowded with mismatched furniture and crazy decor, such as a Trabant turned into a drinking table. Locals tend to agree though that Szimpla is more and more becoming a touristic attraction, so if you really want to mingle with the Magyars, choose one of the other spots, Fogashaz for example is a cultural space, a pub and a disco all in one. Koleves Kert is located on an empty lot next to charming Koleves Restaurant with heaps of colourful tables and some swings at the bar. Holdudvar, the summer-only restaurant and bar is the place to hit on Margaret Island withgood snacks, cool cocktails, dance evenings and film screenings make it one of the locals' favourites.

For some more serious clubbingthere's a lot to choose from. If you're into live concerts, A38 might be a good choice. Located in an old stone hauler ship, the place hosts a concert hall featuring anything from the latest electronic music to world music concerts while the bar on deck is the perfect place to let the Danube breeze run through your hair. Oh, and it has been voted best bar by Lonely Planet readers in 2012. The longest summer festival is to be found at Zold Pardon, at the Buda side of the Rakoczy Bridge. Concerts by the most popular Hungarian and international acts take place here from April to September, from Monday to Saturday. Just cross the bridge and you'll find another open-air concert venue: Park, where you can choose between electro, retro and alternative – just walk from one stage to the other. A festival-feeling is offered at Akvarium Club – where locals and tourists head for concerts from all genres of music or just to chill out the grass with a beer in hand!

For traditional clubbing, put on your dancing shoes and head into one of the many music clubs and discos. Otkert is a dance club, a bar and an exhibitions space all in one. Listen to the DJs battling it out and enjoy a beer in the courtyard. Minyon Bar is the right choice for stylish clubbers – music, cool cocktails and a sophisticated kitchen awaits you in the late hours. Want to party like they do on Ibiza? Mix Club is the closest you will get. Top Hungarian DJs supported by the best VJs will take you on a journey far away. An exclusive atmosphere is guaranteed at Creol Bar – swing your hips to funky music or sip a cocktail in one of the comfy couches. Symbol Live Music pub is another favourite among locals – DJ sets and live concerts guarantee for a frenetic party atmosphere.

If you're spending your stag or hen weekend in Budapest and want to trade the hipsters for boobs and muscles, Hajogyari Island is your destination. Located on an unused dockyard, the disco complex offers some honest pumping Jersey shore-style music. Dokk Beach is the summer capital of R 'n B. Get a cocktail and head to the Jacuzzi with some hot blondes, if that's what you're into. And if everything else closes down in the city centre but you still haven't had enough, head to Piaf, a cosy club with red lights and a mysterious atmosphere, or make your way to Club Coronita for the after party – DJ's play all day here. If you're looking for something really, utterly special though, make sure you head to a Cinetrip event – the parties take place once a month in one of the historic city spas so we can only hope that you've chosen to come to Budapest at the right time. Techno is pumping, laser lights are shooting, acrobats are hanging from the ceiling and belly dancers are gyrating – at a spectacular bath. Sounds like fun?

gotohungary.com/nightlife


ABOUT SPA CULTURE OF HUNGARY

A visit to Hungary allows a unique combination of rich cultural experience with medical, health or wellness treatments. Relaxing in warm water, rich in curative minerals in beautiful surroundings and with the prospect of massage, mud treatments and many other sorts of special treatment, is a rare luxury that you can easily afford here in Hungary!

Geology:
The key to Hungary's thermal culture is its location on the Carpathian Basin. The earth's crust is very thin here, allowing water to rise easily to the surface. Thus it is a land of more than 1,000 hot springs. Since ancient times, and all though the History of Hungary, the hot water bubbling up all across this region has been put to good use for its beneficial effects. The ancient Romans prized the healing effects of Hungarian thermal waters and developed bathing culture in Hungary more than 2000 years ago. During the Turkish occupation in the 16th century, the Turks added their own beautiful Turkish Baths, some of which are still in use today.

Where to find them:
Spas are located in big cities and smaller towns throughout the whole country. Some are simple thermal baths serving the local community, others are larger commercial baths. All the major spas and baths in the country offer thermal pools, leisure pools and some kind of family fun areas (kids' pools or slides of all lengths and shapes) and some count themselves as Aquaparks, (though they all feature thermal water pools). Some Spas in Budapest are housed in beautiful old buildings in Classical or Turkish style dating back anything from 100 to 400 years have become famous as tourist attractions in their own right. The biggest indoor water theme park in Central Europe is located in the outskirts of Budapest, while the largest spa complex is located in Hajduszoboszlo. Another larger-than-life phenomenon is Lake Heviz, a real natural phenomenon with an average yearly average water temperature of 25 °C (77 °F ). This is the largest biologically active thermal lake in Europe. Tourists also enjoy the phenomenon of swimming in a huge, warm lake, even on the coldest winter day!

Hungarian spa hotels also offer cosmetic and beauty treatments of the highest quality, combining the beneficial effects of healing thermal water, professional know-how and the latest treatment trends. There are also successful Hungarian beauty products and treatments, which are based on natural active ingredients (mineral-rich thermal waters and mud).

Benefits:
Relaxing in Hungary's Thermal water relieves stress and anxiety and accelerates the body's own healing processes. Due to their chemical and biological structure, medicinal waters are:

proven to remedy locomotive disorders
beneficial for countering gynecological diseases, infertility and chronic skin problems
an effective part of the rehabilitation process following sporting injuries.

Uses:
Unique Hungarian methods have been developed to make maximum use of the waters. Hydrotherapy makes use of the physical qualities of water, such as buoyance, resistance and temperature. Weight baths for treating spinal conditions, are perhaps the best-known example. Balneotherapy is the technical name for the thermal water treatments that make more use of the chemical qualities of the water, which is rich in minerals but free of nitrates, nitrites and bacterial growth. Mofetta (a sort of dry bath employing carbon dioxide bubbles) is one example of this. Medicinal and rehabilitative tourism (based on thermal water, medical caves, medical resorts, balneotherapeutical treatments and special Hungarian methods) attracts more and more patients.

Hungary, the ultimate destination for combining healing, relaxation and adventure.

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MEDICINAL THERMAL WATER

Hungary has more medicinal spas than anywhere in Europe, so it is worth combining your holiday with a relaxing bathing cure. But before you decide to take the plunge, here is some more interesting information on medicinal and thermal springs: A medicinal spa uses water rich in minerals that medical tests clearly show has health benefits. Thermal water is any naturally occurring spring that emerge at a temperature exceeding 30°C.

And what is balneotherapy? Balneotherapy is the treatment of a medical condition with water from a medicinal spring – particularly water with high concentrations of dissolved minerals and sediment. Balneotherapy is combined with physiotherapy, electrotherapy and therapeutic massage. This is complemented by related treatments,including drinking cures and inhalation.

Water types and indications

Medicinal water with high calcium and iodine content is an effective cure for inflammation of the respiratory system. A high concentration of sulphur is ideally suited to the treatment of degenerative joint conditions and skin complaints. Water rich in dissolved carbon dioxide is beneficial to patients with heart conditions and those with peripheral circulatory problems. Salty water is recommended for women with gynaecological complaints and those with bladder infections and springs containing radon have a pain-killing effect.

Warning – Bathing times and recommended treatment periods » It is extremelyimportant to keep to the bathing times given, which should be increased gradually from 15 minutes to a maximum of 45 minutesat a time. A serious course of treatment should last at least two weeks. Prevention is also an increasingly important aspect of maintaining good health so wellness packages should be tailored to particular problem areas just like rehabilitative programmes are. Preventative measures also provide good foundations for a healthy way of life, but taking the time to recharge the batteries and overcome stress is also a top priority.

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/medicinal-thermal-water


MEDICAL WELLNESS AND WELLBEING PROGRAMS

Millions of people suffer from the modern day complaints of stress and burnout. Hungarian spas and spa hotels offer a wide range of medical spa (and wellness) services to indulge yourself and find the harmony of your body and soul.

Special medical examinations, Bio resonance examinations and treatments, Electro Interstitial Scan are the basis of modern diagnostics in hotels. Effective therapies like medicinal baths, magnetic therapy, fluoride treatments, hydrotherapy,light and heat therapies such as Sensolite, laser or inhaled therapies are applied to the guests' wellbeing. Prevention or therapy, you will find your ideal tailormade package in Hungary. Invest in your health and wellbeing!

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/medical-wellness-and-wellbeing-programs


MEDICAL TOURISM IN HUNGARY

Hungary is one of the flagship countries of European medical tourism. It is a well known fact that Hungary has one of the most demanding medical and dental educations in the world. A quarter of all medical students at Hungarian universities come from abroad, and many Hungarian specialists teach and practice internationally. The main reasons for Hungary's leading role in European medical tourism are its long experience and practice on the international market. The success story began in the eighties, when Hungary was a popular destination for German and Austrian patients seeking top-quality dentistry and dental prosthetic services of Swiss standards. Since Hungary joined the European Union, medical tourism has become more varied and more international.

In fact, the cost of treatments and patient service is some much lower, that you can afford to fly to Hungary, undergo treatment, enjoy the sights, the culture and shopping offers in Budapest and still save up to 40-70 % on what you would have to pay in the UK, USA and Scandinavian countries. The most popular treatments and procedures amongst international patients are dentistry, plastic and orthopaedic surgery, cardiac rehabilitation, fertility treatments, dermatology and anti-aging treatments, obesity treatments, addiction programs and eye surgery (both general and ocular implantation).

Hungary will treat you well

Why not follow the thousands of satisfied customers from all over Europe who seek medical treatment in Hungary? We could say that the treatments offered in the country are cheaper and better than elsewhere, but we won't say that. Instead, we're trying to give you facts that make your decision for finding a destination that caters for your medical and cultural needs easier.

Easily accessible within Europe: Hungary, due to its ideal location in the centre of Europe, is easily accessed by low-cost flights from all over Europe.

Medical training in Hungary is world class. The doctors in order to continue to be able to practice, they must fulfil the requirement of an average of 50 hours of further education each year (twice as many hours as in most Western countries).

Good language skills: Thus you can rest assured that a good standard of English is spoken at all private clinics and hotels.

Accreditation: Hungary has a number of accreditation and license schemes applying to its institutions, such as the domestic accreditation schemes from the Hungarian Ministry of Health, and the National Health Commission and Medical Service. Some facilities are also recognised by the Care Quality Commission in the UK and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Good exchange rate: Thanks to the favourable exchange rate Hungary is now even more affordable for foreign patients. But Hungary is not just cheap; it is excellent value. The private clinics have invested heavily in their facilities and treatments to keep the market leader position in Europe and guarantee the highest Western European quality at internationally competitive prices.

Hungary for all kinds of budgets: Whether you are is looking for medical treatment abroad at a reasonable cost or are more interested in luxury travel, you can find it in Hungary. The possibilities range from city apartments through award-winning spa hotels to luxury five star hotels.

Medical tourism programs: Several clinics run medical tourism programs and packages, organising the entire trip including flights, accommodation, transfers and treatments. Furthermore, travellers can combine medical treatments with their holiday, discovering the 1000-year-old history of the country and the unique fusion of eastern and western cultures, while recovering from surgery in one of the many rejuvenating thermal spas.

The EU directive on cross-border healthcare (effective from 2013) clarifies and expands the rights of patients who seek healthcare in another EU member state. Patients will not only be allowed to receive healthcare in other member states, but will also be reimbursed up to the level of costs of the treatment at home. Also, each country must establish at least one national contact point for patients to get information about health providers, reimbursement procedures, and when prior authorisation is needed.

They say good health is priceless. In Hungary though, getting fit and fab, relaxed and radiant comes at a price. A price that you'll find really low for the outstanding expertise and quality of treatments you'll receive.

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/about-medical-tourism1


THE DENTAL CAPITAL OF EUROPE

The range of treatments and services available is unparalleled. From tooth whitening up to maxillofacial surgery. Patients travelling to Budapest, Hungary for dental treatment will be treated according to the latest medical knowledge and technology. The number of foreign patients who choose Hungary as their dental care destination is growing every year.

Hungary is one of the leading countries in high-tech dentistry in the world. There are several aspects as to why Hungary has gained this outstanding leading position: high-quality dental work is performed by highly-qualified professionals using leading up-to-date technology which provides long-term guarantees that meet international requirements and give an outstanding cost-benefit ratio. All your dental issues will be catered for at prices 40-70% lower than you can expect to pay at home. In addition, they all offer flexible opening hours, before and aftercare by medical service operators, normally via an army of co-ordinators and customer care operatives fluent in English, French and German, and increasingly Norwegian and Danish too.

Almost all dental clinics offer the following services free of charge: consultation, check-up and diagnosis, treatment plan and price offer calculations, translator, airport transfer, hotel reservation and other. There are often special offers, such as repaying the cost of the preliminary panorama X-ray free if you ultimately decide to carry on and start treatment, but these all seem to be honest incentives to overcome that reticence to go to the dentist and are often quite good deals.

Most dental clinics specialized in foreign patients practise minimally invasive techniques and apply complementary medicine such as homeopathy or electromagnetic treatments upon request. These methods are especially recommended for patients who take medicines such as blood thinners or anti-hypertensive drugs regularly. Though it may seem strange, Hungary is absolutely at the cutting edge of technology, and on a par with the UK or USA, can offer the following innovative developments in dentistry:

  • the latest oral and maxillofacial surgery and periodontic treatments,
  • innovative implantology methods including basal implantology applying biopolymer or titan materials,
  • bone grafting and reconstruction methods, organic (bio) dentistry, cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry,
  • restorative and conservative dentistry the latest in orthodontics.

Leading dental clinics who care for foreign patients are equipped with a minimum of 5 modern dental medical operating units and prepare at least 1500 aesthetic tooth replacements a year, place a minimum of 1000 implants a year, use cutting edge technology CAD-CAM (Procera, Cercon, Cerec, Everest) and pre-implantation surgery planning methods on a daily basis. All materials and instruments are of the highest quality and only sourced from reputable manufacturers such as KaVo, Siemens, Castellini, Nouvag, etc. and the major implant manufacturers like Camlog, Astratech, Nobel, Zimmer and Straumann etc.

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/dental-tourism1


THE HUNGARIAN SEA: LAKE BALATON

Lake Balaton is the source of well-being in itself, but if you take a look at what's awaiting around the lake, your thirst for health and recreation will be amply satisfied. Lake Balaton is a year- round must visit destination in Hungary. Smooth, silky waters and wonderful wines, sand and surf, fishing and frolicking, splashing and sailing, concerts and partying and pedalboating, beach volleyball and biking, elegant castles and sleepy villages, beautiful landscapes and crystal clear air, Lake Balaton has it all.

Whether you want to cycle around Balaton (the bike route around the lake is 206 km!) or just join in the ride along the way, you'll be in for a treat. Springs and castles, abandoned ruins and spectacular beaches, flowery villages and 18-hole golf courses, harbours and lavender fields will spice up the ride. Let's slow down, you say? There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails, taking you through gentle slopes and volcanic mountains. Fancy staying at a castle hotel, or mixing wine and wellness?

There are specialised hotels around the lake catering for your special needs. Enjoy special interest trips such as Nordic walking tours, wine cellar visits, wine dinners, horse riding programs and castle tours. Pay attention to your relaxation needs too, and enjoy the hotel's well-equipped spa or stretch your limits at yoga and self-development classes.

Click here for more info about Lake Balaton!

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/lake-balaton


THE AMAZING LAKE OF HEVIZ

There are many spas and hot springs in the world, and a lot in Hungary, but nothing compares to the natural thermal lake of Heviz. Here's the chance to learn more about this fantastic natural formation and plan a visit.

The Town

Heviz is situated in southwest Hungary at the western corner of Lake Balaton. The name literally means 'hot water'. The first written memories of the lake dated back in 1328, but researchers say people used the healing water of Heviz a lot earlier. Heviz is the second most popular destination in Hungary after Budapest. The distance from the capital is 193 km on motorway M7, but Heviz has an international airport too, called Heviz-Balaton Airport.

Visit the 10-language site of Heviz town: heviz.hu

The Lake

The Thermal Lake of Heviz is the world's largest biologically active natural thermal lake. It has a 4.4 ha water surface, and the hot spring under the lake produces 410 litre of fresh thermal water / sec. This means that all water of the lake replaced completely every day. The depth varies from 100-150 cm close to the shore to 38 m in the centre. The water temperature is around 35 °C in summertime and never goes below 22 °C in the winter.

The medicinal suggestions of the therapy covers a wide range of locomotor diseases: it has beneficial effects on rheumatic locomotor diseases, osteoporosis, degenerative spinal/joint diseases, Bechterew syndrome, inflammation diseases of the joint in their chronic phases, post treatment of injuries and locomotor operations as well as tender tissue rheum, secondary diseases of the joints, chronic, peripheral, nervous, mechanical-related complaints, pre- and post treatment of operations on the joints and discs as well as chronic and gynaecological conditions.

Lake Heviz is open all year long, but opening hours may vary by seasons. Click here, for details and prices!

Read more details about the natural treasures of the Lake Heviz area!

The hospital

The Saint Andrew's Rheumatology Hospital founded in the end of the 17th century. It has 9 indoor thermal pools and offers treatments like mud pack, weight bath, underwater jet massage, individual therapeutic exercises, medical massages, ultrasonography and many more.

Spa Heviz official site: spaheviz.hu

Sources: wikipedia.com, spaheviz.hu


SARVAR – BATHE LIKE A ROYALTY

There are only ten spas in Europe bearing the name ‘Royal Spa', and the Spa and Wellness Centre in Sarvar is one of them. Noblesse oblige as they say, so be prepared to be treated like a king where once emperors, high nobility and famous heads of state found relaxation of the highest standard.

Like some of the most effective medicinal waters in Hungary, the treasure of Sarvar was also come across accidentally. In 1961, whilst drilling for oil, engineers stumbled upon hot mineral springs. So now the town is the proud home to two completely different types of healing water. One type springs from a depth of 1200 metres and reaches 43 °C, while the other originates from a depth of 2000 metres, has a very high salt content and reaches the much higher temperature of 83 °C. This salt abundant medicinal healing water can be used effectively in the treatment of certain ailments and locomotive diseases as well as for dermatology and gynaecology.

The 43 °C thermal water is especially effective in the treatment of locomotive disorders and neurological complaints, for rehabilitative aftercare, and muscle relaxing baths.

All therapies start with a diagnosis, upon which the customised cure plan is based. The combined healing powers of nature (the medicinal water, medicinal mud, and Sarvar salt) the specialists in Sarvar can treat problems at their source.

In the classy spa of Sarvar healing and recreation are of utmost importance. Crystal clean, huge, clear spaces, several therapy and wellness treatments will make your stay in Sarvar truly refreshing. Besides the medicinal pools, you'll find all kinds of warm and cool, fun and adventure pools, with a pirate ship and slides for the little ones and a baying pool for the daring ones. If it's peace and quiet you're after, the Sauna world, this gem within the spa, and the Quiet Room will help you close off the outside world.

No wonder that the quality services, the expertise and the client-centred attitude have won several awards to the spa. And if you're looking for award-winning accommodation to go with your royal treatment, Spirit Hotel ***** offers you the prolonged sensation of relaxation and revitalization.

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/sarvar


BUKFURDO GETS YOU ACTIVATED

This tiny town east of the Alps is home to the second largest spa resort and the first 18-hole golf course in Hungary. Splashing, swinging, and a whole new, active life await in Bukfurdo. When the engineers started to drill the grounds in the area in the 1950s, they were hoping to find oil. But they weren't unhappy about the 58?C water that came gushing either. Especially when researches proved the outstandingly rich mineral contents of the water. History aside, Bukfurdo Health and Adventure Centre now boasts 32 pools (including medicinal pools, swimming pools and paddling pools), a refreshing and relaxing Medical Wellness Centre offering exotic massages, general health check-ups, a salt cabin and thermo spa treatments, and an indoor adventure bath with loads of fun elements.

The healing water of Bukfurdo comes in three forms. When you soak in it, it helps with locomotor diseases and gynaecological ailments. When you drink it, it treats chronic gastritis, ulcer and indigestion and helps preventing osteoporosis. And when you inhale it, it has a beneficial effect on your respiratory system. To enjoy the most of this magical water, you'll need a couple of weeks' cure, but a single occasion will improve your spirits, too.

Bukfurdo is not a place where you can sit around counting the days. The hills and forests around you tempt you for a hike, and the nearby cities, Szombathely and Sopron are perfect destinations for sightseeing day trips.The first 18-hole championship golf course in Hungary, Greenfield Golf, caters for the needs of golfers of all levels. Whether you're a pro or a golf virgin, your swing can only improve here.

If you're less adventurous, but still looking for a place to move your body, try the playground for grown-ups. In Bukfurdo Sports Park, you can work your muscles on outdoor gym equipment, and enjoy free family sporting events.

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/bukfurdo


SPAS OF BUDAPEST

Budapest is a spa capital, and loyal to it's name there are many type of spas from historic turkish and roman to medical and party spas. More than 12 baths and strands to choose from. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was the first to proclaim: "Nature is the physician of our diseases". Mother Nature has been especially bountiful towards Hungary: the country sits on one of the richest geothermal and medicinal water resources in the world. The local culture of bathing goes back two thousand years; excavated remains of bath houses, frescoes and mosaics demonstrate that the Romans discovered and exploited these thermal water resources.

Hungarian water is not just for splashing – it can be soothing too. The country is blessed with an abundance of natural thermal springs, which emerge at a temperature of 86°F/30°C and are full of salts and minerals.

Hungarian springs have supported a bathing culture dating back to Roman times. Whether you're after relaxation, refreshment, rejuvenation or recovery, Hungary will not fail to meet your needs. Many towns have thermal baths of some sort, providing not only the chance to soak away those aches but also to take advantage of massages, saunas and perhaps more advanced treatments such as pearl baths and Kneipp treatments. The water can be used to ease specific medical complaints (including muscular, arthritic, gynaecological and skin conditions) or simply to pamper the body. In addition to the public baths, over 50 spa hotels have been constructed, allowing guests to tailor their holidays around the beneficial effects of the springs.

Szechenyi Medical Thermal Bath

One of the largest bathing complexes in Europe, the premier medical bath of Pest- Its thermal springs were discovered in 1879; they are the deepest and hottest (74 – 75 C) thermal wells in the capital. The neo – Baroque baths were built in1913, the swimming pool in 1927. The open – air sections with their pleasantly warm waters are equally popular in winter.

Gellert Thermal Bath

One of most popular baths for tourists visiting Budapest. The medical spring here was already famed in the 13th century. The spa is decorated with a wealth of original Art Nouveau furnishings, artistic mosaics, stained glass windows and sculptures, although the interior of the hotel built alongside has lost many of these fittings over the years.

Lukacs Thermal Bath

This bath was built in Turkish era, but there was a medical center already in the 12th century. Lukacs was renewed in 2012, and now it's a classical, but also international quality spa with swimming pool, fun-pool, medical thermal pool and weight-bath. There are also salt wall, sauna, Kneipp pool and lounge.

Rudas Thermal Bath

The bath was built in 1550, and then reconstructed by Pasha Sokoli Mustafa in 1566. Some of the Turkish-period features are still used today: the octagonal pool, the four small corner pools, each with water of a different temperature, and the characteristic Turkish dome. In its drinking hall, the water of the springs Hungaria, Attila and Juventus can be consumed for the purposes of a drinking cure. In the bath, there is a daytime outpatient hospital operating with a complex physiotherapy department. Rudas is open at night every Friday and Saturday – let's go night bathing!

Open Air Strands

Strands are large open air pool parks only operating from late spring till the end of summer. The five greatest are the Romai, Paskal, Palatinus on Margaret Island, Csillaghegyi and Punkosdfurdoi. Some of them have slides, experience pools, soccer courts or grass fields, food stands, thermal pools.

Modern spas in Budapest

Spa of the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal Budapest
Levendula Spa
Mandala Day Spa
Aquaworld Budapest, water park
Magnolia Day Spa

Sparty-time

Hungary, the land of hot water springs and thermal baths, hosts a unique party series that has been transforming bath culture and Budapest night life for more than a decade. Cinetrip is an audio-visual genre, which brings the atmosphere of the heroic-archaic ages of the cinema to the audience through the means of modern technology with DJs, live acts, fire dancers, air acrobats, water ballet, oriental style belly dancers. From 2013 these parties are organised in the renewed Likacs Bath. They also provide massage and various surprise activities. You can buy any kind of drinks and sandwiches, and naturally all pools are open! For dates follow: www.cinetrip.hu

Aquaworld also organises night bath and sparties, called Splash Night Slide Party. The night is ll about having fun with dj, lights, cocktails and salsa dancers among the slides, wave pool, adventure pool, jacuzzi and saunas. For dates follow: www.aqua-world.hu

spa.gotohungary.com/en_GB/spas-of-budapest