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Why This Cheap European Country Is Breaking Tourism Records Right Now

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When most people think of Hungary they think of Budapest, cheap beer, and goulash. But there is so much more to Hungary than this.

It is a beautiful country with so much to see and do, with much of it close to the Danube.

The Danube River is the second longest river in Europe and flows through or past 10 different countries. It is considered the lifeblood of Hungary.

So many Hungarian cities and attractions are built on or around this river, and the countryside that surrounds it is rich and green.

Woman overlooking a balcony in Budapest, Hungary

Outside of its cities Hungary has beautiful landscapes and lakes, and Europe’s largest thermal lake is in the heart of the country.

For these reasons and so many more people are flocking to Hungary in droves right now.

Here’s why this cheap European country is breaking tourism records right now:

A Record-Breaking Year For Tourism

Tourism is breaking records everywhere in Hungary this year.

The latest government tourism figures even beat those of 2019, making this the best year ever for tourism arrivals in Hungary.

North gate of the Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, Hungary.

That means that as well as visiting Budapest, visitors are also heading to the lake regions and the mountains.

Outside of Budapest, the most popular tourist regions for 2023 include Lake Balaton and the Matra and Bukk Mountains.

According to the Central Statistical Office, “the number of overnight stays by foreign guests rose by 14%…foreign guests spent 13% more nights in tourist accommodations than during the same period last year.”

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Tihany monastry with Lake Balaton in the background

The Hungarian government is investing heavily in infrastructure to make sure that some of the more remote areas of the country are accessible to tourists.

Their long-term plan is the make sure that visitors can explore as much of the country as possible.

Exploring Beyond Budapest

Budapest is often called one of the world's most beautiful cities thanks to its impressive architecture.

It was once two separate cities called Buda and Pest with distinct personalities, which were separated by the river Danube.

The Danube still snakes through the city, and visitors spend their break passing over its many bridges between the two parts of the city.

A traveler looking over the river in Budapest

But beyond Budapest people are visiting wider Hungary in record numbers too. They are doing so to bathe in its mineral-rich thermal springs and to explore the great outdoors.

Lake Balaton is a freshwater lake that attracts around a million tourists each year thanks to its beaches, volcanic hills, and quaint resort towns.

Bicycle tourism has grown rapidly at Lake Balaton this year, supported by the arrival of a fleet of e-bikes in the area. You can now get on your bike and explore the lake without any of the hard work!

Whether you’re looking for an adventure break with long hikes and bike rides or simply to flop on the beach you can do it here.

Vineyards and the Badacsony mountain with Lake Balaton at sunset in Hungary

Wine lovers visit Hungary for its vineyards. This month the Hungarian government opened a new road in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region that will make it easier for tourists to access its vineyards by either bike or on foot.

As they continue to invest in their tourism sector, new tourist attractions and areas are going to continue opening up to mainstream tourism in Hungary.

Why Visit Hungary In Fall

The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are considered the best times to visit Hungary. This is especially true if you want to visit Budapest.

Aerial view of the parliament in Hungary at sunset

This is because the weather is ideal for city exploration. September and October are dry months that tend to boast warm and pleasant days that still have a summery feel.

The number of travelers in the city is much lower in the fall than in the summer months. That means no queues for the museums or jostling to cross the narrowest bridges!

By November Hungary tends to experience more rain and fog, but the crowd levels drop again, so if you want to feel like the whole city is your own and you're not afraid of a shower or two this might be the best time to visit.

Fishermans Bastion in Hungary

Foodies will be interested to know that fall is a great season to visit Hungary because fall is harvest season. This means new dishes in restaurants with fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

This is also a great time to enjoy wine tastings and experience the rich Hungarian wine culture.

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