Hungary, a member state of the European Union, is situated in the heart of Europe, with Austria bordering it from the West, Romania and Ukraine from the East, Slovakia from the North and Serbia from the South. It is a landlocked country with about 10 million inhabitants, out of whom 2 million live in the capital city of Budapest. Hungary has most of the luxuries that can be expected from the EU country, but is still on the cheap side, with hostel accommodation being one of the most economic in the whole region. Food and transportation are reasonably priced as well and the frugal traveler will be happy to find that Hungary offers a wide range of budget transportation facilities to destinations all over Europe. These include amazing flight bargains, long distance bus rides adjusted to the student's wallet and efficient train and inter-railing possibilities.
Most of Hungary's hostels are located in the capital of Budapest. It is by far the most visited place in the country. The hostels are typically located in old but atmospheric buildings alongside normal residential flats and in general, offer only a few rooms and a cosy vibe. On average, there is more emphasis on keeping the prices down than offering luxurious conditions or extras that will blow your mind. Party hostels are becoming more and more popular and new ones are emerging every once in a while. Most hostels in Budapest are centrally located, around the Nyugati, Oktogon, or Deak ter area of the Pest side, with excellent public transportation available to all corners of the city.
A lot of the young visitors arrive in the city because of its famous ruin bars and excellent party facilities, while older guests and couples love the city for its romantic atmosphere and outstanding thermal spas. In the summer, there are several festival taking place, with the most famous one, Sziget, attracting thousands of people from all over the world. For the duration of this festival, Budapest hostels are normally full, so it's advisable to book in advance.
However, Hungary has a lot more to offer than just Budapest. The country is famous for its unique 'Puszta' or the Great Hungarian Plain where one can still observe the traditional life of the Hungarian herds-people. The country boasts the biggest lake of Central Europe, Lake Balaton, which can offer a relaxing holiday on the cheap. All around the lake, there are several, normally family-run hostels available. Some people like to exploit the density of them for making bike or hiking tours around the lake and sleeping in diverse hostels every night.
The East of the country offers some excellent hiking trails, with some of the best ones located along the "National Blue Trail" and some historic cities like Debrecen or Eger, which all have some great economic hostels and an opportunity to step back in time and observe what Hungary used to be like hundreds of years ago. In the region, there is a UNESCO protected limestone cave system, which might also serve as a good destination for a weekend get-away.
In the North of the city, there are some smaller towns of historic and religious importance, like Visegrad with the royal castle of the Hunyadi family and Esztergom, with the biggest cathedral of the country. Both cities offer small and cosy hostels. The previous capital of Székesfehérvár is also highly recommended for the enthusiasts of history, while for those with a real interest in Hungarian folklore, the Southern cities of Mohacs and Kalocsa might be excellent choices.
Hungary is also famous for its excellent cuisine, with some of the Hungarian hostels offering an insight into the traditional Hungarian cooking. While gulyás and stuffed cabbage are absolute musts to try while in the county, it might also be a good idea to participate in a wine tasting tour either in the Eger or Tokaly regions.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Hungary hostels. Welcome.
Keszthely is a beautiful town at the shore of lake Balaton. It's nice and cosy but totally full of tourists, so it has lost part of its "essence." It's a good place to stay for a few days, though. I really liked it!
You should try the Hungarian speciality "Langòs" and the bar "Cactus Juice". I cannot remember where it is, but you can find it on every tourist map. - There are a lot of vegetarian restaurants in Budapest.