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At Europe's heart, Hungary has been dramatically embroiled in several of the region's most caustic disagreements, but none of this has tamed Hungary's independent spirit. The Hungarian language, cuisine and culture remain very firmly their own. And it's not just Budapest and Hungary's major centres which have attractions to crow about, you'll find wonderful structures in many small towns - and they're also some of the best places to stay in Hungary.

The landscape has its highs and lows, and is certainly beautiful, but it's not striking enough for it to be the sole reason to book your flight. But Hungarian vision and ingenuity has really 'done something with the place', and Hungary has a wealth of exceptional man-made structures, from Roman ruins to ornate Baroque churches to some wonderfully organic Art Nouveau public buildings.

Budapest is well known for its beauty, renowned museums, Medieval Castle District and thriving nightlife, so this is an obvious choice as an entry point for Hungary. But there's a lot here besides. Its thermal lakes make for a serene backdrop - with obvious rewards for those looking to unwind, excellent birdwatching and horse riding opportunities, and Hungary has a number of exceptionally charming smaller centres.

Best Places to Stay in Hungary

For a City Break

Budapest is split dramatically by the Danube, with Buda, west of the Danube, including the castle and many of Budapest's best known attractions, and Pest to the east. Both regions have their own distinct charms, and are linked, elegantly, by a series of bridges.

Well known for its beauty, Budapest is a great city for visitors because it's very easy to get around on foot, and has a user-friendly transport system for longer journeys. And everywhere you look there's something beautiful to behold: fine Art Nouveau facades, a slew of graceful churches, rows of inviting cafes and a surprise Turkish bath or two. Budapest also has some wonderfully inexpensive but stylish places to stay.

  • The Palazzo Zichy is a contemporary property, with cool, clean interiors in the shell of a fine 19th century mansion. Situated in the university district, there are plenty of interesting bars and clubs close by.
  • Brody House is reputedly the coolest hotel address in the city (easily one of the best places to stay in Hungary), the place to rub shoulders with creative types - Budapest's Soho House?
  • Mamaison Andrassy Hotel is a little Bauhaus gem of a hotel, located in an exclusive Embassy neighbourhood just off Pest's Andrássy Avenue. Expect sleek and contemporary rooms with floor to ceiling windows and an Art Deco style restaurant.
  • The Four Seasons Gresham Palace is a landmark Art Nouveau property has some of the best views in town, plus beautifully decorated rooms.

Szeged is known as 'the sunniest city in Hungary', a university town akin to Oxford and Cambridge, with beautiful architecture, plenty of smarts, and a youthful, culturally rich vibe.

Pécs is another one of the best places to stay in Hungary for a city break. Historic and interesting, Pécs has a selection of excellent museums and monuments, and sits on a wonderfully sheltered plain with a good wine region and an excellent reputation for quality local produce.

Eger is known as a beauty, and while it's maybe more a large town break, rather than a city break, it's rich with dramatic Ottoman and Turkish history, has a reputation with drinkers of 'big' wines, and there's loads to see and do here.

For Foodies

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Hungary has been doing its best to reclaim its spot at the high table of cuisine. Hungarian food is spicy, but not hot, by general standards, and it's probably best thought of as tasty, rather than healthy, with a lot of emphasis on paprika, the national spice, and meat and potatoes. They also do a great line in deserts and sweet treats.

Tokaj is an obvious choice for wine buffs, this is the home of the tipple Louis XIV called 'the king of the wines, the wine of the kings'.

To Relax

Siófok on Lake Balaton, which is Hungary's and Central Europe's largest lake, is a bit like a seaside resort, with plenty of fun and sun, but by a lake instead of the sea. Families might prefer the quieter northern side of the lake, but there are plenty of choices - this lake spreads for 600 square kilometres.

Hungary is also blessed with more than a thousand natural springs, around 300 of which are also naturally heated, so if you find a thermal bath relaxing then come on down, the water is perfect!

There are a number of thermal baths near Lake Balaton, but you can find baths everywhere, including in Budapest. The Széchenyi Thermal Baths claims to be the largest thermal bath in Europe, but the art nouveau Gellért Baths and Hotel at the foot of Gellért Hill is more aesthetically pleasing.

Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Hungary, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Hungary

See all » 28 hotels in Budapest

  • Boutique Hotel Zara


    A modern hotel with minimalist black interiors. Just a stone's throw away from the Danube and cultural attractions - makes for a slick cosmopolitan break.

    74 rooms from $67
    Contemporary  -  One of the more contemporary hotels in Budapest
    Spa  -  Can use the spa in Continental Hotel Budapest for a fee
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Frommers
  • Lanchid 19


    A designer chic hotel in a winning location on the river front. Fabulous views from the banks of Buda over the Danube towards Pest. Rooms and suites have floor to ceiling windows and all the mod cons. Funky contemporary spaces make up the restaurant, bar and living areas. Extensive spa too.

    48 rooms from $71
    Roof terrace  -  Superb roof terrace with views over the river.
    Views  -  Fantastic views over the Danube towards Pest.
    Outstanding location
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

See all » 1 hotel in Koveskal

  • Kali Art Inn

    Koveskal (Fő út 8)

    Set amidst the Kál basin nature reserve, comes the delightful Kali Art Inn. Its rooms are designed in lieu of traditional architecture with brick walls and local carpets. Stroll in the beautiful garden or relax by the pool. The perfect place for those exploring Hungary's stunning countryside.

    12 rooms from $154
    Local exploring  -  Close to many local attractions - can be explored on foot or by bike
    Great walks  -  Take a walk on a host of different trails throughout the Kál basin.
    Sights nearby  -  Szigliget Castle and Museum ten miles away.
    Full of character
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