A small country with a rich history of more than one thousand years, Hungary is located in the heart of Europe. The first Hungarian monarch, King Saint Stephen, established the Christian Hungarian state (in 1000/1001 AD).
Since its foundation, Hungary has always played a significant role in the region, as well as in the whole of Europe. Acknowledged for its citizens with exceptional talent, Hungary has greatly influenced the international political, scientific and cultural scenes alike.
Facts and figures about Hungary
Population: 9.935 million
Territory: 93,030 km2
Urbanisation: about 70 per cent of the population lives in towns and urban communities, with Budapest and its suburbs accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the total.
Capital: Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is a metropolis with 1.74 million inhabitants and is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Cities: Other Hungarian cities such as Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr are easily accessible from the capital due to an extensive transport network.
Official Language: The official language is Hungarian (magyar) which is the mother tongue of the overwhelming majority (over 97%) of the population.
Official currency: Hungarian Forint (HUF; Ft). For the official daily exchange rates please click here.
Climate: The country’s climate is continental, with an absence of regular natural catastrophes.
- Form of government: Hungary is a parliamentary democracy.
- Hungary has been a full member of the European Union since 1 May 2004.
- Hungary's economy is based on the principles of market economy.
- In the last 20 years, Hungary has become an attractive target for investors and numerous major international companies have established their regional centres in Hungary.
- In recent years several Hungarian companies have achieved a leading market position in the region.
Culture and hospitality:
- Hungarians are famous for their hospitality and cuisine.
- Culture and sports are also important features of Hungarian life, including first-class opera and theatre performances, cinema programmes and international tournaments in various sports.
- The largest pop festival of Europe, the Sziget Fesztivál, is organised every summer on one of the islands of the river Danube in Budapest.
Regions in Hungary
The Northern Plains Region
The Northen Plains region is the eastern gate of the European Union. It is located in the north-east of Hungary bordering three countries: Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania. The advantageous geographical location offers a good logistical position for the region, which consists of three counties (Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Hajdú-Bihar and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg). The research and higher education centres of the region are concentrated in Debrecen, Nyíregyháza and Szolnok. What is really worth visiting incluedes Hortobágy (in the picture: Nine-holed Bridge) belonging to World Heritage Sites, the River Tisza and Lake Tisza both providing great opportunities for waterfront-, eco- and active tourism, spas and thermal baths such as the ones in Beregfürdő, Debrecen, Nyíregyháza or the one in Hajdúszoboszló, which has gained reputation as the „Mecca of people with rheumatism”. A grand attraction of the region is watertourism on and around the River Tisza and Lake Tisza. The conditions for riding, cycling, fishing, flying and even hunting are also excellent.
The Southern Plains Region
It is the largest region in the country, which lies in the south and south-east including Bács-Kiskun, Békés and Csongrád Counties. Most of its territory is plain rich in varied natural environment and landscape.
Nature in the region offers outstanding opportunities for water-, hiking-, cycling-, riding-, hunting-, fishing and eco-tourism. Bács-Kiskun County has natural resources protected by Kiskunság National Park and Duna-Dráva National Park. The famous Bugac Puszta (plains) also belongs to the National Park with its traditional Hungarian animals like the Hungarian Grey cattle (in the picture) and rackajuh (a Hungarian variety of sheep). The most important and even internationally known exhibition place of the region is Ópusztaszer National History Memorial Park, where crucial events occured after the Hungarians had occupied the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century.
The Northern Hungarian Region
The region is located in the north-east of Hungary including three counties (Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Heves and Nógrád) with a centre city called Miskolc. It borders Slovakia in the north and Ukraine in the east. Its geographical and natural conditions make it one of the most diverse regions in the country. It has considerable ecological potential, 13% of the territory is protected natural land, its resources are enriched by spa-, thermal water and mineral water springs as well..
The historical wine making area of Tokaj, - also part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites- can be found in the region. The Caves of Aggtelek Karst and some caves of the Slovak Karst, several castles, ruins (Diósgyőr, Sárospatak and Eger) and places of historical interest can be found here. Higher education plays an important role in the region together with high R&D capacity at hand.
The Central Hungarian Region
The Central Hungarian Region is the smallest and the most developed one in the country, composed of the capital city Budapest and Pest County surrounding it. From the north it is bordered by Slovakia and Nógrád County, from the east by Heves and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok Counties, from the south by Bács-Kiskun County and from the west by Fejér and Komárom-Esztergom Counties.
The region is the ’heart of Hungary’, the centre of intellectual life, culture, business, recreation and tourism. Budapest is a world-famous spa city with specially compounded medicinal waters utilized by ten medicinal baths, most of which are historical monuments and tourist attractions at the same time. As far as tourism is concerned, it is the most frequently visited place in the country. Nearly all kinds of industrial activities can be found here. The major products are those of telecommunications and computer technology, electrical machines, light bulbs, lamp tubes (Tungsram) as well as pharmaceutical plants of great tradition (Egis, Chinoin, Richter Gedeon). The region plays a major role in education and in research.
The Western Transdanubian Region
The region consists of Győr-Sopron, Vas and Zala Counties and borders four countries : Slovakia, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. All along the border we can find areas of unspoilt nature, such as Szigetköz, Fertő-Hanság National Park, the Sopron Mountains, Írottkő Natúrpark, Őrség-Raab-Goricko Natúrpark, Natúrpark by the Kerka and the area along the River Mura.
The region abounds with natural resources, medicinal- and thermal waters (Bük, Sárvár, Balf, Győr, Borgáta), is suitable for both cycling and riding tours and has forests richly encompassed by hiking routes. Besides, two World Heritage Sites can be found here: Pannonhalma (in the picture) and Fertő Cultural Landscape. The Western Transdanubian Region is rich in cultural programs the Sopron Festival Weeks, Baroque Programs in Győr, Sárvár International Folklore Days and Savaria Historical Carneval in Szombathely.
The Middle Transdanubian Region
The Middle Transdanubian Region consisting of Fejér, Komárom, Esztergom and Veszprém Counties is situated between Lake Balaton (in the picture) and Budapest. It is easy to reach in a short time from several big cities of Hungary, being therefore an ideal target for those who want to be both near and far from bustling city life. The region is really diverse in its natural conditions: plains, mountains (the Bakony, the Vértes and the Velence-Mountains) and waters (Lake Balaton, Lake Velence, the Danube) can all be found here. Besides, it abounds with historical and cultural sights. The world famous Herend porcelain, the Fortress of Komárom, the Sümeg Castle and the castle festivities, just a few examples of the centuries-old historical monuments and archeological sites that can be visited in the region. The forests rich in wildlife offer hunting and hiking possibilities, while lakes give grand opportunities for fishing, bathing and water sports in the Middle Transdanubian region. In the cities tourists are attracted by historical monuments, tiny old streets and busy cultural life. Culinary delights are increased by noble wines made of local grapes with special aroma.
The Southern Transdanubian Region
The region of Hungarian Mediterrane is composed of Baranya, Tolna and Somogy Counties. The gently rolling countryside is divided by valleys and covered by forests. Here you can find the Duna-Dráva National Park, which is compounded of Europe’s largest unbroken flood area habitats. The mountainous areas (the Mecsek- and the Villányi Mountains) with their protacted geological and botanical rarities are favourite targets of hikers. Among its long-existing medicinal and thermal baths the ones in Harkány, Nagyatád and Dombóvár should be mentioned. The centre of the region and the European Capital of Culture in 2010 is Pécs (in the picture: Pécs, Széchenyi Square), which is famous for its arts festivals and artists. The oldest place of architecture in the city is the one with the burial vaults of early Christians, which has been part of World Heritage Sites since 2000. Local viniculture has a centuries-old tradition. It is well demonstrated by four qualified wine routes (those of Villány-Siklós, the first wine route in Hungary, Mohács-Bóly, Szekszárd and Tolna). They offer wine specialities, such as Kadarka of Szekszárd, Cirflandi of Pécs, Kékoportó of Villány or Juhfark of Versend.
More about Hungary: www.gotohungary.com