a little bit of information about our great country


Hungarian cuisine is famous for being quite heavy and spicy. The well-known spice is paprika that makes Hungarian dishes red. It can be very hot but in restaurants they cook with its sweet version and the hot paprika is just an option on tables.


Hungarians eat breakfast mostly at home. There are not many restaurants you can sit in for breakfast. They have sandwiches with ham (SONKA), salami (SZALÁMI) (Hungarian winter salami is famous) and/or cheese (SAJT) or with marmalade (LEKVÁR). Pastries are also popular: a wide range of croissants and other filled pastries you can find in bakeries and grocery stores. If you like sweets you must try the Hungarian chocolate roll specialty called KAKAÓS CSIGA (“snail with cocoa” )
They also eat hot breakfast: mostly scrambled eggs (RÁNTOTTA), fried eggs (TÜKÖRTOJÁS) or French toast (BUNDÁSKENYÉR). French toast is eaten salty in Hungary and people are shocked to hear that somewhere in the world it is eaten with maple syrup and whipped cream!
For breakfast Hungarians drink coffee (KÁVÉ). The coffee is strong espresso in general, that’s what you get when ask just for coffee, but in many places you can ask for long or white coffee as well. In shops, of course, you can buy any kind of instant coffees or capuccinos. Tea (TEA) and milk (TEJ) are also available but not everywhere like coffee.

Lunch and dinner

Hungarians like soups. The most famous soups are goulash (GULYÁS) – yes, it is a soup in Hungary – and fish soup (HALÁSZLÉ) made of sweetwater fishes. But soups are cooked from all kind of meats and vegetables, and it is worth trying some of them.
For main dish Hungarians eat much meat, mostly pork and chicken, less turkey, beef and sweetwater fish. It is very common to fry meat, cheese or even vegetables in an egg and bread crumble (Wiener schnitzel type called RÁNTOTT in Hungarian). Stews (PÖRKÖLT) are also popular of different kind of meats. A favourite is beef stew with red wine (VÖRÖSBOROS MARHAPÖRKÖLT). Two dishes have to be also mentioned which are made originally without meat but Hungarians usually put bacon and sausage in them to make them more tasty. One of them is LECSÓ which is a vegetable ragout often served with eggs and PAPRIKÁS KRUMPLI that is a paprika-based potato stew. Hungarians like to cook on open fire especially in summer. Barbecuing has become very popular, too, but cooking in BOGRÁCS (a kind of cauldron) is typical Hungarian. Many kinds of dishes are often made on open fire and people are sure that dishes have a nicer taste this way than being cooked in the kitchen.
For dessert Hungarians eat ice cream in summer, and cakes are popular too. You should definitely try SOMLÓI GALUSKA, which is a kind of sponge cake with walnut, raisins, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.



The national spirit of Hungary is called PÁLINKA, which is a brandy distilled from any kind of fruit grown in Hungary or pomace and has at least 40% alcohol by volume. Its special version is ÁGYAS (“bedded”) PÁLINKA, when it is aged together with fruits. The most common types are made of plum, cherry or pear.
Another famous herbal liqueur is called UNICUM.


The climate of Hungary is ideal for wine production. Hungary’s most famous wine is Tokaji, which is a very sweet dessert wine.
But there are other excellent wine regions in the country and we aimed to visit three of them along the route of our Epic adventure: the Southern Balaton wine region, the Badacsony wine region and the Balatonfüred-Csopak wine region. The wines of these regions are premium quality and have won numerous prizes in Hungary and around the world. You’ll have the chance to taste them directly from the wine makers’ cellar.


There are also breweries in Hungary and Hungarian brands like Soproni, Borsodi or Dreher but you can find also the German (Spaten, Löwenbräu, Holsten), Austrian (Gösser), Dutch (Heineken) or Czech (Kozel, Staropramen) beers as well. Many of them are brewed locally under license. Beers with fruit taste and low ABV are getting more and more popular.

Soft drinks

As far as the non-alcoholic beverages are concerned, the major brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are available everywhere, there is a wide variety of fruit juices, and squashes (SZÖRP) produced in Hungary.


Tap water is potable in Hungary. You can drink from any tap inside the buildings or outside unless it is sometimes marked as non-potable (NEM IVÓVÍZ). Bottled mineral water is available everywhere. Not only in grocery stores but in every kiosk and in many other kind of shops. These are mostly Hungarian artesian waters but in bigger shops you can find the worldwide known brands as well. In Hungary fizzy water is very popular. So when you ask for water they will probably ask back if you want sparkling or non-sparkling. When buying Hungarian waters it is easy to make difference by having a look at the bottle’s cap: sparkling water has a blue cap, non-sparkling has a pink cap, and mildly spakling has a green cap.


Hungarian is a unique language in Europe. It belongs to a completely different family of languages (Uralian) than European and Asian languages (Indo-European). In Europe it has only far relatives in the North: Finnish, Estonian and Lapponian. The speciality of Hungarian is that it tries to write a different letter for every sound that is used. That’s why there are double letters for some consonants (CS, DZ, GY, NY, SZ, TY, ZS) and accents on vowels (A – Á, E – É, O – Ö, U – Ü). Hungarian also has a triple letter (DZS) for a sound like J in “joy” and it differentiates long vowels with commas in writing (I – Í, O – Ó, Ö – Ő, U – Ú, Ü – Ű). That’s why Hungarian names and words can look so wierd. Let’s take as an example the name of one wine region we are going to visit: BADACSONY. It looks horrible for a foreigner. But let’s see: it has a CS letter which are for a sound like CH in “chat” and another double letter, the NY, which is pronounced like the first sound of “new”. So if you learn the pronunciation of these letters you can easily pronounce the name of this region. But let’s see a more practical word: EGÉSZSÉGEDRE. It means by words: “for your health”. It is used as “Cheers” before drinking (and also as “Bless you” when someone sneezes) so you can hear that often in Hungary and you will be highly appreciated by locals if you can say that. It has four special letters: SZ (pronounced as S in English), S (pronounced as SH in English), E which sounds like A in “back” and É which sounds like A in “gave”. To say S and SH together is difficult therefore they say simply a double SH in the middle. So you can try to say somehow like “agae-shae-gadra”.  With this link you can check if your pronounciation is up to scratch.


There is a Hungarian saying: in summer it’s too hot, in winter it’s too cold, there is never good weather! And this is more or less true; you can expect a hot and dry weather in summer in Hungary. Even 35 C is not unusual. Therefore it is recommended to wear a cap or hat. But every summer there are periods of one or two weeks long when it is windy and rainy. Therefore do not leave your rain gear and warm clothes at home. Summer storms and hail can occur on any day as well but they are rarely dangerous. The Carpathian Basin where Hungary is located is surrounded by high mountains (Alps in the West and Carpathians in the North and East) so storms get weaker by the time they reach Hungary. But nights are really nice in the summer. Mostly the temperature doesn’t drop below 20 C, and during heatwave periods remains above 25 C

If you are interested in the current weather, check this live broadcast!

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Amongst classical musicians, Ferenc Liszt and Béla Bartók need no introduction. Bartók was not only an excellent composer but he was the first who collected and codified the Hungarian folk songs in the Carpathian Basin to save them from getting forgotten. Thanks to him and his followers, Hungary still has a rich collection of these beautiful songs. One of them was even performed by Freddie Mercury when he visited Hungary with The Queen in 1986. Click here to watch it.
You can listen the original version here.
Alas you don’t hear these songs that often. People rather tend to listen the sweet remakes mostly performed by Gypsy bands in old style restaurants. That’s why Hungarian music can often be confused with Gypsy music. As far as modern music is concerned, there is a wide range of bands from rock through rap to ethno music singing in Hungarian and/or English. And they’re not bad!


You might well be astonished to learn of how many Hungarians you know in the American film industry!
First of all: Béla Lugosi! He didn’t speak English at all when he played his classic as Dracula, which is why the later Draculas had a Hungarian accent in Hollywood movies for years.
Or Michael Curtiz (Mihály Kertész), the director of Casablanca. Otherwise in that movie there were two Hungarian actors as well: Peter Lorre (playing Ugarte) and S.Z. Sakall (playing Carl)
Or Vilmos Zsigmond, the Oscar winner cinematographer.
Or Andy Vajna, producer.
They are also famous people not only with Hungarian ancestors like Tony Curtis or Peter Falk but were born and grew up in Hungary and made a career later in Hollywood.
And there are even more shocking stories: Adolph Zucker, the founder of Paramount, William Fox, the founder of Fox and Sir Alexander Korda, the founder of London Films in Britain were all born in Hungary! The following was written on the door of Adolph Zucker: “It is not enough being a Hungarian, but it can help a lot.”
But let’s mention also István Szabó who is the only Hungarian director to win an Oscar in 1982 with a Hungarian movie called Mephisto. The first Hungarian film to win an Oscar was a great short animation called The Fly. If you have 3.5 minutes for that, it is worth watching by clicking here.


There is a Hungarian athlete whose name is known everywhere in the world: Ferenc Puskás. The Hungarian football team (still called the Golden Team in Hungary) ruled the world of football in the 50s led by the greatest Hungarian football icon ever, and it is still a painful memory for the Hungarians that they lost the 1954 World Cup final against the Germans. Puskás and other members of the team are so highly respected that they are buried in the main basilica of Budapest.
The Hungarian football team is not doing especially well nowadays, but Hungarian athletes excel in other sports. For example in water polo or kayak-canoeing they are among the world’s best. So far out of the 26 Olympic tournaments for men’s water polo, nine have been won by the Hungarian team. And in general Hungary has a very good record on Summer Olympics: she is second in the list of gold medals (167) won compared to the size of the population (10 million). Only Finland is ahead of Hungary. And Hungarian sport is quite versatile as well. At the 2012 Olympics in London, Hungary won 8 gold medals in 5 sports: 3 in kayak-canoeing, 2 in swimming, and 1 each in fencing, athletics and gymnastics. The water polo team failed though to win its forth gold medal in a row.

Epic Adventures in Hungary


Created By Péter Kerekes