This is part 5 of the icipici series of Traveling to Hungary on the Hungarian Living Podcast.
Some people have asked me, “Isn’t everything worth seeing in Hungary in Budapest? Is it necessary to go the countryside?”
Budapest us an amazing city to visit. But, as I like to say, the magic is in the countryside. There is so much to see and do in Budapest you can explore and get along pretty well only knowing English. But, consider finding a way to get into the countryside. It will give you a much deeper appreciate for the country, as a whole. It’s true, Budapest is romantic and gorgeous and full of incredible history. But the countryside is full of people, my kind of people. The regular Joes who live and work and play in the villages and small towns. I think the villages resonate with me because that is where my ancestors came from. Maybe that is why I felt comfortable in small town Nebraska for so many years – it was in my genes!
It does get a little more complicated setting up a travel plan outside of Budapest. But it is completely worth going. If you love to plan the details of a trip, go for it! Some people love planning everything – vehicle rentals and hotels and all that. We have done it and it takes a lot of work. Actually, I should say my husband did it. But, he did consider everyone traveling (our four kids) and asked them each to come up with a few things that were important for them to see in this once in a lifetime (or so we thought) trip. Getting those who are joining you on the trip to chip in an idea or two is a good way to get them engaged in the processl
The special places our kids picked out were put into the itinerary. But the memorable moments were from things that were unplanned or discovered along the way.
This exact same thing has happened to us a time or two on our tours as well. We have a plan and then there is an adjustment in the plan.
I have figured out that I don’t like to be in the nitty gritty details of the plans. I like coming up with the big picture and trusting the details will be covered by the person who loves that sort of thing. I like building in some flexibility so that adjustments can be made. But I am a person who can learn and have fun in many different situations, and I like to allow for spontaneity. A little down time is fine. A change in plans is to be expected. I like to have a rough sketch of a plan and then see what happens if I am traveling on my own. My husband likes to have a few more details fleshed out. Both approaches are completely valid and have their strong points.
If nailing down the details and following up with them is too exhausting, you might be a candidate for one of our tours. We spend 2/3rds of our time in the countryside, exploring a region and getting to know what it has to offer. My tour partner and I work out all the details and you can relax and have all the fun.
So, start thinking about how long you plan to be in Hungary. And then work back from there. If you only have three days, enjoy Budapest, but plan on a return trip when you can stay longer. My personal opinion is you should plan on at least 10 days in Hungary and even that isn’t enough time, but it is a great start. I think of it as a bit of a soak. It takes time to absorb the way of life. It takes time to get familiar with your surroundings – the language, the signs, the architecture, the history, the transportation options, and the culture. And you do need a lot of time to ponder the flavorful foods and beverages. I don’t believe you do Hungary justice – or any country for that matter – when you run in and run out and say “CHECK it off my list, I’ve been there”. I think it is important to experience it a little. And, if you have family from Hungary, see if you can get close to where they lived. And, guess, what? We can help with that, too!
Check out all our upcoming tours at MagyarLiving.com and contact us at [email protected] if you want to check out one of our Zoom sessions all about our tours to Hungary or Transylvania.