In 1989, Hungary opened its doors to tourism
after the collapse of the Soviet Union and hasn't
looked back since. Hungary offers the traveller all
the delights of Eastern Europe's cultural capital
Budapest, on a par with any of its western
neighbours. Stunning architecture, arts, and a lively
social scene based around cafes, bars, and baths built
by the Turks make the capital a great starting point
before heading into the countryside. The great expanse
of the plains - the Hungarian heartland - offers extraordinary
glimpses into Hungary's Magyar heritage, and
an abundance of wildlife. Fine wines, folk customs,
music, and art, make Hungary a feast for the greediest
of culture vultures - at bargain prices.
Romania is one of Europe's best kept secrets.
Picturesque castles and citadels are scattered across
the forested Transylvanian landscape, where wolves
and bears roam in the majestic Carpathian mountains.
Historic monasteries, churches and villages contain
some of the best medieval sites anywhere in the world;
where folk traditions are still strong and seem unchanged
for centuries. The capital Bucharest makes
for a sobering introduction to Romania's recent history
and a great place to begin exploring the wilds. Much
of Romania is unexplored and if you want to get off
the beaten track in Europe - this is about as wild
as it gets.
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background and travel essentials