In the last decade, Hungary has taken a really proactive approach to ecotourism. With over 300 nationally protected areas, and over 1,000 locally protected sites, Hungary’s attitude towards conservation and preservation is one that facilitates ecotourism efforts by local businesses and ecotourism demand from tourists. As it stands, Hungary is a great place in which to go local, and really get a feel the ecotourism this country has on offer.
Local Experiences in Budapest
Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is an increasingly popular spot for tourists. With its rich and complex history, stunning architecture, lovely people, and fantastic culture, Budapest is one of the great cities of Eastern Europe. While cities aren’t always known for their ecotourism opportunities, Budapest’s Urban Adventures offer some great, locally-run day tours with a touch of ecotourism for everyone.
Unique local experiences are integral to responsible travel, and one of the classic local experiences in Budapest is to visit one of the cities thermal baths. Dating back centuries, these thermal baths are icons of Budapest, and are frequented by both locals and tourists who are looking to soak away their aches and pains. Additionally, the buildings housing the thermal baths, particularly the Szechenyi baths, are beautifully constructed and decorated. Budapest Urban Adventures‘ Sights & Spas tour puts a unique spin on the thermal bath experience, by providing visitors with an insight into spa traditions and histories, as well as other traditional and architectural elements of the city.
Locally Owned Farm-House Hostel
Many tourists come to Hungary and stay only in Budapest, which is great if you’re limited on time. If, however, you have more time to spend in Hungary, it is worthwhile getting out of the city and heading into other parts of this wonderfully welcoming country.
If you head south, make the effort to stop in the tiny village of Kiskassa, where you’ll find the extremely hospitable, and totally endearing Ecohun Hostel. Ecohun is a traditional Hungarian farm-house that is locally owned and operated, and offers guests a unique insight into the local agriculture industry and traditions. The hostel has all of the facilities of a typical hostel, with the added bonus of being on the same grounds as a sustainable and ecologically sound farm. The hostel typically caters to short-term accommodation, but for those seriously interested in sustainable agriculture and alternative technologies, longer-term accommodation is available.
Local Birdwatching Tours
Ecotours describe themselves as the natural leaders in Eastern Europe, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Hungary is home to an exceptionally diverse cascade of birds, making it an attractive ecotourism destination for birding. The spring and summer months, May to July in particular, are best for this type of ecotourism in Hungary, as it is when most of the birds are present and out in full force.
Based in Hungary, Ecotours offer a variety of tours to ecotourism destinations around the world, but the majority of their tours are at home in Hungary. Their tours are typically very specialised, focusing on migration, or particular birds such as owls, woodpeckers, and cranes. Additionally, they have tours dedicated solely to butterflies and dragonflies, which are especially delightful to enthusiasts and amateurs alike. Taking a tour with Ecotours is a sure way to experience local fauna from one of the leaders in ecotourism in Hungary.
A Growing Industry
Ecotoursim in Hungary is still growing, albeit quickly, and will likely continue to experience an increase in ecotourism operators as well as ecotourists. The country has a lot of potential, and the right attitude, so it is only a matter of time before more local experiences are available, and ecotourism in Hungary becomes entrenched as a significant part of the tourism industry.
Photo Credit: Vlastula