The most popular things to do in Hungary are invariably connected with the long and fascinating history of the country and the heritage buildings which show a timeline of its development. After a day tramping around the sights, relax in one of Budapest’s historic Turkish or thermal baths with their stunning Art Nouveau décor and expert massage therapists. The treatments also work well for sore feet caused by an overindulgence in retail therapy in the capital’s malls, stores and markets or after an especially long night out.

Hungary’s natural beauty is a major draw for visitors fascinated by wildlife, birding and unspoiled vistas, with two national parks, many lakes and rivers, and a plethora of protected areas. A river cruise along the Danube is a great way to see the countryside, as are trekking and walking tours. Horse riding on the Great Plain is exhilarating, and a day-trip to Lake Balaton can include a side excursion to the famous porcelain manufacturing town of Harend.

Budapest has many Turkish baths and spas, favorite recreation and relaxation hubs for locals and visitors alike. The gorgeous Art Nouveau setting of the Gellert Gyogy Baths makes it the most popular in the city, which can be enjoyed as part of a spa tour organized by Perfect Tours Budapest. Another relaxing option in Hungary is a day or night cruise along the Danube, which break for an hour on pretty Margaret Island. Budapest Danube Cruises offers multilingual commentaries on the sights along the shores.

Hortobagy National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its massive salt plain and unique sheep-herding culture including distinct architecture and traditional dress. The Pustza plain is home to 70,000 migrating cranes in fall, and the traditional roadside inn network has been preserved in its entirety. The park’s fishponds have also been conserved, and can be toured via a narrow gauge railway. A sanctuary features unique wildlife in the region, and the whole area can be toured with Aquila Bird Tours. It’s also a great place for walking and trekking trails.

The Great Plain in the southern region is the perfect place for horseback riding, with trail rides an enthralling way to capture its wild beauty. In the Saddle offers trips over the plains, through sparkling rivers, and past shallow lakes and homesteads through the forest. A visit to Hungary’s inland sea, Lake Balaton, is a must. Surrounded by historic towns, glorious countryside and ancient abbeys, it’s a peaceful escape from the city and offers sailing, fishing, walking, trekking and thermal baths. Herend porcelain town and its ceramics museum are interesting, and Travel Guide Hungary offers guided tours of the region.

Mountain biking is a favorite outdoor sport here, with MTBTours Hungary offering specialist trips through the Budai Mountains around Budapest. Trails are available for all levels of cyclist, from easy spins to challenging rides, with guides to provide expertise. For a gentle, wide forest road winging through beautiful scenery, the trail to the castle town of Visegrad is perfect. For winter visitors, Hungary may not be the most well-known ski destination in Europe, but the resorts at Matra, Pilis and Bukk have downhill and cross-country slopes that rival the best.