The Great Hungarian Plain spreading out from the Danube and Tisza valleys is the last remaining extensive and continuous area of heath in Europe. Teeming with horses, herds of longhorn cattle, sheep and geese, as well as tens of thousands of migratory birds, the Great Plain together with the Hortobágy Puszta has recently been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.

But Hungary has much more to offer than the romance of the puszta, for it is a modern land with an ancient culture. The country has one of the loveliest stretches of the great European river: the Danube bend. Here, high on a hill near where the river turns southwards stands one of Hungary's most impressive churches, the basilica of Esztergom with its 100-meter (328-foot) cupola. Downstream, rising majestically on a cliff directly above the Danube bend are the ruins of Visegrád. For centuries after the Hungarian state was established in 1000 by Stephen I, Visegrád served as the residence of Hungary's kings. Through the magnificent scenery of the Danube bend the river flows onward to Budapest, "Queen of the Danube", which treats visitors to a spectacular panorama: Buda castle and the surrounding district, also a UNESCO world heritage site, Fisherman's Bastion and Gellért hill, the massive Neo-Gothic parliament building and architectural monuments from all periods line the banks of the Danube, while the Chain Bridge, which was the first bridge to span the river in the capital, majestically arches the waves from Buda to Pest. The Budapest Spring Festival is one of the most important artistic events in central Europe.

On the southern reaches of the Hungarian Danube lies Kalocsa. The town is the capital of paprika, the indispensable and characteristic ingredient of Hungarian cuisine, and the site of an annual festival celebrating the paprika harvest.