21 Fun Facts About Hungary That Make This Country Interesting

fun facts hungary

Hungary is one of my favorite countries to travel to because of the interesting people, the spicy food, and the rich Hungarian culture. It’s a bonus that I can reach the border in less than an hour by car from Austria!

In my travels through Hungary, I’ve discovered a ton of fun Hungary facts that I can’t wait to share with you. Let’s dive in!

1. Hungarians Go for Olympic Gold

Hungarian people are competitive and have national pride surrounding athletic performance. They cheer on their athletes and have won gold medals in nearly every Olympic Games that they have participated in!

2. Budapest Thermal Springs Are Epic

Looking to take a break and unwind in the middle of the city? Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, has more thermal springs than anywhere in the world!

Thermal springs in the center of Budapest

More than 70 million liters bubble to the surface daily. Hungarians use this thermal water to their advantage and enjoy that spa lifestyle that Europeans are known for.

3. Introduction by Last Name

In most countries, you introduce yourself by your first name. Not so in Hungary – most public introductions and academic papers begin with using a person’s surname.

4. Home of 13 Nobel Prizes

Hungarians are proud of their Nobel Prize winners. They have had a whopping 13 nationals take home the Nobel for contributions in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and economics.

5. Famous for Paprika, the National Spice

This is one of my favorite facts about Hungary – paprika is in just about everything. There are 8 different varieties of Hungarian paprika. They range from super sweet and mild, to smokey, and extra spicy!

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If you want to learn more about paprika and why it is considered a national treasure, there are two museums dedicated to it.

6. Fekete is the National Drink

Fekete is a dark, rich coffee and the national drink of Hungary. It can be consumed with nothing added to it, or with cream and sugar. Do not drink it at night – you will not sleep!

7. Hungary is Known for Wine Production

Hungary has been making wine for over a thousand years, since the time of the Magyar tribes (ancient clans who ruled the region)!

Today, there are 22 wine regions in Hungary and 8 different types of grapes. I’ll raise a glass to that.

8. Hungary Has the Largest Central European Lake

Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe. It can be found 50 miles from Budapest.

Sailing boats on Lake Balaton

This lake is 9 miles wide and over 48 miles long! It’s a popular place to hike and many people both sail and fish here.

9. The First Foreign Fast Food is McDonald’s

The first foreign restaurant to open in Hungary was the fast food giant, McDonald’s!

In addition to old-time favorites, they feature a specific menu that caters to the Hungarian palette. When I went last I tried a habanero chicken burger!

10. Harry Houdini was Hungarian

The most famous magician and escape artist in the world was Harry Houdini. While he made a name for himself worldwide for the tricks and escapes he made primarily in America, he hailed from Budapest.

11. Hungarian Gulyas is the National Dish

If you’re in Hungary, you have to try the national dish gulyas or goulash. It is a 9th-century stew that contains beef, paprika, peppers, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. There are many different versions of the classic – all of which are delicious.

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12. Hungarians Invented the Electric Car in the 1800s

Ányos Jedlik from Hungary is credited with the invention of the first electric car. He placed his electric engine into the body of a toy car. He invented this motor in 1828!

13. A Hungarian Invented the Rubik’s Cube

The beloved and colorful Rubik’s Cube is a toy known worldwide. It was invented by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian, in 1974.

It has continued to frustrate and fascinate people for over 50 years!

14. Palinka is 500 years Old

Pálinka is a type of Hungarian fruit brandy that has been made for more than 500 years. This alcohol is typically consumed for enjoyment today, but many years ago it was considered to have medicinal properties.

Various types of Palinka brandy on display

Magyars claimed Pálinka cured aches and pains like menstrual cramps and headaches!

15. Largest Synagogue in Europe

Budapest is home to Dohany Street Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in the world. It is the largest synagogue in Europe, and has room for 5,000 people. It is one of the most visited sites of worship in the country.

16. Hungarian Hollywood Connection

Hollywood has many Hungarian roots. The founders of Paramount Pictures, Fox Film Corporation, and Fox West Coast Theaters were from Hungary.

The director Michael Curtiz and actor Bela Lugosi were also Hungarian natives!

17. Anonymous Statue Inspires Writers

This statue is one of my favorites in Budapest. In City Park, there is a statue known as Anonymous. It is a hooded figure, who holds a pen.

The anonymous writer

He sits across from Vajdahunyad Castle and it is tradition for writers to touch the pen to gain writing inspiration.

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18. Home to an Extensive GeoThermal Cave System

Remember all those lovely thermal springs in Budapest?

Hungary has the most complex and extensive geothermal cave system worldwide. Budapest lies on a fault line which has caused the cave system to develop.

Today, many of these caves can be explored! Szemlő-hegy caves and Pál-völgy are open to visitors.

19. Greatest Swordsman to Ever Live was Hungarian

The Hungarian fencer Aladár Gerevich has been called the greatest swordsman who ever walked the earth. He participated in the Olympics six times between 1932 and 1960 and he took home the gold every time.

20. Known for Furry Pigs

The Mangalica or Mangalitsa is a type of Hungarian pig that looks similar to a sheep.

2 furry pigs in Hungary

It is the result of crossbreeding Hungarian pigs with wild boar and Serbian Šumadija. These interesting pigs are highly prized for their exceptional meat!

21. Volkswagen Beetle was Designed by a Hungarian Engineer

A Hungarian engineer, Béla Barényi is widely regarded as the father of passive safety in automobile design. He also created the design for the first VW Beetle in 1938!


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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