Back to Nature! – Ecotourism in Hungary

‘We are just guests in nature, so we have to behave accordingly', painter Hundertwasser once said. And how right he was. Eco-tourists, it's time to head out into nature.

Birds' songs in your ear, the smooth wind in your hair and the warm rays of sun on your skin – can you hear nature calling? Well, Hungary might be the right destination for you then with 10 national parks, 38 protected areas and numerous nature reserves await enthusiastic eco-tourists, with visitors' centres, exhibitions and trails helping them to get to know the wonders of nature better. Ecotourism is certainly the most responsible way to enjoy a country's beauties withsmall-scale tourism exploring the flora and fauna with the least possible impact on the environment.

Where to go? Several beautiful spots have been included into the list of World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO, including the caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (a complex system of 712 amazing caves spread over an are of over 55 000 hectares on the border of Hungary and Slovakia), while the Hortobágy region, Lake Fertő and the historical wine region of Tokaj-Hegyalja are listed both in the cultural and the natural category of world heritage.

If you'd like to spend your natureholidays by the water catching fish, we'd suggest you  head to Lake Tisza, offering an abundant catch all year around. Hungary's largest artificial lake is one of an exceptionally diverse water environment inhabited by an amazing variety of fish including carp, bream, pike and catfish all feel at home.. Grab your rod and head out onto the water and find your very own island of peace.

Hungary is a numberone destination among those who want to lose themselves in the humming forests while they are chasing game. Red deer, fallow deer, wild boar, mouflon and roe can all be found (and shot) here, just as the European hare, the pheasant, the grey partridge, the bean goose, the greater white-fronted goose, mallard, Eurasian teal and the Eurasian woodcock. But it isn't really about the shooting,  but more of the meditative state of mind and the excitement that the hunt brings. You should try it!

Nothing compares to the feeling of exploring a country's wonders using nothing but your own two feet. Put on your boots and off you go – climb onto the Dobogókő (according to some esoterically inclined, the heart-chakra of the earth can be found here – well, see for yourself, we say), gather colourful minerals from the old bauxite-mines of Bakony, marvel at the ‘basalt-organs' of the Saint George mountain or the snow-white rhyolite-fields near Kazar. Pure nature in all its beauty. You won't feel lost – tourist trails are marked (look for the colourful signs on the trees), but professional guides will lead you along unmarked trails if you wish so. Oh, and night timetours are pretty exciting, too! Make sure to include one of the numerous natural reserves into your tour and marvel at the untouched beauty of nature – watch Hungarian Grey cattle at the National Park of Hortobágy, catch a glimpse at the colourful birds of the Lake Tisza Bird Reservation, check out the buffalo at the Buffalo Reserve of Kápolnapuszta and climb the mountains of Pilis at the Pilis Biosphere Reserve.

How about exploring the Hungarian countryside by checking into one of the beautifully preserved little villages andemersing yourself  in the everyday life of the locals? If you'd like to go strictly organic, opt for one of the eco-villages or organic farms. The kids will love the new petting zoo and you can be happy with the delicious and healthy home-cooked meals.

Don't miss out on the natural wonders of Hungary. Head out into the wild, whether on boat, by bike, on your two feet, catching fish, hunting deer or watching birds – it's a whole new world waiting to be explored.