Budapest, Hungary – Eastern Europe’s Green Gem


Budapest, Hungary, located on the Danube, is one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe and it is also included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. If you are a green traveler, you may not think of Hungary as an eco friendly travel destination, although it is. Within the past 10 years, the green scene has taken off in the capital city of Budapest and has moved Hungary into the 21st century. The Hungarians are very forward thinking in the eco department and there are numerous eco friendly travel options offered in Hungary.

Budapest at night

Budapest at night

Budapest hosted the first Eco Costume Fashion Show in 2009. Many Hungarian designers presented their clothing lines that were made from eco friendly and recycled materials. Watch out Paris, the Hungarians are taking over the runway with Sunday comic newspaper skirts and shoes made from recycled tires.

Next, Budapest broke a world record when 50,000 cyclists participated in Earth Day’s Critical Mass – 2009 demonstration. This large scale ride was held to promote bicycling, which is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of travel, and to raise awareness about the need to improve cycling conditions in the city. More bike lanes will result in reduced smog and traffic, thereby improving the quality of life in the city.

Eco friendly hotels are also on the rise in Budapest. The Budapest Museum Central Hotel, across from the actual museum, features a number of  newly designed green guest facilities. The hotel uses or provides alternative energy resources, chemical free bio- degradable cleaning agents, breakfast choices that include organic and fair trade food, and it has recently installed solar panels. This hotel, located in the historical center, is convenient to most tourist sites and the business district. The rooms are large, bright and airy, a nice break from the standard European size rooms, and the windows are sound proof. This hotel also carries the EFL label, established by the Hungarian eco labeling organization, which is a public body of the ministry of environment and water. It was the first organization of its kind among the post communist countries.

Recently, the Ibis hotel chain has become part of the international ISO certified program, which means their hotels are expected to respect the environment, sort waste, save energy and water, and maintain a general  commitment to sustainable development. Although not in the city center, theIbis Hero’s Square Hotel is a good choice. This hotel is located near Szechenyi Spa, the thermal baths that Eastern Europe is famous for. These thermal springs were discovered in 1879 and are said to be the deepest and hottest thermal wells in Hungary. Not only do these famous baths boast ottoman architecture, they are said to be medicinal and therapeutic. Visiting these baths are part of the everyday Hungarian lifestyle, so you can soak with the locals in a casual atmosphere.

Spa Hungary

Spa Hungary

One yummy spot not to be missed in Budapest is the Gerbeaud Café. Located on the busy Vörösmarty Square, this legendary sweet tooth cafe is said to be one of the largest confectioneries in Europe. Established in 1858, the atmosphere and decor  is on the decadent side, with marble tables, ornate chandeliers, and brocade wall coverings. Here you can indulge yourself with one or more of over 300 traditional cakes and baked sugary masterpieces. Adjacent to the cafe, you will find a pub where you can sample locally brewed Gerbeaud beer. And after visiting the Gerbeaud Café, you may just need a tourist horse and carriage to carry you back to your hotel.

Tourism in Hungary has been on the rise and for very good reason. The history, culture, friendly people, and stunning architecture of Hungary are all compelling reasons to plan a memorable visit. Now green travelers can also discover Hungary with a clean, green conscience.

Written by Carla Scott for

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