A Large Exchange of Tourists

Tourism is one of the key factors in the economic development of Hungary

Hungary has always been attractive for Serbian travellers. Let’s see what Ivan Ljubinković, representative of the Hungarian National Tourism Board (Visit Hungary), says about the latest tourist developments and see some interesting tips to visit less-known Hungarian destination which is still very attractive to tourists.

Serbia and Hungary have good diplomatic and economic relations and strong cultural and historical ties. What is the relationship between Serbia and Hungary in the field of tourism?

As neighboring countries, Serbia and Hungary have a large exchange of tourists. Still, as friendly countries, we have joint projects related to the region and distant markets. The tourism organizations of Serbia and Hungary have signed an agreement on cooperation in developing tourist products and their promotion, especially in distant markets. The plan includes joint appearances at tourism fairs and promotion of our joint tourism programs through organizing joint study trips of journalists and tour operators from third markets, media appearances and articles, and online campaigns.

Since the Covid epidemic, we are pleased to see the gradual recovery of this important market. To give you some concrete figures on inbound tourism, in 2022, the number of visitors from Serbia increased by almost two and a half times compared to the previous year. Last year, nearly 130,000 Serbian guests spent nearly 293,000 nights in Hungary. By the end of October this year, we had already welcomed 228 thousand guests from your country. So we are very much looking forward to the upcoming festive period, which is traditionally very popular with visitors from Serbia

How important is tourism as an economic branch of Hungary, and what are the investments in this sector?

Tourism is one of the key factors in the economic development of Hungary. The Kisflaudy tourism development program was launched in 2017 as one of the key pillars of Hungary’s tourism development strategy, and according to its plan, Hungarian tourism will receive the support of over EUR 700 million by 2030. Investment in the infrastructural development of tourism did not stop even during the pandemic; so much has been renovated or built. For example, in Budapest, the squares were reconstructed, the Opera House was restored, the shalt on the banks of the Danube, and new facilities were built in the Palace complex. Particularly interesting is the Liget project, within which the House of Hungarian Music was built in Budapest, which won the title of the leading new tourist attraction in Europe for 2022 at the World Travel Awards.

How important is the new Belgrade-Budapest airline for Hungarian tourism?

Hungary is located in the heart of Europe and is well connected to the rest of Europe. It has an extensive intercontinental flight network. Improving air availability is necessary for realizing greater tourist traffic between our two countries and beyond. Namely, promoting regional tourism products aims to increase tourist demand for both Serbia and Hungary, so a direct airline between Belgrade and Budapest is also important for tourists from distant countries. In fact, because of the borders, it is much faster and can be a particularly good option for business travel groups.

Which destinations in Hungary are visited by Serbs the most, and what would you recommend?

Budapest is the most popular city among Serbian guests, followed by Szeged, and then spa towns such as Morahalom, Mako, Gyula, and Pécs, which have an extremely rich cultural heritage. Serbs are slowly discovering the beauty of Győr and Kecskemét. I would single out some new tourist attractions and undiscovered treasures of Hungary.

Hévíz and Lake Balaton region

I highly recommend Hévíz, the world’s largest biologically active natural thermal lake. Thanks to the constant movement, the temperature of the water is pleasant throughout the year, allowing you to bathe and enjoy the healing power of the natural water in any season. And only 6 kilometers from this wonder is Lake Balaton, which also offers wonderful year-round activities for those looking for sporting recreation or relaxation.

We are very proud that Lake Balaton has recently made it onto the Michelin Guide map, with numerous local restaurants and bistros earning recommendations. It is no wonder that the lively and colourful culinary palette will draw gastronomy enthusiasts even in winter. And speaking of gastronomy, the Balaton Highlands wine region also offers unforgettable experiences.


People say Eger is “a small jewelry box.” The castle of Eger is a national memorial site and a half-day program itself, but other museums, churches, and Turkish memorial constructions are waiting for you. One of the best red wines in the country is produced here. The city has its thermal bath with a 5-hectare area. Still, only 5 kilometers from Eger, the world-famous Thermal Valley of Egerszalók awaits visitors with its unique salt hills and bubbling medical water.


Debrecen offers many great events and attractions – you can taste these even if you can only “pop in” for a very short city break to spend here. But it’s worth spending a few days here and discovering the region’s diverse attractions. Debrecen’s Nagyerdő (Big Forest) offers a wealth of experiences: it hosts several festivals and other events, but there’s also a thermal bath, a zoo, an amusement park, and a lovely botanical garden to explore.

The Tokaj Wine Region

The Tokaj region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002, is located in northeastern Hungary and is known for producing some of the best sweet wines in the world, including the famous Tokaj Aszú. Moreover, just a few weeks ago, Tokaj won the Best Tourism Villages of 2023 award by the UN World Tourism Organization.


Stoni Beograd, or Székesfehérvár, as the Hungarians call it, is located not far from Lake Balaton and maintains a strong connection with Serbia. It is a royal city where as many as 43 Hungarian kings were crowned, and the word “stoni” in its name means “throne”. Serbs still live in Stoni Beograd. There is an active Serbian quarter, St. John’s Church, and the Serbian cemetery. Here lived, worked, and died the famous Serbian painter Katarina Ivanović, the first honorary member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

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