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Hungary for summer

27th May 2008 Print

August is one of the best months in the year to visit Hungary, many butterflies and dragonflies are on the wing, and the already phenomenal birdlife is joined by wildfowl, waders and raptors from the north and east as they move southwards on migration.

Naturetrek offer an 8-day Hungary in Summer natural history tour to eastern Hungary concentrating on two of the country’s best national parks, Bükk and Hortobágy, in search of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and plants, departing London 2nd August 2008.

From Budapest, drive to Bükk National Park in the north-east for three nights on the edge of a small, quiet village surrounded by flower-filled orchards and vineyards. The Bükk is an upland area, comprising mainly of forested hills, offering geological (including many cave systems), archaeological, historical (several castle ruins), floral and faunal highlights.

Explore mixed hornbeam-oak forests, fine old beech woods, oak-dotted pastures, rocky dolomite-limestone slopes and hand-managed vineyards, providing a diversity of habitats. Butterflies, from various whites, yellows, blues, coppers, skippers, graylings and fritillaries are found here, including clouds of Silver-washed Fritillaries.

The forests and hills of the Bükk are also home to a wide diversity of birdlife including raptors such as Imperial Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Honey Buzzard, which in August are often seen soaring high on thermals in the company of their newly fledged young. The forests are also excellent for woodpeckers including Black, Grey-headed, White-backed and Syrian Woodpeckers.

This is one of Hungary’s most famous wine producing areas - Bull’s Blood being one of its more notable exports. The second part of our holiday focuses on the UNESCO World Heritage, Hortobágy National Park. This flat region lies at the north of the Great Hungarian Plain and is typified by grazed steppe-grasslands (puszta), marshes, fishpond systems, Robinia copses and farmland. Explore the best habitats in search of the region’s specialities.

Wetlands hold Pygmy Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, numerous herons, crakes and grebes, White-tailed Eagle, Penduline Tit and many others. Drained fishponds attract flocks of migrating waders, and dragonflies such as Southern Emerald, Small Emerald and Blue-tailed Damselflies will be on the wing. The puszta is home to Great Bustard, Stone Curlew, Common Crane and hunting raptors such as Long-legged Buzzard, Saker and Red-footed Falcon, whilst roadside wires provide perches for Rollers, Bee-eaters and Corn Buntings.

Based near Lake Tisza, bird passage is in full swing, dragonflies will be hawking over lily pads and butterflies feeding on grassy banks. An unforgettable holiday enjoying the very best of Hungary’s hill and plain landscapes, habitats, folklore, cuisine and wildlife and is sure to remain in the memory a long while after returning to Budapest for homeward flights.

The tour costs £1,095 p/p including return scheduled flights, hotel accommodation, most meals and expertly guided natural history viewing activities.

For more information, visit