With increasing demand for wildlife holidays in Europe we have now thoroughly researched Hungary in order to bring it to our portfolio of holiday destinations. From the great Hungarian grassland plains of the puszta where the great bustard roam and many different raptor species soar, to the wetlands that attract thousands of duck and waders in May and June, and beyond to the beech clad Bukk Hills, Hungary is a terrific destination for bird watching short breaks and bird photography holidays. Here we present the very best opportunities for tailor made birding holidays with one of the country's birding specialists.
Bird photography tour - Eagle hide visits - Kingfishers & wetlands - Owls & Great Bustard walks
Our choice of accommodation for many of the tours are the log cabins on the edge of a small town close to the wetlands, the grasslands including Hortobagy and Lake Tisza. Nearby is a new 3* hotel linked to a thermal spa, further afield is a 4* hotel and in the next year there will be a 5* villa.
Hungary is a great place for bird watching for beginners as well as enthusiasts and those seeking specific species. We do not organise group tours but instead design itineraries specifically around your interests and our guide in Hungary equally does not work with groups and you can be sure of personal service.
Long recognised as a good destination for bird watching in Europe, Hungary now offers terrific potential for those interested in bird photography. Our guide in Hungary has his own hides in strategic locations throughout a range of habitats. The hide of most interest is likely to be the eagle hide set out on the Great Hungarian Plain, or puszta as it is known. This hide has the feeling of being in the middle of the Masai Mara but is in fact in Koros-Manos National Park and was originally set up by park staff. During the winter white-tailed and Imperial eagles come to this feeding station. Long-legged, rough-legged and common buzzards also appear here and hen harriers are prolific. The hide is only in location during late December, January and February but at this time of the year short-eared and long-eared owls roost in good numbers in the local town centres.
For more general bird watching holidays during the spring and early summer there are other hides nearby for rollers, red-footed falcons and hoopoe. A temporary hide can be set up for bee-eaters at their nest site in an old quarry bank. A number of hides are also set around the fishponds for the wide variety of ducks, grebes and waders and you will have your guide on hand at all times whatever, your specific interest. At Devavanya there is a great bustard conservation project and in fact Koros-Maros National Park has a higher density of great bustards than the more famous Hortobagy National Park close by.
Two other areas well worth visiting on a bird watching holiday in Hungary are Lake Tisza and the Bukk Hills. It is possible to take a private boat out on Lake Tisza and cruise around the islands and channels in search of bird life. Lake Tisza is Hungary's largest reservoir and the waters a welcome respite for birds in this land-locked country. A short drive further north brings you the beech forests of the Bukk Hills. During the winter Alpine accentor can be found together with wallcreeper on some of the rock faces but during the spring and summer it is the woodpeckers, flycatchers, eagle and Ural owls and golden eagle that are of interest.
During the autumn months the bird watching spectacle is the migration of huge flocks of geese and common cranes to the Hungarian plain. Among them are likely to be lesser white-fronted and red-breasted geese, long-tailed duck, black-necked and Slavonian grebe among others. Of course there are many raptor species present around the wetlands and on the grassland plains too.
We hope the few bird watching holiday suggestions here tempt you to discover this interesting country where distances are short, the wine is good and many birds can be encountered in a short break or week long trip.
TIME ZONE GMT +1 hour
Airlines: British Airways and some low cost carriers
Flight time: approx. 2.5 hours.
No specific requirements.
Typical of central, eastern Europe with cold winters and long dry, hot summers. The best seasons for bird watching are January and February for feeding eagles, then May through to early July and then with the autumn migration September and October.