In 2004, less than half a century after the bloody suppression of its democracy movement by Soviet tanks, Hungary became a member of the European Union. Divided in two by the majestic Danube River, the country can also boast the largest lake in Central Europe, Lake Balaton, surrounded by châteaux and picturesque vineyards. The celebrated Tokaji wines come from the northern Eger-Tokaj region, on the other side of the country. Hungary’s thermal spas have been renowned for their curative powers since Roman times, and more than 1,000 hot springs still attract numerous visitors. Budapest, the country’s 1,000-year-old capital, is one of the most attractive and vivacious cities in Europe. Like Prague, it tends to overshadow the charms of the rest of the country.

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