Europe

(CNN) — Whether you find yourself in a no-frills kocsma filled with beer-swilling old timers, an elegant cocktail lair or one of Budapest's quirky ruin pubs jammed with tourists, the Hungarian capital's drinking scene has one constant.

Countless times throughout the night, the bartender will reach for the same distinctive, round-bellied bottle.

The inky, amber-tinted liquid inside is called Unicum, and with roots that delve back to the late 18th century, it's one of the most revered national drinks in Hungary.

Like that other boozy Hungarian favorite, the fruit brandy pálinka, Unicum is largely savored as an aperitif or a digestif in shot form.

Produced by Budapest based beverage company Zwack, it's a herbal liqueur comprising a secret blend of more than 40 herbs and spices aged in oak.

Less aggressive than Fernet yet beefier than Jägermeister, thick, bitter Unicum, laced with subtle piney eucalyptus notes, is indeed bracing, a taste that grows delightfully more palatable with each sip according to Unicum brand ambassador Csaba Gulyás.

"It's a bittersweet potion, which isn't easy to enjoy the first time, but then you cross that barrier and it becomes your favorite," says Gulyás.

Royal origins

Unicum was originally created to cure Habsburg ruler Joseph II of a bout of indigestion.

Courtesy of Zwack Unicum

The story behind how Unicum came to be is equal parts fabled and turbulent.

Europe

(CNN) — Straddling the picturesque Danube, Budapest provides the perfect backdrop for a festival and this city definitely knows how to put on a show.Barely a month goes by when the Hungarian capital isn't playing host to some sort of event celebrating food and drink, music, dance or the arts.

For those keen to go and join the party, we've rounded up some of the most entertaining festivities happening in Budapest throughout the year.

Rosalia Festival

Rosalia Festival is dedicated to rosé wines, sparkling wines and champagnes.

Courtesy Rosalia Festival

Each year, Budapest jumps the gun on summer over a weekend in May for the Rosalia Festival.

Created by the organizers of September's wine festival, it's Hungary's only event dedicated to celebrating rosé wine, as well as champagne and sparkling wines.

Taking place over three days, it features a Rosé Garden, tastings, jazz concerts, Hungarian food stalls and special events for children.

Dates: May 31 to June 2, 2019

Sziget Festival

Sziget Festival

Europe

(CNN) — Straddling the picturesque Danube, Budapest provides the perfect backdrop for a festival and this city definitely knows how to put on a show.Barely a month goes by when the Hungarian capital isn't playing host to some sort of event celebrating food and drink, music, dance or the arts.

For those keen to go and join the party, we've rounded up some of the most entertaining festivities happening in Budapest throughout the year.

Rosalia Festival

Rosalia Festival is dedicated to rosé wines, sparkling wines and champagnes.

Courtesy Rosalia Festival

Each year, Budapest jumps the gun on summer over a weekend in May for the Rosalia Festival.

Created by the organizers of September's wine festival, it's Hungary's only event dedicated to celebrating rosé wine, as well as champagne and sparkling wines.

Taking place over three days, it features a Rosé Garden, tastings, jazz concerts, Hungarian food stalls and special events for children.

Dates: May 31 to June 2, 2019

Sziget Festival

Sziget Festival

Europe

(CNN) — Whether you find yourself in a no-frills kocsma filled with beer-swilling old timers, an elegant cocktail lair or one of Budapest's quirky ruin pubs jammed with tourists, the Hungarian capital's drinking scene has one constant.

Countless times throughout the night, the bartender will reach for the same distinctive, round-bellied bottle.

The inky, amber-tinted liquid inside is called Unicum, and with roots that delve back to the late 18th century, it's one of the most revered national drinks in Hungary.

Like that other boozy Hungarian favorite, the fruit brandy pálinka, Unicum is largely savored as an aperitif or a digestif in shot form.

Produced by Budapest based beverage company Zwack, it's a herbal liqueur comprising a secret blend of more than 40 herbs and spices aged in oak.

Less aggressive than Fernet yet beefier than Jägermeister, thick, bitter Unicum, laced with subtle piney eucalyptus notes, is indeed bracing, a taste that grows delightfully more palatable with each sip according to Unicum brand ambassador Csaba Gulyás.

"It's a bittersweet potion, which isn't easy to enjoy the first time, but then you cross that barrier and it becomes your favorite," says Gulyás.

Royal origins

Unicum was originally created to cure Habsburg ruler Joseph II of a bout of indigestion.

Courtesy of Zwack Unicum

The story behind how Unicum came to be is equal parts fabled and turbulent.

Europe

(CNN) — Straddling the picturesque Danube, Budapest provides the perfect backdrop for a festival and this city definitely knows how to put on a show.

Barely a month goes by when the Hungarian capital isn't playing host to some sort of event celebrating food, drink, music, dance or the arts.

For those keen to go and join the party, we've rounded up some of the most entertaining festivities happening in Budapest throughout the year.

Rosalia Festival

Rosalia Festival is dedicated to rosé wines, sparkling wines and champagnes.

Courtesy Rosalia Festival

Each year, Budapest jumps the gun on summer over a weekend in May for the Rosalia Festival.

Created by the organizers of September's wine festival, it's Hungary's only event dedicated to celebrating rosé wine, as well as champagne and sparkling wines.

Taking place over three days, it features a Rosé Garden, tastings, jazz concerts, Hungarian food stalls and special events for children.

Dates: May 31 to June 2, 2019

Europe

(CNN) — Hungary is not a country known for its cutting-edge cuisine, but rather its traditional meaty stews, creamy soups, plum dumplings and fried dough.So when Costes became the first Hungarian restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in 2010, it marked a sea change in national dining habits, triggering a nationwide movement toward lighter and more imaginative takes on traditional dishes.

Eszter Palagyi likes to conjure up a taste of home with her cooking

Courtesy Costes

"Ten years ago it wasn't possible to get good quality meat or good quality vegetables," she tells CNN Travel. "We had to buy so much stuff from France."

Now, thanks to Hungary's foodie revolution, high-quality cheese, meat and vegetables are readily available from local sources.

Stay local and seasonal

Venison fillet from southwest Hungary, served with classic potato dumplings called "Dödölle" from the Zala region, and marinated pine cones

Venison fillet from southwest Hungary, served with classic potato dumplings called "Dödölle" from the Zala region, and marinated pine cones

Courtesy Costes

This is one of Costes' selling points. Diners can order duck from Hungary's Kunság region, marinated in Tokaji wine from vineyards in the northeast of the country, or catfish from Lake Fertő, which straddles the Austria-Hungary border.

Local ingredients give the food its traditional flavor. If you were to serve truffles imported from Europe's main suppliers — such as France, Italy or Spain — rather than Hungary's own, the taste would be different, says Palagyi.

Europe

(CNN) — Renowned the world over for its beautiful architecture and breathtaking views, visitors flock to Budapest each year to experience the city's spas and wellness centers.

Drawing therapeutic waters from 118 natural thermal springs each day, a selection of Turkish baths provides visitors with a wide range of activities and treatments, while yoga retreats and wellness centers offer up a feast of fitness trends.

Here, we've compiled the ultimate wellness guide to Budapest to help you navigate your way around the best spa and wellness activities available when you travel to Hungary's capital city.

Thermal Beer Spa at Széchenyi Baths

Situated in the heart of the City Park, Széchenyi Baths houses a Beer Spa that offers a unique experience.

Visitors are treated to 36-degree hot water baths mixed with minerals and natural extracts used for beer brewing — hops, yeast, malt and barley.

This quirky therapeutic offering is delivered in six bath tubs, which can be used individually or with a friend.

Local beer is also served as an accompaniment to make the experience even more memorable.

To enter the Beer Spa, guests first have to pay for entry to Széchenyi Baths, then book an extra ticket to the alcohol-fueled bath tub area.

The baths also boast 10 indoor pools, an exquisite outside bathing area, saunas, steam chamber and massage rooms, with a number of other treatments available upon request.

Admission fee to Széchenyi Baths is around $21 on weekdays and $22 at weekends. The additional Beer Spa admission fee is $25 for one person, $30 for two.

Europe

(CNN) — Renowned the world over for its beautiful architecture and breathtaking views, visitors flock to Budapest each year to experience the city's spas and wellness centers.

Drawing therapeutic waters from 118 natural thermal springs each day, a selection of Turkish baths provides visitors with a wide range of activities and treatments, while yoga retreats and wellness centers offer up a feast of fitness trends.

Here, we've compiled the ultimate wellness guide to Budapest to help you navigate your way around the best spa and wellness activities available when you travel to Hungary's capital city.

Thermal Beer Spa at Széchenyi Baths

Situated in the heart of the City Park, Széchenyi Baths houses a Beer Spa that offers a unique experience.

Visitors are treated to 36-degree hot water baths mixed with minerals and natural extracts used for beer brewing — hops, yeast, malt and barley.

This quirky therapeutic offering is delivered in six bath tubs, which can be used individually or with a friend.

Local beer is also served as an accompaniment to make the experience even more memorable.

To enter the Beer Spa, guests first have to pay for entry to Széchenyi Baths, then book an extra ticket to the alcohol-fueled bath tub area.

The baths also boast 10 indoor pools, an exquisite outside bathing area, saunas, steam chamber and massage rooms, with a number of other treatments available upon request.

Admission fee to Széchenyi Baths is around $21 on weekdays and $22 at weekends. The additional Beer Spa admission fee is $25 for one person, $30 for two.

Europe

(CNN) — Hungary is not a country known for its cutting-edge cuisine, but rather its traditional meaty stews, creamy soups, plum dumplings and fried dough.So when Costes became the first Hungarian restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in 2010, it marked a sea change in national dining habits, triggering a nationwide movement toward lighter and more imaginative takes on traditional dishes.

Eszter Palagyi likes to conjure up a taste of home with her cooking

Courtesy Costes

"Ten years ago it wasn't possible to get good quality meat or good quality vegetables," she tells CNN Travel. "We had to buy so much stuff from France."

Now, thanks to Hungary's foodie revolution, high-quality cheese, meat and vegetables are readily available from local sources.

Stay local and seasonal

Venison fillet from southwest Hungary, served with classic potato dumplings called "Dödölle" from the Zala region, and marinated pine cones

Venison fillet from southwest Hungary, served with classic potato dumplings called "Dödölle" from the Zala region, and marinated pine cones

Courtesy Costes

This is one of Costes' selling points. Diners can order duck from Hungary's Kunság region, marinated in Tokaji wine from vineyards in the northeast of the country, or catfish from Lake Fertő, which straddles the Austria-Hungary border.

Local ingredients give the food its traditional flavor. If you were to serve truffles imported from Europe's main suppliers — such as France, Italy or Spain — rather than Hungary's own, the taste would be different, says Palagyi.

Europe

(CNN) — Hungary is not a country known for its cutting-edge cuisine, but rather its traditional meaty stews, creamy soups, plum dumplings and fried dough.So when Costes became the first Hungarian restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in 2010, it marked a sea change in national dining habits, triggering a nationwide movement toward lighter and more imaginative takes on traditional dishes.

Eszter Palagyi likes to conjure up a taste of home with her cooking

Courtesy Costes

"Ten years ago it wasn't possible to get good quality meat or good quality vegetables," she tells CNN Travel. "We had to buy so much stuff from France."

Now, thanks to Hungary's foodie revolution, high-quality cheese, meat and vegetables are readily available from local sources.

Stay local and seasonal

Venison fillet from southwest Hungary, served with classic potato dumplings called "Dödölle" from the Zala region, and marinated pine cones

Venison fillet from southwest Hungary, served with classic potato dumplings called "Dödölle" from the Zala region, and marinated pine cones

Courtesy Costes

This is one of Costes' selling points. Diners can order duck from Hungary's Kunság region, marinated in Tokaji wine from vineyards in the northeast of the country, or catfish from Lake Fertő, which straddles the Austria-Hungary border.

Local ingredients give the food its traditional flavor. If you were to serve truffles imported from Europe's main suppliers — such as France, Italy or Spain — rather than Hungary's own, the taste would be different, says Palagyi.