Hungarians are justifiably proud of their nation, heritage and culture. They have an indomitable spirit and a respect for the family, education and independence.

Traveling to Hungary, you will be welcomed and well treated. The people may not always have a ready smile, but they will offer a helping hand.

Hungarian is the official language of the country, however you will also hear German, English and French.

The majority of Hungarians are Catholic, with other Christian and worldwide religions following. A number of people do not associate with any religion.

Hungarians have a great deal of pride in their traditions of art, architecture, literature, music, dance and dress. Most of their festivals are in celebration of art, music or history.

Shaking hands is the typical greeting between acquaintances or for a first meeting. If you are a woman, don't be surprised if a man kisses your hand in greeting. This is an age-old tradition and a sign of respect. It may be accompanied with "Kezet csokolom," which literally means "I kiss your hand." When greeting closer friends, women usually give other women one kiss on each cheek, starting with the left.

Paprika, sour cream, garlic. These ingredients are probably the most associated with Hungarian cuisine. Gulyás or Hungarian goulash is the country's best known dish. Other favorites include: halászlé, a spicy fish soup; paprikás csirke or paprika chicken; kolbász, sausage spiced with paprika; tyúkhúsleves, chicken soup with vegetables and pasta and töltött káposzta or stuffed cabbage. And what to drink with your meal? You'll find several options, including bikavér' or villány, red wines, pálinka or brandy; pezsgö, sparkling wine and tokaji, a strong dessert wine).

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