Hungary is a landlocked country, situated in the Carpathian Basin. Its two longest rivers, the Danube and Tisza, divide Hungary into three parts: Transdanubia, the plain between the Duna and the Tisza, and the Trans-Tisza region. Hungary’s ‘mountains’ are actually hills that seldom exceed an elevation of 1000 metres. Two-thirds of Hungary’s geographic area is less than 200 metres above sea level.
Lake Balaton, covering 598 sq. km, is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country. The lake’s average depth is two to three metres, and the water warm up quickly in summer.
There are five national parks in Hungary. Two of them, situated on the Great Plain – Hortobágy and Kiskunság – protect the wildlife and the fragile wetlands, marsh and saline grasslands of the open puszta. Two more are in the north: the almost completely wooded Bükk Hills and the Aggtelek region with its extensive system of karst caves. The smallest park is at Lake Fertő on the Austrian border.
Hungary is home to more than 2000 flowering plant species, many of which are not normally found at this latitude. There are a lot of common European animals here (deer, wild hare, boar, otter) as well as some rare species (wild cat, lake bat, Pannonian lizard), but three-quarters of the country’s 450 vertebrates are birds, especially waterfowl attracted by the rivers, lakes and wetlands.