NEW! Hungary - Winter Short Break

A four-day break at a great time to see key residents and winter migrants

Destination
Focus
2021 Dates
  • 18 Nov - 21 Nov 2021
Duration4 Days
Guides
2021 Price
£1295 pp
£80 single supplement. Deposit £300

pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are inc.

2022 Dates
  • 17 Nov - 20 Nov 2022
Duration4 Days
2022 Price
Price TBC
Max Group Size12
More Info

Bernie will join the tour with seven or more clients

This new early- winter tour takes us to the quaint and under-birded historic town of Tata in Hungary, located one hour west of Budapest. Situated at the heart of an internationally important passage and wintering area for wildfowl, Tata is known as the “Hungarian Goose Capital”, and tour highlights should include the presence of thousands of Russian Greater White-fronted Goose, together with “eastern” Greylags and smaller numbers of Tundra Bean Goose. A few Taiga Bean, Red-breasted and Lesser White-fronted Goose are also often in the area. Our expert local knowledge will maximise our chances of seeing many of these.

This season, with very few leaves on the trees, is a great time to see woodpeckers, and Black, Grey-headed, Green, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted and Syrian Woodpecker are all likely. Raptors include Hen and Marsh Harrier, White-tailed and Eastern Imperial Eagle, Peregrine, Common and Rough-legged Buzzard and Saker Falcon. Other possible birds include Great Grey Shrike, Crested Lark, Hawfinch, “continental” Bullfinch, both Short-toed and Common Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, the latter being continental 'caudatus' birds often with white heads, and flocks of Fieldfare. Tree Sparrow, White Wagtail and Black Redstart are common in the town. Pygmy Cormorant, Great White Egret and Common Bittern are at fishponds where reedbeds host Bearded Tit, and Penduline Tit are often in adjacent willows. Wintering ducks often include Smew and Caspian Gulls are common. Last, but not least, we will also visit a Long-eared Owl roost, where the birds are often very confiding and photogenic.

Tata is an interesting historic town. To its north is the Danube, to the east the limestone Gerecse Hills, dotted with vineyards, and to the south the forested Vertes Hills. Its colourful history is reflected in its baroque and renaissance architecture. Besides Magyars, Tata was been settled by Romans and Ottomans. At its heart is the Old Lake, a protected wetland Ramsar site where thousands of wildfowl roost and drink in autumn and winter. This is a lovely short birding holiday which should be ideal for most Heatherlea birders!

Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office! Read more about our Pre-flight Service here!

Day 1: Thurs 18 November - Arrival and first birding
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP Airport Lounge, we fly to Budapest, then drive around an hour westwards to Tata. The landscapes and habitats in and around this very pleasant, historical town are diverse: lakes, fishponds, steppe grasslands, farmlands, woodlands, limestone hills, parkland and the River Danube. All of this is found in a compact area, meaning no long drives and many sites are protected as reserves. Tata lies in a famed wine producing region and we may well find time to sample the local varieties! Overnight for four nights in a pleasant hotel in the town.

Days 2 & 3: Fri 19 & Sat 20 November - Birding around Tata
We have two full days to explore this rich mosaic of bird habitats. Above all, this tour is timed to coincide with the presence of thousands of geese: indeed, being at the heart of an internationally important passage and wintering area for wildfowl, Tata is known as the “Hungarian Goose Capital”. The most numerous species is Russian Greater White-fronted, followed by “eastern” Greylag and smaller numbers of Tundra Bean. A few Taiga Bean, Red-breasted and Lesser White-fronted Goose are often in the area, too. Our expert local knowledge will maximise our chances of seeing many of these.

At this time of year there are very few leaves on the trees, making this a great time to see woodpeckers, and Black, Grey-headed, Green, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted and Syrian Woodpecker are all likely. Raptors include Hen and Marsh Harrier, White-tailed and Eastern Imperial Eagle, Peregrine, Common and Rough-legged Buzzard and Saker Falcon. Other possible birds include Great Grey Shrike, Crested Lark, Hawfinch, “continental” Bullfinch, both Short-toed and Common Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, the latter being continental 'caudatus' birds often with white-heads, and flocks of Fieldfare. Tree Sparrow, White Wagtail and Black Redstart are common in the town. Pygmy Cormorant, Great White Egret and Common Bittern are at fishponds where reedbeds host Bearded Tit, and Penduline Tit are often in adjacent willows. Wintering ducks often include Smew, and Caspian Gull are common. Last, but not least, we will also visit a Long-eared Owl roost, where birds are often very confiding and photogenic. There will be much to do and see on this bird-packed break!

Day 4: Sun 21 November - Final birding and departure
After breakfast we will enjoy some more local birding, before driving back to Budapest Liszt Airport for our return flight. Should you be staying on in Budapest, we will deliver you to your hotel.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • scheduled return flights between London Gatwick and Budapest, airport taxes, ground transportation in a modern and spacious air-conditioned vehicle,
  • three nights comfortable accommodation with all meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
  • the services of your leaders.
  • entrance fees to parks and reserves, and tips to hotels and restaurants.
  • The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included free of charge subject to terms and conditions. Read more...

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • personal insurance, drinks and other personal expenses, optional tips to the driver and local guide, and any other costs not specified as 'included'.

Your Guide)s)

Gerard Gorman
Born in the UK, Gerard has lived in Budapest for many years. A very experienced birding and wildlife guide, he has led over 500 group tours around the world, and speaks several languages. His main interest is woodpeckers, and he is author of a guide to all the world's species.
 

Bernie Forbes
Heatherlea Guide Bernie is well known to many UK birders, both in his native Sussex and much further afield. Bernie is a very experienced Leader in Europe, and an ideal choice for this tour!

More holiday information

Accommodation is in comfortable hotels with all rooms en suite.
Food. Breakfast is continental style. Fruit juice and tea or coffee is usually available. Picnic lunches will be provided by your guide and will include a variety of local produce plus soft drinks. The country's unique cuisine has influences from the Central Asian Magyar founders of the nation, Turks, Germans, French, Austrians, Czechs, Slovaks, Serbians, and Croatians. The simple agrarian and shepherd lifestyles of the Hungarian Plain and mountains have also helped shape the country's unique dishes. Sauces rich in sour cream, delicacies such as goose liver and an emphasis on meats, including game such as boar and venison, are often on the menu. Fish stew or a thick and sometimes peppery fish soup - is also quite popular. Other traditional favourites include veal paprika stew and roast chicken with cottage cheese noodles. Gulyás (a hot dish that usually consists of beef, onions, capsicum and paprika), Halaszle (a Hungarian fish made with extra hot paprikas), Toltott kaposzta (cabbage stuffed with meat and other vegetables and spices) and Porkolt (a hot dish which is almost always made of meat, onion capsicum and paprika powder. Any kind of meat can be used, such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken, liver, offal and sometimes even fish). Fabulous desserts, served with strong espresso, include strudels, tortes and the legendary Gundel pancakes with chocolate rum sauce.
Walking is generally light/moderate. There may be some uphill track and road walking, though generally an average level of fitness is required.
Weather. Hungary has a temperate climate, with cold, cloudy, humid winters and warm summers. The weather will most likely be quite cool with temperatures ranging between -1 and 7c. Rain is quite likely at this time of year.
Insects biting insects may be encountered near wetlands. A good repellent is recommended.
Group size is restricted to 12 clients maximum.
Flights are by scheduled airline, from London Gatwick - regional departures may be possible, please ask for further details. We can quote without flights should you wish to make your own arrangements. If you wish to add an extension either before or after your holiday, please contact us and we will be happy to arrange this for you.

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday in Europe?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

Trip Reports

Coming Soon

About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: 01479 821248

E: