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Hungary is a land of vibrant culture and rich history, but what fuels the nation’s passion?

Beyond its culinary delights and iconic landmarks, sports play an essential role.

Soccer undoubtedly leads the pack, but which other sports spark Hungarian enthusiasm?

Explore the top 11 most popular sports in Hungary in our exciting list.

Most Popular Sports in Hungary:

  1. Soccer
  2. Gymnastics
  3. Handball
  4. Water polo
  5. Canoeing
  6. Fencing
  7. Basketball
  8. Ice Hockey
  9. Baseball
  10. Athletics
  11. Rugby

#1 Soccer

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: 1897
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Hungary: Ferenc Puskás (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Hungary: 250,000

Soccer holds a special place in Hungary as the number one sport that unites its people. With a deep-rooted history, it has grown to be an integral part of the Hungarian culture.

The Hungarian first division, the OTP Bank Liga, attracts a wide array of soccer enthusiasts, featuring domestic clubs engaged in fierce competition. Legendary player Ferenc Puskás has left an indelible mark on the soccer world, cementing his status as one of the all-time greats.

Hungary’s golden era in the 1950s, especially the iconic 6-3 victory over England at Wembley in 1953, remains a proud moment for the nation’s soccer legacy.

#2 Gymnastics

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Gymnast from Hungary: Ágnes Keleti (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Gymnasts in Hungary: 40,000

Gymnastics in Hungary is synonymous with elegance and perseverance. It has a rich history of producing world-class athletes, who compete and excel at the highest levels of the sport.

Domestic gymnastics events like the Hungarian National Championships draw significant attention, showcasing the country’s finest talents. Ágnes Keleti, the most successful Hungarian gymnast, carries the national pride with her staggering 10 Olympic medals.

Gymnastics continues to hold a cherished place in the Hungarian sports scene, as the nation nurtures young talents and dreams of podium glory.

#3 Handball

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Hungary: László Nagy (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Hungary: 30,000

Handball enjoys immense popularity in Hungary for its fast-paced gameplay and nail-biting action that keeps spectators on their toes. The country’s adoration for the sport is evident in its growth and support over the years.

The Hungarian Handball Federation organizes the Nemzeti Bajnokság I, the premier handball league in the country, generating massive excitement among fans. László Nagy, an outstanding right-back player, has garnered immense fame for his incredible handball skills.

Hungary’s national handball team has had moments of brilliance on the world stage, ensuring handball retains its prominent place in the nation’s sports lineup.

#4 Water polo

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Hungary: Dénes Kemény (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Hungary: 6,000

Water polo finds a loving home in Hungary, where the sport is cherished for its unique blend of swimming prowess and strategic gameplay. The country has a storied history in water polo, establishing itself as a dominant force on the global stage.

The Hungarian Water Polo Championship is the top domestic league that showcases the talent and competitiveness of Hungarian clubs. Revered player and coach Dénes Kemény has made lasting contributions to the sport, guiding the national team to Olympic victories.

Hungary’s multiple Olympic and World Championship triumphs only strengthen water polo’s significance in the nation’s sports culture.

#5 Canoeing

Outrigger canoeing
  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Canoeist from Hungary: Danuta Kozák (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Canoeists in Hungary: 15,000

Canoeing is a sport that has cultivated a devoted following in Hungary, both for its competitive edge and the nation’s undeniable talent. Hungary takes pride in nurturing world-class canoeists who have made their mark on the international stage.

The Hungarian Canoe Federation organizes domestic competitions, with events such as the Hungarian National Championships drawing significant attention. Danuta Kozák, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, is a true Hungarian canoeing icon known for her incredible accomplishments.

Success in various World Championships and Olympic Games has solidified canoeing’s status as a popular and respected sport in Hungary.

#6 Fencing

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Fencer from Hungary: Aladár Gerevich (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Fencers in Hungary: 10,000

Fencing in Hungary is a sport synonymous with elegance, precision, and historical significance. It enjoys widespread admiration, and the country has consistently produced world-class fencers throughout the years.

The Hungarian Fencing Federation holds various national championships, fostering great talent and skill. Aladár Gerevich, an Olympic legend with seven gold medals in his illustrious career, remains a shining example of Hungary’s fencing prowess.

Hungarian fencers have consistently excelled in international competitions, further enshrining the sport’s cultural significance and prominent place in the heart of the nation.

#7 Basketball

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: 1930s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Hungary: Kornél Dávid (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Hungary: 50,000

Basketball in Hungary has captured the imagination and enthusiasm of sports fans across the country. While not as dominant as some other European nations, Hungarian basketball has witnessed consistent growth in recent years.

The Hungarian Basketball League, known as the NB I/A, is the top-tier professional league in the country, featuring competitive action that attracts loyal fans. Kornél Dávid, the first Hungarian NBA player, is celebrated for breaking barriers and popularizing the sport.

Basketball’s growing prominence among Hungarian youth speaks to its increasing popularity, with a promising future ahead.

#8 Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey
  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Hungary: Gergő Nagy (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Hungary: 5,000

Ice Hockey in Hungary has cultivated a passionate following, thanks to the thrilling action and competitive nature of the sport. Though not on par with neighboring ice hockey powerhouses, Hungary has continued to develop its talent pool and fan base over the decades.

The Erste Liga serves as the premier ice hockey league in Hungary, showcasing the best domestic clubs and players. Gergő Nagy, a skilled and tenacious forward, is known for his contributions to the Hungarian national team.

With a resilient fan base and continued focus on development, ice hockey in Hungary remains an exciting and ever-growing sport.

#9 Baseball

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: 1990s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Hungary: Péter Barényi (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Hungary: 2,000

Baseball in Hungary has a smaller but dedicated fan base, holding its own in the diverse landscape of sports in the country. With increase in exposure to international baseball competitions, the interest in the sport has grown over time.

The Hungarian Baseball League serves as the top domestic league, providing a platform for local talent to develop their skills and receive recognition. Péter Barényi, who has played professional baseball in Europe and the USA, is a shining example of Hungarian talent in baseball.

Hungarian baseball is gradually making strides, with more young players expressing interest and joining leagues providing a promising future for the sport.

#10 Athletics

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: Ancient Times
  • 🌟 Most Famous Athlete from Hungary: Krisztina Papp (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Athletics Enthusiasts in Hungary: 80,000

Athletics is the foundation of numerous sporting events and has long been an integral part of Hungary’s sporting tradition. The country has produced a wealth of world champions, record holders, and Olympic medalists throughout its history.

Krisztina Papp, a long-distance runner and European Championship medalist, is a source of inspiration and national pride. Hungary hosts international athletics events, such as the Gyulai Memorial, drawing athletes and fans from around the globe.

With dedication to development and fostering elite athletes, Hungary’s athletics scene continues to make its mark on the world stage.

#11 Rugby

  • 📅 (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Hungary: 1960s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Hungary: Péter Váradi (Hungarian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Hungary: 3,000

Rugby in Hungary is an emerging sport that gains more attention and enthusiasts with each passing year. Though dwarfed by other popular sports, it has captured the interest of those who appreciate its blend of physicality, strategy, and camaraderie.

The Hungarian Rugby Union manages both domestic leagues and the national teams, working hard to develop the sport in the country. Péter Váradi, a determined player who has contributed greatly to Hungarian rugby, stands as a role model for future generations.

Hungary’s rugby community continues to grow, nurturing new talent and raising awareness, with aspirations of reaching greater heights in the international arena.


What is the most popular sport in Hungary?

Soccer, also known as football, is the most popular sport in Hungary, holding a significant place in the country’s culture and tradition, with a wide base of players and fans supporting both domestic leagues and national teams.

What is the national sport of Hungary?

The national sport of Hungary is soccer (football), resonating with the country’s passionate sports culture and capturing the hearts of a majority of the Hungarian population.

What are the most watched sports in Hungary?

The most watched sports in Hungary are soccer (football), handball, water polo, gymnastics, and canoeing, each commanding substantial viewership and fan bases throughout the country, reflecting their cultural significance and sporting achievements.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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