No idea which city to visit in Hungary where there are plenty of attractions besides entertainment? Want to know the best places to visit in Hungary?
Visit the most beautiful cities and regions in Hungary. Breathtaking landscapes and countless sights. The best places in Hungary.
In this useful guide, I will describe 41 Hungarian places to visit with detailed descriptions and lots of pics. Hopefully it will help you make up your mind on where to go in Hungary.
The 7 regions of Hungary
Hungary is wonderful. Although the whole country is less than 1/3 of the territory of Germany, it is still diverse and varied. There are mountains in the north and the Great Hungarian Plain in the south.
A huge lake and lazily winding rivers, beneficial medicinal water, and diverse swampy areas intrigue visitors. Pines, oaks, yellow grassy plains, and sloppy hills tell you a thousand-year-old history.
Castles, fortresses, palaces, churches, and other architectural wonders, as well as music, dance, gastronomy, and fabulous events await visitors every step of the way. All concentrated in just 7 regions.
Each region holds hundreds and hundreds of tales and magic. Some places there are mountains reaching towards the sky, while in another region Lake Balaton rules over the land, and there is also a place with the best sausages.
Join me on this journey through the 7 regions and check out the 41 best trips in Hungary.
The map of the 7 regions of Hungary
The map of the best places in Hungary
Central Hungary – royal cities in the majestic Danube Bend
Central Hungary carries significance in its name. This is Pest county which includes Budapest and the surrounding area.
In addition to the majestic Buda Hills, the region is home to the picturesque Danube Bend with dozens of historic towns attracting tourists year after year.
We can rightly say this is the king of all Hungarian regions, as the proximity of the capital has turned the surrounding settlements, including tourism, into amazing developments. Get to know the royal cities better.
The best places to visit in Central Hungary
Do you want me to introduce you one of the most diverse cities in Central Europe? Of course, you do!
Budapest is full of sites that are part of the World Heritage program – you will basically stumble over historical beauties, and all types of culture flourish in the uncrowned city of entertainment.
Drive along the palaces of Andrássy Avenue or take the first Underground Railway of the continent to Heroes’ Square.
Can’t wait to enjoy some art? The Museum of Fine Arts and the Art Gallery make all your dreams come true.
If you are looking for a less serious type of recreation, The City Park is the place to go: with your children – Budapest Zoo, with your partner – Széchenyi Baths, in winter with a pair of skates – City Park Skating Rink, or for a nice stroll – Vajdahunyad Castle and its surroundings.
Don’t forget to check out the downtown area of ruin bars and party places during the day before losing yourself there at night. The huge dome of St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Synagogue with its oriental beauty in Dohány Street are definitely worth a look as well.
Admire the – probably – most beautiful Parliament in Europe and the Vigadó building from the banks of the Danube.
Crossing the Danube over the Chain Bridge is also a must (at least once), while Margaret Bridge takes you to Margaret Island, the green heart of the capital.
Buda Castle, Gellért Hill, and the Citadel are all on the Buda side. You can relax at one of the great baths of Budapest or enjoy the Chairlift or the Children’s Railway.
The eternal question: Buda or Pest? Which side you should pick and why?
Did I miss anything? Come and see for yourself.
For further information on the history and sights of Budapest, click here.
The charming Mediterranean town of Szentendre is a jewel in the Danube Bend’s tiara. You can cruise there in less than an hour or use public transport.
The sight of the place in itself is enchanting with its colorful old houses, and dozens of museums are there to entertain every visitor. If you want to enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the town, take a walk along the Danube promenade.
Culture is literally sweet in Szentendre – the two most famous exhibitions are the collections of the Marzipan Museum and the Dobos Pastry Museum.
The Open-air-museum – better known as skanzen – is only a few kilometres away from Szentendre. It shows the folk architectural styles of the Hungarian characteristic landscapes, village and rural life, and the past of Hungarian agriculture.
The authentically furnished show houses take you back to the 18th century with different events and activities that bring folk traditions closer.
With its red geranium windows and younger people dressed in folk costumes, Szentendre is the Hungarian rural area come to life. Immerse yourself in the depth of Hungarian customs.
This is one of the best excursion places to visit besides Budapest. It was not in vain that Visegrád became the first residence of the former Hungarian kings.
Visegrád Citadel located at the top of the hill in the Danube Bend offers a dazzling view of the river and the Visegrád Hills.
Although Visegrád is not a big city, its architectural monuments guide visitors to a bygone knightly age. It is located 30 km from Budapest and is easily accessible by boat or train.
The Citadel with its permanent exhibits, Solomon Tower and the Renaissance Palace with the Well of Hercules, promises light time travel. The historical exhibition, the Panopticon, and the armory all take you back in time to the age of the Hungarian kings and present the history of a castle where the Holy Crown was preserved for almost 200 years.
And you just can’t get enough of its stunning panorama. If you already feel overwhelmed with the constant buzzing of Budapest, a short detour to Visegrád will immediately calm your nerves.
For a detailed description of Visegrád, click here.
Vác is a real baroque work of art. Approaching by train from Budapest, we reach a city that has undergone significant development in the last decade.
It has become a real city since the first Hungarian railway was built between Pest and Vác, and the people of Vác are proud to say that you can find “everything here.” And that’s true.
Its charm and strength come from the fact that although it is still relatively close to the capital, it is far enough not to rely on the glory of Budapest.
It owns perhaps the most beautiful Baroque main square in Hungary, while the episcopal cathedral offers a striking sight in the night light.
It was built for the visit of Queen Maria Theresa in 1764 and is the only triumphal arch of the country. Legend has it, the Queen did not dare to drive under it on her arrival because she was afraid it would all collapse since the building was built in record time – just two weeks. However, when she was leaving, she saw that the stone gate was still standing, so she bravely passed under it.
The Danube promenade of Vác evokes romantic poems, and the merriments that take place here attract many visitors. Vác is the perfect destination for a sense of baroque romance.
The guardian of the memories of my youth hides in the embrace of the Gödöllő Hills with its two wonderful buildings, the Royal Castle of Gödöllő and the building of St. István University.
Since it is only 30 km from Budapest, this green town can be reached by train or bus. Wherever you go, you will see a park or at least a smaller group of trees or a grove.
Once you get off the train and cross the railway station, you arrive at the park of St. István University. In good weather, you will find college students lying on the grass, studying in silence, or possibly talking or playing the guitar. Sit down next to them in the grass and enjoy a few carefree hours!
And if you are looking for some history, head to the Royal Castle of Gödöllő, also known as Grassalkovich Castle, which is one of the most impressive monuments in Hungary.
The U-shaped palace and its magnificent park have become a favorite resting place with Queen Sissy, and today it is home to permanent and temporary exhibitions, conferences, and events.
Walking around in the rooms of that castle that have been restored to their original splendor and getting to know more about the exciting life of Queen Elizabeth is an amazing experience for couples and families, as well. And you can’t find a more romantic place than the castle park!
This was only a short foretaste. Find out everything about Gödöllő here.
Central Transdanubia – a royal region near waters
All three counties of the Central Transdanubia region, Komárom-Esztergom, Fejér, and Veszprém county, were of special importance in Hungarian history, hence the royal region nickname.
On the north it is bordered by Slovakia, and this includes the limestone hills of the Transdanubian Central Mountains, the loess covers of Mezőföld, and the outer rims of the Little Plain.
Approximately 130 km of the Danube flows through the area, while Lake Balaton borders the region for about 100 km. Hungary’s third largest natural lake, Lake Velence, is also located here.
What is more, the area is outstanding in natural and cultural historical values. It is home to several landscape and national parks, as well as 7 of our 22 wine regions.
In short, Central Transdanubia is the third most important tourist region in Hungary. So, it’s time for you to discover its secrets!
The best places to visit in Central Transdanubia
Esztergom, the northernmost city of the Danube Bend, rises above the Danube along the Slovak border. The center of the Hungarian Roman Catholic Church less than an hour from Budapest invites you for a special time travel.
You can enjoy this fascinating sight from Párkány: The Basilica of Esztergom is one of the largest basilicas in Europe and dominates the Castle Hill with dignity.
Walking across Maria Valéria Bridge, we slowly notice more and more of the tiny gems in the shadow of the monumental building.
These include the cobbled, narrow streets of Water City, the castle itself, with the statue of King St. Stephen on its northern Rondella, and the Old Seminary building.
Esztergom is the embodiment of history in itself. Legend has it, the first Hungarian king, St. Stephen, was born here and was crowned ruler here, as well.
Thus, it feels like the entire city is flooded with this sublime nobility, the romance of the bygone royal age. Moving towards the city center, we are amazed by more and more monumental buildings, and you can enjoy an unparalleled panorama of the city from St. Thomas Hill.
It is a real cultural-hiking, backpacker-sore muscle activity that should not be missed.
Esztergom is one of the best destinations to visit in Hungary. You can read about its sights here.
7. Lake Velence
This is partly due to its proximity to the capital – less than an hour’s train ride away – and its shallow water which makes it considered to be one of the warmest lakes in Europe.
Although the 26-28°C water is sometimes too much for me, it is Paradise itself for toddlers and those who like warm water.
I spent all my childhood summers on the beaches of Agárd and Gárdony fooling around with friends in the ankle-deep water and eating richly packed fried scones of cheese and sour cream at noon.
Lake Velence and its surroundings are also a perfect place for relaxation. You can cycle around the lake or take a trip to the Pákozd-rocking stones in the Velence Hills.
If you want to see what a real Hungarian retro summer is like, Lake Velence is the ideal choice.
Vibrant life on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, Balatonfüred shows both its reform-era face and its modern, luxurious side to you.
You can find interesting and exciting activities along its long promenade – there are costume parades, music festivals, and wine parties every summer weekend.
You can hop on the dottó (small sightseeing train), which takes you around the city comfortably while you learn about its famous buildings and people.
It is also the citadel of gastronomy from shaded restaurants to the smallest patisserie. Balatonfüred is also home to one of the largest boat stations on Lake Balaton and the sailing club. You should pay for a few hours’ sailing here if you are able to spend more time at Lake Balaton. It is definitely a lasting experience.
One of the most popular events in this town is the Anna Ball, where 18-year-old girls traditionally come from all over the country to be chosen as the beauty of Anna Ball. The winner and the runners-up will be ridden around in Balatonfüred the next day and also receive valuable prizes.
Visit Balatonfüred during the Füred Wine Days in autumn. You will want to stay forever with a glass of good Hungarian wine in your hand and the sunset at Lake Balaton.
Balatonfüred is a great choice. If you want to know more about it, click here.
Tihany is one of my most favorite excursion destinations to visit in Hungary. This town is the perfect example of a charming and idyllic place.
Located barely a half an hour travel from Balatonfüred, the Tihany Peninsula stretches into the huge lake, breaking the northern shore of Lake Balaton.
The building of the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany stands peacefully with its simple beauty at the end of the peninsula. When viewed from the water, e.g. a sailboat, it is hardly visible among the roaring green trees, but once you see it, it inadvertently attracts your eyes.
And if you walk up into the small village of Tihany, you feel like staying there forever. Although there are plenty of tourists around the abbey due to the dazzling panorama, it is somehow not disturbing.
You can walk along the slightly winding streets of the town with potters’ shops, small restaurants, and ice cream parlors appearing now and then. You can also find the point where you can still hear the Tihany echo.
And if you arrive in June, the village will be flooded with the scent of lavender. The village is buzzing with all the sellers offering lavender products and bouquets of flowers blowing in the wind – just like a small Provence.
Have you ever eaten lavender ice cream while watching snow-white sails on Lake Balaton next to the abbey? Try it.
Tihany is a must for everyone. For more pictures and information, click here.
The village of barely 1,000 inhabitants has more natural and cultural heritage than some larger towns.
Szigliget Castle, one of the most visited castles in Hungary, is open all year round. In addition to permanent exhibitions, visitors are also entertained with castle games and concerts.
But the castle is not the only attraction. Due to its settlement structure, the Old Town, Esterházy castle located in the center of the town, and the castle garden with an arboretum were all declared protected.
The Avas Church located in a well-kept environment evoking the world of knightly novels may be a special attraction for lovers of “ruins.”
And if you want to immerse yourself in nature a bit, take the Kamon Stone Study Trail for a leisurely 2.5- to 3-hour hike.
This was only a short foretaste. Find out everything about Szigliget here.
Veszprém is also called the town of queens. Located at the meeting point of three small regions, the Bakony to the north, Balaton Uplands to the south, and Mezőföld to the east, Veszprém played a prominent role in the introduction of Christianity in Hungary.
King Stephen defeated the armies of the pagan Koppány here, and the first episcopal seat of the country was established in this town.
Gizella, King St. Stephen’s wife, liked to spend her time in Veszprém, and in the later centuries it was the bishop of Veszprém who crowned Hungarian queens.
The cult of Queen Gizella is still alive as part of a series of events called Gizella Days with musical-dance entertainment and activities evoking the age entertaining the general public.
Veszprém Castle is one of the most densely populated castle districts besides Buda Castle. There are beautiful monuments such as the Fire Tower, the Gizella Chapel, the Archdiocese of Veszprém, and the Castle Gate located within its walls.
Had enough of historical sights? Head to the Veszprém Zoo, a rural zoo with the greatest Hungarian traditions. The wildlife park is the proud owner of not only domestic animals, but also worldwide creatures.
In addition to the award-winning bird flying area in Europe, it also has a unique Dino Park, where children can absorb all the knowledge about reptiles and archeology.
You can’t get bored in Veszprém. Find out more about attractions in Veszprém in this article.
Tata is rightfully called the “City of Living Waters” as the city places great emphasis on harmony with nature.
The migration of wild geese is extremely spectacular in the vicinity of the Old Lake in the middle of Tata, and there is also a whole series of events organized around this every year. One of the favorite themes of nature photographers is a group of geese taking off at dawn.
Of course, there are plenty of sights in the city as well, during the day when birds are resting. Tata Castle rises right next to the lake with exhibitions that are honestly not very exciting, but the building itself is amazingly romantic.
Esterházy Castle and Heroes’ Square next to Tata Castle are also great places for a pleasant walk. In the city of waters, it is quite natural to have watermills.
One of Tata’s most famous monument-mills is Cifra Mill, which was first mentioned in official documents in 1587 and was the only mill in the city to survive the Turkish conquest. It worked until the late 1960s and has been waiting for a new owner ever since.
Fényes Bath, a swampy area of huge environment protection importance and the Fényes educational trail named after its starting point, are located one and a half kilometers from the center. If you want to “get lost” a little in a little green world you’re in the right place!
Being a mining town, Tatabánya is not much of a fun place, yet it has some beauties for a pleasant trip.
The main attraction of the place located between Gerecse and Vértes Hill is the Turul Monument – one of the largest bird statues in Europe. The giant bird statue looks as if it is just about to take off from the top of Kő-hegy (Stone Hill), offering an impressive view with a wingspan of 15 meters.
You should wear hiking boots to get to the monument depicting the holy bird of the Hungarians, and visit the natural beauty of Selim Cave on the way up.
However, if you’re already in the area, you should not miss the lookout point offering an unparalleled view of the town.
Interested in the mysterious world of mining? Immerse yourself in the craft of this work within the walls of the Mining and Industrial Open-Air Museum with skilled miners.
Find out everything about Tatabánya here.
Székesfehérvár is definitely a city that is home to royal memories.
37 kings and the same number of queens have been crowned over 500 years in the basilica of the municipality that is located just an hour from Budapest. The first Hungarian ruler, St. Stephen, also rests here.
The city lives its everyday life in this spirit with the statue of the coronation insignia and an authentic copy of the Holy Crown at the Town Hall in the main square.
You can also enjoy royal treatment in Árpád Bath, renovated in 2010. Just like Budapest baths, the monumental bath offers refreshing relaxation for the body and soul, all with a modern wellness area.
Visit Mária-völgy (Mária Valley) near Székesfehérvár, and see Bory Castle, the embodiment of eternal love. Jenő Bory considered the castle a work of art rather than a residence; he built it for his wife as a gift, so romance basically spreads from the walls.
However, if you are more interested in nature, Sóstó, a 200-hectare nature reserve awaits you with interactive bird-watching and educational trails.
Székesfehérvár is a historic city with loads of attractions. Check out some more interesting information about it.
A piece of England in Hungary? It is possible.
It is a real addition to Hungarian castles with its captivating architectural style and 70-hectare English garden. But how come there is a Beethoven Museum in the building?
Beethoven never liked teaching, but he made an exception with two girls: he willingly became a piano teacher for the sake of Theresa and Josephine Brunszvik. The musician was affectionately attached to Josephine, and their story is also preserved in the sculptural composition Beethoven and the Immortal Beloved in the main square of the town.
Through the girls, he met Ferdinand Brunszvik, who became a friend and patron of the artist. The memory of this friendship is preserved in the Beethoven Museum in the south-western wing of the castle.
If you love classical music, visit Martonvásár in July and August and enjoy concerts featuring Beethoven’s works.
Find out everything about Martonvásár here.
Western Transdanubia – where the West invades
A touch of wild romantic landscapes, castles, palaces, and Western Europe – this is the Western Transdanubia region.
It consists of three counties along the Slovak, Austrian, Slovenian, and Croatian borders: Győr-Moson-Sopron, Vas, and Zala.
The foothills of the Alps stretch into the landscape to the west, Kisalföld to the north, and the Transdanubian Central Mountains to the east. Nature is proliferating, historical monuments are enchanting, and the expression of relaxation rises to a new level.
It is a slightly different world within Hungary where everything seems to be faster, better, and shinier. But that’s also the reason why we, tourists, love it: we get a little closer to the West. Get to know this region.
The best places to visit in Western Transdanubia
Őrség is not a city, but a fabulous wildlife region with tiny streams in the shadow of centennial trees. Lakes hide unnoticed under the cover of green foliage and are sucked into the dawning dim light of pine forests.
The landscape in the south-western corner of Vas county is named after the time of the Hungarian conquering. Our ancestors built guards and high ground from which they could monitor the boundaries and protect the western gate. Thus, the name Őrség. (Őrség = Guards.)
There are hundreds of medieval monuments on its territory, including the Church of Őriszentpéter, built in the 13th century, and the Pankas belfry. Dozens of country houses let us a glimpse into the everyday life of ancient times, for example, in the open-air-museum in Pityerszer Őrség.
Not far from here you will find Csörgőszer, where pumpkin seed oil is still pressed in the traditional way.
But all this reminiscence of the past is nothing compared to the fairy-tale flora and fauna of Őrség National Park: 1,500 species of butterflies, newts, European buffalos, and rare singing birds make the landscape more colorful. Get to know this unique region through its countless trails.
Don’t miss the picturesque Lake Vadása during your trip. A weekend on the shores of the lake will make you will never want to leave again.
For a detailed description of Őrség, click here.
Keszthely is a city on the western corner of Lake Balaton, overflowing with culture and lively tourism.
The majestic city in the Keszthely Bay is a real gem on the tiara of Lake Balaton, as we stumble upon exciting activities and sights step-by-step in the cultural center.
Besides Helikon Library, the Georgikon Faculty of Pannon University is the main attraction, and the most significant events of Keszthely are held in the ceremonial hall of Festetics Castle, the symbol of the city.
The Baroque-style, U-shaped building has fascinated the general public since the early 1800s, and its castle park is a nature reserve. In addition to the palm house and the bird park, the park also houses exciting exhibitions such as the hunting or model railway exhibitions and the carriage collection in the former stables.
You will find the House of Lake Balaton Wines in the 500-year-old cellar system of the castle, where you can get to know the mysteries of winery at a guided tour made complete with wine tasting.
The downtown of Keszthely is perfect for unforgettable walks. Culinary delights are offered in all restaurants, cafés, and bars, and if you are lucky, you might stumble into a music festival.
That is why Keszthely is lovable: the breeze blowing from the direction of Lake Balaton mixed with the scent of fine wines and the melody of music. You will understand, once you see it.
Keszthely is one of the best destinations to visit in Hungary. You can read about its sights here.
The city of rivers is located in the eastern part of the Kislaföld (Little Plain), at the estuary of the Mosoni-Danube, Rába, and Rábca rivers.
Győr was significant in the ancient times, as the city connected the then Aquincum (Óbuda) with Vindobona (Vienna).
It is the third richest Hungarian city in terms of monuments. The baroque city center itself is a stunning sight, recognized by the Europa Nostra Prize of Monument Protection.
Palaces, churches, and museums attract visitors hungry for culture, where the millennial Christian memory fits perfectly with modern architecture.
Thousands of believers make pilgrimages to the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary shedding tears of blood at the Basilica on Kápolnadomb (Chapel Hill) every year. Also, the herm – “Golden Head” – of the Hungarian King Saint Ladislaus, can be found here.
Győr is a real Hungarian festival city with a mixture of music, art, culture, and gastronomy in the colorful street cavalcade.
But, if you are looking for relaxation, head to Rába Quelle Bath, which has a spa with a composition similar to the thermal bath in Hévíz.
Refreshment, festivals, culture. It is no wonder Győr is always in a prominent place on the list of the top 10 most popular Hungarian settlements.
Győr is a great choice. If you want to know more about it, click here.
Sopron is absolutely unmissable as in my opinion it is the most beautiful place to visit in Western Hungary.
The Roman era left its mark on the “City of Loyalty.” Sopron was a known and important commercial city called Scarbantia at the time of the Roman Empire.
It was given its nickname in December 1921, when the inhabitants of the city could vote on whether they wanted to belong to Austria or Hungary, which had been dismantled by the Treaty of Trianon. Sopron decided in favor of Hungary and thus won the title “Most Loyal City.”
Of course, by the 21th century, you could encounter as many German inscriptions in the streets as Hungarian ones since Sopron is extremely popular among Austrians.
All you have to do is spin around in the city center, on Széchenyi Square, and you will see wonderful monuments. The Kecske-templom (Goat Church), the Town Hall, the Fire Tower and the Orthodox Synagogue, and countless other relics from the past are worth spending a day in Sopron.
You can admire the settlement from dozens of lookout towers – e.g. the Károly and Hubertus lookout towers – in the forests surrounding the city.
In summer you can attend the VOLT festival, one of the greatest Hungarian music events. I don’t think one day is enough for Sopron, you should perhaps spend an entire weekend here.
You can’t get bored in Sopron. Find out more about attractions in Sopron in this article.
Szombathely, or as it was known in Roman times, Savaria, is one of the oldest cities in Hungary.
The city, also called the “Queen of the West” , got its name after the decorative Art Nouveau buildings that most defined its image.
However, beside the tiny buildings, you can easily find some Roman monuments in one of the smaller streets. What makes this otherwise dreamy city really interesting, however, is the Savaria Historical Carnival.
In fact, it is listed in tourist guide books as one of the largest costume parades in Central Europe, accompanied by a number of complementary activities. A real party atmosphere covers the streets for several days and completely disrupts the quiet life of Szombathely.
During the rest of the year, the Kámon Arboretum attracts nature lovers, with its garden crowded with half a thousand rose varieties and Hungary’s largest collection of cacti.
For further information on the history and sights of Szombathely, click here.
“There are two types of people in Hungary today: the first type is those who want to come to Kőszeg and the second one is those who want to return as soon as possible.” – says the website of Kőszeg.
This statement presumably reveals everything about one of the coziest small towns in the country. The most significant monument there is Jurisics Castle, which has the most beautiful heritage of Hungarian castle architecture.
But you can stop for a moment to admire the neo-Gothic wonders of Jézus szíve Church, view the Tower of Heroes, or visit the Arany Egyszarvú (golden unicorn) Pharmacy Museum.
The former synagogue is worth a mass, as is the Kálvária Church built on the hill. And if you had enough of the city, the lookout spot of the Írottkő Nature Park is just a bit away.
You might want to hop on a bike and enjoy the cool forest air and the tranquility surrounding Kőszeg. Don’t forget to stop by one of the wine cellars to quench your thirst with a cold spritzer.
For a detailed description of Kőszeg, click here.
Zalaegerszeg is an exciting, buzzing, lovable city that is a specialty in the region, as is the Earth Tower Clock. The nearly 200-year-old clockwork ticking not far from the city center can be seen in a rather unique way – through a greenhouse.
If you love old folk objects, Göcsej Village Museum is the place for you. The collection was transferred to the first open-air ethnographic museum of Hungary from 22 settlements in Zala, reconstructing the 19th century folk world.
Looking for nature or more modern recreation? Lake Gébárti and its surroundings are the Paradise of active recreation.
In addition to these natural beauties, you can learn about the arts of pottery, blacksmithing, and wood carving at the Kézművesek Háza (House of Craftsmen). Afterwards, you can take a dip in one of the 7 giant slide pools of the AquaCity, relax in the Indoor Thermal Bath with sound and light therapy, or head to the Gébárti lake beach.
Wandering the Azalea Valley, which closely resembles a fairy garden, especially in the spring when all the colors of the rainbow appear in the country area, is also an amazing experience.
It is no coincidence—it is well-known all over the country and is one of the seven natural wonders of Zala County. Now it is time for you to decide what to do in just one day in Zalaegerszeg.
Find out everything about Zalaegerszeg here.
Southern Transdanubia – stuck in eternal summer
Southern Transdanubia makes you feel like you are under the Tuscan sun. It is the union of three counties spreading along the Danube, the Drava, and of course Lake Balaton: Baranya, Somogy, and Tolna.
There are beautiful forests attracting hikers, and Gemenc, the most beautiful Hungarian nature reserve, is also a great place to visit. It is rich in water and healing springs, so you can relax while enjoying the wines of 5 wine regions.
Due to its southern location, even the winter months are much milder than in the other Hungarian regions.
Its landscapes, studded with small villages and settlements, surround the calm Southern Transdanubia region with a special charm. Time to explore!
The best places to visit in Southern Transdanubia
23. Lake Balaton
The Hungarian Riviera – the Hungarian Sea. Due to its size, the largest lake in Central Europe can really be considered a smaller inland sea.
Although you can see the other side if you take a look from its width, when looking across its length, the water stretches to the horizon. However, the pleasant summer water temperature immediately tells us that it is fresh water we are dealing with.
The much shallower, southern part of Lake Balaton is highly popular among Hungarians. It is very interesting to experience that as soon as summer arrives, Budapest is deserted and everyone spends their free time on the beaches by the lake.
It is not surprising at all as everyone will find the ideal activity to enjoy. Apart from relaxing at the beach, you can also rent a sailboat or go on a cruise, and active holidaymakers can even cycle around Lake Balaton on the paved bicycle path.
Dozens of bands tour the lake, DJs provide the most striking music in permanent nightclubs, and periodic festivals shake up the silent streets.
Of course, there are also calmer resorts, where you can eat scones and drink spritzer made from Balaton wine at small cafés with checked tablecloths while admiring Lake Balaton.
An unmissable experience of summer at Lake Balaton is cycling with friends to the lake and then diving into the water. Have a nice holiday!
Lake Balaton is a must for everyone. For more pictures and information, click here.
Balatonvilágos is an adorable village of tranquility. Although it is full of tourists every summer, it still retains the kind of rural pleasure one rarely sees in an overworked world.
The quality of the water is said to be one of the best in the Balatonvilágos area of the lake. Plus, due to its shallow waters, even those who can’t swim or who have small kids may enjoy Lake Balaton for several hundred meters.
You must see the sight of summer Lake Balaton with visitors strolling in the knee-deep water, discussing the things of life.
The most beautiful attraction in Balatonvilágos is the Panorama Lookout Tower, which cannot be considered a lookout tower in the classical sense.
It is just a high-altitude flat area with a beautiful panorama of Lake Balaton. Inspired by the spectacle of dozens of painters, museums around Lake Balaton are full of landscapes made there. Let the experience captivate you.
Pécs is also a great favorite of mine as it is the embodiment of culture. It is the most popular city in the Southern Transdanubia region, thanks to the surviving monuments of the different periods of history.
On one side of the street there are ruins of a Roman city, while on the other side there is a 4th century early Christian necropolis or mosque.
It is a real historic melting pot, where German town halls fit perfectly together with Turkish mosques and the Zsolnay quarter. All this is spiced up with year-round colorful cultural events.
In the summer the whole city is constantly dominated by a pleasant vibration; ready for action, you feel like something exciting is about to jump out of the next bush.
The promenade of the historic city center is buzzing with cheerful tourists in the summer. Sit down for a cup of coffee and admire the mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim, dominating the vast square.
We can stumble upon the shops of the famous Pécs glove manufactory or the shops of hand-crafted chocolates and delicacies every step of the way.
In the Zsolnay district you can find out how the unique Zsolnay porcelain is made and learn about the history of decorative ceramics within the framework of an exhibition.
And if you want to get out of the civilized world, the Mecsek Mountains are waiting for you. Take a ride on the narrow-gauge railway, visit the Tettye tuff cave, or hike up to the TV-tower, which offers an amazing view of the city.
Pécs is guaranteed to steal your heart forever and you will want to come back for more.
Pécs is a historic city with loads of attractions. Check out some more interesting information about it.
Although in recent decades a major transformation has begun making the city more family-friendly, it is still best known for young people partying until dawn at the beaches.
Then comes the time to sober up and take a break from concerts along Ezüstpart (Silver Beach) or at the most fashionable beach of the city known as Aranypart (Golden Beach).
But of course, Siófok can offer a lot of exciting experiences beyond partying. The boat harbor in Siófok is one of the most beautiful harbors on the shore with a recently renovated pier and a rose garden.
It hosts various festivals throughout the summer, and in addition to scheduled and cruise ships, separate party boats are launched, which sail to the middle of Lake Balaton at night.
But you shouldn’t miss Millennium or Jókai Park either as they can compete with any English park. The most spectacular element of the city center is the water tower with a lookout café on top. You can admire the majestic panorama with a cup of coffee.
Siófok is a great choice. If you want to know more about it, click here.
Kaposvár is located in the Somogy hills in a wonderful environment. There are written records of the town mentioned as Kapos in as early as 1009. Countless monuments, museums, and cultural activities await you to pass your free time pleasantly.
One of my favorite attractions in Kaposvár is Villa Rippl-Rónai. This is the place where the famous Hungarian painter lived and created. Get an insight into his life and masterpieces, and take a glimpse at how the artist lived.
The building itself is well worth a visit, but the original furniture is also special. There are as many Rippl-Rónai paintings on the walls as you can comfortably see during your visit.
Don’t miss Kossuth Square either since it has been chosen as the most beautiful main square in Europe. You will also find the beautiful Nagyboldogasszony Cathedral and the Town Hall there.
Fortunately, those of you who would like to relax a bit in nature will not be bored either.
I recommend Deseda Lake and its surroundings. The 8km long lake is the longest artificial lake in Hungary. Surrounded by forest and field, the area is an excellent choice for hikers, cyclists, and water sports enthusiasts.
This was only a short foretaste. Find out everything about Kaposvár here.
Northern Hungary – mountains that attract everyone
For Hungarians, Northern Hungary means mountains. Although in the eyes of a foreigner, compared to the Alps or the Carpathians, they seem more like hills, in Hungarian terms they are considered a system of mountains cut with some serious pine forests.
The area is bordered by the Great Hungarian Plain to the south and Slovakia to the north. The landscape of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Heves, and Nógrád counties is full of romantic fortresses and castles, caves, and wine cellars in small villages hiding in the forests.
The region is also home to several World Heritage Sites including our two major national parks, the Aggtelek and the Bükk National Park.
It is not in vain that Northern Hungary is the primary hiking destination among Hungarians, as this is where the romantic landscape meets the echoes of history. Take a look around.
The best places to visit in Northern Hungary
Mátra is THE Hungarian mountain region as the two highest points of Hungary, Kékes (1014 m) and Gallyatető (965 m) are located in the Mátra.
The mountains have a serious tourist history, as in 1887 the “Mátra Section” of the Magyarországi Kárpát Egyesület (Hungarian Carpathian Association) was established and the development of resorts began with it.
The Mátra is home to many rare animal species, including the fire salamander and the huge European peacock butterfly; the saker falcon – the most beautiful bird in Hungary – also lays eggs there.
One of the most significant resorts is Mátrafüred. You can visit the final stop of one of the wings of the Mátravasút (Mátra railway), the Palócmuseum, and the Kozmáry lookout tower in this town.
In addition to the wonderful tourist routes of the Mátra, in the winter a ski slope near Kékes-tető has been available for those interested since the mid-2000s. You can also find Ilona Waterfall, the largest waterfall, and Oxygen Adrenalin Park, the largest adventure park in Hungary here.
The ruins of Sirok Castle are also worth the hours of hiking. The winding switchbacks leading up the mountain are among the most popular routes for motorcyclists, and you can even encounter whole convoys in the bends. It is invigorating adventure in a romantic, authentically Hungarian landscape.
If you mention the city of Eger to a Hungarian, they will immediately think of two things: castle and wine.
That is because Eger is the only border fortress in Hungary that was able to successfully fight off the attack of the huge Turkish army with only a handful of soldiers in 1552.
The glorious struggle was recorded by many Hungarian artists in paintings or sculptures, but it was also commemorated in a novel. The castle of Eger is a very popular weekend activity among Hungarians, and the exhibition of the History of the Castle is unparalleled.
Other unmissable sights of the city include Dobó Square – named after István Dobó, who served as captain during the siege of Eger – the Minaret and the Basilica.
The famous Hungarian wine, Egri Bikavér comes from Szépasszonyok Völgye (valley of beautiful women), a region closely connected to Eger. It is a must for all wine enthusiasts. Enjoy the coolness of the wine cellars in the summer heat.
Perhaps the valiant men of Eger also gained their strength from the majestic wines of Eger. Taste some and maybe you’ll become a hero just like them.
Eger is one of the best destinations to visit in Hungary. You can read about its sights here.
The third most popular city in Hungary is a diverse tourist attraction. There is everything imaginable – just choose the activities you like.
The most attractive tourist experience is the Cave Bath of Miskolctapolca.
Its special feature is that guests can enjoy the 32–35°C thermal water in hundreds of thousands of years old, nature-shaped cave passages. You can choose the Roman Hall evoking the Roman era, or the Star Hall, where you will feel like you are bathing under the night sky thanks to the star map painted on the dome.
After relaxing in the cave bath, it is worth hiking up to the highly protected Anna Cave or St. Stephen’s Stalactite Cave located in Lillafüred in the immediate vicinity of Miskolc.
Another must-see attraction in Lillafüred is Lake Hámori and the Castle Hotel, which is one of the most romantic places in all of Hungary. You can have a great time with children as well because kids will definitely be fond of the Lillafüred Forest Railway or the chairlift that provides a special experience.
Don’t miss Diósgyőr Castle either. It is a historical sight on the outskirts of Miskolc, with knightly tournaments that take you back to the time of kings and queens. If you don’t want to stay close to the city, the Miskolc Zoo awaits you with open arms.
Wish to indulge in culinary delights? Slip into one of the cellars of the Avas Pincesor (cellar row) for a light summer spritzer while walking towards the Avas Lookout Tower.
Miskolc is crowded with fun opportunities. The question is, will you have time for everything?
This was only a short foretaste. Find out everything about Miskolc here.
Hollókő is the living, pulsating Hungarian tradition.
It is the only village in Hungary that has been included in the World Heritage List since the 17–18th century folk architecture and the village way of life were preserved in their original form in the 20th century.
However, it differs from Hungarian open-air museums in one thing: it is still an inhabited village, and the buildings are used according to their original functions.
There are nearly 70 protected buildings in the Old Village, including a Catholic church with a wooden tower that has become the symbol of the village.
Most visitors are attracted to the Hollókő Easter Festival, as this is when Hungarian Easter traditions come to light and one gets a concentrated holiday of joy typical of the former rural life. All this is spiced up with music and dance folklore events and inimitable culinary experiences.
Oh, and don’t miss the heavenly pastries available at the village bakery. It will be easier for you to climb up to Hollókő Castle to see the amazing panorama with a full stomach.
After seeing the castle exhibition, you may continue hiking on exciting trails in the woods under the fort. If you’re lucky, you can see some playful deer and squirrels. So, put your hiking shoes on!
Hollókő is a must for everyone. For more pictures and information, click here.
Szilvásvárad is the most popular holiday resort in the Bükk Mountains. It is an absolute favorite of mine with its two beautiful natural formations, the 17–meter high Fátyol-vízesés (veil waterfall) and the Szalajka Valley.
Take a ride to the valley with the small forest narrow-gauge railway to the Gloriett clearing and descend backwards while admiring the wonders of nature, including Felső-tó (Upper Lake), Szikla-, and Szalajka-forrás (Rock and Szalajka spring).
If you have enough energy, you can hike up a steep switchback trail to Istállós-kői barlang (cave) from the clearing. Guaranteed muscle stiffness!
Szilvásvárad is a heaven for horse fanatics and hiking enthusiasts. The Állami Ménesgazdaság (state stud farm) has played a significant role in the breeding of Lipizzaner and the maintenance of the bloodline since 1806.
They have a wide range of services including horseback riding tours, stud visits, horse demonstrations, and horse history exhibitions for horse fans.
Szilvásvárad enchants everyone with its special atmosphere, love of nature, and sophisticated riding schools of bygone eras.
The Northern Great Plain – East of Eden
The Northern Great Plain region is the symbol of boundless freedom.
The area, which includes the counties of Hajdú-Bihar, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, is characterized by huge spaces, open countryside, spacious towns, and the Great Plain.
From the east, it is bordered by Ukraine and Romania, with its largest river, the Tisza, flowing lazily as we feel the passage of time in ageless landscapes.
A multitude of spas and ethnographic monuments await you, while you are overwhelmed by the “wild east” experience.
You will want to race with wranglers on the open plain, take a dip in the cool water of Lake Tisza, run through the apple orchards, then lean down and have a red succulent fruit.
Experience the wild Hungarian feeling of life!
The best places to visit in Northern Great Plain
It may be a little strange that Hortobágy was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List “only” for these reasons, but it is much more than just a sight of a steppe.
Being the oldest national park in Hungary, it is home to ancient Hungarian traditions that are unique not only in Hungary but also in the world.
The starting point of this whole miracle is the Visitor Center next to the village of Hortobágy, which is basically the gateway to the wilderness. The famous sights, such as the Nine-Hole Bridge – the longest stone road bridge in Hungary and the symbol of Hortobágy – are concentrated around this building.
You can also visit the Kézművesudvar (Handicraft Yard), the Shepherd Museum, and the Hortobágyi Csárda. However, the essence of Hortobágy is given by the romance of pastoral life in the plains.
The image of baggy-clothed, huge-mustached shepherds (wranglers; we Hungarians call them: csikós) driving cattle or horses has merged into the concept of Hungarianness.
Conquering ancient Hungarians were known to be good riders. They ate and slept on horseback, and even tribal meetings were held that way.
The preservation of equestrian traditions is still passed on from father to son among wranglers. They do things that blow your mind. The horses lay down or sit down on a single command word of theirs, but there are also those who gallop while standing on the backs of horses.
In the Hortobágy National Park, the traditions of this special way of life, such as the spring driving out of animals or the equestrian days, are presented within the framework of various events.
But it’s also worth visiting the Bridge Fair or the Pentecost Artisan Fair on August 20th. If you want to take home a unique Hungarian memory, pack your things and head for Hortobágy.
If you want to know more about Hortobágy, click here.
34. Tisza-tó (Lake Tisza)
Lake Tisza is the second largest lake in Hungary after Lake Balaton. It was created due to the regulation of the river Tisza, and it functioned as a simple reservoir from 1973 to the 1990s.
By the time of the completion of the embankment, the lake had developed such a wonderful ecosystem that it was home to one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the country.
Its management was taken over by the Hortobágy National Park, so it is part of the World Heritage program.
Initially “proliferating” tourism was regulated accordingly – only a certain part of the lake was accessible to beachgoers. In return, numerous events, sports opportunities, and water tours are available for holidaymakers.
The Lake Tisza Eco-Center presents the wildlife of the area in an interactive way – the largest freshwater aquarium system in Europe is also found there. You can visit the lake if you would like to combine bathing with admiring protected natural values.
For a detailed description of Lake Tisza, click here.
It is the second largest settlement in Hungary – the “metropolis” of Eastern Hungary.
The city established its reputation as early as the Middle Ages, mainly after its education and fairs. To this day, the Reformed College of Debrecen is considered the “school of the country,” the cradle of Hungarian culture.
Piac Street is surrounded by colorful trading houses on both sides, and famous fairs were held on the street itself for 300 years. Today, only the tram rumbles through it, offering a quick city tour to those who come here.
In summer, it hosts the Flower Carnival of Debrecen with processors parading all the way to Kossuth Square, where the Nagytemplom (great church) looks down on them with its majestic splendor.
It is also worth visiting the main building of the University of Debrecen, which is one of the most important research institutes in the country.
However, if you are not so moved by architectural sights, Nagyerdő (Great Forest) is the place for you. The Zoo, the Amusement Park, and the Aquaticum Bath Complex provide enough activities for the whole day.
And don’t miss the Ködszínház (Fog Theatre) either. There are short films about Debrecen screened on the fan-shaped water spray of the fountain from spring to autumn. Even a simple fountain is exciting in Debrecen.
For further information on the history and sights of Debrecen, click here.
The famous native of the city, Mihály Váci, described the downtown saying it was not a historical city. There were no battles or peace treaties connected to its name, and it had no large number of historical sights, old monuments with royal footprints, etc. But its beauty and atmosphere captivate all visitors.
By Hungarian standards, there is really nothing special about Nyíregyháza, but Kossuth Square and the arcaded, renaissance Town Hall in the center welcome you with love.
Since I was a child, Nyíregyháza meant the unique Zoo, which is the second largest in the country, but I still feel much closer to nature there than in the capital.
The fabulous oceanarium, the seal show, and the footbridge over the savannah runway put the concept of the zoo experience into a whole new perspective.
Not far from the Zoo is the Salt Spa (Sóstógyógyfürdő) with the healing water that has been known since the age of Hungarian kings.
The spa complex is surrounded by an idyllic lake and a forest. Plus, you can visit the Sóstói Múzeumfalú (Sóstó Museum Village) which takes you back to the 19th century Hungarian village environment.
Sit in the desks of the old days or watch how the traditional Hungarian Foccacia Pizza was made. Then have a bite of that great food!
Find out everything about Nyíregyháza here.
Where the Zagyva flows into the River Tisza, you will find the marvelous city of Szolnok.
Art is flourishing, and every single artist spent time at the Szolnoki Művésztelep (Szolnok Artists’ Colony) during their career. But not only the creative spirit adds color to the life of this city. The magic and colors of the place are also found in the Aba-Novák Agora Cultural Centre and the park in the heart of the city.
The 300 kinds of roses in the Rose Garden or the Rosary intoxicate our senses and in case of good weather, the concentrated flower scent can be detected all over the Szolnok.
If you are already there, cross Tiszavirág Bridge, the longest footbridge in Central Europe and also the symbol of the city.
By the way, visit the blooming of the Tisza! Have you ever seen magic on the surface of the water? The blooming of the Tisza Bloom is like that. Once a year, the hatching larvae of mayflies dance their short-lived, one-day wedding dance over the water and then die.
It looks like millions of tiny gems are flying in the air, providing an unforgettable sight in the light of the setting sun. The countless wonders of Szolnok are waiting for you.
Southern Great Plains – the home of Hungarian gastronomy
Endless Great Plain landscape, steppe romance, and culinary adventures – this is the Southern Great Plain.
The area coved by Bács-Kiskun, Békés, and Csongrád counties is undisturbed nature with fabulous farm worlds where sunlight reigns over everything.
Its main attraction is the Great Plain landscape itself. As one of our great Hungarian poets said:
“Lenn az alföld tengersík vidékin, Ott vagyok honn, ott az én világom…” (Down in the plains of the great plains, that is where I am at home, that is my world).
The largest region – one fifth of the production area of the country – is located here along with three national parks.
The Southern Great Plain region is home to the best of Hungarian gastronomy. In sunny cities, themed festivals are built around food or drink that are real Hungaricums.
Love your tummy? You won’t be left hungry in the Southern Great Plain.
The best places to visit in Southern Great Plain
Szeged is the sunniest and thus, the happiest city. At the confluence of the River Tisza and River Maros you can meet Szeged, famous for its pepper and salami.
Pepper, the basis of Hungarian gastronomy and Hungary’s favorite spice, prefers the climate of the Southern Great Plain and has been grown in Szeged since the 1890s.
Thanks to the long-standing pig breeding and processing in the capital of the salami industry, Hungarian’s favorite salami, Pick salami, was born.
If you are already dreaming of tasting it, there are other things on the menu as well; the Szeged Fish Soup Festival is held every year, with teams comparing their knowledge and trying to make the best fish soup. Of course, there is a tasting after the competition.
But let’s not talk about food only: there are many wonderful architectural sights in the city, including Dóm Square, one of the most beautiful attractions which hosts the Szeged Outdoor Games every year.
Life is really buzzing during the event. In addition to wonderful performances, the lights of the evening city will make you want to stay there forever.
Szeged is a great choice. If you want to know more about it, click here.
The town of Kecskemét is the city of the Danube-Tisza area, which is quite close to Pusztavacs, the geometric center of Hungary.
When hearing about Kecskemét, we immediately think of the Kodály method and peach pálinka (brandy) – both part of the World Heritage program.
For composer Zoltán Kodály, his hometown has always played an important role, as the singing teachers of Kecskemét were the first to follow the method of musical education.
The unmistakable peach pálinka is at hosts’ tables now thanks to the fruit and grape breeders of centuries-old traditions. You can get acquainted with the traditional methods of brandy production at the Zwack Fruit Brandy Distillery.
Interested in the architectural heritage of Kecskemét? Visit the Hungarian-style Cifrapalota, the Katona József Theatre, known as the cradle of Hungarian theatre, and the Town Hall famous for its “fairy palace.”
The city is also home to many famous riding stables, so you can also meet your favorite horse if you are a riding fanatic.
In summer, take a dip in the pools of the Kecskemét Adventure Bath and Slide Park. Looking at the myriad of activity options, you can understand the popularity of the city.
Gyula is one of the most significant cities of my childhood. Everyone thinks of the sausages at first when hearing the name of the small town on the left bank of the River Fehér-Körös. It is quite understandable as there is no other place in our country with a taste similar to Gyula sausages.
Thanks to its special seasoning, smoking, and its unique color, it can be recognized from afar. That is why it was included in the list of Hungaricums.
Part of the secret is that these sausages are made exclusively with Hungarian red peppers (mostly Szeged, sometimes Kalocsa) and Hungarian pork. But sausages are not the only attractions in Gyula.
My two favorite destinations are the Castle and the Gyula Castle Bath. The only surviving lowland brick castle of the Kingdom of Hungary looks like it has just come to life from the knightly tales of my youth.
The 24 exhibition halls have much to say about our 600-year history, and the lookout tower offers an unparalleled panorama of the city. In the summer heat the Castle Bath offers unforgettable relaxation with its 16 pools, but you can also try the 72 °C medicinal water that bursts from a depth of 2005 meters.
After a day on the beach, head to Százéves Cukrászda (centennial confectionery), which has been operating since 1840, and taste your favorite ice cream in original Biedermeier furniture. Well, I call that the perfect summer day!
For further information on the history and sights of Gyula, click here.
My second favorite city after Gyula is Békéscsaba. However, it is not able to compete with the neighboring Gyula in terms of monuments. However, I have to admit, Békéscsaba sausage easily beats the sausage from Gyula.
Although the taste of the two Hungaricums is very similar, the proportion of spices in the Csaba sausage seems much more refined than those in Gyula sausage.
Of course, it’s best to taste them yourself and decide which you prefer.
You can do this at the Csaba Sausage Festival, which is held every year with great events. You can taste and compare almost all the products of the primary producers in Békéscsaba.
And spicy sausages should be followed by a spritzer or some artisan beer. Or you can eat a chimney cake for dessert. Then head to one of the concerts to jump around and burn off the sausages.