From historical monuments in the capital to wine regions and national parks … Musement shares 15 must see places in Hungary.
This country in Central Europe has a large cultural and historical offering. Much more than just its popular capital city Budapest, the whole country is an excellent destination for lovers of nature, wine and gastronomy. If you’re not sure where to start, discover 15 must-see places in Hungary below:
The capital of Hungary should of course not be missed when you visit this country. The city was created by merging the Buda district on the west bank of the Danube and the Pest district on the east bank. Both districts have their own culture, but you will have to visit them both to really get to know Budapest. Stroll along the Danube, experience the Hungarian nightlife in Pest or immerse yourself in history in the old town of Buda.
2. Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building is almost impossible to miss when visiting Budapest and walking along the Danube. Construction of this neo-Gothic building ended in 1904 and it is one of the most imposing parliament buildings in the world today. The building is no less than 268 metres long, 118 metres wide at its widest point and the dome has a height of 96 metres. The Hungarian seat is on the Pest side of the Danube, but you have the best view of this monument from the other side.
3. Fisherman’s Bastion
The Fisherman’s Bastion or Halászbástya in Hungarian is one of the most famous buildings in Budapest. This neo-Romanesque building dates from around 1900 and is located on Castle Hill in Buda. As part of the castle hill, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. The white stone walls, stairs and towers give the bastion a fairy-tale look. From here you can also enjoy a beautiful view over the Danube, Pest and the parliament building.
4. Hungarian National Gallery
Art lovers should not miss the Hungarian National Gallery or Magyar Nemzeti Galéria. This national art museum dates back to 1957 and is located in the Buda Castle. The collections show works by Hungarian artists from different centuries and movements. You will find art from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Gothic and Baroque periods. The building itself is well worth a visit.
5. Thermal baths
Whoever says Hungary says thermal baths. The presence of the healing water is due to the volcanic soil on which the land is located. Did you know that Hungary has more hot springs than Iceland? So, it is not surprising that visiting these baths are so established in the culture. The most famous baths in Budapest are the baths of Gellért and Szechényi Baths. But you can also find plenty of pools or water parks in the rest of the country.
Debrecen, in the east of Hungary, is the second largest city in the country. However, during the struggle for independence against the Austrian Habsburgs in 1849, Debrecen was temporarily the capital of Hungary. Although it can no longer bear that title, it is still one of Hungary’s cultural centres. The University of Debrecen and the Reformed Theological University are two important centres of knowledge for the country.
The city is also nicknamed “Calvinistic Rome” because the centre of the Reformed Church is located here. The large church from the early 19th century is thus one of the main attractions here. At the church you can also find a statue of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. He is honoured here for helping to free 26 Hungarian ministers.
During a visit to Pécs you will feel like you are in a totally different country. Yet this is a place in Hungary not to be missed. The fifth largest city in the country is located in southwestern Hungary, close to the Mecsek Mountains, near the border with Croatia. The Ottoman influences are still clearly visible here and a must see is the former mosque. This is Hungary’s largest Turkish structure and is located on Széchenyi Square.
Just 20 kilometres north of Budapest we find the medieval town of Szentendre. The town is known for its museums, galleries and artists. Many of the buildings in the small town are listed as historical monuments. The colourful buildings, cobbled streets and hanging umbrella street create the perfect scenes for your Instagram feed.
9. Lake Balaton
After all these cities and villages, it is now time for nature. Lake Balaton, also called A Balcsi by the Hungarians, is a lake in the west of the country. With an area of no less than 600 square kilometres, it is the largest lake in Central Europe. Due to its fairly shallow water, the temperature of the lake is very pleasant, making it a tourist attraction in summer. The sandy beaches along the shores and the volcanic mountains in the north provide a beautiful setting. Highly recommended, it is located just an hour and a half drive from Budapest.
Just five kilometres from Lake Balaton we find the small town of Héviz. Although the town has important archaeological finds, this place is best known for its lake. Lake Héviz is the largest thermal lake in the world which you can swim in. The lake is 47,500 square metres and there is a geothermal well 38 metres below the surface. Water temperatures range from a maximum of 38°C in the summer to a minimum of 24°C in the winter – so you can bathe there all year round.
11. Tokaji wine region
While wine tourism might make you think of Spain, Italy or France, Hungary also has its own wine regions and fine wines. The Tokaji area, in the north-east of the country, is known as the best wine region in Hungary. The region is so special because the soil consists of volcanic subsoil and loess, but thanks to the rivers Bodrog and Tisza, the soil still receives sufficient moisture. All Tokaji wines are white and mainly sweet, excellent as a dessert wine.
12. Hortobágy National Park
Hortobágy National Park is the oldest of Hungary’s ten national parks and is located in the east of the country. The Park is best known for its steppe landscape, but you will also find forests, swamps and unique fauna. Not only is it home to the Hungarian Grey cattle, but it is also home to numerous bird species, wolves and smaller mammals.
13. Bükk National Park
The Bükk National Park is located in the central part of the Bükk Mountains in north-eastern Hungary. The majority of the land is covered in forest, but the park is best known for its caves. Bükk’s important geological features include various karst formations, swallow holes and ravines. It also home to the deepest cave in the country: the Istvánlápa cave with a depth of 250 metres.
14. Baradla Cave
Located in Aggtelek National Park is the largest stalactite cave in Europe: the Baradla Cave. This cave system extends more than 26 kilometres and is one of the longest researched. In the cave you will find a large number of fascinating stalactites of different colours and shapes. The Baradla Cave, along with other caves of Aggletek National Park, were inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 and are open to tourists.
15. Danube Bend
50 kilometres north of Budapest, the Danube River makes a big bend southward. Thanks to its shape, this place is also called the Danube Bend. The landscape around this bend is very green and attracts a lot of visitors both domestically and from abroad. And because of its strategic location, you will also find several medieval remains of fortresses and castles in the towns in the surrounding area. Make a stop at the small town of Visegrád, famous for its royal palace and a medieval citadel.