Travel guide: 14 best places to visit in Hungary
Famous & Hidden Spots
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14 Best Places To Visit In Hungary
Budapest, at last! After such a long time of waiting the urge to take a break from work as an Autocad draughtsman was becoming a true necessity. I chose Hungary because I’ve never been there before and read many good words about its capital. It must be so much worth it. And it really was!
Matthias Church or Mátyás Templom
A 14th-century church named after King Matthias, who married here, with an ecclesiastical art museum. A bronze statue of Stephen I of Hungary mounted on a horse, erected in 1906, can be found between the Bastion and the Matthias Church. The pedestal was made in Neo-Romanesque style, with episodes illustrating the King’s life. Next time I definitely have to go inside the church.
It is located at the Fisherman’s Bastion, only 600 metres north from the Buda Castle. The square is called Szentháromság Tér and is translated as Trinity square in English. Obviously it is at the Buda side of Budapest.
Statue Julianus Barát or Friar Julian
— Rising his arm to the east “He left Hungary in 1235 to find the Magyars who — according to the chronicles — remained in the eastern homeland. Julianus named the old country Magna Hungaria or Great Hungary. Julian was the first traveller who brought back valid information about Hungarians living in Magna Hungaria, which contributes to research on Hungarian history. He also gathered information from Asia and his descriptions are of great importance from geographical point of view, which inspired future explorers and researchers.”
Follow the Fisherman’s Bastion toward the back of the church and you have to pass the Hilton hotel at your left hand side. Walk near the wall and you’ll find a small path to the the Friar Julian statue.
Budapest Train Graveyard
It was time to check out that Red Star train in the north of Budapest, which I had found on an urban exploring website. Also on the checklist were the metro and a particular station, its name was Kálvin tér apparently. Metro line M1, the oldest in Budapest and even the second oldest railway in Europe completed in 1896. So I took the M1 until the last stop and continued my trip to the Red Star train by foot, which took me more than over an hour to get there. I don’t regret it though.
Before entering the grand hangar full of old trains I could explore bits and pieces of train carriages and wagons randomly placed on the site. It was so awesome that I could spent more than a day there. My eyes were shining like crystals when I entered the huge hangar, each track stationed with relics of massive steam machines. Beware, this is private terrain.
Read the full blog post here: The Red Star Train
Budapest’s Tram 2
Tram 2 takes you for only 350 ƒ from Jászai Mari tér – Közvágóhíd to Közvágóhíd – Jászai Mari tér. Total track is 5.97 kilometres long and counts 13 stops. This tram passes the Parliament building right next to the river Danube. Click here for all 13 routes.
You have a lot of choice when it comes to hotels and hostels in Budapest but I picked the Attila Hotel out of many. Its location was good, not too far from the city, the right price, reachable by train and car.
The Halászbástya or Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda side of the Danube, on the Castle hill. Built between 1895 and 1902.
The panoramic view from the towers and the terrace is simply stunning. The river Danube, Margaret Island, Pest to the east and the Gellért Hill can be seen from here.
Next time I go to Hungary I definitely book the Danubius Hotel Gellért. It’s super famous for its impressive spa resort. Has beautiful indoor pools and thermal baths. But the most well-knownis the Széchenyi Thermal Bath at the City Park. A pity I didn’t try any of these as my trip was going to be a road trip.
Today I decided to check out the cogwheel train to the top of the hill. It was a very cool experience. The fog was a less interesting part of the day. There was also a second train called the Children’s train, which was spectacular as well. I had lots of fun shooting video of people waiting on the next train. The attraction for the kids was almost completely operated by children older than 10. At the stations they saluted their colleagues on the train as a tradition from the past. Check ticket prices here.
Stop at subway station Széll Kálmán tér and walk toward the east. Take the street Szilágyi Erzsébet fasor and you’ll pass the Városmajor park on your left. It’s only 800 metres from the station. Opposite the Hotel Budapest, cross the 2 metro tracks to the Cogwheel railway train.
I discovered an Italian restaurant. Peppino Pizzéria és Étterem, and I ordered a four-cheese pizza for only 1150 FT or €3,71 and the Star of Eger, a tasty white wine.
My hotel Imola Udvarház was great and luckily there was a free parking under the building as it was right in the middle of the old city and difficult to find a free parking spot.
It is located at the entrance of the Castle of Eger and I booked it via the mobile app of Booking.com on the previous day. Follow the cobblestone road downwards and it is the first building on the left. Like you can see on the photo.
Hungary is a big country and by train you just can’t get everywhere. So hiring a car is a great opportunity to drive around and see so much more. I booked a car at Europcar and for me it was my second experience. The service was good and had no problems with the rental.
Click here to check rental prices from Europcar or book below.
Bükki National Park
I drove through Bükki National Park in the pouring rain enjoying every beautiful turn. The rain and sometimes a thick layer of mist combined with beautiful and colourful trees gave it a special touch. A train track running through the hilly park and an information board at the station. It is a national park in the Bükk Mountains of Northern Hungary, near Miskolc.
Bokod Floating Houses
Before I leave on vacation I search for interesting places and one of them was this spectacular place. They look like cabins and stand on wooden stilts on the lake Bokodi-hůtőtó. Those cabins are used by locals for fishing. Neighboring towns are Bokod and Oroszlány and is located 60 km from Budapest to the west. Interestingly the lake rarely freezes over, despite the frigid winters in Hungary.
The reason for this is the power plant. The lake serves as a cooling pond. Cool water into the plant, warm water out.
Lake Bokodi-hůtőtó had its 15 minutes of fame in 2014, when a moody photo of the cabins, rising out of a blue mist, was used by Bing on one of their search pages.
The Children’s Railway (Gyermekvasút), built after World War II, and originally called Pioneer’s Railway, is run by children under the supervision of adult railway workers. Children do various types of jobs, from selling tickets to traffic management. Similar projects had been introduced in the former Soviet Union in the 1940’s.
When Children’s Railway first opened some stations were named after symbols of the pioneer movement, which were then changed in 1990. There is a museum on site (at Hüvösvölgy station) displaying some relics from the Communist/Pioneer era.
Lake Balaton, foggy in the morning but mesmerising in the afternoon. Beautiful nature with calm towns filling up the scenery. Köveskál was wonderful to see. Peaceful with nice people, small with new roads and not much traffic. A minute walking and you are surrounded by open fields of nature. I took a walk from the city centre to the playground and the local cemetery, which was also interesting to see as well.
I drove all the way around lake Balaton and must say it’s highly recommended. The sun was shining and the temperature went above 21 degrees. Lake Balaton has a length of 77 kilometres and is 14 kilometres wide. The lake can warm up fast because it has an average depth of 3.2 metres and has a maximum depth of 12.2. During the harsh winter in Hungary the whole surface of 592 square kilometres can freeze without any problem.
At Siófok I booked a villa for the night called Bella Villa. One of many villas there who are mostly owned by Germans or Italians. The owner was so nice and the room was comfortable and I even had a kitchen for myself.
The Tihany Abbey is a Benedictine monastery established at Tihany in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1055 by King Andrew I of Hungary (r. 1046–1060). It was dedicated to the Holy Virgin and to Saint Bishop Aignan of Orleans. King Andrew was buried in the church of the monastery in 1060. His tomb in the crypt of the church is the only grave of a medieval King of Hungary which has been preserved until now. The church’s ceiling is decorated with frescoes by Károly Lotz, depicting Faith, Hope and Love.
Day of delight, day of dessert folks! A morning walk to the city centre of Siófok to go to the bakery. I bought 5 delicious-looking pastries for only 700 Forint and drove to Tihany where I ate 3 of them. One with cheese, another one with cheese and ham and the last one with cheese and bacon. Let’s say a very energetic breakfast at 11 am on top of a hill with a beautiful view over lake Balaton.
The night before I had diner at Bella Italia. A beef goulash soup with a ginger drink. And to add just a finishing touch to it, a cappuccino. Accompanied with French chansons and other old music I enjoyed my tasty goulash.
The sea of Hungary — Lake Balaton
Another hostel on my list was the Ananas Hostel. A nice place with a very colourful garden. A keyboard, a guitar, deck of cards, radio, a shared kitchen, little library, living room, everything was there. With people from all over the world the hostel was doing pretty well. First I met the friendly man from Australia who was volunteering for the hostel and then I went out to see the city of Pécs. I ended up at the statue of Jesus and a church, also there was a climber preparing to go down again after an ascend. It wasn’t that high, but it was good enough to climb a small rock.
My next hotel, a guesthouse in Apostag, this time I had a full house for myself. I was the only guest. At arrival I was surprised that my name was written on a piece of paper hanging on the face. A lady was there to let me in. She and her husband gave me even a small pizza. Not really typical Hungarian food, but still hospitality top class. When everything was settled we had a little chat about me and what I do for a living, I even showed them my T-shirt of Scaldis’ work of the removal of the Flinterstar. They were very impressed. This small village had also a Coop Market and I bought a bread, cheese and Hungarian sausages. It was around 6:30 when I had diner and not much later I went to bed. The guesthouse became very dark after sunset, so I left the light on in the kitchen neighbouring the bedroom.
I really can’t sleep when it is completely dark, at least I’m not used to it. With the light on I felt a bit more at ease, the rest of the night was like waking up at certain hours after hearing some noises. I’m all open ear and a very light sleeper, except when I am too tired. In general this guesthouse is perfect for families who search for cheap travel solutions.
Another amazing thing I’ve done was cycling through Budapest and especially to the Margaret Island or in Hungarian Margitsziget. Renting a bike in Budapest is a nice experience and you can do so very easily on the website of Donkey Republic. Click on the photo to see my route.
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What amazing place do you recommend the most? Share in the commonts below!
» Written by Alan who goes under the name of twin-rhino | Published on August 14, 2018