Things to see in Hungary: cities, Lake Balaton and nature
How culture And language it is different from neighboring countries. This is why we can say without anyone being offended that, at least in thecentral EuropeL’Hungary she is strange. But let’s be clear: it’s a compliment. Because it means that it’s not what you expect, that there are many things to see in Hungary and that surprises and wonder are guaranteed travel companions. And there is nothing better.
What to see in Hungary: cities, spas and castles
This is a nation, indeed, where the capital, Budapestrivals without feelings of inferiority with the austere beauties of Vienna but where it takes very little, aiming towards the countryside to encounter a world of castles well preserved, wine areas of high lineage with many opportunities to stop, a the needle that looks like a sea – well, if you really want to see the sea in this country there is no – and reassuring landscapes made of low mountains, forests of oaks and hot Springs.
On the other hand, the Romans were the first to use them warm waters that flow generously from the earth, originally for medicinal purposes while today the purpose is to seek a warm relaxation. And not by chance i thermal baths around here there are no pools or pools. But real monuments. The starting point for every trip to this country is more or less always the same: the capital, Budapest. And on the other hand many of the things to see in Hungary are here. And they are many.
The capital Budapest
The capital is one elegant and lively city composed of two settlements once and now ideally on the banks of the river Danube. Merged but different: Budaon the hill, boasts a series of Habsburg and neoclassical buildings while the most jaunty, so to speak, pest it is the shopping center with a generous catalog of architectures Art nouveau and a rich one cultural and worldly offer.
The city has in fact been the magnet for the Hungarian artistic, musical and literary community and is, by far, the best place in the country for those who, among the things to see in Hungary, don’t want to give up intense evenings to live among trendy venues and elegant restaurants. But there are also smaller cities. By size and not by interest and which are worth a visit: Pecs for its museums; Eger for its fortifications as well as Visegrad where the remains of a 13th-century citadel and a 15th-century royal palace can be found.
The freshwater sea
But it’s not just cities: Hungary also revels in natural delights. As do its inhabitants. The Lake Balaton it is the largest freshwater lake in central Europe and, as Hungary has no other outlet, it has been called the “Hungarian sea“. It is surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards and on the roads that surround it there are pleasant towns and cities in which to stop. One, for example, is Herendfamous for the porcelain factory which now goes back two centuries of history and which hosts one of porcelain museums largest in the world where you can discover the secrets of this ancient art.
Continuing the tour you can get to the peninsula Tihany, one of the most famous holiday resorts on Lake Balaton which has always had a place in the guides dedicated to things to see in Hungary. This tiny peninsula – which covers only eight square kilometers – offers splendid landscapes also because being a nature reserve it is mostly closed to traffic and must be explored on foot along a trail network well signposted.
The unmissable arrival point is theBenedictine abbey from the 17th century, with spectacular views over the lake and the surrounding area. The best times to come here are those of springwhen the region’s almond trees are in bloom, and in June, when the fragrance of lavender fills the air. And remember that the visit will not be over until you have reached the old port with a slow walk, where the boats dock and where a pleasant lakeside promenade begins.
Continuing along the shores of the lake, one arrives at Balatonfüreda town much loved by Hungarian writers and artistswhose magnificent villas have been transformed into museums. This city was also an important medical center but now it is animated mostly by the tourists who land here come on ferries which cross the lake and allow you to return to the southern shore and then to Budapest.
Swimming on the lake. And in the mountains you can ski
Baths and beacheseven in fresh water. But you can also slide on the water: in fact, in Hungary on mountains to the north you can too skiing through the forests before relaxing with a dip in a spa. Sure, the Alps are something else: but in any case the country offers some districts with a few tens of kilometers of slopes at a contained height: the area of Siarena Epleny it is just over a thousand meters high.
Always scrolling through the list of things to see in Hungary in the mountains you get to Lillafüred caves between Bükk mountains. This area is famous for its spectacular caves, which can all be easily visited on foot, including one of the most interesting being that of Istvanwith fantastic lineups of stalactites and the Petofi cavefamous for the fossils of extinct plant species engraved in the limestone walls. For those who want to feel like in a western film, there is the possibility after the trips to take a ride on the old one narrow gauge railway which crosses the most rugged parts of the mountains.
The other cities to see
But we said it: in addition to Budapest there are other beautiful cities. Sopronfor example, just 64 kilometers south of Vienna and eight kilometers from the Austrian border, it is a very popular destination among tourists in Hungary. Its charm comes from the fusion of nature that surrounds it with the many medieval and baroque buildings well preserved that stand out in the center. I am indeed 240 palaces protected and protected by Sopron, 115 of which are considered national level monumentsand are all located within the medieval walls built on Roman ruins.
What to see in Hungary: the city of Pécs
One cannot then neglect mentioning the things to see in the Hungary city of Pecs – which was Cultural Capital of Europe in 2010 – a jewel of narrow streets, churches and small squares which is the ideal place for those with a passion for history and wine. Pécs is located in southwest hungarian, not far from Croatian borderat the foot of the mountains Mecsekand there is a strange vaguely Mediterranean atmosphere thanks to its particular microclimate and a relaxed lifestyle that tells of when these lands were invaded by Turks. The traces are evident: the Gazi Kasim mosque in the main square it is the most imposing building but during the occupation the whole city changed radically.
Most of the churches have been converted and theIslamic architecture it flourished and still today you can see the ruins of the Turkish baths and the mausoleum of Idris Baba which, curiously, is not far from the cathedral but also from one Roman necropolis from the 4th century that is UNESCO heritage. After so many visits you feel thirsty and here you are spoiled for choice: around the city there are expanses of vineyards on the hills and everywhere you can make excellent wine tasting.
Between castles and fortresses
Let’s finish our short trip among the things to see in Hungary by mentioning the many castles, palaces And fortresses that dot the area. One of the best known is the Castle of Eger which stands on the southern slopes of the Bükk Mountains and which once guarded the entrance to the northern Hungary. Built in the 16th century on inspiration from Italian fortresses contemporary was heavily transformed after the Turks entered the country in 1596.
Today, visitors can explore the towers that dominate the city and many other ruins that give a sense of the size and strength of this fortress. After the visit you can go down to explore themedieval and baroque architecture of the lower city which, moreover, also offers excellent restaurants. And by now you will understand why we said that Hungary can be called strange. But also very beautiful.