Hungary is a fascinating and stunning country. Its capital, Budapest, is one of the most visited and beautiful capital cities in the world. But the country is so much more than Budapest. Keep reading to find the most beautiful places in Hungary.
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12 Most beautiful places in Hungary to take your breath away
From vibrant towns to ancient villages and stunning natural scenery, Hungary has so much to offer. There is certainly no shortage of stunning areas. You can look forward to towns with a tangible medieval atmosphere, diverse national parks, and massive lakes.
Once you’ve enjoyed a couple of days in Budapest, take a leap and explore the mysterious gems dotted around the country. Get to know the wine, food, culture, and history in these beautiful places and cities in Hungary. Many of these tourist attractions can be done as day trips from Budapest.
Budapest: Capital city of Hungary
Budapest is the stunning capital city of Hungary. It is also the financial, cultural, commercial and arts centre of the country. The most popular area in Budapest is the city centre, where the beautiful Danube river flows through the city, making it ever so pretty.
Sprinkled on the banks of the Danube are some of the beautiful and historic architectural gems from the Hungarian Parliament building, and Buda Castle. This area is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can spend half a day to a full day in Budapest, exploring the prime attractions, and then finish the night with a dinner cruise on the Danube.
The Dohány Street Synagogue is a must visit in the area. A little further away from the synagogue are ruin bars – bars set up in abandoned ruins. These are super trendy and affordable!
Whilst you are at the city center, admire all the bridges over the river Danube.
Other than the beautiful buildings, Budapest is home to around 80 geothermal springs. Most stunning amongst them all is the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath. The thermal waters are considered to have medicinal value here, so don’t forget to take a dip here.
Budapest is one of our favorite cities in the world – it is super affordable (as compared to Paris, London or Iceland), lively and full of history and heritage gems. From learning about the Ottomans to the Austro-Hunagrians and the modern period, Budapest has it all.
Budapest was chosen as the Best European Destination of 2019 (poll conducted by EBD) and also topped the list of Best European Destinations 2020.
Lake Balaton: Day trip from Budapest
By Anjali from Travel Melodies
Less than an hour away from Budapest, Lake Balaton, with its nearly 50 miles long shoreline, is central Europe’s largest lake. Dotted with vineyards, rolling volcanic hills, thermal spa resorts, picturesque villages and towns, Balaton is Hungarians’ favorite summer vacation destination. They fondly call it the ‘Hungarian Sea.’
Locals, as well as tourists, flock here for an overwhelming range of water sports activities, wine tasting, a dose of vitamin sea, and unique gourmet experience. The mountainous northern shore is known for its fertile vineyards, while the southern shore is famous for its family-friendly beaches and party towns. Balatonfüred, Siófok, Zamárdi, Keszthely, Hévíz, Tihany, and Tapolca are some of the most visited towns around the lake.
Hévíz Lake, the largest thermal lake in the world, and extraordinary Lake Cave Tapolca are not-to-be-missed attractions along Lake Balaton. Balaton Uplands National Park is a perfect destination for hikers, while one-of-a-kind Balaton beaches and promenades attract beach-lovers and sunbathers from around the world.
If you fancy staying near a beach, Siófok is a great choice. Keszthely and Badacsonytomaj are perfect for travelers who want to stay close to nature.
A beautiful drive from Budapest to Lake Balaton comes highly recommended. If you don’t have a car, join one of the guided tours with a local to capture the soul of Lake Balaton.
Keszthely: For history, culture & nature
This grand, gorgeous, crumbling town sits on the west side of Lake Balaton. It has an interesting, deep history that dates back to the Roman Empire. This is another Hungarian location that history enthusiasts will love.
Aside from all the museums and little historical sites peppered throughout the city, the Festetics Palace is an absolutely unmissable attraction. From here you will have incredible views of the lake and the opulent baroque palace is undeniably captivating.
Take in the historical and cultural stories of the town as well as the natural splendor surrounding it. You can hike in the Balaton Highlands or meander under the ancient maple trees in Helikon Park.
Esztergom: An ancient river town
This ancient river town, built on two hills by the Danube river, is dominated by the dramatic Esztergom Basilica. As the largest church in Hungary and the tallest building in the country, it is an astounding sight.
The gorgeous town in rural Hungary is drenched in history and is a fantastic day trip from Budapest. St Stephen, the country’s first king was born here and it was the royal seat from the 10th to the 13th century. The town has also been the home of Roman Catholicism for 1000 years.
Besides being a picturesque place, there are a ton of historic attractions. Spend the day exploring Hungary’s fascinating history in one of the prettiest places in the country.
Castle Visegrád in the Danube Bend
The Danube bend is undeniably one of the most gorgeous places in Hungary and should be on every person’s European bucket list. And the best spot from which to admire it is the Visegrád Royal Palace.
The 13th-century castle is perched on a hill with unparalleled river views. This historic stronghold guarded the Royal Crown for almost 200 years. History buffs can enjoy several permanent exhibitions and learn all about one of the most important towns of medieval Hungary, and its castle.
But truthfully, most people climb the brutal route up to the castle (or drive, if they’re not up to the hike) for the views over the Danube river. The imposing citadel and its panoramic vistas are a must-see in Hungary. For an all-inclusive experience, a full-day tour of the Danube Bend is a great option.
Eger: Quaint walkable city
By Juliet Dreamhunter from Live Your Dream TODAY
Eger is a quiet city in the northern part of Hungary, about two hours to the east from Budapest. You inhale its historical vibes as soon as your step on its grounds. Narrow streets, old buildings, and baroque churches give a memorable impression right away.
The main place this city is famous for is Eger Castle. It’s located on top of the hill and overlooks the whole area around the town, which made it a strategic point to succeed in fighting the Ottoman army back in the day.
As almost everywhere in Eger, you can only pay for the tickets in Hungarian Forints, and you get to see the whole castle grounds as well as the prison exhibition with the old weapons and instruments of torture.
Other than the castle, you can see the Minorite Church on the main Dobó István Square, the Eger Minaret, and relax in the Archbishop’s Garden.
As Eger is a very walkable town, all the main sights are reachable on foot. You can book a free walking tour or find a self-guided one and look around by yourself. Other things Eger is known for are thermal baths and wineries, which you can include in your itinerary or find a dedicated wine-tasting tour.
Eger is a good destination for a short trip as you can see pretty much everything in one day, but if you decide to spend the night, centrally located Hotel Estella Superior is a good option.
Pécs: Ancient Hungarian city
Yet another ancient city makes the list of the most beautiful places to visit in Hungary. Pécs sits at the foot of the Mecsek Mountains and is an important cultural hub.
Simply walking around this picturesque old town is an enjoyable activity, but there is so much to do that you won’t know where to start. The Pécs Cathedral is a popular attraction and is an aesthetic combination of different cultures.
Don’t forget to stop past the Mosque of Yakovali Hassan Pasha and the buzzing medieval marketplace, Széchenyi tér.
Regardless of how you choose to fill up your day in the pretty city, it is definitely worth a visit and a great day trip from Budapest.
Hollókő, most beautiful village in Hungary
Hidden in a valley the Cserhát Mountains is the village of Hollókő, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the celebrated winner of the ‘Most Beautiful Village in Hungary.’
This is a wonderful place to soak up authentic Hungarian tradition as you explore the Palóc rural architecture and 12th-century castle ruins.
The oldest part of the village is made up of 55 houses that have been built in timber and stone to reflect the original buildings of the time. It is a truly charming little village, with a tangible medieval atmosphere. And it’s as pretty as a picture.
Debrecen: Second Largest City
By Diana from The Globetrotting Detective
Debrecen, which is the second largest city in Hungary, is located in the Eastern part of the country. It’s mainly famous for its gorgeous historical downtown, one of the top Hungarian universities and a wide range of wellness opportunities.
The top attractions of Debrecen, namely the Reformed Great Church, as the largest protestant church of Hungary, the Csokonai Theatre, and the Dery Museum, are located on and around the main square. These highlights are surrounded by pretty and colorful historical buildings.
You can also enjoy the fascinating architecture of Debrecen from the terrace of one the cafés or restaurants on the main square while feasting on some traditional Hungarian delicacies.
You’ll find affordable and tasty Hungarian meals such as rascal burger (betyár burger) or Hungarian stuffed crepes (hortobágyi húsos palacsinta). There are also vegetarian options such as fried cheese (rántott sajt).
Another important location is the Nagyerdő, the Great Forest of Debrecen, where you can find the magnificent and majestic main building of the largest university of Hungary, the University of Debrecen, which has played a dominant role in the cultural and intellectual scene of Hungary.
Debrecen is not only a place for good food, education, and culture but also for recreational activities. Debrecen has a brand new complex with amazing swimming pools, a Mediterranean Aqua Park, thermal baths, sauna world, and wellness island.
Szeged: Third Largest City in Hungary
By Mark from Techiezer
Situated at the southern tip of the country, Szeged is the third-largest city in Hungary. Often called “The City of Sunshine” because of the number of sunny days annually, Szeged is a university center that sits on the banks of the Tisza River. It takes just under 2 hours to reach Szeged by bus from the capital of Budapest via the M5.
Szeged is home to 170k people, so it’s a comparably small city that you can sightsee on foot. Top sights in the city center include the main street (Kárász utca), Dóm square with the Votive church which you can ascend and enjoy the view of the plains surrounding the city. The Szeged Synagogue is an architectural masterpiece and a unique example of Art Nouveau.
Pick Salami and Szeged Paprika Museum are located on the outskirts of the city and this factory is the economic powerhouse of Szeged. Finally, you can go fishing for catfish on the river which is famous worldwide because it is the only river to bloom during the mating season of the aquatic insects in mid-June.
There are many restaurants in Szeged, from international fast food to traditional fish restaurants. Be sure to visit a local pastry shop (a cukrászda) where you can try a chimney cake (kürtőskalács) or strudels (rétes). If you’re staying in Szeged longer, then you can choose from a number of splurge hotels located downtown like the recently renovated Hotel Tisza, or choose a budget option, such a room at a college dorm.
Aggtelek National Park
This national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a Hungarian treasure. It is a beautiful park committed to protecting biodiversity, and there are a ton of stunning vistas to enjoy.
However, the main attraction is the unbelievable cave system, especially the Baradla Cave, the largest cave in Hungary. It is a breath-taking 15.5-mile-long cave and is the most impressive out of the 270 caves which dominate this park.
You can choose to explore the stunning caves and the surroundings by yourself or join a tour here. Either way, you’ll love the unusual and intricate formation of the caves, a result of millions of water drops over hundreds of years. Various shapes and colors adorn the caves and are truly a spectacular sight!
Hortobágy National Park
The Hortobágy National Park is quite different from the first one on the list but just as spectacular. It is quintessentially Hungarian, and part of Hungary’s Great Plain. It is a natural area of grasslands and wetlands which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
This is an unbelievable place to explore Hungary’s wildlife and Europe’s largest semi-natural grassland. This is a great option for outdoor enthusiasts as there are a number of cool activities to take part in.
You can check out the Wild Animal Park, discover Lake Tisza or take part in a night walk to admire the breathtaking starry sky.
Exploring Hungary’s Scenic Spots
These stunning destinations are not just jaw-droppingly scenic, but offer a bunch of historic, outdoor and cultural activities, too.
We are sure that you are itching to visit some of these beautiful places in Hungary and if the country isn’t part of your Central or Eastern Europe itinerary, it certainly should be.
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