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Budapest and Lake Balaton are no doubt the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary, but our 1000-year old country has many hidden treasures worth discovering.
Here are some ideas for day trips and longer stays.
Villány and Pécs
If you appreciate a nice glass of a full-bodied, spicy wine then the Villanyi wine region is definitely the place for you. Located in the South of Hungary, it enjoys a sub-Mediterranean climate ideal to produce high-quality wine. Free tastings and delicious cuisine will obviously be the highlight of your visit.
While you’re there you may also schedule a visit to the university town of Pécs, the “Borderless City” a rare example of three different cultural minorities living together peacefully. Its Early Christian Necropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For lovers of thermal baths and generous food servings, we recommend taking a trip to the Great Hungarian Plain or Alföld. With their wide range of indoor and outdoor thermal pools, salt rooms and various mud treatments Cserkeszőlő and Kiskunmajsa are perfect for a little R&R. They’re also not very well-known among foreign tourists (except the Germans) which means that their prices are tailored for Hungarian pockets, making them super-affordable. The cuisine is delicious and very abundant.
Heading north of Budapest, Eger is an unmissable cultural gem. Surrounded by the beautiful Bükk Mountains, the city features a wealth of historic buildings. These include the Eger Castle, where Hungarian rebuked a Turkish attack during the famous siege of 1552 and the northernmost Minaret in Europe. The city is also famous for its delicious cuisine and fine wine as well as for its spas.
Surrounded by a lush green valley the beautiful mountain retreat of Szilvásvárad with its pristine lake, lovely hills and Hungary’s only Lipizzaner Stud Farm is just 30kms/18mi away making it an easy addition to your visit.
Located appoximately 62kms/38mi from Eger is the beautiful Lake Tisza. Though less famous (and less crowded) than its counterpart Lake Balaton, this artificial reservoir, which is also in the vicinity of the famous Tokaj Wine Region, has a diversely rich ecosystem with numerous species of plants and wildlife. Its recently created eco-center has the largest freshwater acquarium in Europe. Being a bit off the beaten track from mainstream tourism, Lake Tisza offers a more quiet and definitely very romantic atmosphere.
For day trips, try a visit to the picturesque village of Szentendre with its charming period buildings, cobblestone streets, exhibitions and fine dining as well as Visegrád, with its beautiful castle located on the Danube Bend.
If you'd rather travel at a more leisurely pace, try exploring the area along scenic route 11, which runs along the Danube. It’s a must-see for photography lovers. This will also take you to Esztergom, a city famous for its majestic basilica that is really worth visiting.