Top 15 Must-See Places in Hungary

Budapest and Lake Balaton, aka the Hungarian Sea, are no doubt the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary, but our 1000-year old country has many hidden treasures worth discovering. The first place many visitors to Hungary visit is Budapest. On both sides of the Danube River, both Buda and Pest, there are some great places you’ll want to visit.

Before embarking on one of these day trips or larger trips from the city, while in Budapest, don’t forget to check out:

  • Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Castle Hill
  • Buda Castle
  • Hungarian Parliament Building
  • Basilica of St. Stephen (and other Catholic Churches)

After you’ve thoroughly explored both sides of the Danube River in Budapest, Buda and Pest, I’m sure you’ll be eager to see more of the European hot spot.

In this travel guide, we’ll show you our favorite day trips from Budapest and other beautiful places to visit throughout Hungary.

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. The heart of Pécs is Széchenyi Square. This is a great place to base yourself while in Pécs. You’ll also want to visit Pécs Cathedral.

The Great Hungarian Plain

Photo Credit: via Instagram

For lovers of thermal baths and generous food servings, we recommend taking a trip to the Great Plain of Hungary 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.

Eger, Szilvásvárad and Lake Tisza

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 approximately 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 aquarium in Europe. Being a bit off the beaten track from mainstream tourism, Lake Tisza offers a more quiet and definitely very romantic atmosphere.

Szentendre and the Danube Bend

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.


Photo Credit: photographynikolabojana via Instagram

Esztergom is another fantastic place to visit in Hungary. Well known as being the capital of Hungary from the 10th to 13th century, this city had a huge influence in the nation’s religion. Home to the largest church in Hungary, The Esztergom Basilica, and the country’s founding king, St. Stephen I, this town is an important piece of Hungarian history.

Also located on the Danube River, Esztergom is just north of Budapest. Only about an hour away, this is a quick and easy day trip for someone that wants to see more of Hungary but is short on time.


Photo Credit: debrecen_nagytemplom via Instagram

Historically, Debrecen has been an important city in Hungary, especially during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Even today, its importance continues as the 2nd largest city in Hungary. As home to the largest university in the country, it’s also a young and lively city.

With plenty to see and do in Debrecen, you’ll enjoy this alternative to Budapest. This is a great place for history buffs who are interested in learning more about the history of Central Europe and also those that are looking to get away from the typical tourist route and see a side of Hungary that many overlook. While in town, be sure to visit the Great Church, which is the largest Protestant church in a country filled with cathedrals.


Photo Credit: montvaimoni via Instagram

Hévíz is home to one of the most unique attractions in Hungary- the world’s largest thermal lake! As the top tourist attraction in the area, visitors flock to this town year round to take a dip in the warm thermal water and benefit from the age-old healing properties.

First discovered by the Romans, while this lake is definitely the biggest draw to the town, you can also enjoy great food, visit the cellars for wine tasting, and nice views in the city center.


Photo Credit: ellen_emily via Instagram

Sopron is a city in Hungary on the Austrian border. This is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Hungary, according to most locals and tourists. Dating back as far as the 2nd century, this city has a long history to tell.

The Castle District recently was renovated but has still maintained its unique charm. The buildings that litter the old town are a mixture of architecture from Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque periods. Today, these buildings house bars, restaurants, shops, and family homes. The town did such a great job renovating the city that it’s now incredibly walkable. We highly recommend you make a stopover either on your way to or from Vienna.

Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta

Photo Credit: msecchi via Instagram

This national park is home to a unique landscape, unlike much you’ve probably seen in Central Europe. This area is primarily home to grasslands, swamps, pastures, and floodplains. In the late 1990s, it was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the area's importance in Hungarian culture and wildlife.

The most popular thing to do in Hortobágy National Park is to take a guided tour. There are a few options of tours you can choose from, so you’ll be able to choose the itinerary you prefer. For a day out in nature, far from the city noises and lights, a visit to Hortobágy National Park is a relaxing getaway.


Photo Credit: gyzsombor94 via Instagram

Aggtelek is a village on the border with Slovakia. The area is most well-known for Aggtelek National Park. The park protects a vast area of caves. There are about 1000 caves and caverns that have been discovered in the area. While it’s not possible to visit all of them, it is possible to go on guided tours through some of them.

If you’re interested in sightseeing that will take you underground, we recommend you visit Aggtelek National Park.


Photo Credit: erasmuslifebudapest via Instagram

Lillafüred is a resort town in northern Hungary. This picturesque town is located in the Bükk Mountains, about 15 kilometers from Miskolc city. Commonly described as a fairy tale town, you’ll be left in awe during your entire visit here. With mountains, valleys, and a lake, this small town has everything you’re looking for in a European getaway.

It can be easy to spend your entire time in Lillafüred simply relaxing and taking in the sights. Or, you can add a bit more adventure to the trip, and head into the mountains for great hiking. The choice is yours!

With this, your ready to explore the most beautiful places in Hungary. While you might be tempted to spend all of your time in Budapest, to really get to know this Central European country, do your best to make time to see more of it than just the capital city. You’ll be so happy you did!