Travel, in many ways, is education and part of our many experiences.
The country’s highest mountain, the smallest village, the first Hungarian language bible from the 16th century, and the oldest railway from the 19th century all found in the Eger-Tokaj Region. The world renowned Hungarian wine, the Tokaji Aszú, ages in the cellars of this region, while one of Europe’s most beautiful horse tracks and biggest cave systems is also found here.
The “Hungarian Sea”, is the people’s name for the 50-mile long lake with silky green-yellow water in the middle of Transdanubia. Lake Balaton is one of Hungary’s most precious treasures and most frequented resorts. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe. The southern shores are ideal for small children because of the shallow water, but on the north shore the water gets deeper instantaneously. The summer water temperature is around 80 °F, which is warmer than the average air temperature in the morning and in the evening. The water and the sleek mud of the lake are excellent remedies for nervous complaints, anemia and nervous fatigue.
Picturesque vineyards in the region produce an assortment of excellent wines that go very well with the delicious local food. Large numbers of inns and restaurants welcome guests from home and abroad.
Keszthely, the oldest settlement of Lake Balaton was an important hub of commerce in Roman times. The beautiful Esthetics Mansion with its ornate wrought iron gate, surrounded by an English park, is the third largest chateau in the country. All you may wish to know more about Lake Balaton, including its formation, flora and fauna, the history of bathing culture, waterborne traffic and archaeological and ethnographic memorabilia of 7,000 years, can be seen at the Balaton Museum.
How come camels, buffaloes and zebras roam along Lake Balaton? Hardly indigenous to the region, they are resident of the Safari Park and Africa Museum established by the renowned Hungarian hunter in Africa, Endre von Nagy. A rich collection of artifacts including trophies and African ethnographic objects is on display at the museum.
Siófok is the largest town on the southern side of Lake Balaton and is known for being the party town of the lake. Its port serves every boat route on the lake. Cruise boats also start from here. The hotels of the Golden and Silver Beaches are very much in demand. The pleasant parks are ornamented with statues. The Lutheran church has a remarkable style. The composer of the internationally renowned operettas, Imre Kálmán (1882-1953), is the famous son of this city. His piano and many personal belongings can be seen in his museum. The Water Management Museum covers the history of shipping and fishery on Lake Balaton, while a huge collection of minerals is exhibited in the Museum of Minerals.
This one thousand year old Episcopal and archiepiscopal seat is one of the most beautiful Baroque cities in Hungary. Its inhabitants are proud of its glorious past and priceless heritage of monuments. In 1552 a handful of Hungarian warriors held the town’s fort against a Turkish force of forty thousand.
The Prison Museum, the Waxworks Museum and the Minaret evoke historical memories, while the gallery exhibits paintings by European masters from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
The town also offers a wide selection of full-bodied red wines. In the century old wine tasting cellars honeycombing the volcanic soils of the hillside of Valley of the Beautiful Ladies (Szépasszony völgye) you can taste the famed Bull’s Blood.
Hévíz is extremely fortunate to have its Thermal Bath that has been attracting visitors for more than two centuries. The Lake is covered with water lilies and extends over an area of approximately 30 square-miles, with a depth of 118 feet at the center. It is the second largest hot-water lake in the world, at a temperature of 90°F open-air bathing is very pleasant even in winter. Treatments are conducted under the supervision of specialized doctors from the Hospital of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation.
The Aggtelek National Park
The cave prides itself with the world’s tallest stalagmite and a concert hall with incredible acoustics. Dazzling rock and crystal formations named after their perceived lookalikes, such as Dragon’s Head, Tiger, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, as well as dozens of underground lakes and winding passages can be explored as part of a guided tour. Experienced cavers also come to Aggtelek in search of new adventures. Above ground, the quiet, forested landscape is a haven for birds, butterflies, amphibians and reptiles, as well as the occasional brown bear or lynx. According to scientists, Aggtelek is one of the world’s most wonderful geographic phenomena.
The historic Tokaj wine region has been producing “the king of wines and the wine of kings” for 450 years. Crowned heads of states, including Russian tsars, Polish kings and the Pope of Rome were among regular customers of the wines made from grapes, which ripen on the sunny hill until late autumn giving them high sugar, content. The exhibition at the Tokaj Museum traces the glorious history of the drink initially used as medicine in the middle ages.
Volcanic hiking trails give a full panorama of the region.
Nestled in the beautiful Bükk Hills, Szilvásvárad is the home of the celebrated Lipizzaner horses, considered to be the best riding horses in the world, despite their small stature. Not only are they very robust and graceful, they can also be trained to perform elaborate dressage maneuvers.
Hungary’s third largest city, Miskolc has several interesting churches and synagogues to explore, but the cave baths steal the show a 20-minute ride away on the No. 2 bus. The outdoor complex, a series of atmospheric pools discovered in 1920, is tailor-made for wallowing. Twelve kilometers west of Miskolc, the tranquil resort of Lillafüred is best known for its neo-Renaissance palace hotel nestled in a lakeside forest. The village’s two stalactite caves also attract visitors and the surrounding area lends itself to hiking.
The Alföld is a place of legends, and legendary sights. The bird nature reserves its two counties contain, the Hortobágy and the Tisza lake, have made it onto the UNESCO world heritage list. Three national parks can be found within its boarders. Other sights include Europe’s largest fruit producer, one of the Greek Catholic faith’s oldest sites, Central Europe’s biggest windmill, the plain’s only medieval stone castle, Hungary’s oldest railway station, and the world’s second largest panorama painting.
Hortobágy(The Puszta) is one of Europe’s largest expanses of protected prairie, where Hungarian grey cattle, stud horses, Racka sheep with spiral-shaped horns and buffalo herds graze on open pastures. A World Heritage site since 1999, the Hortobagy National Park stretches over an area of 200,000 acre.
In this region the sun shines more hours than any other region in the country and abundantly flowing thermal water helps health-seekers to recuperate.
Down by the Serbian border to the southeast, the university town of Szeged has a relaxed charm. It originally flourished on the back of the salt trade but was destroyed by the great flood of 1879 and consequently rebuilt in style. The huge square in the city center, with its even larger cathedral, is the focal point and plays host to the city’s lively summer festival. The city is steeped in history at every turn, but also boasts a recently restored thermal baths –Anna baths– to rest those tired sightseeing feet. The Art Nouveau tower of the City Hall dominates the main square. The monumental Moorish-Art Nouveau New Synagogue is one of the most beautiful Jewish temples of Europe. The majestic atmosphere of its interior is provided by the white-gold-blue ornamentation.
The surrounding area is also famous for its paprika, flora and fauna, inquire at the Tourist information office about bird-watching trips to the Fehér-tó Nature Reserve, horse riding, angling, boating, hiking and cycling.
Esztergom is the seat of the Roman Catholic Primate of Hungary. The Cathedral is the largest church in the country. Rebuilt in the 19th century in classical style, it has the largest altarpiece in the world painted on a single piece of canvas. The famous Bakócz Chapel was built of red marble at the beginning of the 16th century. The Cathedral Treasury holds the richest collection of Hungarian ecclesiastical treasures. The Romanesque Royal Palace with the royal oratory, the frescoed castle chapel and the rose window are in the neighbourhood of the Basilica. The Christian Museum is located in the Primate’s Palace. Treasures of medieval Hungarian art and early Renaissance Italian paintings are preserved here.