10+1 Hungarian castles for a weekend trip
The following collection (compiled by itthon.hu) lists castles that are perfect for a weekend hike, to explore the area, to have a good meal, to visit a new city. There are castles ideal for kids, but some require you to be more physically fit.
The first item on the list is located in the Northern part of Hungary, in the corner of the Zempléni Landscape Protection Area. Built in the 13th century, the castle and its surrounding area offer a beautiful view and an exciting weekend trip, you can even visit Erdőbenye and Tokaj. You will also find some history inside: an archaeological and a military history museum. Boldogkőalja, the village where the castle is, has other sights to offer, like the Péchy-Zichy castle with its ancient trees, a medieval themed restaurant, a wine house and a pálinka house.
Adventure Castle of Pécsvárad
Barely 20 kilometres from Pécs, you will find the adventure castle in the Eastern-Mecsek. It has a newly renovated restaurant, hotel and a great variety of programmes. Since the Benedictine Order had a hospital on the grounds of the castle, guests can visit incense and salt chambers, tea houses that serve herb teas. Other interesting programmes include the forge-shop, an open kitchen, rock collection, the castle’s chapel.
If you are interested, you can take a hike up to the castle, with a view of the Danube that will make you forget about your tiredness. The Visegrád Castle has been the favourite of past kings for centuries, inside you will find a waxworks collection presenting the medieval life. For a good meal, visit the Ördögmalom Erdei Étterem, located near the Ördögmalom falls, where the trout is served fresh and delicious.
In the heart of Tata, lies Hungary’s oldest fishing lake, Öreg-tó (lit. translation: Old Lake), with a castle on its beach that looks like as it was taken from a fairy tale. The castle is the host of a rock exhibition and interesting localities. Referring back to the lake a bit, it is fit for a boat trip or sailing. Tata and its surrounding area are perfect for bike trips and walking, you can explore the Fellner Jakab viewpoint or the Kálvária-hill.
The castle is a thirty minutes’ drive from Pécs, but since it is surrounded by a fortress, you can continue your journey inside the walls only on foot. The 10 metres high outer walls have been renovated a couple years ago, you can take a walk on them. Inside the fortress, there is a mosque with amazing acoustics and beautiful rugs. The castle contains a Miklós Zrínyi exhibition, who was a very important figure in Hungarian history. From May to September there are several contests, where those interested can dress up in costumes and re-enact the defending of the castle, they can even try out the canon. There is also a bath at the feet of the castle.
In the valley between the Mátra and Bükk, lie the Sirok ruins. This building was absolutely unique among the castles in Hungary: it had a barn carved into a rock, it had an intricate tunnel system (still accessible today) and supposed workshops. You can get to the castle from Gyöngyös or from Eger.
You can take a walk up to the Szigliget castle, from where the view of Lake Balaton and the highlands of Balaton is astonishing in good weather. It’s mostly just the walls that are still standing, but you can climb up to some of the towers. You can try out archery and can visit concerts, plays. There is a church in Szigliget, which was built in the 12th century, that you should visit, but, of course, you can not leave out the Hévíz baths, either.
The beautifully renovated castle offers tours in its prisons, has a nice wine museum, Renaissance furniture exhibition and a Tenkes wax house. There is also a mosque next to the castle, which was left from the times when Turks resided in Southern Hungary. Starting from Siklós, you can take a nice walk in the Villány region, visit Kisharsány, Nagyharsány, Palkonya, Villanykövesd, you can take a hike in Szársomlyó, and you will find Harkány and Máriagyűd in the opposite direction if you take a 10-minute drive.
Sümeg Castle is located 20 kilometres from Tapolca, and you can get there on foot, however, it will be a pleasant one on the curly stone road. You can check out the old captain’s chambers, the chapel, and the forge-shop along with the coachmaker’s shop. In the gardens, there are regular programmes for horse lovers, historical games, wine tastings and feasts.
It’s a real challenge to take a hike on the rocky road up to the Salgó ruins on top of the cliffs. No wonder, it is situated near the “Palóc Olympus”. It is surrounded by green harmony: mountains, forests, even the castle is in the deeps of a forest. From here, you can continue your hiking adventure to the Nógrád-Novohrád Geopark.
+1 Pilisborosjenő Castle, which isn’t really a castle
Pilisborosjenő is just a couple kilometres off the capital’s borders, however, it is a truly romantic sight with its broad valley surrounded by cliffs and green bushes. A bumpy dirt road leads up to the wooden castle. If you want to take the most gorgeous route up to the castle, take the Pilisborosjenői Kevélyhegyi Tanösvény track, along which you will find the Teve-cliff, two caves: Szódás and Mackó, and also the Ezüsthegyi mine.
feature photo: www.pazirik.hu