This small country is full of beautiful places to go on a trip or a hike. Whether it is snowing or not, these locations will definitely leave you and your family with unforgettable memories. With the help of Szeretlek Magyarorszag, we bring you the five best locations in the country for some outdoor winter fun, plus an extra to play it safe.
We start our list with one of the most exciting regions of Hungary, with very rich flora and fauna. Its most important town, and probably the most well-known and popular one as well, is Őriszentpéter, which already existed back in the times of the Árpád Dynasty, the ruling family of Hungary since before the foundation of the Kingdom of Hungary in the year 1000. The region’s inhabitants were border patrols who dedicated their lives to protect the western borders of the country. Its first and current church is a Roman Catholic church built in the 13th century. Since one part of the region today belongs to the territory of Slovenia, Őriszentpéter became one of the central villages of Slovenians in the 18th century. Apart from the old church still standing strong, it is absolutely worth taking a trip all along the region to see its big, typical peasant houses. Őrseg is a hiking area full of wonders.
2.Nagy Hideg-Hegy (Big Cold-Hill)
The name speaks for itself; it is definitely not the hottest area of Hungary. Its 864-metre-tall peak is one of the most-loved hiking spots of the Börzsöny – a mountain range – that has been attracting tourists since the last century – especially in winter, due to its possibilities of skiing and sledging. Even if there is no snow, it is absolutely worth taking a look around the neighbourhood, for instance, because a very interesting tourist house can be found here that was built in the 1930s and is still run in its original function. After a huge trip or a whole afternoon of skiing, you can have a tasty meal in this old tourist house.
3.Ilona-völgy (Ilona Valley)
Even if you are only interested in the waterfall, it is already very much worth visiting the Mátra, a mountain range in the north of the country. The waterfall in question showers down from 10 metres high from a cliff. If the temperature stays below 0 degree Celsius for a longer period, the water freezes completely, giving an even more astonishing view.
A 6.5-kilometre-long nature trail presents the geology of the area whose hills were formed about 40 million years ago thanks to volcanic movements. After the solidification of volcanic rocks, liquids containing elements that form ore (gold, silver, zinc, copper) flowed through the cracks of the rocks where they formed ore deposits, which later became the basis of ore mining.
When you cannot take in any more of nature’s beauty, take our advice and go to Parádfürdő where you can see real chariots and spring-carriages.
Staying in the north of the country, we can now go on to the Bükk National Park and to its little picturesque town with only 3,500 residents, but with much more to see. We start with a Roman Catholic church built in a late-Baroque style at the end of the 18th century. Its altars were built by two Italian brothers, Giacomo and Giovanni Adami, and the sculptures are the work of József Mozer master sculptor. The marble decorating the altar came from the local marble mine.
The surroundings of the town are full of streams giving it a romantic touch even when not covered in snow. The roughly 10-kilometre-long nature trail of Várhegy is a must, presenting all the classic rocks and geological formations of the Bükk.
5.The monastery of the Camaldolese monks of Majk
The group of monuments of Majk is situated in Majkpuszta, just outside Oroszlány in Central Transdanubia. It is a breathtaking group of buildings built partly with bricks from houses left empty under the Turkish occupation. A church used to stand here, but today, only the ruins of the tower are left behind. During the 18th century, it was inhabited by Camaldolese monks. Count József Eszterházy gifted the neighbouring area to the monks, together with lakes and mills. For some decades, it was flourishing but, according to some legends, the monks led a scandalous life and got themselves into dangerous deals which led to the depopulation of the park. Renovations are still going on.
Last but not least, we can go to my favourite region in the country, anywhere around lake Balaton, but since I have to choose a more specific location, it has to be Tihany. The village is located on the northern shore of the lake, on the Tihany Peninsula. Taking a walk along its tiny and narrow streets is a whole new experience, not only in the summer. The centre of the village is the Benedictine Abbey, which was founded in 1055 by András I, descendent of the Árpád Dynasty. As we step away from the Abbey, from the top of the hill, the breathtaking panorama of Balaton opens up, and if we are lucky enough with the weather, we can see hundreds of people ice-skating on the frozen surface of the clear water.