When it comes to planning your trip to Hungary, most people only think about going to the touristic places such as ruined pubs (romkocsma) and the Sziget Music Festival or getting tickets for the Hungaroring to see a Formula 1 race. However, there is much more to see in Hungary, a lot of hidden treasures that are not the usual touristic spots. As a student I had the chance to explore this country and now I would like to share with you some of my favourite places that are definitely worth a visit.
1. Budapest, from a different perspective
Did you know that under Budapest there is a whole underground world? There are some bunkers and former air raid shelters that you can visit. My favourite is the Hospital in the Rock where you can experience how doctors tried to save lives during World War II. Another place that I recommend is the bunkers in Csepel. The Budapest Scenes team organises tours with guides. Their guides always tell some intriguing historical facts about the bunkers.
2. Outskirts of Budapest
If you only have a few days, it is a great idea to check out the outskirts of Budapest where you can find beautiful forests. One of the most popular destinations for locals is the Buda Hills where you can have short or all-day hikes. If you want to have a mild downhill walk, I recommend to take the chairlift uphill. Another place where it is nice to have a rest from the buzzing life of the capital city is Rám-szakadék (The falling rock). It is within an hour ride from Budapest and you can have nice walks there. If the weather is dry this is a perfect trekking place for everyone who enjoys spicing up hiking in a beautiful forest with some ladder climbing adventures. However, in case of rainy weather I don’t recommend this place since the special ladders can be really slippery and dangerous.
3. Unusual Lake Balaton
Okay, I am sure everyone knows Lake Balaton, our Hungarian sea… However, there is much more to do there apart from swimming and eating lángos (special Hungarian beach food). One of my favourite things to do around the lake is cycling. There is a quite nice route around the lake that takes 2-5 days depending on your fitness level. You can find affordable camping sites on your way and the route is scenic. The Tihany Peninsula with its lavender fields and the Balaton Highlands with the unique geological formations are my favourite parts of the trip.
4. Cave tours in Aggtelek
Although Aggtelek is situated a two hour drive away from Budapest, if you have the time you should visit the stunning caves there. They offer different cave tours where you can learn about the unique karst formations. If you want to see more of this area I recommend to try a canoe tour in the Tokaj-Bodrogzug protected landscape area.