National Parks to Visit in Hungary

April 25, 2016

Almost half a century ago, national parks did not exist in Hungary, even though most of the European countries created their first national parks in the early 20th century. Currently, Hungary has ten national parks in various regions of the country, and two of them are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

According to the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, the number of registered national park visitors reached a record number of 1.4 million in 2014. Here are five of the best Hungarian national parks to visit.

 

 Hortobágy National Park

Hortobágy National Park
Hortobágy National Park/Wikipedia

Hortobágy National Park was created in 1973 as the first Hungarian national park, and it is also the largest continuous natural grassland in Europe, located on the eastern part of the Great Hungarian Plain (the Alföld). The area is notable for its folklore history, traditional styles of clothing and architecture. Hungarians refer to the Hortobágy as the “Hungarian Wild East” — a reference to the American “Wild West”— due to the presence of highwaymen (betyárs) in the northern parts of the Alföld in the 18th - 19th centuries. Among the most popular sights are the Nine-Holed Bridge, the traditional T-shaped sweep wells, and the large population of Hungarian Grey cattle. In the autumn, visitors can also see the annual migration of cranes. Since 1999, Hortobágy National Park is among the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Aggtelek National Park

Cave of Aggtelek by Horvabe
Cave of Aggtelek by Horvabe

Undoubtedly, Aggtelek National Park offers the most unique and extreme landscape in Hungary. What makes the area special is its huge cave system, the most notable one is called Baradla Cave, in Northern Hungary. The intact and emblematic 15.5 miles long Baradla Cave stretches all the way across the border to Slovakia and it is among the largest stalactite caves in the world. The Aggtelek cave system is open for public visits, and the national park regularly organizes guided tour. Baradla and the other caves of the Aggtelek Karst have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Bükk National Park

Bükk National Park by Ben Janek
Bükk National Park by Ben Janek

For those interested in hiking and mountain biking, probably the Bükk National Park is the best area in Hungary, offering wonderful contiguous mountains, hills, forests, valleys and meadows. Bükk was founded in 1976, and it is the largest Hungarian national park. One of the most interesting parts of the Bükk is the “virgin forest” area, where 200-year-old and 160-foot-tall trees can be found. Besides the forests, it is worthwhile to visit the medieval Castle of Diósgyőr and the town of Lillafüred.

Őrség National Park

Őrség National Park
Folk Village Museum by Sudika

Őrség National Park is located in the southwest corner of Vas County, which borders Slovenia and Austria. The national park’s name, Őrség (in English: “watch post” or “watchmen”), derives from the Hungarian conquest era, when guardians were settled in the area. Due to the proximity of the Alps, mountain wildlife characterizes the national park’s fauna and 63 percent of the Őrség is covered with forest. The main tourist attraction of the area is the open-air, folk village museum in Szalafő. The museum presents traditional 19th century Hungarian folklore history and architecture.

Balaton Uplands National Park

Balaton Uplands National Park by Ben Janek
Balaton Uplands National Park by Ben Janek

The list of outstanding Hungarian national parks cannot be complete without mentioning the Balaton Uplands National Park, which includes the areas of Kis-Balaton, Keszthely Hills, Tapolca Basin, Káli Basin, Pécsely Basin and the Tihany Peninsula. The picturesque landscape of Balaton, and in particular, the Badacsony vineyards make the national park world famous.  In the Bakony area, visitors can see a former basalt mine, called “Pointed Needles”. The Tihany Peninsula is also among the most important sights in the national park area because King Andrew of Hungary was buried in the church of the monastery in 1060.

DONATE

Find out how you can Donate.

VOLUNTEER

Interested in Volunteering? Your help is needed. Email us to find out more: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Library Widget

Kossuth Foundation Login