Culture Call: Five Lesser-Known Destinations in Hungary We Love

From classical Pécs (the new Budapest?) to the verdant village of Noszvaj and the bright and folksy Hollókő, we’re spotlighting our five favourite, underrated Hungarian destinations – as well as the things to do and places to stay when you visit.

your only experience of the country is Budapest, can you really say you’ve visited
Hungary? We’re all for weekends spent bubbling in historic thermal
baths and ping-ponging from one ruin bar to the next, but Hungary‘s charms are far more diverse –
providing you know where to find them. That’s where we come in.
From classical Pécs (the new Budapest?) to the verdant village of
Noszvaj and bright and folksy Hollókő, these are five underrated
Hungarian destinations we can’t get enough of.

Beyond Budapest: five underrated places to visit in



Why we can’t wait to visit again: We didn’t
finish nosing around the city’s historical remains the last time we
were here. Art historians will go nuts for Pécs, which is teeming
with the type of dusky, Byzantine-influenced architecture you might
find in Split or Istanbul – the type that really sizzles under a
good sunset. Traces of the city’s former lives are everywhere, from
the copper-green Mosque of Pasha Qasim to the Early Christian
Necropolis. Creative types won’t want to skip Zsolnay Cultural
Quarter, an eclectic grouping of galleries, music venues and studio
spaces, which was once home to the world-famous Zsolnay ceramics

Where we’re staying: Adele Boutique Hotel

Before you go: Bone up on the 160-year history
of the Zsolnay empire, its art-nouveau ceramics that caused a
stir at the 1873 World Exhibition and its creation of iridescent



Why we can’t wait to visit again: Quiet down.
It might be the third-largest city in Hungary (so less of a “little-known destination”
than others in this article), but Szeged always gets overlooked in
favour of Budapest. Amble aimlessly through the city,
coffee in hand, and a patchwork of blossoming public squares will
unfurl before you, speckled with just a few buildings designed by
Ede Magyar, a man often called the “Hungarian Gaudi”. It’s a
university town, so expect plenty of beer gardens and al fresco
bars that will keep you well-oiled long into the early hours.

Where we’re staying: Tiszavirág

Before you go: Take a virtual tour of Szeged’s
. Yes, they have a museum entirely dedicated to cured



Why we can’t wait to visit again: We’re
hankering after some greenery. There’s something vaguely Scandi about Noszvaj. Perhaps it’s the sheer
outdoorsiness of the place or the minimal, timber-clad treehouses
that promise a mystical night’s sleep or maybe it’s the
18th-century De La Motte Castle which is decked out in Ikea yellow.
Whatever it is, we dig it. Days here aren’t spent zipping to and
fro at the behest of your iCal, but getting out into nature (and
away from people). You’re not far from Bükk National Park – try the lakes for starters – and the
barlanglakások (ancient cave dwellings) in the village centre make
for an eerie but enchanting afternoon jaunt, too.

Where we’re staying: TreeHouses Noszvaj

Before you go: Get your glamping gear in check by pocketing one of Halo’s
lightweight, anti-chip water bottles.



Why we can’t wait to visit again: Hollókő is
old Hungary, like really-old Hungary. This village is home to the
Palóc, an ethnographic subgroup of Hungarians easily identifiable
by their flouncy, lace-trimmed skirts, embroidered
waistcoat-cum-corsets and the kind of stupendously puffy sleeves
that have been marched down catwalks of late. It’s the sort of
high-folk, countryside idyll that could conceivably have inspired
Ari Aster’s Midsommar. For some insight into the Paloc’s
traditions, visit Hollókő castle, Hollókő Falumúzeum and Guzsalyas,
a museum dedicated to local folk costume.

Where we’re staying: You could check in to the
shiny hotel nearby, but where’s the fun in that? We’re taking a
rustic villa right in the centre of the

Before you go: Get a flavour of what’s to come
by rustling up a few dishes from Tamás Bereznay’s Hungarian Cookbook.



Why we can’t wait to visit again: Lake Balaton
is Hungary’s answer to Lake Como. It’s a vast expanse of water, fringed by
rippling greenery and a hodge-podge of carry-on-sized villages.
Beware: some are a little rowdier than others. Our favourite is
Csopak, not just because of its famous vineyards (though they are a
big draw, we’ll admit) but for its calming lakeside – just the
place to flop out on a sunny day – as well as its proximity to the
Bakony Mountains, which make for a great backdrop, if not a
slightly sweaty day hike.

Where we’re staying: Manor House Inn

Before you go: Order in a bottle of Hungarian
plum pálinka. It’s a sweet brandy native to Hungary that makes for
a fantastic nightcap. Even better as a cocktail.


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