Hungary is much more than just Budapest

Hello everyone! Long time no... read? I've been so busy with work and other life commitments here at Silky Way HQ (aka. my room) but finally managed to catch a little bit of a break and find time to write a new post.

If you follow Silky Way on instagram you might have noticed that since the last blog update I've been to Eastern Europe not only once, but twice. In all honesty, that side of Europe is by far my favourite and it absolutely breaks my heart to see how underrated it is, especially among Western Europeans. I am very commied to somehow contributing to the positive change of the stereotypical image of Eastern Europe and as the first write up I have decided to cover the experiences from my recent trip to Hungary.

I've noticed that Hungary is a quite popular choice for Western Europeans when it comes to venturing to that 'other side' of Europe. That said, many of those who have been or are planning to visit, unfortunately only have Budapest in mind. Don't get me wrong - Budapest is a breathtakingly beautiful city that has earned its fame for all the right reasons. However, this little Eastern European country has so much more to offer and it would be an absolute waste of its potential if hardly anyone ever decides to explore more of it. So welcome to my little guide to 'Amazing places in Hungary that are not Budapest'!

1. Győr

Győr's magical main town square

Győr is culturally the most important city of northwest Hungary, halfway between Budapest and Vienna (around an hour, maybe hour and a half drive from both). If you're after some stunning and very typical for this part of Europe mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture, this place is a great choice! The city itself is significantly smaller than Budapest and its buildings are nowhere near as collosal but definitely equally as interesting and breathtaking. Due to its smaller size the atmosphere is way less hectic and allows you to properly relax while exploring without getting too overwhelmed by everything that's going on. There also aren't as many tourist there which can make your afternoon stroll around the main bits of town feel a bit more 'Hungarian'. Győr is known as one of Hungary's main cultural hubs so there's also a high chance of spotting some interesting performances or art installations while there. The city is looked after very well and kept extremely tidy at most times which is also quite refreshing.

The beautiful City Hall of Győr

Some really cool art installations can be found all around the city!

2. Eger

Dramatic Baroque architecture by night

Similarly to Győr, Eger is also known to be one of Hungary's main cultural hubs. It's most famous for its castle, amazing Baroque architecture and being the home of Europe's northernmost Ottoman minaret! The city has a very rich international history as it's been acting as a vital spot in many important events of the past centuries. It's a great place to explore and learn more about the history of Hungary and Eastern Europe. Majority of the older buildings have been either renovated or at least re-painted (the minaret was still under renovation works when I visited in early October 2018 though) so all the beautiful pastel colours of Baroque can be seen in all their glory. Because of its near to perfect state and stunning architecture, the town center of Eger is often referred to as 'the Baroque Pearl of Europe'

And that's me enjoying all the pastel colours of Eger!

But apart from its historical sites, Eger is also very well known in Hungary for its wine! While in the area, definitely make sure to visit Eger's Wine Region which is just outside the city. The wines produced there are of high quality and I've honestly had one of the best red wine in my entire life from one of the small wineries in that region. The famous red from the area is called Egri Bikavér but there are also many famous whites available (I'm more of a red wine drinker though so only tried those!). Also, if you happen to visit Eger during the grape harvest time, make sure to also try a drink called 'Must' (pronounced as 'musht'). 'Must' is a freshly crushed grape juice - the first step in winemaking. It will be available in every winery if you're there at the right time of the year and it's ridiculously tasty. Must is a must!

A glass of Hungarian red wine and a glass of Must! Looks a bit like apple juice, doesn't it?

3. Visegrád

Visegrád is a small but amazingly picturesque town north of Budapest. It's famous for the impressive remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus and the medieval citadel. Among Eastern Europeans it's also known for being the historical home of the Visegrád Group meetings (cultural and political alliance of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). What I personally found to be the most mesmerising about this town was its location. Visegrád lies on the right bank of Danube river in the Danube bend and is surrounded by some beautiful hills. Go on a little hike wile in Visegrád and enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the area and the Danube bend. Try to catch the sunset - you won't regret it!

And an amazing view of Danube bend

4. Danube River

Known as Duna in Hungarian, aforementioned Danube is Europe's second longest river. It flows through a significant amount of European countries and their capitals, including the Hungarian one. While Danube will already look pretty impressive in Budapest, I highly recommend following the river past the city. An afternoon walk on one of the many trails around Danube can present you with some insane landscapes and amazing sunsets. Apart from Visegrád, I've also had a chance to have a little walk by Danube in the Dunakeszi area (just outside Budapest) and was absolutely stunned by the beauty of the river. So if you fancy a bit of a break from the busy city life of Hungarian's capital, you actually don't have to look that far!

Danube riverside in Dunakeszi

Hope many of you will find that useful and will try to think outside Budapest (don't skip it if you haven't been to yet though!) when planning your trip to this little, but full of culture and traditions, country. Let me know if you've had a chance to visit any of those places and what are your thoughts. Safe travels!


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