DECODED BY NATIVES
Northern Hungary (Észak-Magyarország)
My dream holiday in Hungary would be a combination of a historic and cultural sightseeing tour with active recreation (hiking, horse riding, mountainbiking) in Northern Hungary, including wine tasting in its famous wine regions.
What else do you need for a perfect vacation?
Three major rivers of the area: the Tisza, the Bodrog and the Hernád provide plenty of opportunity for angling and kayaking.
Three counties lie in Northern Hungary: Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Heves and part of Nógrád county
If you want to have a good bird's eye view of the region climb up the highest peak of Hungary, Kékestető (1014 m) or the second highest Galyatető (964 m) in the Mátra Hill.
The natural beauties and treasures of northern Hungary convinced the UNESCO to add three areas to the list of World Heritage Sites:
Northern Hungary played an important role in Hungary's tumultous history. Its settlements witnessed many attacks, fights, victories, devastations and reconstructions.
First the Mongols raided the area in 1241-42. The Mongols defeated the Hungarian army lead by King Béla IV at Muhi, naer Miskolc. The king and the survivors of the battle found refuges in the mountains and later built stone fortresses there.
Northern Hungary was home to many outstanding Hungarian politicans, poets, writers. István Bocskai was elected ruling prince of Hungary in Szerencs in 1605.
The Rákóczi family owned the Zemplén area with Sárospatak as its centre. Their castle is a fine example of late-Renaissance architecture in Hungary.
Lajos Kossuth an eminent figure of the Reform Era in 19th century and Hungary's president in the 1848-49 War oof independence against the Habsburg rule was born in Monok near Szerencs.
Wonderful tourist attractions surround, Miskolc the industrial centre of Northern Hungary. The four-towered Castle of Diósgyőr built in the 14th-15th century and once a wedding premise of many Hungarian qeens hosts historc days every August. You can relax within a serene and beautiful natural environment at Lillafüred or have a bath at a magnificent cave bath in Miskolctapolca.
Sátoraljaújhely famous for its medieval monastery, wine cellars and monuments related to Lajos Kossuth.
In the picturesque small village of Hollóháza, the northernmost settlement of Hungary are made the fine Hollóházi porcelains.
Hatvan on the bank of the river Zagyva isa significant centre of nrthern Hungary's economy and transportation.
- I'm sure you'll have one of your most unforgettable bath experience in the Cave-Bath in Miskolctapolca. The crystal-clear air and the vapor of the medicinal water are good for respiratoty problems. An open-air pool and a lake for rowing offer other activities for a long weekend getaway.
- Zsóry Spa complex near Mezőkövesd has several indoor and outdoor pools with medicinal water benefitial for rheumatic and arthritis problems.
- Downtown Eger has two great baths the newly reconstructed Thermal Bath and Turkish bath next to it.
- You can enjoy the benefits of Salvus water in three pool in Bükkszék at the foot of the Bükk Hills. As a drinking water Salvus relieves the symtomps of reflux and stomach ulcer.
- Bogács is another small vilalge with thermal baths in the Bükk Hills.
- At Mátraderecske you can try the dry bath called Mofetta which consists of a medicinal gas with high carbon-dioxide content.
- The water at Parádfürdő good for gynaeological problems while the medicimal water of Parádsasvár can help soothe stomach and respiratory problems and it's also good for hangover.
- A rare thermal spring-bath in Egerszalók near Eger offers a recreation within the stunning environment of forested hills.
God created northern Hungary to the delight of nature-lovers and hikers.
Explore the hills of Cserhát, Mátra, Bükk and Zemplén either by foot or by bycicle. The rapidly developing rural tourism offers wonderful guesthouses for accommodation. The three rivers flowing in northern Hungary the Tisza, Bodrog and Hernád and some smaller but cleaner streams offer a
Three National Parks safeguard the national beauties of the area:
- prehistoric men lived in the caves of the Bükk National Park, in the Subalyuk cave, Szeleta cave and in the Istállós-kő cave.
The most scenic route winds along the Szalajka Valley where you can admire the so-called Fátyol Waterfall. you can get there by narrow-gauge railway from Szilvásvárad.
- part of the Duna-Ipoly National Park also lies in northern Hungary
Village tourism attracts more and more visitors every year. The clean air, unique folk arts and crafts, tasty local food can revive every tired city dweller.
Hejce in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county has an art and craft shop every summer.
Small villages nestle in the Bükk Hills like Cserépfalu, and Bükkzsérc.
Lillafüred on the bank of the Hámori Lake
Szilvásvárad is a very popular holiday resort. The narrow-gauge railway takes you there from Miskolc.
You can admire the beautiful panorama form highest point of Hungary at Kékestető in the Mátra Hills.
Kids will enjoy a ride to the forest of the Bükk Hills on the narrow-gauge railway departing from Felsőtárkány.
People carved complete apartments and cellars in the soft rhyolit-tufa rocks at Noszvaj near Eger.
The best opportunities for winter sports can be found in the Mátra and in the Bükk Hills in whole Hungary. Mátraalmás boasts the only ski runner course in the country. The most popular ski slopes are at Kékestető and Galyatető.
The longest ski course is in the Zemplén and you can get there by ski lift form Sátoraljaújhely.
No other region of Hungary offer such varied wines in character than Northern Hungary: from sweet dessert wines and light dry whites to full-bodied reds you'll find something to your taste.
Northern Hungary has four wine regions two of which are world-famous.
- Tokaj Wine Region
Many international wine experts consider the sweet, honey-like dessert wine of Tokaj, the aszú to be among the top 3 wines in the world.
Wines produced her deserve the title the "King of Wines, Wines of Kings" (the French King Louis IV praised Tokaji Aszú with this title) because many royal families around the world kept and still keep a couple of Tokaji Aszú bottles in their cellars.
Other wines and varieties grown in the Tokaj region include Szamorodni, Yellow Muscat, Furmint and H árslevelű (Linden-leaf) .
- Eger Wine Region
The best-known wine of Eger is the ruby-red Bull's Blood. According to the story the soldiers of Eger castle drank this red wine which was dripping down their beards and the Turks thought it was bool's blood. They contributed the heroic strength and fight of the Hungarian soldiers to the dark red wine.
Some excellent whites also worth tasting: Leányka, Királyleányka, Muscatel.
The Thummerer Winery is another great place to taste wines of Eger.
To enjoy wines of Eger and a beautiful landscape visit the cellars in Szépasszony völgy (Valley of Beautiful Woman). Private cellars offer their wines and you can have tasty food in the restaurants.
- Bükkalja Wine Region
Althugh Bükkalja Wine region is lesser known than other wine producing areas of Hungary some nice white wines with fiery character are produced here.
Visit some of the cellars cut into the soft, rhyolit-tufa rocks of the Bükk Hills to sample the local wines.
Main grape varieties : Italian riesling, Leányka, Cserszegi Fűszeres
- Mátra Wine Region
On the slopes of the Mátra Hill mainly white varieties are grown: Olaszrizling, Rieslingsilvani, Szürkebarát, Sauvignon Blanc, Hárslevelű, Tramini, Leámyka, Muscat Ottonel. Nagyréde is noted for its fresh frutiy wines which you can taste during the Open Cellars Days (Nyitott Pincék Napja) , on 28th April 2007. The Gyöngyös Wine Days (28th May 2007) is another great event where you can taste the local wines.
In Gyöngyöspata you'll find cellars carved into the tufa and rock.
For something stronger than wine have a shot apricot brandy from Gönc (gönci barackpálinka).
Village people used to have only a few ingredients to cook with: flour, potato, onions, lard and a few spieces and herbs, still they managed to make dishes that were far more delicious and nutritious thna today's fast food.
To have a taste of local quisine visit some of the gastromomic festivals in the region:
- Trout & Wine Festival at Szilvásvárad, 7th-8th July 2007
The tastiest trouts live in the clear water of the Szalajka stream which is a local speciality on restaurant menues made in different ways: grilled, roasted.
If you're in Palócland taste their most characteristic dish the Sztrapacska which is potatoe gnocchi sheep curd and bacon cracklings. Potato cake (tócsni) is a nice snack with a glass of dry wine.
At the Tócsni Festival in Bátonyterenye you can have a taste of this savoury snack in the park of an 18th century Castle (Gyürky-Solymossy Kastély)
Regions Nearby Northern Hungary