Hungarian Cities to Visit (Besides the Capital)
Though in Hungary businesses, people and jobs tend to centralise in Budapest, I encourage visitors to go beyond the capital and discover at least one other magyar city. There are plenty of cities with rich heritage, exciting programs and amazing sightseeing opportunities. Here are four locations - Pécs, Hollókő, Kecskemét and Szeged - to choose from also noting the best time for paying a visit there.
Pécs in Spring
An all-time favourite to visit is Pécs located in the Mecsek Mountains. There is plenty to see and do in the city and the surrounding area is a golden place for outdoorsy types, hikers, fishermen and mushroom collectors. The most amazing views come alive when Nature starts to awake from the Winter, meaning the Spring is a perfect time for a trip there.
The main attractions are Széchenyi Square, Mosque of Yakovali Hassan Pasha, Idris Baba Turban Stone, Cathedral of St. Peter, Csontváry Museum, Mining Museum, and the Synagoge.
Pécs is also known for its Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture dated back to 1853. A special glaze top coat enables porcelain to be applied to buildings from the outside creating a unique appearance, for example on the local Post Office's rooftop. You may also see this special decoration element on the Hungarian Parliament in the capital.
Hollókő at Easter
This is the odd-one out in the list due to its size. Hollókő is a small village rather than a city, but its cultural greatness was awarded with a UNESCO World Heritage Site title and so we must recognise it on this list of top cities.
Hollókő welcomes thousands of visitors around Easter who gather to enjoy the Palóc traditions. Locals dressed in colourful traditional garments gather on the main square and introduce folklore customs to the spectators. According to Easter traditions men should sprinkle ladies with water – that in Hollókő come in buckets rather than small quantities – so they can grow and blossom as beautiful flowers in the Spring. Then soaking wet girls thank the gentlemen with hand-painted eggs and as legend says the red one is handed over to the lover. The fun atmosphere, Hungarian music and delicious local food form part of the experience. I advice to arrive with a rainjacket though and get ready to have a wonderful time in this small treasurechest-like village.
Kecskemét in August
Kecskemét is located in Bács-Kiskun county with a population of 114 thousand people. The city is famous for its theatre life, canned food manufacturing and peach pálinka production (Hungarian spirit).
Some of the local attractions include the Ornamental Palace (Cifra Palota), Church of St. Nicholas, and Katona József Theatre.
Each year the city of Kecskemét organises the Air Show Day (Repülőnap) with a spectacular show of air-crafts. This is the 5th largest such festival in Europe attracting thousands of spectators. The event takes place in August and the festival spirit with great food, drinks and fun is enjoyed by the big crowds.
Szeged at the end of the Summer
Szeged is the third largest city in Hungary located by the Tisza and Maros rivers.
The nearby rivers are rich in fish and the fire red paprika dried and grounded to powder supply the main ingredients of a local delicacy, the fish-soup. Every year residents gather to measure up their wooden spoons with the best in a fierce soup cooking contest as part of the Annual Fish-Soup Festival. The jury selects the winner and the crowds also get to enjoy the gourmet experience and please their taste-buds. If you are fond of spicy (sometimes hot) fish soup cooked over fire, then this is the festivity you would not want to miss out on.
Once you are in the city, don’t forget to take a glimpse - and photos - at the main attractions, such as the Water Tower, Pick Salami Museum, Mora Ferenc Museum, Kass Gallery, Votive Church and the Dom Square.
© 2013 Zsuzsi @ hubpages.com
© 2013 Zsuzsi