Located west of the River Danube and east of Austria is the most versatile part of Hungary, the land of some of the biggest attractions the country has to offer. Be it fine wines or beautiful lakes, you will certainly find something for your liking here.
The Western part of Hungary is rich in medieval churches and monasteries, castles and fortresses, hosting historical and music festivals throughout the year. To discover a millennium of Hungarian religious and architectural history and for a taste of Benedictine wine traditions, head to Pannonhalma Benedictine Arch Abbey. The Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral in Pécs invites you to an architectural time travel, and in the museum of the Benedictine Abbey in Tihany, you can have a peek into the life of Hungary’s last monarch. To see where our first king (and many after him) was crowned, visit the ancient Crowning Basilica in Székesfehérvár. For baroque elegance, explore the Eszterházy Castle in Fertőd, the gems of western Hungary Sopron and Kőszeg, or Győr, the city in the intersection of three rivers.
Őrség is a magical land where time seems to have stopped and people live in the scattered villages in perfect harmony with nature. You definitely should not miss Írottkő Nature Park as it offers various hiking trails and cultural trips, culinary adventures and sightseeing as well. Kőszeg is the perfect spot to start your exploration in the area. Western Hungary has an abundance of arboretums and botanic gardens. The 200-year-old Sárvár Botanical Garden is home to 300 tree and shrub species. The centuries old trees of the grove forest around the fishing pond give you a peek into what the area looked like before urbanisation. The other part of the arboretum has trees and shrubs of exotic names and vibrant colours. And if you visit the prehistoric park in Vértesszőlős, you won’t only meet the half-a-million-year-old Samu, one of the first men in Europe, but will also see the footsteps of long extinct ancient animals.
By going south, you’ll find the vibrant city of Pécs that boasted the title European Capital of Culture in 2010. Feast your eyes on the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter, get enchanted by beautiful and exciting buildings of old and new, and get goosebumps in the Early Christian Necropolis. You’ll see how Pécs served as the meeting place for many different cultures throughout the ages.
Further south you get to the Villány region, where the beautiful vistas will go down perfectly with the fiery red wines of local winemakers. A glass or two will surely get you in the mood for a truly unique sight (also a World Heritage Site), the Busójárás in Mohács. Both a farewell to winter and a daylong carnival, the parade of the masked and scary Busós is a must-attend folk party. For more sophisticated entertainment, Kaposvár is an ideal option. The annual Chamber Music Festival is where the crème of international classical music gathers in August, so why would you miss it?
Spa culture is blooming in western Hungary. For proof, visit the largest medical spa resorts of the region in Bükfürdő, Sárvár, or Hévíz, and have a first-hand experience of how the perfect combination of word-class treatments carried out by well-qualified professionals and the profusion of culture within easy reach will leave you healthier, more relaxed and refreshed.
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