. A photo journey through Hungary - Budapest, Eger, and Recsk : Budget Travel Adventures

A photo journey through Hungary: Budapest, Eger, and Recsk

view Széchenyi chain bridge Danube river“I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived.  The city is beautiful but this country is not like any other country in Europe.  There is something special about this place and it deserves a lot more attention than it gets.”

Those were my impressions of Hungary after a few days in Budapest, Eger, and Recsk.  After spending time with the people, experiencing the culture, and learning more about the history, a week wasn’t enough.  I wanted to explore more of this country.

Slovenia is my favorite country in Eastern Europe.  Lake Bled may be the most beautiful destination while Plitvice Lakes in Croatia is a close second.  However, Hungary may win the award for most underrated country in all of Europe.

For anyone visting Hungary, Budapest is the number one destination.  While impressions of Budapest may vary, I fell in love with the city.  For me, it’s the most underrated city in Europe.  Roy spent a week in a Budapest ghetto and saw a different side of the city.

Regardless of how you feel about the city, it leaves an impression.  The same can be said of Eger and Recsk as I included them in my favorite off the beaten path places in Europe.  Recsk also has a tragic side yet its beauty is in the resilience of its people.  Hungary is one of the most unique countries in Europe.

Unforgettable Budapest, Eger, and Recsk

In the land of the Magyars, the Hungarian people have a unique culture and fractious history.  Hungarians come from the Ural mountains and migrated to this area of Europe at the end of the 9thcentury.

Hungary has faced the Ottomans, seen their country shrink in size after World War I, suffered the brutal consequences of a Communist regime that rivaled the atrocities of Nazi Germany, and survived the attack of Soviet forces after the Hungarian revolution in 1956.

The people have persevered and celebrated their heritage, remembered their tragic past, overcome hardship and the cold war days of Communism, and celebrate life with wine, leisure, and culture in an underrated city and under appreciated regions.

I admit I don’t know any Hungarian.  I learned a few phrases when I was there.  I learned a little about Hungarian history and saw the darker side of it.  However, Budapest, Eger, and Recsk showed me that this country and its people are special.

The city may not be the most popular.  Hungary may be forgotten or not even on the radar of many people traveling in Europe.  However its culture, people, and beauty are understated and elegant.

When you visit Hungary, don’t just look at what you see on the outside.  Look at what is underneath.  See the people, their struggles, and their celebration of life.

I do my best to share the beauty of this country as I experienced it.  Unfortunately, you can’t fully Hungary through photos.

As you view Budapest, Eger, and Recsk through my lens, maybe you will understand what I experienced and why I fell in love with the people and the country.

Eger and Egerszalók

A street market Eger Hungary

A street market in Eger

Baron István Dobó Eger Hungary

Baron István Dobó was a Hungarian soldier who defended Eger against the Ottomans in 1552

Eger streets Hungary

The busy streets of Eger

Battle of Eger Ottoman Turks 1552 Hungary

Remembering the battle against the Ottoman Turks in 1552

Hungary Eger Basilica

Eger Basilica

Hungary Eger Basilica St Peter statue

Statue of St Peter outside the Eger Basilica

Hungary Eger Minorite Church altar

Inside the Minorite church in Eger

Hungary Eger Minorite church ceiling

Gazing at the ceiling inside the Minorite church

Hungary Egerszalok Kohari Pince wine vineyard countryside

The view from the Kohari Pince vineyard in Egerszalok

Hungary Egerszalok Kohari Pince Roma gypsy violinist

A Roma (gypsy) violinist at Kohari Pince

Recsk

The town of Recsk serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the Communist regime.  Recsk was the site of a Gulag Camp where the leaders of Communist Hungary punished dissenters.  Known as the Hungarian version of a concentration camp, many suffered and died here.  Today, the town remembers its dark past but strives to move forward.

Hungary Recsk Gulag camp

Gulag camp in Recsk

Hungary Recsk Gulag Camp beds

Harsh conditions and winters led to the deaths of many

Hungary Recsk Gulag camp uniforms

Uniforms worn at the Gulag camp

Hungary Recsk Gulag camp Communist uniforms

uniforms worn by the Hungarian Communist soldiers

Hungary National Memorial Park Recsk

May we never forget or repeat the atrocities of the past

Hungary Recsk National Memorial Park

The Recsk Memorial remembers those who died at the Gulag Camp

Hungary Recsk school

Today, life goes on as students go to class at this Recsk school

Hungary Recsk school teaching English

Many kids are learning English at this school in Recsk

You can read more about Recsk and other horrific sites like these in the most haunted places on earth.

Budapest

The city of Budapest is divided by the Danube river.  On the upper part of the city is Buda with Buda castle and views below to the Pest side of the city.

Hungary view Szechenyi Chain Bridge Danube river

A city view, the Szechenyi Chain Bridge, and the Danube river

Hungary Budapest Parliament building

One of the icons of the city – the Parliament building

Buda Castle

An up close view of Buda castle

Hungary Buda Castle Fishermen's Bastion

Fishermen’s Bastion inside the gates of Buda castle

Hungary Buda castle gate tour guides

Guides hanging out inside the gates of Buda Castle

Hungary Buda castle walls view Parliament

The walls inside Buda Castle provide views of the Parliament building

Hungary Soviet Army Memorial

The Soviet Army Memorial

Hungary Millennium Memorial Heroes Square

For Hungarians, this Millennium Memorial in Heroes Square means a lot more

Hungary Szechenyi Chain Bridge Danube river

The streets along the Danube river

Hungary Budapest market

The markets are a great place to shop, eat, and explore Hungarian food and culture

Hungary Basilica of St Stephen

The Basilica of St Stephen

Hungary Szechenyi Bath

One of my favorite Hungarian experiences – the Szechenyi Bath

Szechenyi Bath pool Hungary

A fun, inexpensive way to connect with Hungarian people and culture – the Szechenyi Bath

Hungary Buda Castle night

Buda Castle at night

If you enjoyed this photo journey through Hungary, sign up for the newsletter below to get more great destinations and photos including other Eastern European countries like Slovenia and Croatia.

Have you visited Hungary?  What was your favorite destination?  Is it one of the most underrated countries in Europe?

Related posts:

Filed Under: DestinationsEuropeHungary

RSSComments (31)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Travelgrove says:

    Hey,

    Amazing post about Hungary! Also, as a Hungarian I must tell you are very prepared and aware of the history of Hungary… it’s not a widely known story. :)

    Due to the treaty of Trianon (after World War I, as you mentioned), I am leaving now in Romania as a Hungarian and I have to explain every time to each tourist how could this happen, w/o migrating here. :P

    One last thing only, though: we have many theories about how and from where we came here, but the one you are referring to claims that Hungarians came from the Ural at the end of the 9th century (not 1st).

    Keep up the good work and cheers from Travelgrove!
    Travelgrove recently posted..Discounted flights on Spirit Airlines from $70+My Profile

    • Thanks for the comment Lorand. I really appreciate your thoughts on this and it makes me feel good to know that my history and photos of Hungary gets the approval of a Hungarian. I was pleasantly surprised by the country. I didn’t know a lot about it when I visited but I enjoyed my time there. Hungary is very different than the rest of Europe, even the rest of Eastern Europe, as it doesn’t share the Slavic or Russian culture of the other countries.

      As for the people coming from the Ural mountains, that was an error on my part. I meant to say the end of the first millennium and said century instead. My apologies for that because that isn’t what was intended. I had the dates correct in my head but didn’t type it correctly. I fixed it now so I wouldn’t mislead people.

      What part of Hungary are you from? What other places do you recommend visiting in Hungary?

      • Hey Jeremy,

        No offence taken. :) Anyhow, I enjoy your blog which I am following because I would like to have you among of our affiliates here at Travelgrove – but that is another story. :) (I might contact you in an email regarding that.)

        I understand if Hungary seems very different to you.. the Hungarian language itself is very different of Latin, Neo-latin or Slavic languages.

        “What part of Hungary are you from?” – now usually here comes the confusion… :P I’m not just living in Romania but I am from Romania, I was born here, as my parents and grandparents – but not as my great-grandparents, however they were born in the same city as I.

        To tell a long story short:
        I am a Hungarian, born and raised in West Romania.
        We did not move anywhere but the country border did.
        This land was part of Hungary from the 1st millennium till 92 years ago (and between 1940-1944).

        “What other places do you recommend visiting in Hungary?” – wow, there’s a lot.. most of them are pretty close to Budapest.
        - Debrecen (Basilica, historical center and many other great sights)
        - Pécs (might sound familiar ’cause it was the European Capital of Culture in 2010; also my favorite band is from Pécs :P )
        - Szolnok (Aviation Museum, free entrance)
        - Budapest – “The House of Terror” Museum is a must see
        - “Erzsébet” Belvedere Tower at John’s Hill, Budapest (“János-hegyi Erzsébet-kilátó” in Hungarian)
        - Gödöllő
        - Visegrád (castle w/ great view, toboggan)

        Now this starts to look more a post than a comment so maybe it’s the best time to finish it,

        Keep up!
        Lorand/Travelgrove recently posted..Discounted flights on Spirit Airlines from $70+My Profile

        • PS: Sorry I messed up a little – Johns’ Hill, Gödöllő and Visegrád are close to Budapest (<40km / 25 mi), not Debrecen (~230km), Pécs (~200km) and Szolnok (~100km).
          Lorand/Travelgrove recently posted..4 Night Bahamas Cruise with Royal Caribbean from $229My Profile

        • I definitely need to put these places on my list the next time I go back to Budapest. I got a good overview of the city but want to see it in more detail and get behind the scenes. I’ve heard good things about Debrecen and Pecs so I want to visit those places as well.

          As for where you grew up, I learned how Hungary shrunk in size after the empire faded. So many people that lived in Hungary all of a sudden didn’t. The history of the country is fascinating and I love learning about cultures and places that are so unique. I look forward to going back when I get the chance.

          Thanks for the recommendations and for sharing a little of your story!

  2. This is why Hungary is firmly on my list for my RTW next year! Budapest has been on my radar for a while now, but I’ve never heard of Eger and Recsk, so I’ll have to do a bit of research there. Heard great things about Pecs and Debrecen, too – seems like there are so many places to check out!

    • Eger and Recsk are great destinations but completely different. However, they aren’t too far apart from each other so if you want to visit, very easy to do. I would love to see more of Hungary but don’t not anything about Pecs and Debrecen although the names are familiar. Again, Hungary really surprised me. Hope you enjoy it as well!

  3. On our way to Budapest. We’ll be there the first week of September. Thanks for the primer!
    http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com recently posted..Terchova, SlovakiaMy Profile

  4. Leah Travels says:

    Your photos of Budapest are beautiful. I must admit that I’m not too knowledgable of Hungarian history, but found your synopsis something that makes me want to learn more. I was hoping to get to Budapest this fall, but it’s not in the cards. Everyone I know that’s been sings its praises. Another time, I suppose…
    Leah Travels recently posted..It’s my Birthday and I’ll Write What I Want toMy Profile

    • I don’t think many people know a lot about Hungary. It has an interesting history and a fascinating culture. I think Budapest and Hungary surprise a lot of people. I know some don’t like Budapest but get out of the city and explore the country. It really is beautiful.

  5. Hungary really have an impressive history and rich culture. I loved the Eger Basilica and the Heroes Square. Awesome. I never knew Hungary will be this grand in Europe.

    I would love to come here one day :)
    Wends of Journeys and Travels recently posted..Meet the Backpackers: Alexandra KovacovaMy Profile

    • I would love to go back! I got a nice overview of the country but now that I’ve experienced it, I want to learn more about it and explore even more. Hope you get a chance to visit!

  6. Laurence says:

    Lovely photos of a part of the world that is nagging at me to visit it!
    Laurence recently posted..14 Things you might not know about meMy Profile

    • When you get the chance Laurence, you should go. Some of the most interesting culture and history in Europe. And I loved the country! Seeing photos from my own post makes me want to go back!

  7. Erika says:

    Great post and photos! This is an area I hadn’t thought about visiting before but now it’s on my radar. I prefer destiations with both culture and beauty and it looks like it has plenty of both. Thanks for sharing!
    Erika recently posted..Combating stereotypes: Why I’m no ‘proper’ ladyMy Profile

    • I think this is the most interesting culture in Europe. I think some of the Scandinavian cultures and Slavic countries are fascinating as well. However, they all have some similarities among them. There’s no other country in Europe that has a similar culture and people group as Hungary. And the country definitely is beautiful. I think there is a lot to learn from this country. I want to go back!

  8. Haven’t been to the rest of Hungary yet but after spending 4 days in Budapest last weekend it’s now high on the list! Beautiful part of the world and still nice and cheap compared to some parts of Europe. We loved the baths in Budapest too.
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Visiting the Thermal Széchenyi Baths in BudapestMy Profile

    • I loved the Szechenyi Baths. Whenever I get to Budapest, I am definitely going back. The city really is beautiful too. First time was just a good overview. But now that I’ve learned more about the culture and have seen more of the country, now I want to explore more. Definitely go back and get outside of Budapest. There are more cities that I want to see as well.

  9. Hungary sounds cool– although how do you pronounce these town names?! Yikes!
    Leslie (Downtown Traveler) recently posted..Top 10 warm-weather activities in Vail (for non skiers)My Profile

    • Very carefully! :) I can give you a few hints on the language but in no way do I pretend to be an expert on Hungarian! The ‘s’ has a ‘sh’ sound. Many Cs have a ‘ch’ sound. Hungarian is similar in some ways to Slavic languages but is also very different.

      Now that I have confused you, guess you will need to learn Hungarian and go visit now! :)

  10. Jenna says:

    I’ve been to Budapest but besides taking the train through the rest of the country, I haven’t visited anywhere outside of Budapest. Eger looks very much like the city I lived in in the Czech Rep. The baths in Budapest are so beautiful, as your photos show!
    Jenna recently posted..Teaching English as a Second LanguageMy Profile

    • Budapest and Hungary surprised me. And I still think there is so much more to see in the country. I really want to go back. It was on this trip, I also went to the Czech Republic. Prague was OK but I need to experience it again when it’s not the first place after touching down and fighting jet lag! :)

      I got the countryside in the Czech Republic and that was beautiful as well.

  11. My mother’s mother was full Hungarian and my parents have been to Hungary twice and LOVED it–the people, the history, the architecture, the wine, the fun and rewarding challenge of trying to piece together a family tree with limited Magyar! Hungary did a lot to turn them into travelers and I’d love to see the place myself someday.
    Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Cruising into a Town Worth Your Time – Metapán, El SalvadorMy Profile

  12. Wow great post and the comment are great too. Thanks for all your input. I lived in Budapest for a year when I was a kid and it was a kid and it was one of the funnest times of my life: I loved the food (especially Goulash) and all the history really amazed me. I can´t wait to go back.
    Carl D Puerto Vallarta recently posted..About UsMy Profile

    • I want to go back to Budapest. I loved the experience but now want to soak it in a little more. This trip took us to 6 different countries in Eastern Europe and while I loved all of the, there are places I want to spend more time. Budapest/Hungary are definitely a place I want to explore a little more.

  13. I’ll be in Hungary for a few days in the summer, coming from Slovakia and heading onwards to Romania. I may only make it to Budapest, but from your photos, it looks like my kind of city. The rest shall have to wait for another day!

    How did you do with the phrases you picked up in Hungarian, by the way? I’ve heard it’s an extremely hard language to learn! I remember I learned a few Turkish phrases, but my pronunciation was so horrible that people didn’t understand. I stopped trying and reported to just saying a word and using hand gestures. Worked a lot better ;)
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..The Fantasy Five: ColombiaMy Profile

    • Hungarian is very very difficult. Fortunately, you can get by with English just fine. Even at the Szechenyi Baths, which is a very local place to go, you can get in just fine. Always helps to learn a few phrases which any guidebook can probably help you with.

      Whether you can speak the language or not, the effort is always appreciated. Hope you enjoy Budapest! I loved it and want to see more of the country. Get outside of the city if you can but let me know what you think when you are there.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

CommentLuv badge

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.