In the Bükk country: those who want to, can disappear from the world for
days in the tiny villages of the Bükk which lie at the end of single tracks,
or in retreats secluded deep in the forest.
The Bükk National Park came into being in 1976 for the protection of the
unique mixture of topography, flora and fauna to be found there. It is
home to an extraordinary diversity, including examples of living creatures
from every period following the Ice Age, beautiful specimens of exotic
species of orchid, and bats that elsewhere are threatened with extinction.
The eastern edge of the National Park runs along the town boundary of
Miskolc (E3), which is Hungary's third city and the county seat since
1720. Its historical roots go back to the fifteenth century, and today its
most attractive part is the restored pedestrianized main street, lined with
old houses. In the Avas part of the city rising from the old town centre is
a fine Calvinist church built in Gothic style. The Greek Orthodox church
contains a rare icon entitled Black Mary of Kazan presented by Tsarina
Catherine II. The town has an active cultural life including a vibrant theatre;
its university is one of the largest centres of education outside
The four-towered Diósgyőr Castle also comes under the jurisdiction of Miskolc. This was originally
built in the 1300s and restored in the time of Louis the Great, whose court is evoked in the
waxworks exhibition (containing 67 figures, it is the largest in Central Europe) to be found in the
This modern city is surrounded by natural beauty. Take for example Miskolctapolca (E3); hilly, green,
with boating lake, open-air baths and unusual cave baths. This is a favourite place of relaxation for
many people travelling from distant parts. Some regard the warm cave waters (typical temperatures
68–82 °F, or 20–28 °C) as one of the wonders of the world, since it is without parallel in any other karstic
region. The beautifully renovated, extended and modernized cave baths offer an exceptional experience
to those who bathe in the rock pools and hollows approachable only through narrow openings.
Lillafüred (E3): this small place bears a girl's name (Lilla) because it is beautiful, like a woman, and like
the wife of the aristocrat with whose support the resort began to be developed. The recently refurbished
Palace Hotel was built next to the Hámori Lake in the 1920s and deliberately evokes the style
of a hunting castle from the period of King Mathias. Holidaying guests can go boating on the lake, see
the 57ft. waterfall, travel by narrow-gauge railway into the Garadna Valley famous for its trout, or
explore the caves. Rock climbers find excellent sport on the upper Hámori rock faces.
Szilvásvárad (D3): this is the most popular destination in the Bükk country, and is a storybook land with
its castles and churches, Europe's most beautiful stud farm and the Ice Age Istállós-kő Caves on the
edge of the village. The famous Lipizzaner horses can be seen grazing in the open fields, and the pools
of the Szalajka stream teem with trout. You can roam the Szalajka Valley, one of the most beautiful of
upland valleys, on foot, by bicycle, carriage or narrow-gauge railway, stopping along the way at either
the Forest Museum or the Fátyol Waterfall.
Bogács (E4): Every luxurious treatment is available in the thermal baths, and the lakes, swollen with
dammed-up water, are excellent for fishing. Bogács also has rich cultural programmes, with all kinds
of festive activities including swimming, song and wine festivals.
Szomolya (E4): look upwards from the village of Szomolya in the south of the Bükk country, and
you see the so-called "beehive stones", a very peculiar rock configuration, part natural and part
shaped by man. It is thought holes gouged out of the conical shaped stones (which range in
height from 10 to 50 feet, 3 to 15 metres) may have served as beehives from the eleventh to
the fifteenth centuries. Another theory is that they have sacrificial significance.
Lipizzaner Stud Farm
|Miskolctapolca, Thermal Cave-bath and Spa
|Garadna Valley, cooking trout