Located a short train ride from Budapest, Lake Balaton is the closest the Hungarians get to the seaside these days. As such, there’s quite an infrastructure for those looking for a relaxing break, with plenty of high-end hotels to cater for honeymoons.
The best part is that you really can take your pick of location since the lake is sizeable enough to have quite a varied range: there’s its cultural centre Veszprém only a short distance from the lake’s shores; the largest town on the lake itself at Keszthely; Balatonfüred for sailing or Siofok for bars and restaurants.
There’s even an abbey on a hill at Tihany with a central location that provides the best view of the lake, and a national forest for those more at home in nature. Whether you choose to stay at only one of these gorgeous locations or hop around the lake, it’s bound to be a special time for the pair of you.
Located not far from the west side of Lake Balaton is Hévíz, a spa town that is home to the world’s second largest thermal lake. Because of its underground springs, the thermal lake maintains a steady heat throughout the year, roughly 37 degrees Celsius in summer and a warm 24 degrees on even the coldest days in winter – making it a perfect option for those marrying in the colder months and looking for a spa to relax in.
The town still maintains a number of things to do outside of relaxing by the waterside. There’s a number of cafes and restaurants, wine cellars for regionally exclusive drinks, an art cinema and a selection of churches and historical monuments. It’s a tiny place, all told, but not wanting for attractions.
Termed within Hungary as the City of Sunshine – due to it maintaining the highest rate of sunlight for any Hungarian city – there’s a lot to do and see within and around Szeged. Primarily it is a student town, but that only brings in further opportunities for the newlyweds to find something to do.
In the warmer months, it’s highly recommended to go kayaking on the river Tisza, but there’s even a small zoo and a water park for families and plenty of bars and restaurants for couples looking for a romantic getaway. As an interesting aside, Szeged is one of the closest major cities to Serbia, which might inspire you to head to a second country as part of your honeymoon.
Quaint doesn’t quite do Szentendre justice. It’s a tourist spot for locals who come to enjoy the pleasant, homely town with its wide range of restaurants and bars for any sort of tastes. It sits on the Danube and makes for a calming place in the warmer months, a sort of calm that is helped along by the handful of spa hotels to choose from.
Admittedly it’s not a big place and, as a result, doesn’t have too much to do beyond relaxing with your love, but it’s close enough to Budapest – roughly an hour by train and costing less than £2 – that you’d be able to enjoy the best of both worlds: quiet relaxation in Szentendre and the more typical tourist sights of Budapest.
The best part of Szentendre is how it acts as a model example of what life in Hungary’s smaller, more rural towns might be like – not exactly though, since it is still quite a popular place that is well populated. It’s just the right balance in contrast to Budapest.
Hungarians are proud of their wine, but sadly very little of it finds a home in bars, restaurants and supermarkets of the rest of Europe. Eger is one of the key Hungarian wine regions ,with a wide selection of wine types, but is most famous for its Egri Bikavér – or the Bull’s Blood of Eger. It’s a cuvée that blends a selection of grapes and easily one of Hungary’s more popular red wines.
The town itself isn’t too close to Hungary – just under three hours by train – so you may want to rent a car and drive there, but the town itself is incredibly picturesque. Historically, it’s a significant part of the country having been invaded by the Mongols, ruled by the Turks and flourishing once more as part of the Habsburg rule. As a result, there’s plenty of historic landmarks to visit, churches to ogle and even a traditional Turkish bath to bathe in.
As one of the oldest cities in Hungary, Esztergom is a perfect place for honeymooners with an interest in history. It was the first capital of the country, borders Slovakia and has the honour of having the largest church in Hungary located here. There’s plenty to do in the area – particularly hiking for those so inclined – and has some grand old structures to see.
It’s not too far from Budapest either and will make for a pleasant trip along the Danube for those interested in cycling or driving that way. It’s worth stopping by Visegrád on the way there too; famous for its castle on top of the hill and for excellent views of the Danube Bend (a part of the river that bends sharply between two tall hills). It’s even possible to get a boat ride to and from Budapest, and while that does take some time, it might be a nice idea for a unique view of the river.
For fans of nature, Mátra is perhaps the best choice within Hungary. There are plenty fancy hotels and wellness centres to make the most of here, but its range of mountains means it’s especially great for those who want to get their feet moving during their honeymoon.
Mátra is home to the tallest peak in Hungary, the Kékestető – or the ‘blue roof’ – due to the mountain’s colour, at just over 1,000 meters. There’s a selection of hiking options here, however, with the undulating range of forested routes throughout the region.
It’s also small enough to avoid a lot of the hustle and bustle too. The Buda side of the city, for example, is quieter and a little more upmarket – perfect for honeymoon stays.
Not only that, but it’s a good place to use as a base, perhaps seeing the sights of the capital for a few days before heading out to any of the above suggestions.