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Hollókő, Hungary: Budapest Day Trip

Hollókő, Hungary: Budapest Day Trip

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The castle of Hollókő was built in the 13th c. and houses a small museum

Statue of a Raven stands at the entrance to Hollókő

Statue of a Raven stands at the entrance to Hollókő

I remember it was a sunny morning in May two years ago when I first arrived in Hollókő with my family. We spent a great long weekend there with lots of laughs, eating delicious traditional Hungarian dishes, hiking, relaxing, meeting new friends and talking until dawn with my dear folks. We will never forget these three special days. Visiting this village would make for a wonderful Budapest day trip, as it is only 100 kilometers away.

This Palóc ethnographic village’s name means “Raven Stone.” And yes, a statue of raven welcomes you at the entrance of the village. The name perhaps, comes from the legend in which the lord of a castle stole a pretty maiden, whose nurse was a witch. The nurse made a pact with the devil to rescue the girl. The devil’s minions, disguised as ravens, took the stones of the castle away and the castle of Hollókő was built on top of the rock here.

It is well worth and recommended walking up to the castle. The view from there over the surronding protected area (part of Bükk National Park) is indescribably beautiful. Hiking around the castle is so relaxing. Wherever we went there was peace and silence, we could only hear the cuckoos voice or the crickets’ chirping. The air was so fresh we could even bite it.

Hollókő has 67 protected buildings

The village has 67 protected buildings

Hollókő is an outstanding example of a deliberately preserved traditional settlement and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located in Nograd county, about 100 kilometres northeast of Budapest. The village hides among the undulations of the Cserhát hills in a picturesque, beautiful setting.

The traditional medieval village structure can easily be seen; the single long street has thin lots running of it at right angles. In the middle of the settlement, as if on an island, stand the small Roman Catholic village church. The village has 67 protected buildings that are characteristic peasant houses with stepped gable roofs and porches with wooden breast walls decorated with open-worked carvings. There is also a village house, a post office, a nursery school, a few inns and restaurants.

Palóc people

The Palóc people speak in a special dialect and during traditional festivals wear colorful, richly decorated folk costumes

The most interesting thing that this is not an open-air museum, but a real, living village with warm hearted, friendly Palóc people. They speak in a special dialect and we loved listening to them. It was such an emotional moment to see them retaining their traditions and colourful, richly decorated folk costumes that they usually wear at different festivals.

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Handmade items depicting the traditional costumes and crafts of the Palóc people

Hollókő has an amazing atmosphere, and during our weekend visit we became filled with positive energy. The local people welcomed us as friends and proudly introduced us their culture and traditions. We spent unforgettable days in this lovely village thanks to Elizabeth, our hostess; to Szabolcs, the owner of Katalin Inns; to Janos, his wife Maria and their six children, who showed us how to live under modest circumstances, but with the utmost contentment. Their hospitality, friendship and love for all people are exemplary.

* all photographs by Zita Nagy, all rights reserved ©

This article has 16 comments

  1. Krista

    What a wonderful place, Zita! 🙂 I would love to explore it, walking the streets, breathing so deeply of that fresh air, meeting the lovely people you’ve described. 🙂

  2. Zita

    If you come to visit us in Hungary Krista, I’ll take you there! 🙂 That’s for sure!

  3. Dede

    I have wanted to visit Hungry for quite some time and you have re-wet my appetite for exploring such a spectacular country!! The photos are absolutely magnificent!!

  4. Jessica

    Great photos! The castle looks like it is out of a fairytale…

  5. Zita

    Dede! You’re welcome in my country! 🙂 If you come, get in contact with me for some tips and information!

  6. Zita

    Jessica, Hollókő is really a wonderful, calm place. It’s a must see if you come to Hungary. Yeah, the castle is a fairy tale like! 🙂

  7. Margo

    *Sigh* Lovely post, Zita. I’m so glad to know about such a special place near Budapest and am so glad you shared it!

  8. Zita

    Thanks Margo! It’s an honour for me to write articles for Travel Belles!!! 🙂

  9. Grace Olsson

    Zita,
    I´ve visited Holloko in 2005 but I would like to visit again on 31th of August.
    It would be possible?
    I´ve heard that it´s possible by bus from Budapest.
    Regards

  10. Zita

    Hi Grace,

    you can go to Hollókő by bus. I checked the time table for you and here are the possibilities:

    1) Leaves from: Stadion Bus Station (14th district, 1145 Budapest, Hungária körút 50.)
    Departure: 08:30 am, arrives to Hollókő 10:30 am.
    This bus runs until 31 August on every workday.
    No change.

    2) Leaves from: Stadion Bus Station (14th district, 1145 Budapest, Hungária körút 50.)
    Departure: 08:40 am, arrives to Hollókő 10:30 am.
    This bus runs until 31 August on every workday.
    One change: 08:40 am Budapest – 09:37 am Jobbágyi, galgagutai elágazás, 09:42 am Jobbágyi, galgagutai elágazás – 10:30 am Hollókő.

    3) Leaves from: Stadion Bus Station (14th district, 1145 Budapest, Hungária körút 50.)
    Departure: 09:45 am, arrives to Hollókő 11:55 am.
    This bus runs on every workday.
    One change: 09:45 am Budapest – 11:10 am Pásztó, Csillag tér, 11:17 am Pásztó, Csillag tér – 11:55 am Hollókő.

    If you need more information or if you would like to go to Hollókő later that day, let me know and I will send you more details.

    Enjoy your stay in Hungary,

    Zita

  11. Bob Milan

    Hi Zita,

    Thanks for the amazing pictures and wonderful insight into this great little village. I’m currently living in Budapest and was reading that there will be a Easter festival in Hollókő. Have you gone to this? Is it worth the trip up there on Easter Monday?

    Thanks!
    Bob

  12. pnina katz

    hello zita
    I need your help please. I’ll travel in hungary in august and would like to visit holloko on the 4th ; i think there will be a festival. I would like to know how can I return to budapest on the same day, untill 18:00. I could not find this information. (It is possible for me to combine a bus and a train)
    thank you very much.
    pnina

  13. Pam

    Hi Zita,

    I’m planning to backpack through eastern europe and just found out about this awesome place, any other suggestions for must see places in Hungary?

    Please let me know, thanks!

    Pam

  14. Zita

    Hi Bob,

    sorry to reply to you just now! I only have been to Hollókő in May and in July. I bet Easter Monday is a great fun in Hollókő. Hope you liked it!

    Zita

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  16. Brent Rosencrans

    Thank you for posting this information. Is there regular train and/or bus service from Budapest?

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