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Hungary’s National Parks

Hungary’s biodiversity and valuable natural treasures are presented, preserved and studied in national parks. Hungary has ten large national parks in different regions, many of them listed as World Heritage sites.

Aggtelek National Park

Aggtelek National Park can be reached from Miskolc via the roads running in either the Sajó or the Bódva river valleys. Real winding mountain serpentine roads lead across the park between Jósvafő and Aggtelek. Several hiking trails of varying lengths lead across the Baradla Cave area. As incredible as it may seem, in spite of the seemingly adverse habitat, there are almost 500 different species living within the walls of the caves. 

Balaton Uplands National Park

Six landscape protection regions can be distinguished within the park: Kis-Balaton, Keszthely Hills, Tapolca Basin, Káli Basin, Pécsely Basin and the Tihany Peninsula. The special feature of these regions of the Balaton Uplands is that they are treated as though they belonged to the Mediterranean. Kis-Balaton, for example, is protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The caves in the vicinity of Tapolca and the sub-Mediterranean rare flora and fauna of the Tihany Peninsula, surrounded by thermal spring cones, are worth studying in more detail. The rare nesting bird of the peninsula is the southern long-eared owl, but the singer and manna cicadas, which fill summer evenings with their loud chirping, also live here.

Bükk National Park

Bükk is the contiguous mountain range with the highest average height in Hungary, with 42 peaks higher than 900 metres, the highest being the 959-metre-high Istállós-kő. Ninety-seven percent of the mountain range is covered with forests. The microclimate of its diverse surface means Bükk boasts a rich wildlife. In addition to Mediterranean and alpine species, Ice Age remnant species can also be found here. The karst system of the mountains, comprising hundreds of caves, is also of outstanding importance for the drinking water supply in the area. Its caves, such as the Istállós-kő, the Suba-lyuk or the Szeleta are important archaeological sites.

Duna-Dráva National Park

The park presents the world of untouched floodplain forests and swamps surrounding the Danube and Dráva rivers. Home to the largest forested floodplain in Hungary, the Gemenc is famous for its red deer and wild boar flocks, but its bird sanctuary is also important. Some of our protected birds, such as the white-tailed eagle, the saker falcon or the black stork live here. The steep riverbanks are in turn populated everywhere by sand martin families.

Duna-Ipoly National Park

Duna-Ipoly National Park has the varied surface forms to thank for its unique landscape, as the river valleys, mountains and plain can all be explored. Situated along the Pilis and Börzsöny mountain chains, between the Danube and the Ipoly rivers, the park is an extremely popular hiking destination. The mountains, made up of limestone and dolomite, are a great terrain for cave formation. It is therefore understandable that most of the nearly 200 caves in the national park are located in the Pilis Mountains. The values of the vegetation typical of the national park include many species that are native only to the Carpathian Basin, and in fact some specimens live only in Duna-Ipoly National Park. One example is Ferula sadleriana. The slopes are the terroirs of the greater pasque flower and the small pasque flower.

Fertő-Hanság National Park

Lake Fertő, on the border with Austria, is not only a resort and sports centre, but also a beautiful home for birds, reeds and saline lakes. Half the area of the lake, almost 90% of the Hungarian area, is covered with reed beds, and one third is dominated by swamp vegetation. The wildlife of the lake, the reed beds and the saline lakes form a separate world. Among the fish species living in the lake, the weatherfish, the perch, the European mudminnow, the pike and the carp are the most valuable. The graceful great egret, the Eurasian spoonbill, the red heron and the bullfinch live in the reed beds, but the western marsh harrier also nests here. Another inhabitant of the region is the viviparous lizard that has survived from the Ice Age. The saline lakes are also home to several species, including the Eurasian teal, the European golden plover and the white-tailed eagle.

Hortobágy National Park

In 2020, the editors of National Geographic Travel selected the 25 best destinations in the world in five categories – adventure, culture and history, nature, family and sustainability. Hortobágy National Park was also included in this illustrious list, which essentially presents destinations to be explored in the future. The tradition of herding and horse herdsmen is still live alive in the Hortobágy, while the undisturbed natural environment, the rich fauna, the unparalleled hiking opportunities and the sheer endless plain offer wonders. The word “puszta” is of Slavic origin, by the way, and means emptiness. The name is no coincidence, since only 500 millimetres of rain falls here every year. The park has four separate demonstration areas: the Egyek-Pusztakócs swamp world, the Hortobágy fishpond, the Nyírő-Lapos-Nyárijárás puszta, and the park sections presenting the wildlife of Lake Tisza. All of the above contribute to making this landscape one of the country’s World Heritage sites.

Kiskunság National Park

The reserve tends to the natural values of the Danube–Tisza Interfluve area and extends to the Trans-Tisza part of Csongrád-Csanád county. The Bugac Juniper-Poplar groves are the most visited part of the Kiskunság National Park, with the Bugacpuszta Shepherd Museum serving as its centre. You will find moving sand dunes around Fülöpháza and a saline steppe in Apajpuszta. There are many backwaters in the Szikra and Alpár meadows, where you get the chance to see white and yellow water lilies. In Tőserdő, the birdlife bustling with egrets, crested grebes and herons provides a fascinating sight.

The Kunság lakes on the Solti plateau form the largest saline lake system in Hungary, where avocets and common terns nest. Korom Island is home to Europe’s largest colony of black-headed gulls.


Körös-Maros National Park

The task of the national park is to protect the saline lands, the shrinking swamps and the floodplain forests, as well as the declining loess steppes and their wildlife in the southern part of the Trans-Tisza region. The area can be divided into two distinct sections: the Körös region with its characteristic floodplains and the Békés-Csanád loess ridge, where, for example, the most significant bustard population in the country is located near Dévaványa. Several protected and rare birds live in the area. Some examples are the stone-curlew or the pratincole, the partridge, the meadow owl, or the Montagu's harrier.

Őrség National Park

This encompasses the Őrség as well as the Vendvidék and the unregulated valley of the Rába River. The meadows of the Vendvidék welcome visitors with a multi-coloured array of flowers around May, and the landscape is made colourful by meadow thyme, bluebells and buttercups. The inhabitants of the meadows between the hills include the snake’s head, the Siberian iris, the marsh fritillary, the Gossamerwings and the corncrake. The Őrség is home to beech and forest-pine forests where the smallest birds of Europe, the yellow and redheaded kinglets nest. Bee-eaters, kingfishers and grey herons nest along the Rába, while in the floodplain willow groves along the river you can find traces of the very rare beaver and otter.