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Magical vistas: Hungary’s renovated lookout towers

Lake TiszaDebrecen and surroundings

Our country has a number of magnificent lookout towers, many of which nature lovers have likely already visited. However, even if you have seen them before, it’s worth returning to some of them, which have recently undergone exciting upgrades to better cater for visitors.

Balatongyörök – Szépkilátó (Lady Hamilton Memorial)

Szépkilátó is a popular spot in Balatongyörök, on the northern shore of Lake Balaton. It offers fantastic views of the “Hungarian sea” and the picturesque landscape that surrounds it. A favourite spot for the aristocratic couple, Prince Tasziló Festetics and his wife Mary Hamilton, this hilltop viewpoint was named Szépkilátó by the writer Károly Eötvös. Thanks to Mary Hamilton the lookout is surrounded by a black pine forest. This fact is honoured by the newly unveiled statue of Lady Hamilton by sculptor Menyhért Szabó.

Lillafüred – Zsófia Lookout

Lillafüred, in Northern Hungary, is a real gem among the tourist attractions around Miskolc. Zsófia Lookout, from where enthusiastic hikers can observe the peaks of the Bükk Mountains, is one of its most famous destinations. It was built more than 120 years ago and was the first lookout tower outside the capital. For a long time the building was showing its age, and in fact it was closed for many years. However, last year Zsófia Lookout underwent a major refurbishment, adding a new lookout spot and interactive features. Its impressive new dome has even earned it the nickname the Queen of the Lookouts.

Water lookouts on Lake Tisza (Fattyúszerkő Lookout, Bölömbika Lookout and Szilas-fok Lookout)

Lake Tisza is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the eastern part of Hungary, with a wide range of activities for holidaymakers who like to stay active. The range of attractions has recently been extended to include three new lookout towers on Lake Tisza, which are special in that they’re only accessible by boat. Fattyúszerkő (whiskered tern) Lookout, Bölömbika (great bittern) Lookout and Szilas-fok Lookout are perfect examples of how a modern structure can exist in perfect harmony with its surroundings without detracting from the enjoyment of nature’s beauty. 

Kisköre Lookout in the MAHART Marina

Only a few kilometres from the Kisköre dam system, one of Hungary’s largest hydroelectric power generation facilities, lies the highlight of the MAHART Marina – a lookout tower in the shape of two ship hulls facing each other. The top of the towering steel structure offers a magnificent panorama. If you climb the stairs, you will be rewarded with a bird’s-eye view of Lake Tisza, Abádszalók Bay and the Kisköre hydroelectric power station.

Balatonberény – Somoshegy Lookout

Built on the site of a former dismantled lookout on the edge of the Somos conservation park, the Somogyhegy Lookout offers a unique panorama. Only a few lookouts on the shores of Lake Balaton offer views of the Tapolca basin. With its exceptional location, this 12-metre lookout is definitely a must-see destination.

Fonyód – Szaplonczay Promenade

The Szaplonczay Promenade in Fonyód has been popular with hikers and cyclists for years, but new improvements have made it even more attractive. New modern playgrounds and rest spots have been built along the promenade, and the number of sports opportunities has also increased. The new night-time lighting system creates a pleasant atmosphere and a beautiful view in addition to making exercise at night safer.