Beauty in the Bükk Hills
Today, narrow gauge railroads are a tourist’s dream because they offer an intimate travel experience in a wild setting. During the 19th century, narrow gauge rail lines became commonplace over the succeeding centuries.
In the 19th century they became especially popular in mountainous terrain and heavily forested, hilly areas. These lines cost less to construct than larger lines and were often found in sparsely populated, relatively remote regions.
Hungary is definitely the place to travel on a narrow gauge railway for the first time. There are still 109 miles of narrow gauge rolling stock spread across the nation. Some of this is still used as part of the public transport network. But if you are seeking the ultimate narrow gauge experience we have the trip for you. Take the line from Miskolc to Lillafured.
Starting on the outskirts of the city, the trip only takes a half an hour, but it takes you deep into the forest while passing over the highest viaduct in the country. This is travel as relaxation, charming, finely paced and close to nature. But just wait until you arrive at Lillafured.
The community may only have a population of 500, but it has a surprising amount of fine attractions.
Disembarking at the station, your eye will soon be caught by the grand neo-renaissance Palotaszálló (Palace Hotel). This stately edifice is set in stunning scenery between the Bükk Hills and Lake Hámori.
Be sure to step inside the hotel to check out its stained glass windows which show castles from Historical Hungary. Then make your way back outside to explore the Lake Hámori area. You have two options here, rent a boat to ply its serene waters, or try one of the hiking trails that provide you the option of either a stroll along the shoreline or forge deeper into the surrounding hills.
Later in the day, you will find yourself back in Lillafured. It’s time to take in a cave tour. You have a choice of tours at either the István Cave with large dripstone formations or the Anna Cave which includes plant fossils as well as plant formations.
When you resurface, it’s time to complete your journey. Close to the Anna Cave you will discover the Lillafüred waterfall at 20 meters (65 feet) Hungary’s highest. Surrounded by hanging gardens, the setting is magical.
As well it should be in this place where you can enjoy a relaxing train journey, visit a palace nestled in wild nature, stroll along the placid shores of Lake Hamori, explore caves filled with fossils and fantastical formations and finally relax while a waterfall tumbles past hanging gardens.
This is Lillafured!
written by CHRIS WILKINSON
edited by CHRIS KOVACS
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