Photo story: highlights of Hungary

For this collection, photographer Pete Goding travelled to all corners of Hungary to capture the country’s most spectacular bodies of water in all their glory, from bustling Budapest and the quiet town of Szob, to Lake Balaton and Lake Tisza.

By Tamsin Wressell
photographs by Pete Goding
Published 9 Dec 2019, 15:17 GMT
The classicist-style Széchenyi Chain Bridge was built between 1839 and 1849 and spans the mighty River ...
The classicist-style Széchenyi Chain Bridge was built between 1839 and 1849 and spans the mighty River Danube, linking the Buda and Pest sides of the Hungarian capital.
Photograph by Pete Goding

The Danube is an impressive waterway. The second-longest river in Europe, it curves and flows through 10 countries — more than any other river in the world. But perhaps its most well-known home is a landlocked country — Hungary, through which the watercourse winds from northwest to east, taking in the capital, Budapest, along its route.

Visitors look over the snaking river Danube towards the Hungarian Parliament Building in the distance. The Fisherman's Bastion is said to have taken its name from the guild of fishermen responsible for defending this stretch of the castle wall in the Middle Ages.
Photograph by Pete Goding
The regal complex atop Castle Hill dates to the 13th century, however the baroque palace, one of the finest examples of such architecture in the city, was finished in 1769. It houses the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum.
Photograph by Pete Goding

It’s in the capital that travellers can enjoy the country’s world-famous thermal spas, from the neo-baroque palace houses of the Széchenyi Thermal Bath to the historic Lukacs Bath, with its naturally heated hot springs.

Lukacs Bath. These historic thermal baths and pools are a popular spot for locals. They’re said to have been used by the knights of the Order of Saint John in the 12th century. Today, there are still naturally heated hot springs and swimming pools.
Photograph by Pete Goding
Another of the capital’s most beloved baths, the grand Gellért Thermal Bath was completed in 1918. It’s perhaps the most beautiful in Budapest, decorated with dazzling turquoise and glinting gold motifs.
Photograph by Pete Goding
A neo-baroque palace houses the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, located in City Park in Budapest. Once used by Roman settlers and Turkish occupiers, they are one of the city’s most popular and well-known public baths.
Photograph by Pete Goding

But head away from the Danube and you’ll find plenty of lakes and nature reservoirs, too. It may be landlocked, but look close enough, and you’ll find an abundance of water in Hungary. 

Mountains loom over Lake Balaton as the midday sunlight creates a silver canvas for the silhouettes of sailboats. Blessed with a Mediterranean-like climate, the lake is a popular destination for tourism, particularly for watersports.
Photograph by Pete Goding
A drifting rainbow of paddleboats lines the shores of the finger-shaped Hámori Lake in Lillafüred. In the summers months, the boats can be taken out onto lake and in autumn, the surrounding trees are a riot of gold, amber and scarlet.
Photograph by Pete Goding
The view from the Millennium Lookout Tower, Gömbkilátó Balatonboglár, at sunset. Deep orange hues envelop the banks of Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.
Photograph by Pete Goding

See more images in our gallery:

Published in the National Geographic Traveller (UK) Hungary supplement 2019

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