Who does not remember the days when kids counted the time backward before the trips to the Mátra Mountain, they put on their boots, packed their backpack and while hiking they fell in the creek but they did not mind it because they could enjoy barbecues, the narrow gauge railway, peak climbing, delicious food… who would not want – even after so many years – their children and grandchildren to have this experience?
The Mátra awaits you!
Attractions in Gyöngyös
GYÖNYGÖS – The town of grape and wine
The small town, surrounded by the slopes of the Matra Mountains, offers a number of places that are worth visiting.
Notable buildings, churches and residential houses are located in the old town, which can be visited during a lovely walk. The baroque church of St. Bartholomew is an outstanding attraction the treasury of which preserves precious Renaissance liturgical treasures. The baroque Grassalkovich house, the Orczy House, the Mátra Museum, the Franciscan church and monastery are all must-see attractions. Visit the ornamental fountains, the neoclassical synagogue and the gyöngyös residence of Ferenc Rákóczi as well.
In the home of the Mátra-wines feel free to pick and choose the winesmade from high quality grapes: traditional Italian Riesling, Leányka, Muscat Ottonel, Blanc, Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. For more information: www.gyongyos.hu
Fő tér/ Main Square
The town centre is a rectangular square. It achieved its current shape after the great fire of 1917 and the reconstruction work in 2000.
The old town hall and the medieval houses of the town’s landlords and rich citizens were situated in the old Market Square – in its current, rebuilt form this provides a specific, unified and peaceful atmosphere to the town which cannot be seen anywhere in Hungary. During the reconstruction work some wells were discovered in the south side of the square and today the coats of arms of the twin towns of Gyöngyös – Ringsted, Denmark; Zeltweg, Austria; Kézdivásárhely, Romania; Pieksämäkki, Finland – are carved on the ornamental well.
The house which is situated in the heart of the town was built around 1750 and according to the richly carved rococo coat of arms above the gate it belonged to Antal Grassalkovich. The two-storey baroque building is now home to the Municipal Library. In the upstairs gallery the Lajos Huszár Coins Collection – a special numismatic exhibition – can be seen beside the permanent exhibition of paintings by Hermann Lipót. The name of the designer and builder of the building is not known but it may have been Ignác Oracsek, József or Kristóf Quadri. Today this building is home to the Tourist Information Office, the Tourist Information Gallery, the Vachott Sándor Town Library, as well as the Mátra wine shop. Address: 3200 Gyöngyös Fő tér 10.
Once it was an independent, one-street settlement but today it is a part of the city along the Gyöngyös creek. It has always been under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Eger. After 1804 it was owned by the archdiocese. The parish was already listed in the Papal tithe register of 1332/37.
During the Turkish occupation the Franciscan monks fulfilled the pastoral duties in the church. In 1644 the church was in ruins in a barely usable state then between 1767 and 1773 Bishop Esterházy had it restored. In 1803 and in 1960 it was renovated again and since then only preservative work was carried out. The village church is surrounded by a stone wall with loopholes. In wartime the people of the village found a refuge here. The reconstruction of the church’ interior and exterior began in 2010, during which time church service was held as before. The Roman Catholic Church of Gyöngyöspüspöki is served by the Franciscan monks of the town. The former village was administratively merged with the town in 1923 and a monument – which can be found on the former outskirts of the village – was raised to commemorate this event.
Saint Bartholomew’s Parish Church
The pride of the main square is the impressive, two tower Saint Bartholomew’s Parish Church. At the site of the baroque “grand temple”, in the XIII. century there was a much more modest Gothic church which became one of the largest churches in Hungary after the ongoing expansions. Address: 3200 Gyöngyös, Szent Bertalan street 3., Telephone: +36 37 311 143
The Orczy-castle, which was originally built between 1769 and 1770 in baroque style and rebuilt in 1826 in neo-classical style, received in 2009 one of the seven Grand Prizes awarded by Europa Nostra. One of the most important natural history collections in Hungary can be seen in the Mátra Museum which consists of the renovated castle, the new Natural History pavilion as well as the 2 acre nature reserve park. This is a truly not to be missed experience!
For more information: www.matramuzeum.hu
Franciscan monastery and historic library The exhibition, which also displays a 16,000-volume collection of ecclesiastical books, guides visitors through the past and present of one of the largest Franciscan monasteries in Hungary.
Hungary’s second largest church collection with many Gothic and Renaissance goldsmiths’ work of art to be admired.
The large, distinctive building was built in 1930 on the basis of Lipót Baumhorn and György Somogyi’s plans. There is a large dome in the centre of the building. In recent years it was transformed into a furniture shop, taking care to keep the external features and values.
The small but constantly developing Gyöngyös Zoo, which is home to both exotic animals and the ones that can be seen in forests in Hungary, promises exciting entertainment to families, little kids and the bigger ones alike! In the zoo pony rides and a bouncy castle is waiting for the children.
Narrow Gauge Railway
Travelling by the puffing engine – called Gyöngyi – of the more than 100-year-old forest railway is a great beginning of a family outing.
Gyöngyös Swimming Pool and Thermal Spa
The Swimming Pool and Thermal Spa has been offering its renewed services and facilities since June 2008.
The water is alkaline-hydrogen-carbonate medicinal water which contains silicic acid as well. Due to its composition the water has a beneficial effect on certain skin diseases, stomach problems, rheumatic and neurological diseases.
Other attractions: http://gyongyos.utisugo.hu/latnivalok
Attractions in the near vicinity of the town:
Farkasmály is a neighbourhood of the town which used to be the entertainment district. Today nicely built cellars await wine lovers. The “Ivó-day Cellar Visits” are held here annually. The long history of the Farkasmály cellars date back for centuries. The first cellars were carved out of the Sárhegy andesite rocks (lava and ash) in the 1700s by French prisoners of war. The cellars originally formed a closed unit and all twenty six cellars had their own so called press house. In the middle of the row of cellars stood the keeper’s house from where he could guard the cellars. The wine cellars were an important trading centre as well as a place for merrymaking.
During the Second World War, the main part of the population of Gyöngyös, approximately 7-8 000 people, found shelter in Farkasmály from the fighting front. In memory of this a statue of the Virgin Mary was erected at the upper bridge. After the war, nationalization did not help the development of Farkasmály. Press houses are now being renewed and life is returning to this this little valley.
Mátrafüred is situated on the south side of the Mátra Mountains at the foot of the southwest block of the Kékes peak at the altitude of 320-390 meters above sea-level along the Bene-stream. The ruins of the Bene castle can be found in the outskirts of Mátrafüred in the southern end of the Benevár- summit between the Somor and Csatorna streams at 471 meters above sea-level. In the early 14th century it was the most modern fortress in the whole Mátra region. Currently parts of palace’s walls and some sections of the fortress walls are visible in a partially restored state. The village was discovered and “occupied” by holidaymakers after the Treaty of Trianon and by the end of the 1920s a number of villas had been built. Reconstruction work on Sás-tó commenced at that time as well.
On June 5, 1923 Gyöngyös-Mátrafüred railway line started operation. After the nationalization in 1949 new buildings emerged and old ones were converted for the purposes of accommodation facilities for trade unions. The first modern hotel in the Mátra Mountains, called Avar, was built in Mátrafüred in 1976. The Palóc Ethnographic Private Collection opened in 1983 and in 1996 it moved to the old school building and new exhibits were added. Currently it is called the Palóc Ethnographic Private Collection and Doll Exhibition. The idea of detachment from Gyöngyös and becoming an independent settlement emerged right from the millennium.
Palóc Ethnographic Private Collection and Doll Exhibition
The Palóc Ethnographical Private Collection and Doll Exhibition has been operating as a permanent exhibition since 1983 in Mátrafüred. Gathering material for the collection was started by Szakács Józsefné Mészáros Magda after 1945. She bought and collected old embroideries, home textiles and fashion pieces from all over the Palóc land. A typical feature of the Palóc region is that almost every village has their own folk costumes. The 30 dolls dressed in these costumes present this diversity to the visitors. The exhibit includes young bride dresses, grooms and bridegrooms, a mother rocking her baby in a cradle, “girls of the Virgin Mary”, a kneading woman, a young girl making her bed, a spinning woman and her husband, and women returning home from the fields. They all reflect the old peasant way of life. A different kind of collection intends to introduce Hungarian historical garments. This 12-piece exhibition presents the Hungarian aristocratic, bourgeois dressing culture from the Middle Ages until the early 1900s. A medieval royal couple, a Gothic and Renaissance lady, late Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo couples are exhibited.
A real gem, the real Matra!
Mountain Sports Base (Hegyi Sportok Bázisa – HSB) – Mátrafüred
The dignity of mountains and the classic beauty of forests are blended in a real Mátra trip. The Mátra really deserves to be thoroughly explored as the views to be found here are spectacular. HSB is located in the centre of Mátrafüred at the bus station. The Hotel’s guests can participate in exciting programs organized by HSB. A fantastic cavalcade of cultural, artistic and historical experiences and programs will make your stay unforgettable. The experience will remain with the visitor for a lifetime, the forest, the built and the natural environment is impressive, programs are varied. Experiences offered by the base for families, couples, the young and the old alike are of high quality. A wide range of team-building activities and special outdoor events can be organised for businesses and firms. Uniquely in Hungary many innovations such as the Canadian Shredder, the US off road Segway, the Swiss Mountaincart, the Austrian Monsterroller, the Hungarian Gepida e-bikes, downhill bikes, and special laser guns can be rented in one place. The attractions we offer shine like the brightest diamond! This gem – the unforgettable moments in the Mátra – will last long for those who visit us! For more information: www.matratura.hu
Mátraháza – this lovely resort – administratively belongs to Gyöngyös. It is situated 650-700 meters above sea level on the mountain ridge 10 km from the centre of Gyöngyös. In 1930 the Mátra Society built a shelter here, which was the first permanent building in the area. The settlement’s name is derived from it. The building which resembles a pagoda is still standing and functions as a hotel. Its easy accessibility and the central location in the Mátra Mountain make it an excellent starting point for hikes. It is also a frequently visited destination for winter sports enthusiasts. The Kékes – Mátraháza ski slope is Hungary’s longest piste. The climatic features give relief to sufferers of respiratory diseases. Therapy is provided in the Sanatorium of Mátraháza.
- Pagoda Hotel – used to be called “Sport Hotel”. It opened again in 2001.
- Church – built in 1942.
- Naphimnusz Park – The park was created in 2002 by the Franciscan order for tourists visiting the Mátra Mountain.
The most popular resort in the area. Hungary’s highest observation tower promises a wonderful panorama, and it is worth walking around the highest natural like of Hungary or choosing a nice hiking trail.
Oxygen Adrenalin Park
It is the country’s highest adventure park that guarantees adrenaline-enhancement with its suspension bridge, bobsleigh track, climbing wall, quad track, as well as the unique and only giant swing in Central Europe and lots of other items. Kids also enjoy the eurobungy, the children’s adventure park, the pet corner or the water bubbles.
The Kékes or Kékes tető is Hungary’s highest peak. Administratively it belongs to Gyöngyös. It is 1014 meters high and can be found in the Mátra Mountains (Northern Range). The longest ski run (1.8 km) in Hungary commences there. A TV Tower is located at the top, which can be visited as a lookout. A national-coloured stone marks the high point on the summit. It is a major tourist destination because it is one of the most important climatic health and ski resorts in the country.
A tower was built in Kékestető in 1958 but it became obsolete and by 1981 a new one had been built together with the service buildings.
Currently Antenna Hungária Zrt. operates the tower. There is a panoramic café and lookout facilities in the tower.
Opening hours are from 9.00 am until 18.00 pm in the summer, and in winter until 16:00 pm.
The Castle Games are one of the most popular programmes in the Mátra. There is a chronoscope which is a device that allows you to look into the past and see what the castle once looked like. Apricot jam making, the bozsolé days, and many legends can make the day exciting for visitors.
The faithfully restored Sirok Castle is Hungary’s only rock castle where it is worth walking in the zigzagged romantic corridors, admire the magnificent views or during the Sirok-days joining a medieval feast.
Hungary’s highest peak is the 1014 meter Kékes where a TV Tower is located, which can be visited as a lookout. A national-coloured stone marks the high point on the summit. It is one of the most important climatic health and ski resorts in the country.
Mary’s Chapel in Fallóskút, which is visited by thousands of people each year, is a famous place of pilgrimage in Hungary. A charming tourist path leads up to the chapel but it is also easily accessible by car. The village more and more sights which include the so called Gubola houses, the stations of the cross, or the marble statue of the Virgin Mary. The only full-time hermit of Hungary lives in Fallóskút.