As a country with close ties to the equestrian world, it comes as no surprise that horse riding in Hungary is a prime attraction for visitors. From the Southern Great Plain of the Puszta to the shores of Lake Balaton and Aggtelek National Park, there are plenty of places to get out and explore the beauty of the countryside on horseback. If you’re an aspiring or experienced rider, follow this guide to the best riding routes to try.
Smooth turquoise water, romantic Baroque castles, sleepy villages, volcanic slopes, breathtaking views – all this and more can be found at Lake Balaton. The largest lake in Central Europe, “the Balaton” borders the Balaton Uplands National Park, which is known for its spectacular hills created by volcanic eruptions, with wide mountaintops and steady slopes – the ideal recipe for an easy, yet memorable horseback ride.
Highlights include the historic Tihany peninsula that juts out into the middle of the lake, the basalt mountain of Badacsony on the water’s edge, the fairytale-esque Káli Basin valley and the spa town of Hévíz, known for its warm thermal waters.
The Puszta trail is one of the most famous routes for horse riding in Hungary. Cutting across the Southern Great Plain – a large, flat basin that lies between the Danube and Tisza rivers – the trail takes riders and their steeds on sandy tracks through beautiful farmlands, green meadows, forests and fruit plantations.
With kilometres of land to explore, riding through the Puszta (also called Hortobágy National Park) offers an excellent opportunity to let loose and gallop for long distances on its 50,000 square kilometres.
Kiskunsági National Park
Kiskunsági National Park, in the Danube-Tisza interfluve, is a colourful landscape of protected land, conservation areas and horse-breeding farms. The park’s beauty is enhanced by quirky natural phenomena such as the sand dunes of Fülöpháza and the alkaline lakes of Little Cumania.
The area is also home to the Western-style El Bronco ranch, where visitors can learn to ride like cowboys. The Western style differs in many ways from normal horse riding, so it’s an interesting experience for skilled riders as well as novices.
Aggtelek National Park
The UNESCO World Heritage Aggtelek National Park may be best known for its stunning natural cave networks but there’s a beautiful side to the park above ground, too. There are a number of fascinating nature trails to explore within the wildlife-rich countryside of northern Hungary, and in the park itself you’ll find the distinctive Hucul breed of mountain horse.
Riding camps such as Jósvafő Hucul Stud offer horse riding experiences for all ages within the perimeters of the park.
Horse riding in Budapest
Those who don’t have time to leave Budapest can still enjoy horse riding. Riding schools in the Buda Hills offer short country riding trips on trails in the hills above the city.
Equestrian enthusiasts can also visit the Gödöllő Hills, just outside of the city, where there are a number of horse parks and farms, such as Lazar Horse Park, Hilltop Farm and Vegas Farm, offering lessons and tours.
With so many options available, there’s every opportunity to saddle up and see the country on horseback.
Article by Corinthia Hotels, home of The Budapest Times and its sister publication Budapester Zeitung.