The underrated Miskolc city in northern Hungary is nothing but a must-visit! While the city itself is charming and worth a while, you can jump onto an old train taking you through the forest in the Bükk Mountains outside the city into a wonderland of castles, caves, lakes, and mesmerizing nature scenes.
And if this isn’t enough, Miskolc features one of the absolute coolest thermal baths in Hungary; the Miskolctapolca cave baths.
Miskolc might just be my favorite place in Hungary due to all the things to do and the astounding nature wrapped around the city. If you’re getting curious about what to do in Miskolc, you’re in for a treat!
I’ll go through the best things to do in Miskolc in this post, but I’ve also covered everything else you need to know before you head out on your Miskolc travel adventure.
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How to get to Miskolc Hungary
Miskolc is well commuted with two railway stations, the biggest being Miskolc Tiszai train station, and bus connections to Miskolc Central Station from other big cities in Hungary and surrounding countries like Slovakia, Ukraine, and Romania.
You can also easily get to Miskolc by car. This is the easiest way to get around to the surrounding attractions, but the public transport is good in Milkolc so you don’t need a car, especially Lillafüred is worth getting to by train when it runs.
Where to stay in Milskolc
Miskolc is jam-packed with hotels so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a place to stay. However, here are a few of the top-rated hotels in the city to get you started.
Aranykorona Hotel is a traditional hotel in the city center. The restaurant takes you straight back to Medieval times. They serve traditional food and have their own wine cellar! Hotel staff is super friendly, even those who don’t speak English are trying their best to communicate to help out. I stayed here a couple of nights and loved it. See availability here.
Premier Hotel Miskolc is a modern hotel, centrally situated in the city with a restaurant, bar, and room service. This hotel has facilities for disabled guests too. They offer airport pickup for a fee and if you come by car there’s free parking. See availability here.
Zip’s Beer B&B is a wonderful apartment hotel with modern apartments. It’s perfect if you travel with your pet or just want a kitchen to cook your own food. Also this hotel is centrally situated and has a bar. See availability here.
When is the best time to go to Miskolc
Miskolc is great all year round. But especially fall is amazing if you plan to go on the Lillafüred forest train as the colors are fantastic! The Bükk Mountains are covered in a carpet of yellow and orange that will take your breath away. But late spring is also amazing!
On the other hand, during summer, you can enjoy the entire facilities of the Cave Baths, when the outdoor pools are open. Considering the temperatures in the pools, they are probably more pleasant when the air is hot.
If you are looking for a European winter city break, Miskolc will not disappoint with white-covered streets and the surrounding forest covered in a white blanket.
What to do in Miskolc
There are endless things to do in Miskolc, Hungary, and its surroundings, but here are the absolute highlights that you should not miss out on.
Lillafüred forest train
The absolute highlight of your Miskolc travel adventure is the tourist train to Lillafüred. Since this mainly goes in the summer and autumn, you should plan your trip accordingly so that you don’t miss out on this adventure.
You can still get to Lillafüred by tram and bus, but I’ll be honest with you – this train ride is so picturesque and unique. With the ticket controller shuffling on the outside of the little diesel-run train as it bumps along the edge of the valley with sudden drops, unforgettable views, diving into the thick forest, and pressing through narrow tunnels, it’s just as popular among the locals as it is among travelers.
Especially during the autumn, it’s so beautiful with all the fall colors!
The train ride takes about 30 minutes one way and you can buy the tickets in the ticket booth at the station. To get to the Lillafüred train, take tram number 1 from Miskolc to Laev. You can buy the tram ticket directly on the tram from the driver.
The astounding Hámori Lake is in Lillafüred right by the impressive Palota Hotel (which looks like a castle!) You can rent a rowboat at the lake and enjoy the picturesque surroundings to the meditative sound of the oars hitting the water.
The lake is situated perfectly between forested hills but is accessed right next to the road. So even if you don’t have the time to go for a row, you can still admire its beauty and snap a couple of photos.
Right below Palota Hotel, by the gardens, and next to the entrance of Anna Cave you find the Lillafüred waterfall. There are two astounding drops, whereof the highest is 20 meters high.
This makes it the highest waterfall in Hungary. During summer, it might dry up, so the best time to see the waterfalls might be spring when the snow has melted. I was there in the fall, and there was water in both of the falls, though the upper fall was a little thin.
Anna Cave is found below the gardens of Palota Hotel in Lillafüred. It’s an incredible cave system with numerous halls of limestone formations.
At the time I was there, they didn’t have English tours, so I got a piece of paper with all the information written in English to read during the tour. To be honest, it felt a bit too long without understanding a word. But it might be because I was there in low season that they didn’t run tours in English. I was literally the only foreigner there.
That said, the caves are truly amazing!
Szent István Cave
Maybe the most impressive cave in Lillafüred is the Szent István Cave. Legend says that the cave was discovered in 1900 when a puppy fell into the cave opening. It barked for days to end before it was rescued and the cave was revealed by humans.
31 years later the cave was opened for the public and during World War Two it served as a bomb shelter. Unfortunately, as a result, some of the stalagmites and stalactites were damaged.
Today, 4 of the halls are open to the public, and also here, it seems like all the tours are in Hungarian. But with an information sheet in English.
The tour lasts 30 minutes, so it can feel a bit long when you don’t understand what they say. Nonetheless, this is a must-visit and one of the most unforgettable things to do in Miskolc.
Cave thermal baths
If you’ve been to a few thermal baths in Hungary, don’t stop now. The unique Cave thermal baths of Miskolc are truly worth a visit!
Carved into the mountain through thousands of years, there are now different tunnels and cave halls where you can walk around, swim through, or enjoy small waterfalls.
The water is of medicinal quality, yet the salt levels are low enough that there is no time limit for how much you can spend in the pools.
I do warn you, though! The temperature is only 30 degrees. This is pretty cold for being a thermal bath. But if you’re easily freezing as I am, there are a couple of warmer pools in the door right to the left before entering the cave pool and there are a couple of Finnish saunas you can sweat in too.
Despite the ‘cold’ water, the Cave bath is without a doubt one of the absolute best things to do in Miskolc!
One of the most popular things to see in Miskolc is the medieval Diosgyor Castle. Nestled in the foothills of the Bükk Mountains, the castle remains are well worth a visit.
The castle was partly restored in 2014 after it had been abandoned since the 17th Century. There are guided tours every 30 minutes to learn about the castle’s history.
You can get there by bus or tram no. 1 from the city center.
Old Wooden Church
The Old Wooden Church in Miskolc is one of the most important monuments in the city. Though the current church was finished as late as 1999, there is a long history behind it.
The first mention of the wooden church dates back to the 1600s when it was called the bone castle or corpse castle due to the mass graves outside the church.
When the church went to ruins, it was rebuilt, and later again after it had gone to ruins. The church was tragically demolished by pyromania in 1997 which is the reason it had to be rebuilt again.
Reflections on Miskolc travel
As you can see, there are lots of great things to do in Miskolc for anyone. With such a variety of activities, you can easily spend a week in the city, but even in a day you can enjoy a couple of hours in the thermal baths and explore a number of things in Lillafüred.
As a responsible traveler, make sure you always respect the locals and their customs. Try to learn the basic words in Hungarian to get around and bring your smile with you. People are usually very helpful and sweet!
If you’re staying a few days in Budapest, a getaway to Miskolc for a couple of days is a wonderful adventure.
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