Visiting Miskolc, Hungary during the winter holidaysACTIVITIES, EUROPE, FEATURED ARTICLES, STAFF, WALKING/HIKING — By Estrella Azul on January 13, 2017 at 23:55
Text & photos © Estrella Azul
I FIRST VISITED Miskolc in 2005, and it just so happened that I re-visited this city in Hungary (approx. population 160,000) every five years after that.
I don’t recall as much from my first visit as I do from the following two. I guess seeing the city with the eyes of a teenager I simply took in the beauty and carried on talking with my friend about all sorts of then-relevant-to-us topics.
During my second visit in 2010, I focused a bit more on the architecture. While walking around the city, I made sure to take many photos with my digital camera. It was a step up from the old-fashioned camera I traveled with the first time.
One of my favorite parts of that trip was going to the Avas viewpoint in Miskolc to see the city at night.
On my latest trip to Miskolc, I traveled there with my boyfriend in December 2015 to ring in the New Year. I took him to all the pretty places I knew about and tried to document them all in winter photos.
The sights of the city, the restaurants, museums, baths and shops downtown fit so well together that tourists are bound to have a really good time in Miskolc.
The trip overall was awesome, despite the bitter cold. Miskolctapolca (annexed to Miskolc in the 1950s) holds Hungary’s record for lowest temperature: −35° C on 16 February, 1940. Even though it wasn’t anywhere near that cold, I actually had to buy myself not one but two new hats. The hat I took with me just wasn’t cutting it in the −15° C weather we were walking through in downtown Miskolc.
We found this little Albanese bakery downtown, Toti Príma Albán Pékség, where the best giant pizza and the most delicious vanilla and cherry muffins are made. We went back twice—and even stopped by before heading back home to get yummy treats for the road.
Miskolc, like most cities around the world during wintertime, dresses up for the holidays. I loved spotting the Christmas tram! Aside from its pretty painted exterior, it’s decorated with garlands, wreaths and Christmas lights, has Christmas music playing, and even has an electric fireplace inside.
Then there are all the pretty lights and decoration-adorned shop windows which add an extra touch of charm to the streets at night.
The downtown area is also a place to admire the corner street clock, a stone calendar on the sidewalk where you can function as a living clock hand (works like sun clocks do), carved stones to sit on and people-watch, and street lamps which are beautiful in daylight as well as after dark.
According to both locals and Wikipedia, Miskolc is the fourth largest city in Hungary and the county capital of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, as well as the regional centre of Northern Hungary.
Personally I’ve only been to this part of Hungary during summer before, so it was a new perspective for me, and I got to see a few things that I haven’t visited before.
Avas Cemetery is one of those places. Located next to Miskolc’s oldest church, it’s a museum in its own right, dating back to the 14th century. Sadly, dated tombstones have only been preserved from the second half of the 17th century, and the oldest tombstones line the cemetery paths.
We stayed in Miskolctapolca, a forest-y, resort-type suburb that is one of the most popular tourist towns in Hungary. We got into downtown Miskolc from Miskolctapolca. We also took day trips to Lillafüred, Eger and to Budapest.
In the little mountain resort of Lillafüred, the waterfall is frozen during winter. In my 2012 travel article, Some Medieval and Natural Gems of Lillafüred, Hungary, I recall writing this: “In winter, the frozen waterfall unfolds a unique and spectacular landscape. I’ll definitely have to see that for myself one day. And then share it with all of you.”
Before leaving, we went to Miskolctapolca’s Cave Bath for a day of thermal baths and relaxation. We ended up only taking a walk in its park, since we didn’t know the Cave Bath can be visited all year long with the exception of January. However, it was well worth the walk. The park is large and filled with wildlife due to its location. We saw squirrels, many types of birds, ducks and even a swan on the lake.
The walk in this beautiful frozen scene was the perfect end to our stay in Miskolc.
Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.