Beautiful scenery, legendary history and a romantic touch
Hungary has many castles and mansions that were built by former aristocratic families. These historic buildings survived several wars and regime changes. Some of these residences of bygone nobles are in ruins, some are home to schools, museums and galleries and some are state or church owned. In recent years many of the castles have been restored to their original splendor and a few have been turned into castle hotels, offering a unique experience. Today, they are popular venues for wedding receptions, honeymoons and romantic getaways.
While the Lord of the Manor won't be around to greet you, a stay at one of these castle hotels will take you back in time and you can live like royalty for a night. Each of the following castle hotels offers something different and has its own unique flavor.
Batthyány Castle Hotel
Baroque elegance on a thermal spring - The history of the castle that once belonged to the Batthyány family dates back to 1490. Originally built in late Gothic style, the Batthyánys rebuilt and extended the castle in Baroque style in the mid 1800s. During recent renovations in 2000 the castle and its surroundings were restored to their original glory, ensuring that every detail complies with the original style. Set in a 300 years old park, the Batthyány Castle Hotel also has a thermal water spring that feeds its indoor and outdoor pools.
Héderváry Castle Hotel
Renaissance history - Today a 4-star hotel, the Renaissance and Baroque style Héderváry Castle is over 450 years old. In fact the oldest part of the castle dates back to the 13th Century. If its walls could talk, they would reveal the Hédervárys' varied history serving kings and queens as knights, palatines and bishops since the 12th century. The estate was given to the family in exchange for their services. The original castle was enlarged, demolished, rebuilt and re-designed several times during the centuries. It received its current Baroque form in the second half of the 18th century. The English park surrounding the castle was created under the personal direction of an English gardener who planted exotic trees like the Chinese gingko tree and the American magnolia.
La Contessa Castle Hotel
Carriage races and beautiful scenery - The history of La Contessa Castle follows the lives of two noble families, who were the owners of the estate during different centuries. The Keglevich family owned the estate from 1666 to the end of the 19th century and the Pallavicini family who took ownership of the estate from the 19th century up until WWII. The Pallavicinis, originally from Geneva, rebuilt the Classicist style castle in Neo-Baroque style, which can be seen today in its former glory following recent renovations.
According to stories passed down from one generation to the next the Castle received its current name, 'La Contessa' (Countess), when Count Alfonz Károly Pallavicini bought it as an engagement present for his fiancée, Máriá Wenckheim. The Castle is set in an enchanted 7-acre park located close to the famous stables and carriage races of Szilvásvárad and the beautiful scenery of the Szalajka-völgy.
Hertelendy Castle Hotel
A harmony of history, gastronomy, and nature - Set in 150 acres of scenic forest, the Hertelendy Castle is located south of Lake Balaton in a region known for its excellent game hunting fields of Lábod and Kaszó. Andor Hertelendy, the original owner of the estate and commissioner of the castle, was a land owner with large orchards and a passion for hunting. He built the castle in the 1920s in Neo-Classicist style. The historic Hertelendy Castle Hotel comes with its own bio farm and thermal lake making it an exquisite combination of history, gastronomy, and nature.
Castle Hotel Degenfeld
Wining in the Tokaj region - The Castle Hotel Gróf Degenfeld is set in the middle of a 100-acre vineyard in Hungary's famous Tokaj wine region. The Degenfeld family's history dates back to the early middle ages. Count Imre Degenfeld had a passion for wine. He was an influential landowner and a founding member of the Tokaj Region Wine Society established in 1857. Degenfeld is one of the few castles in Hungary where the heirs to the historic family regained ownership. A modern winery and a beautifully restored castle carry on the family legacy. The Castle Hotel Degenfeld is a royal retreat for wine lovers with wine tasting and cellar visits at the estate and trips to Tokaj.
Chateau Visz Hotel
Dine like a royal - This former countryside residence and hunting lodge of Count Jankovich was the scene of many elegant parties and 'spirited' card games lasting late into the night. Built on a hill just outside of Visz, near Lake Balaton, the castle has a charming, turn-of-the-century atmosphere. Chateau Visz is surrounded by a landscaped English park, with statues & sculptures by contemporary artists. Guest rooms are decorated with Hungarian paintings from the early 20th century. Chateau Visz's restaurant was named restaurant of the year in Hungary in 2010, thanks to Michelin Star awarded head chef Erik Schröter.
Castle Hotel Sasvár
A noble hideaway - The Károlyi Castle in Parádsasvár was designed and built by Miklós Ybl, one of Europe's leading architects in the mid to late 19th century (Budapest Opera House), in Neo-Renaissance style. When Mihály Károlyi, a former Hungarian prime minister, inherited the palace in 1903, he preferred life in the city. His wife however loved the countryside and would often spend time alone at the castle. Legend has it that whenever they had a disagreement she would leave the city and spend a few days at her beloved castle in Parádsasvár, hence the nickname ‘Sulky’ (Duzzogó). The castle's three wings are interconnected by an underground passage. The interior is furnished in Biedermeier and Empire style. A favorite for wedding receptions, the estate also has a heart-shaped lake.
A 'Cultural Meeting Center' - Another beautifully restored Károlyi mansion is set in a 50-acre English-style park in Fehérvárcsurgó. Commissioned by Count György Károlyi, as a second home, the Neo-Classicist style mansion dates back to 1844. The mansion was designed by the Austrian architect Heinrich Koch and built under the supervision of Miklós Ybl. The Károlyi family lived here for a hundred years, until 1944. Today, the estate is administered by the Joseph Károlyi Foundation, established by the heirs to the historic Károlyi family. The mansion also serves as a cultural meeting center and is part of the European network of 'Cultural Centres located in Historical Monuments'. This means that several cultural programs and events are held throughout the year, including classical music concerts and various temporary exhibitions. Guided mansion tours are offered daily.
Szidónia Castle Hotel
Graced by royals and aristocrats - The history of Szidónia Castle dates back to the middle of the 18th century, when it replaced a single-story hunting lodge that belonged to the surrounding woodlands. Commissioned by the Felsőbüki Nagy family, the castle was built in Romantic and Classicist style in the middle of a 7-acre park. Several royals and aristocrats have graced Szidónia Castle with their presence, including Count István Széchenyi, the founding father of Budapest's Chain Bridge, who was a guest there in 1841. According to legend Maria Theresa also visited the castle. One of Szidónia Castle's curiosities is a small bridge in the park, which was a gift from the German industrialist Thyssen family.
Budapest also offers several former palaces transformed into luxury hotels. Get the royal treatment at Hotel Palazzo Zichy, the Four Seasons Gresham Palace or Le Meridien Budapest, the former Adria Palace.