When most people hear of Hungary, they immediately think Budapest; but Hungary is not only about Budapest. Of course, the capital is a beautiful city, visited by millions of tourists every year. But other major cities of Hungary have something to offer and therefore are not bypassed, on the contrary.
Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary and has 206,000 inhabitants. It is the regional center of Eastern Hungary. Debrecen is located near Hortobagy National Park, ideal for you if you really like plain lands. This city is located close to Romania. Although it was historically isolated from Budapest, the two cities have become more connected to each other through the building of the new highways, such as M3. Debrecen has a decent public transport network, which does not lack trams and trolleybuses. It is a relatively quiet town, without too much fuss and bustle; the old, elegant architecture is crowned by the building of the Debrecen University and several cultural institutions.
Miskolc is the third largest city in Hungary, located in the north-east of the country, close enough to Slovakia. Here live some 170,000 inhabitants; Miskolc is the regional center of Northern Hungary. This town is near several geographic regions and different lands. In the east you can find the beautiful Bukk Mountains and Sajo, Hejo and Szinva rivers. The point located at the lowest altitude of the city is the river Sajo, from where Tisza Plain begins, as well. Miskolc is an industrial city, overall. It is divided into several distinct areas, like Avas, located on a hill in the city center and is characterized by many old structures, that preserve the charm of between-wars era or newer ones from the communist period, which reminds you of Soviet times. While visiting Miskilc, you must not miss Belváros, the town center, where you will admire beautiful historic buildings next to modern constructions such as malls.
Szeged has a population of 169,000 inhabitants and is the regional center of southeastern Hungary. It is located near the border with Serbia and Romania, and is passes by Maros and Tisza rivers. The climate of this area is much sunnier than other parts of Hungary, almost resembling the Mediterranean weather. Szeged is one of the industrial centers of the country and here, the most popular Hungarian food prepared here, such as paprika and sausages. Szeged is also known to be a major academic center and an important touristic spot due to the many music and artistic festivals that take place.
Pécs is located on top of Mecsek Mountains, in the south-west of the country, close to Croatia. It has a population of 156,000 inhabitants. Together with the cities of Essen and Istanbul, Pecs was chosen as European Capital of Culture in 2010. Since it is located in an agricultural area, many local products originate in this city. Here you can also find a famous porcelain factory. It was an area where there were many factories, but they disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain. Another fun fact that you must know is that here you will find a unique beer, which is not filtered before bottling and is prepared only at the Brewery of Pécs; so it is only serve in one restaurant and nowhere else in this world!
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that the University of Pécs is the oldest institution of university education in Hungary and one of the oldest in Europe. The town of Pécs is crossed by several trains every day, that will lead you to Budapest and other important places.
Photo source: Picture 1: edition.cnn.com; Picture 2: hungarywanderer.com; Picture 3: hellomiskolc.hu; Picture 4: miskolc.hu; Picture 5: szegedtourism.szegedvaros.hu; Picture 6: funzine.hu; Picture 7: tourdental.eu