Believe it or not Hungary has so much more to offer than Budapest. An unlikely destination is the small village of Pannonhalma. Located in the north western part of the country, close to the Slovakian border you will find a tiny village with a lot of charm and character. The village of Pannonhalma offers me what I enjoy most: unique libraries and fairytale lavender fields.
How can you get there? Simply – by train from Gyor.
When you arrive in the tiniest train station you will see where you have to go. The village is known for the Benedictine Abbey and you will see it from afar so you cannot get lost.
Once you reach the Archabbey all you have to do is enjoy everything: the scenery, the silence, the people, the wine… everything.
My first stop was the botanical garden and the forest. Truth be told I wanted to see the lavender fields and walk among the flowers and just get high on their perfume. And it did not disappoint.
Apart from the Lavender Garden you can see here a botanical garden in its own rights: forest trees (oak especially), rare and protected floral species, many songbirds and everythings has an explanation. The Abbey focuses a lot on education: therefore children come here to play and learn about the forest.
Once you managed to leave the garden and the forest head towards the Archabbey. The view from the Bastion offers a wide shot over the Pannonian plain. Everywhere you will see the rural Hungary filled with houses, forests, lakes, fields. The Benedictine monks in 996 but the Basilica you see today was built in 1225 and it developed in time. I could not visit the Basilica due to a baptism and a wedding that were taking place but simply admiring the building from outside you could see the Baroque, Classical, Romanesque and Gothic elements. Today only a small number of monks live and work in the Abbey, running the school and maintaining the building.
An obligatory stop is the library which was built at the beginning of the 19th century. Today the collections is comprised out of 360,000 volumes and is simply breathtaking. If you do not believe me just look.
If you are in Hungary and you are simply looking for an escape come to Pannonhalma. You will not regret this unique experience.