Körös and Maros are rivers of the Great Hungarian Plain. Hence we thought the best way to explore Körös-Maros National Park is by boat. Actually, it was a canoe, but we were mostly right.
Körösvölgyi Visitor Center in Szarvas
This barely known and very young national park (established in 1997) consists of 13 smaller areas with its center in Szarvas. Szarvas is a lovely small town in Southeastern Hungary and we thought that Körösvölgyi Visitor Center would be a good base to start exploring Körös-Maros National Park.
This visitor center hosts a small exhibition about the park and explains why it’s a national park in the first place. The answer to this is the floodplain forests, marshes and the special flora and fauna of the backwaters of Körös and Maros. In addition, there’s an open-air animal park next to the visitor center where we could catch a glimpse of the typical inhabitants of the national park.
Canoeing on the backwaters of Körös River
Last but not least, we could rent our canoe in Körösvölgyi Visitor Center. And that was the best part of the day! Actually, we spent most of the day in the canoe. The calm backwaters of Körös River are just the perfect place for beginners. As we barely needed to struggle with the current we had plenty of energy to explore.
We canoed through the center of Szarvas then turned back and headed out of the town. The tiny weekend houses and jetties disappeared behind us and soon we found ourselves alone on the water surrounded by large trees and water lilies. We made it back to the visitor center not much before closure.
What else to do in Körös-Maros National Park?
Canoeing was a great way for us to get a taste of Körös-Maros National Park. But if you prefer staying out of the water, you can explore it by bike, too. Bicycles can also be rented from Körösvölgyi Visitor Center and I guess the friendly rangers can recommend you the best routes not just on the water but on the ground, as well.
But let’s not forget we’ve only seen a tiny part of this park: the flood basin of Körös River in Szarvas. Different attractions are located near Szeged, too: the flood basin of Maros River and Lake Fehér, a favorite place of bird-watchers.
As for cultural treasures, Gyula and Szabadkígyós have special place in our hearts: they are among the first places we visited together. But the reason they might interest you is their amazing castles. Gyula Castle is rather a fortress while the one in Szabadkígyós is an elegant manor. Gyula is a picturesque little town anyway – in a very far corner of Hungary. But even the most faraway town in this country has its thermal spa. 🙂 Gyula is no exception, Gyula Castle Spa is right next to the castle.
Where we stayed
Depending on which area of Körös-Maros you plan to visit, Szeged, Szarvas or Gyula are all pretty places to stay. We stayed at Lux Panzió in Szarvas where we had a spacious, comfortable two rooms suite and delicious breakfast for a price we would pay for the smallest, simplest room in Budapest. Well, it’s a hidden corner even in this small country.
Would you explore a national park by canoe?
Disclosure: We paid for this trip ourselves and our hotel stay was not sponsored either. However affiliate links are used in this post, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you are ready to book your trip and would like to support this website in some way, here’s your chance. Thank you! 🙂