Aggtelek National Park
Aggtelek National Park is centered around caves: there are more than 200 caves here! In fact, the park was established in 1985 primarily to protect these caves as well as the unique surface formations found here. The park encompasses some 56, 000 acres, nearly three-quarters of which are blanketed with deciduous forest, with bursts of rare plants and rocky outcroppings in the clearings. The park is also a habitat for more than 310 of Europe's approximately 400 bird species, both migratory and those that nest here.
Aggtelek National Park actually shares a border with Slovakia, and adjacent to it on the Slovakian side is yet more parkland: another 101,000 acres! Jointly, the two parks, in Hungary and in Slovakia, offer one the most cave-rich regions in Europe, with more than 700 documented caves! Plus, there's the eye-popping wealth of both indigenous flora and fauna. Nature trails abundant, meandering through the parkland, treating walkers to a trance-like fairy tale sequence, where it is not uncommon to encounter such wildlife as antlered stag and red deer. While much of the park is open to individual exploration, some parts are protected and require guided walks, particularly some of the caves. Of the caves in the park, we might add, the most famous is the Baradla-Dominica Cave - a fabulous bi-state formation, where Baradla lies in Hungary, and Dominica in Slovakia.
Aggtelek National Park can be reached from Budapest by way of Route 3 north to Miskolc, then Route 26 to Sajószentpéter, from where Route 27 heads off toward the park, with a well-marked exit leading directly to it.
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