The local area
Csobánkapuszta, home to the S.U.N. gatherings, is in Nógrád county in northern Hungary, an hour’s drive from Budapest. Nógrád is famous for its rolling green hills and mountains, including Börzsöny, Cserhát and Mátra, ruined castles, ancient Gothic churches, baroque palaces. The county is characterised by small villages nestled in the valleys, of which Hollókő, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the best know. But you find beautiful traditional peasant houses, for which Hollókő got recognition, all around the region. You also find two Buddhist retreats with stupas, and several green projects near us. The area offers many exciting leisure-time activities, including hiking, cycling, cultural programs, good food and more.
It used to be a small settlement consisting of a dozen houses. None of them stand now, although they are still marked on old maps. Unfortunately this is the fate of many traditional Hungarian buildings, settlements. The word “puszta” literally means an open area, but in this region of Hungary it refers to small homesteads, tiny settlements. Some, like Csobánkapuszta, disappeared, others stand empty and are falling apart, and in some still locals live. A few homesteads got saved by city people or organisations, and we also plan to rebuild Csobánkapuszta, based on old traditions but mixing it with some new approaches.
Find out more about Csobánkapuszta.
Below are some of the main settlements relevant for visitors. Between these places there are other little villages, they are not all marked on the map or described. They all have their own charm and boast some beautiful houses, a church, maybe a village museum or other sights, and the main attractions of the area are described on another page.
The “commercial centre” of the area with a supermarket, ATM, several smaller shops, a weekend market (revived by us), a couple of restaurants, pubs and a tobacco shop. It is also one of the nearest villages from Csobánkapuszta, which makes it a convenient stop.
Between the S.U.N. land and Bercel you find Ordaspuszta and Jákotpuszta. The first consist of a few houses mostly owned by city people and a youth hostel for hikers, the second is a homestead, now home to an environmental NGO.
Another quiet village characteristic of the area near our land and these other settlements, Becske is known for its Buddhist retreat and stupa.
The nearest village north of the S.U.N. land, Szanda stands at the base of a ruined fort on a hill. Forming virtually one settlement, Szandaváralja is right next to it. You find a little shop, pub, café in the settlement. A bit further north is Terény, a quieter village.
To the north Mohora is a junction on the way to Balassagyarmat, a small city that is convenient if you need things you don’t find in the immediate area. The city is right on the border of Slovakia. To Budapest the road leads south through Galgaguta then at Acsa you have two choices: either head towards Vác and then turn south to Budapest, or start south to Aszód and then turn west on the M3 motorway.
It is a small village with a few houses, a little shop, a guesthouse, and that’s about all. It is relevant for those who stay at the Andezit Hotel in Virágospuszta, near the village. Virágospuszta lies between Bér and the S.U.N. land. Note: despite Bér is very near the festival land, there is no private access beyond Virágospuszta, only for their guests.
A friendly little place known for its palace, which has been converted to a hotel and welcomes guests. It is at the junction of several roads, including to Bér and Bercel.
A little north of the S.U.N. territory is the famous village of Hollókő, but it’s a bit of a detour to get there either way you go. If you want to visit it and come back, it makes sense to make a circuit, as there are other pretty villages along both ways. One route goes to the southeast via Szirák, then turns north at Szarvasgede and leads to Alsótold. The other route starts to the northwest, then turns east either at Mohora or Cserháthaláp, and it also takes you to Alsótold. From here it’s only a little more to Hollókő. Further north is the historic town of Szécsény.
To the east runs Road 21. To the north at Pásztó you could head east to Mátraháza and Hungary’s highest peak, Kékestető. The northern route, passing Tar famous for its Buddhist centre, leads to the industrial city of Salgótarján, or via Ózd, another industrial city, to the country’s biggest cave system at Aggtelek. To the south, from Jobbágyi, the route leads to Hatvan and the M3 motorway. It is convenient if you head to East Hungary, but to Budapest it’s a detour.