Shooting Locations

Shoot in the Cities of Hungary!

Get to know the history of these cities, to understand the nature of their locations

Hungary is Budapest centered. The prestige of the capital is unquestionably the highest in the minds of Hungarian. For example, people who live in Budapest call everyone else, even those living in other large cities, countrysiders. Or if “countrysiders” travel to Budapest from any other city, they say that they are “traveling up to Pest”, even if geographically they have to travel south and “traveling down to Pest” would be more correct. These expressions reveal how Budapest’s privilege is deeply embedded in Hungary’s history and culture. But this lack of self confidence and devaluation in Hungary’s other large cities is unfounded. These cities possess histories of a thousand years and offer such urban lifestyle and architecture, which is as attractive as the capital.


Progressive Productions gives special attention to ensure that our clients do not only consider the capital's locations. Another reason for this is that within Hungary there aren't really big distances; even the furthest cities can be reached by car under 2-3 hours. Not to mention that often these cities are more favourable for the project’s budget, than shooting in Budapest. We are now going to highlight a few cities and reveal what kind of locations they can offer via explaining their rich history and what kind of creative projects they would be ideal for.

Hungary is Budapest centered. The prestige of the capital is unquestionably the highest in the minds of Hungarian. For example, people who live in Budapest call everyone else, even those living in other large cities, countrysiders. Or if “countrysiders” travel to Budapest from any other city, they say that they are “traveling up to Pest”, even if geographically they have to travel south and “traveling down to Pest” would be more correct. These expressions reveal how Budapest’s privilege is deeply embedded in Hungary’s history and culture. But this lack of self confidence and devaluation in Hungary’s other large cities is unfounded. These cities possess histories of a thousand years and offer such urban lifestyle and architecture, which is as attractive as the capital.


Progressive Productions gives special attention to ensure that our clients do not only consider the capital's locations. Another reason for this is that within Hungary there aren't really big distances; even the furthest cities can be reached by car under 2-3 hours. Not to mention that often these cities are more favourable for the project’s budget, than shooting in Budapest. We are now going to highlight a few cities and reveal what kind of locations they can offer via explaining their rich history and what kind of creative projects they would be ideal for.

Székesfehérvár, The City of Kings

Not many know that Hungary’s first recorded capital city is Esztergom. The lord of the Hungarians, Géza chose it as the city for his headquarters in 972. His son, István who is the founder of the Hungarian state and its first king, kept Esztergom as capital city, but built the country’s largest basilica in Székesfehérvár. This is how Székesfehérvár became the Christian Hungary’s political and cultural center. The Basilica became the official location of the royal coronation; 38 Hungarian kings were crowned here and for a long time this was also the Hungarian kings’ burying-place. Naturally, the Basilica was the city’s center, around which the city developed. Then the city wall was built to defend themselves from the conquering Turkish army.

During the constant battling against the Turkish troops at the end of the 1500s and the beginning of the 1600s, the Basilica was exploded, after which the Hungarians used its rubble to strengthen the city walls. The center of today’s Székesfehérvár is practically entirely located inside the old city walls. Although they later demolished the city walls and mainly built roads in its place, this did not endanger the city’s unity. Walking here today one can find many buildings originally medieval, but that also have the mark of many other periods and styles on them as well. The street system and the building plots on the other hand have hardly changed since the Middle Ages. This is why the center of Székesfehérvár is ideal for those searching for authentic medieval European surroundings.

Around the middle of the 1800s, the historic, romantic architecture created Budapest’s most defining buildings. This period’s most defining personality unquestionably was Miklós Ybl, who is called by many the creator of Hungarian national architecture. Two of his works of art are for example, the Opera House in Budapest and the Tura Castle. Ybl was born in Székesfehérvár and many believe that the most defining buildings from this period in Székesfehérvár were designed by Ybl. Although this is just an assumption, due to no surviving proof, there is undeniable similarity between these buildings and the architect’s work in Budapest.

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Székesfehérvár’s outskirts were expanded with small and large palaces until the 1930s, but the Second World War and the Russian Occupation after that, then the forced socialist system changed everything. During the war the American and British carpet bombing practically destroyed the city. The socialist system did not deal with rebuilding the palace districts, because they saw them as symbols of inequality, so they built in their place multi-story panel houses. This is why Székesfehérvár’s center is surrounded by such buildings, so behind the medieval houses, there are panel houses, which look neither beautiful, nor modern today. Sadly, such aggressive expansion of these buildings can be seen in other cities as well, and in Budapest too. They built these directly neighbouring the historic center’s beautiful, romantic baroque buildings.

Székesfehérvár Panorama

Székesfehérvár is an ideal location for shooting medieval atmospheres in narrow streets bordered by short houses, or if you are looking for large city squares and parks with grandiose buildings. Next to this, masterpieces of Soviet era architecture can be scouted here as well. The city is merely one hour drive away from Budapest.

Balatonfüred, The Capital City of The Hungarian Sea

Hungary doesn’t have a seashore, but it has an enormous lake, which is called Balaton, but is often casually called the Hungarian sea. The lake has a special place in the Hungarian national identity. For many it is their long-established summer vacation location, while for others it is their eternal dream destination. The Balaton for youths is the place for parties and socializing, while for the elders their place to rest and take field trips. By its shores there are countless villages and a few cities as well, among which unquestionably Balatonfüred has the biggest history and is the richest.


The city from the 1800s was large and lively, many traveled here from the capital and other larger cities during the summer, although it was not at all the nearness of the Balaton that attracted them, because in that period it was not fashionable to bathe in the lake. But in the city there was a thermal bath, which was extremely popular among the visitors. Next to this, the bustling cultural life, the theatres, the balls and the countless bars made the city appealing.

This is the period of embourgeoisement (the time of the rise of the bourgeoisie in society); the urban lifestyle, the city squares, the upper middle class villas are typical of this period. They built a long promenade by the shore of the Balaton with beautiful views of the peninsula by the city. The buildings of the center reminds one of a Mediterranean city’s atmosphere. Surrounding the city there are countless villa buildings. Balatonfüred started out on a journey that could have made it one of the country’s largest cities and cultural center.

The Great Depression of the 1930s ended the Balaton’s development and growth, proving the grand, urban bourgeois lifestyle unsustainable by the lake. Also swimming in the lake became popular, which is why people started to prefer the cheaper holiday homes in small villages, saying that they anyway only use it for two months of the year. Balatonfüred to this day represents a mixture of a high class bathing city, a bourgeois city and a Mediterranean water-side city giving it a diversity ideal for filmmakers. It has countless secret corners waiting to be discovered, since it is not a location overused by filmmakers. The city is an one hour and forty minutes car trip away from Budapest.

Dunaújváros, The Russian Dictator’s Model City, Stalin City

Hungary was occupied by the Russian army in 1945 and from then until the democratic changeover in 1989, was under Russian occupation and was part of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union’s dictator, Stalin wanted to demonstrate the socialist system’s omnipotence and success with such artificially created cities as Dunaújváros - originally called Stalin City. The plan was to create from nothing such a city that could be the leader in industrial development and steel manufacturing, and the embodiment of the modern socialist lifestyle.

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The city was built by “social collaboration”, and started in the place of a little village, in the May of 1950 and was declared a city in April of 1951. Building work and settling people continued afterwards as well, although after the death of the dictator in 1953 the city lost its appeal, since most saw it as a model of a wrong economical concept, which had a direct role in the country’s economical fallback.


The city’s architecture is the perfect embodiment of the socialist realist style. Tibor Weiner, the head architect studied in Germany, but also worked in Russia, Paris and Chile. He returned to Hungary after the Russian occupation. It is important to know that socialist realism is not a style, but a creative process based on political ideology. Those who design buildings this way, know and identify with this ideology, creating buildings that are functional artworks. In these buildings socialist ideology and its view of society is present in countless ways. The Bauhaus movement’s modernist intentions give the background to this architectural style. Creating social spaces like theatres and cinemas, as well as the housing estates surrounding them are all part of the socialist model of society. Today are reminders of a period in history that has since disappeared.

Dunaújváros is not only an ideal location for films wishing to visualise the dark socialist age. If the visual creatives are looking for early 20th century modernist, functional architecture to envision a world that was disappeared, then we would recommend this location for shooting as well. The period’s most thoughtfully designed buildings can be found here, their unique beauty is unmatched. The city is one hour’s car journey away from Budapest.

Pécs, Europe’s Capital of Culture

The city Pécs is Hungary’s most Southern city, which is why it is often called a Mediterranean city, since spring always starts earlier here and autumn comes later. Next to this, Pécs is a bustling university city, full of young people and countless cultural events. What made the city truly internationally renown, was that in 2010 it was chosen to be “Europe’s Capital of Culture”. The winning city of this European application is given the title for a year and under this period of time they have to show that during this time the city’s cultural life has developed greatly. Naturally, this title had a positive effect on gaining a lot of development funding, so that Pécs could establish new city districts, for example the Zsolnay-quarter.

Pécsi vár, Szent Péter és Pál Székesegyház, Gázi Kászim pasa dzsámi, belváros

Zsolnay is the name of a merchant family, who in the 19th century opened a cement factory in Pécs. Under Vilmos Zsolnay the family enterprise became world famous. Vilmos was passionate about painting, but for the family’s interest he took over the direction of the factory. He found that the secret of success lay in deeply getting to know and studying the basic materials and chemical formulas, then to start experimenting. The factory moved in the direction of building ceramics and decorative objects, and created such special colouring solutions that counted as brand new, even throughout Europe. His objects were exhibited in the Paris exhibition in 1878, for which he won the golden medal. Around 1885-86 he invented the material called eosin, which made vases rich in colour and gave them a metallic shine. With this material they could not only cover decorative objects, but larger surfaces of buildings, which is why often the ornamental elements of Art Deco buildings are glazed with eosin. This material gave a unique, colourful effect to buildings’ facade, entrances, windows and staircases.

When Pécs became “Europe’s Capital of Culture”, what also became clear was that the culture of Zsolnay had to be revived by cultural programs. So by reusing the old factory buildings and the current factory’s unused areas, they created a new district, where the university and countless cultural programs were given permanent spaces. Naturally, the buildings and the neighbouring streets where all decorated by Zsolnay’s characteristic colours and forms. Truly exciting solutions can be found for how the past and present can meet. The factory buildings shine again in their original forms, and on them or around they there are innumerous tiny decorative elements that revive the factory’s glorious past. It is important to highlight that in some of these buildings the factory is still functioning. After the World War I, the world map was redrawn and the altered European political power took away the factory’s supply of materials and the majority of its clients, then after the World War II it was nationalized, but the factory still continuously produced its products, mostly porcelain decorative objects. It is currently in the hands of a private investor and has sadly been put into a state of near bankruptcy.

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Also in Pécs, in a previously completely derelict building they built a new library and a world class concert hall. We have offered the modern buildings as locations for film and photo production many times, because they were made with such architectural solutions that are truly unique. Pécs can be an ideal target for such film and photography productions, that are looking for modern and centuries old urban places. The Zsolnay-period left such marks on the city, that are truly attractive for photography productions looking for unique details. The city is welcoming, bohemian and thanks to its constantly bustling atmosphere, also offers pleasant time spending after shooting. Pécs is a two hour car route away from Budapest.

The cities above show well what kinds of shooting locations can be found throughout the country, in various large Hungarian cities. These cities are quickly and easily accessible from Budapest and can offer all the opportunities (hotels, restaurants, etc.) to satisfy the leisure requirements of film production crew members, whichever part of the world they may have came from. At Progressive we are committed to bringing the country’s hidden corners closer to our clients and to the wider world. Such production companies do not function in these cities, that have specialised in offering local services to international productions, which is why Progressive is the best and most adequate choice for shooting in any part of Hungary.

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