The village is located in Nógrád county, approximately 91.1 kilometres northeast from Budapest, the capital of Hungary. It lies in a valley of Cserhát Mountains, surrounded by low peaks. The natural environment is protected.
In the middle of the 13th century, in the aftermath of the Mongol invasion, construction of Hollókő castle first began as a means to protect the area against future attacks. At this time, the area around Hollókő was held by the Kacsics noble clan. The castle was first mentioned in records in 1310. The original village was built just below the castle walls. The Ottomans captured the castle in 1552 and for the next 150 years, control alternated between Ottoman and Hungarian forces. At the end of the Ottoman era (1683) the castle and the village were finally abandoned and the present village grew up below. Many of the existing houses were first built around this time. The houses, which contain wood in their structure, have had to be rebuilt many times throughout the years due to periodic fires, the last being in 1909. In 1987, the village, castle ruins, and surrounding area were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.