Hiking is the perfect way to see the rural side of any country and Hungary is no exception. We’ve put together this guide to help you get out and explore.
- Hiking in and around Budapest
- Hiking the Countrywide Blue Tour and beyond
- Hiking groups and supply shops in Budapest
Hiking in and around Budapest
There are plenty of hiking spots to explore that don’t even require you to leave the city limits. Normafa (Norma Tree), located in the Buda Hills, is one of the most popular. As well as a great starting point for a number of walks through the surrounding area, it’s also located close to Janos Hill and the Erzsébet lookout tower, which is both the highest point in Budapest and also offers so of the best panoramic views of the city. If you want to to head there from the downtown, think about taking the quaint children’s railway, a unique experience in itself.
If you’re happy to travel a little further out of the city, there are plenty of places to hike as well. Dobogókő is a 699 peak in the nearby Visegrád Hills just north of Budapest. While there are a number of routes to choose from, ‘Rám-szakadék’ is the most popular, taking you through a gorge where you must criss-cross the stream several times and do some fixed rail climbing. It’s still safe for beginners, just make sure to bring good footwear.
Hiking the Countrywide Blue Tour and beyond
The Countrywide Blue Tour (known as the OKT in Hungarian) is a 1,128km route that spans the entire country from the Irottkő Mountain near to the Austrian border, through to the village of Hollóháza by the Slovakian border.
The route is quite spectacular, taking you through three World Heritage sites, by forts and castles, over hills and even past the spent volcanoes near Tapolca. As well as Lake Balaton, you traverse the Danube river bend giving you stunning views of Budapest.
Completing the walk is an important milestone in the lives of many Hungarian hikers, and while it’s completely free to access at all points and requires no validation, many hikers choose to buy a walk brochure and collect the 147 checkpoint stamps that line the route.
The Hungarian Ramblers Association (MTSZ in Hungarian) will award a badge to all those that can show the completed the walk. The badge is free for members while non-members pay production costs. In addition, there are 3 other badges available for those that complete specific, shorter sections of the route.
If you’re looking for other hiking routes in Hungary, Wikiloc has a great list of them. The Hungarian Geocaching Society also has a number of routes on their website that can be downloaded to your GPS device.
Hiking groups and supply shops in Budapest
Hiking is a great way to make friends and Hungary is not short on hiking groups. The CEU Magyarnaut Hiking and Traveling Club organise walks most weeks in and around Budapest. Similarly, Budapest Hikers meet regularly and tend to have larger groups than CEU.