The Buda hills are impressive to look at, but the caves and gorges nestled in between are the true superstars in this scenic hike located in the city’s second district.
Remete-szurdok, Hermit Gorge, is named after the 18th-century recluse who hunkered down in a nearby cave. Prehistoric treasures sprinkle the valley, including the remains of a woolly rhinoceros, and the teeth of a Neanderthal man from 50,000 years ago. Now the area is an inviting forest, with scenic overlooks and craggy caves to crawl in.
The gorge can be reached in just an hour from the city centre, the 63 bus from Hűvösvölgy dropping you off at Rácski telep. From here, it is a short walk to the forest edge. The opposite end of the gorge can be reached by the 57 bus.
Near the woods is another point of interest, the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, a pilgrimage site dating back to the times of the Turkish occupation. In the 1720s, a young German girl named Katalin Thalwieser moved to Budapest, bringing with her an image of Mary from an old monastery. Local legend holds that when an old, blind woman knelt to pray before the image, her sight was miraculously restored, and thus the pilgrimage began. Today the church is surrounded by verdant trees, and outdoor concerts are held here in summer.
From the church, a ten-minute walk brings you to the forest edge, following signs for ‘Országos kéktúrá’, marked in blue on signposts.
The trail through the gorge is a winding one, but easily traversed by bicycle in 20 minutes. A strong children’s stroller might even make the journey, too.
The main attraction of the hike is the Hermit’s Cave, and the path ends at the village of Remeteszőlős, whose surroundings have been inhabited since the Ice Age. In 2013, a telephone booth was erected next to the council office to commemorate the famous Hungarian writer István Örkény. When you lift the receiver, you can hear readings of Örkény’s works.
From here, you can walk back to the entrance of the gorge, or take a turn towards the hill for a more adventurous trek. Expect a steep climb and a rocky surface, which may be more difficult to traverse. However, the view from the top is worth the effort.