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sights & culture




Hike to Apáthy rock for fantastic views just outside the city


  • Jász Annamária

  • Gretchen Kessler

19/11/2020 2.21pm

These days, any opportunity to quickly get out into nature is one we readily jump on. It’s no coincidence that the top most romantic places in Budapest usually includes the Apáthy rock face towering over District II: its easy accessibility, stunning panorama, forest quiet and interesting stone formations make it a desirable place to explore.

Photo: Jász Annamária - We Love Budapest

The cliffs topped by 376-metre high Látó Hill cover an area of 5.7 hectares, and their most popular point is the rocky outcrop that juts out southwards, offering a dizzying view. The drop may be precipitous, but it’s perfectly safe to stand on and admire the view.

The rock got its name from the former owner of the area, Gábor Apáthy, but its history goes all the way back to the 1500s, when a royal hunting lodge was built here under the reign of Mátyás I and Ulászló II. (You can still see the ruins at Hűvösvölgyi út 78.)

Photo: Jász Annamária - We Love Budapest

Take bus 11 from Batthyány tér towards Nagybányai út. It will take around 20 minutes to get to the terminus, from where you should set off to look for the green-marked hiking trail to the Apáthy lookout.

Additionally, the spot can be reached from trams 61 and 69, and reached in about 15 minutes from the Nagyhíd stop. If coming from this direction, the hiker should turn down Pasaréti út, then to the Battai stairs and Battai út to the left, and finally left onto Csalán utca and then right up the Nagybányai steps. At the top of these, you find the sign for the Nature Reserve (Természetvédelmi terület), and the signature green markers which line the entire nature trail.

Photo: Jász Annamária - We Love Budapest

If coming from Hűvösvölgy, the climb is much steeper, but with the gyms closed currently, this might be a great exercise alternative!

Photo: Jász Annamária - We Love Budapest

From the tram stop, you can see a large crane rising above the cliff, as construction is currently taking place right next to the lookout – the smell of fresh concrete wafts through the air, and a percussive drill of equipment accompanies the operation. Rumour has it that a private house will be constructed here – we only hope it doesn’t ruin the view!

Photo: Jász Annamária - We Love Budapest

At the beginning of the nature trail, you get a taste of the panorama waiting for you from a handy bench. The trail leads directly to the cliff, so it’s up to you to maintain safety. Danger aside, it’s a romantic spot, as we you see many sights, such as Normafa, János Hill, Erzsébet Lookout Tower, Kis- and Nagy-Hárs Hill, Károly Kaán Lookout Tower and Hűvösvölgy.

You also find an old pole which was once part of a cross, with candlesticks at its base, and opposite the rock – forgotten to history – is a World War II shooting range.

The road continues, surrounded by a white metal fence, which is so secure that we even saw a lady pass by with a stroller. The boards of the nature trail are complemented by illustrated drawings and information about the geological structures, and local flora and fauna, providing ample information concerning nature conservation.

It's a pity that graffiti covers the boards and rocks in some places, and the area is littered with cans and cigarette butts, which do a lot to squash the charm. (Of course, signs are posted asking visitors not to litter – generally ignored.)

However, it is worth going further into the depths of the forest along the green trail, beyond the popular parts of the excursion site. As the noise fades, the air becomes clearer, and there's an unadulterated hiking experience to be had in the oak forest.

Here, too, stands an impressive site: a rock formation known as Kőkapu, or Stone Gate. This feature presents a cave cavity projecting inward, fenced in with a blue-and-white ribbon from the municipal police, indicating that climbing is forbidden.

At the end of the walk, you exit onto Nagybányai út, and on the other side of the path, you see the way towards the Árpád lookout tower, which is also easy to walk through. If you go even further, you’ll end up at Hármashatár-hegy. Going a few metres up Nagybányai út, you find yourself at the terminus of bus 11, which takes you back to Batthyány tér in 20 minutes.

Photo: Jász Annamária - We Love Budapest

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