The Danube Bend is like a jewellery box shaped by nature, with stunning panoramas in every direction. The most popular is Dobogókő, with wonderful views from Prédikálószék and Zebegény. One particular favourite, however, is from the Julianus Lookout Tower near Nagymaros, partly because the landscape is so attractive but also because it’s great for hiking.
Hike to the Julianus Lookout Tower for amazing views of the Danube Bend
With the days are getting longer, it’s time to break out the hiking boots for some exercise and fresh air. And where better to start than Julianus Lookout Tower at Hegyes peak?
This trek is a little longer and more strenuous than lighter ones you choose but if you get tired on the way, the walk can be shortened at several points, so it can be a 7km hike or a 12-14km one. The former should take around three to four hours. There’s no water available, though, so definitely bring your own.
You can head off for Hegyes peak from three points: Zebegény, Törökmező or Nagymaros. From the latter, you can start the tour from the centre of town, starting from the Church of the Holy Cross near Nagymaros-Visegrád train station, following the blue signs on the National Trail.
The first half of the hike is hard work, the ground stony and rocky, the path quite steep at times. It’s worth taking various layers of clothing, because this is the stage where you warm up pretty quickly, and you can chuck something on or take it off as the going gets easier.
As you come to the edge of Nagymaros, the landscape becomes more and more romantic, houses giving way to fairy-tale forest. You can get lost in the woods if you feel like it but reaching the Julianus Lookout is pretty straightforward just by following the blue signs.
The route is well maintained, the steeper parts short and the ascent quite moderate. Nearly all the rest stops have their own panorama, so it’s worth taking a break even if you don’t feel tired.
The longer first half of the trail consists of slopes and panoramas, leading to the lookout tower named after Julianus barát, the Hungarian friar who left Hungary in 1235 on the trail of Magyar roots in Mongolia.
The tower was built by the Encián Tourist Association in in
1939. At the time, this area was a popular tourist destination where hikers tackled
winding trails and enjoyed nature.
Some 80 years later, the lookout still serves the same purpose, allowing you gaze in all directions at the unparalleled sights before you. Dömös, the Visegrád hills, Prédikálószék, even Slovakia in the distance towards the west. And, at 270 degrees, the Danube meanders right under your feet.
Sadly, for the sake of the hike, you have to press on,
descending steeply. You soon find a crossroads, where you can decide whether to
continue in the direction of Lake Büdös, Köves meadow and the peak of Gubacsi-hálás, another 4-4.5 km away, or back
to Nagymaros, meaning the 7km was enough.
Either will give you a feeling of healthy satisfaction that you’ve shaken off the cobwebs of winter and kickstarted the hiking season.