After all the feasting of Christmas and with no gatherings on New Year’s Eve, exercise and outdoor recreation are the order of the day. Here are five suggestions for easy day trips from Budapest, accessible by public transport and requiring hiking boots and a little preparation.
Many myths surround the chakras, spiritual strength and energies of
Dobogókő, but there’s more reason to visit this hallowed site than a positive
start to the New Year. From its 700-metre-high vantage point, the highest peak
in the Visegrád hills, the panorama is stunning, and you can also take smaller
or larger round trips around the peak, the shortest being the two-kilometre Thirring
körút marked by yellow signs. The first tourist lodging in Hungary was
established here, and at weekends, hikers await other hikers with cauldrons of
hot soup, chimney cake and hot chocolate, according to their Facebook page.
Using public transport, it’s best to take the forest path to Pilisszentkereszt following
the blue signs, returning to Pomáz from the village by the same bus you came on.
Our photographer Bálint Hirling recently visited Dobogókő and took these dazzling
How to get here from Budapest: HÉV train to Pomáz then local transport to Dobogókő.
The highest point in the Buda hills is Nagy-Kopasz.
Its 559-metre-high peak is more of a wide, tree-covered plateau, topped by the
sail-shaped Pál Csergezán lookout tower. An information board lists the
landmarks and destinations spread out below. The hill where Páty, Nagykovács and Telki meet can be found on the right-hand side of the road from Budakeszi
to Telki, where the Hidegvölgy forest hut is also located. This is where the
Sisakvirág nature trail starts, which leads to the lookout by following the triangular
green signs. Leaving the woods, you find yourself on a grassy plateau of rocky
dolomite, the location for Tarnai rest stop, where the panorama is amazing,
particularly from the outcrops. From here, the lookout tower is hidden between
the trees, 15-20 minutes away.
How to get here from Budapest: Volánbusz 795 from Széll Kálmán tér towards Zsámbék, alight at Páty, Telki or Hidegvölgyi Erdészlak, journey time around 30-40mins.
Zebegény and Nagymaros can also be reached by trains
departing from Nyugati station, so it may make sense to travel from one
picturesque settlement through the Börzsöny woods to the other. On the road
marked with blue crosses, you can easily walk along the forest trail eight
kilometres long, the two ends being the Stone Cross above Nagymaros and the
Trianon lookout monument above Zebegény. Starting from Nagymaros, passing Köves-mező, you are
greeted by a spectacular view of the Visegrád Citadel, but nothing beats the
stunning panorama of the bastion-shaped Julianus tower, built in 1939. Another
unique attraction here is the Hermit’s Cave, but this detour is inadvisable in bad
weather due to the steep, slippery path.
How to get here from Budapest: Trains leave Nyugati station every 30mins in the direction of Szob.
This peak is one of the most popular excursions
around the Danube Bend, as illustrated by the visitor counter installed in the
lookout tower built in 2016. It got its name from its rocky, pulpit-like summit.
The 16-kilometre hike to the top 639 metres high can be completed in six to
seven hours – at the start, a sign warns hikers that the trail is tricky
and only recommended for the experienced. Those who tackle it should be in good
condition and wear decent hiking boots but those who succeed are rewarded with one
of the most beautiful panoramas in Hungary. Below stretches the Danube Bend, the
Börzsöny, Nagymaros and Visegrád. From the centre of Dömös, turn onto
Királykúti út and walk out of the village – the path marked with a red triangle
will lead you to the summit, passing the so-called Wild Stones in their unusual
How to get here from Budapest: Volánbusz 880 from Budapest Újpest-Városkapu (1hr 30mins), which also calls at Szentendre.
The most beautiful hiking path in the Danube Bend was once a hunting
trail, but it was given over to tourism in 2015, allowing everyone to enjoy
this popular route established in 1930. The most beautiful panorama in the
Danube Valley peeks through from time to time, revealing from the winding track
on the slope that the path is lined with rock towers. You shouldn’t expect big changes
in elevation, but the trail is narrow and best tackled in single file. It starts
from the centre of Pilisszentlászló, and you should follow the green signs through
the village. The whole trek to Visegrád takes about three to four hours. At
Apát-kút valley, you can decide whether to turn left for Visegrád, or right, taking
you back into Pilisszentlászló, following the red signs for some two to three
How to get here from Budapest: Volánbusz 870 from Szentendre to Pilisszentlászló (25mins). To return back to Szentendre from Visegrád, take Volánbusz 880 (45mins), which also goes to Budapest Újpest-Városkapu (1hr 15mins).