With museums and cinemas around the city closed and the sun out, it’s time to get out the hiking boots and explore the hillsides and bucolic landscape an easy hop from Budapest. Here are five great tips.
A pleasant stroll up from the Csillaghegy HÉV stop on the Szentendre line from Batthyány tér, up Ürömi út then following the red sign for Hegymászó utca and long sections of stairs, Róka Hill was once the largest limestone quarry in Budapest. It is also considered the most scenic, with rare natural attractions such as the woolly foxglove are only found here at on Péter Hill, while birds of prey such as sparrow hawks and buzzards, and bats nest in the area. In addition to the flora and fauna, the rock walls are also strangely attractive, contrasting with Csillaghegy and Békásmegyer, with Megyeri Bridge in the background.
Üröm, Rókahegyi út 48
To hike around a rocky landscape, Ördög-orom, in District XII between Farkas Valley and Irhás Ditch, is a great choice. To reach it, take a steep path from the 8E bus stop on Eper utca. As with the Róka Hill quarry, the area also has a remarkable diversity of wildlife, and the geological features and a nature trail that has long been a popular feature.
District XI. Ördögorom lejtő 52
Merzse Swamp, one of Budapest’s most undisturbed nature reserves and the only one of its kind within the city limits, is near Ecser, a picturesque village out towards the airport. A short walk from Rákoskert station, this nature trail is 6km long, with an abundance of birdlife such as mallard ducks, lapwings and bee-eaters. To get the most out of any trip to Merzse Swamp, bring a pair of binoculars.
District XVII. Erdőalatti dűlő
Not too far from Merzsé, next to the pretty district of Cinkota, are more wetlands of considerable ecological significance. Created in 1978 by the reconfiguring of Szilas Creek, Naplás Lake is Budapest’s largest stretch of water, attracting picnickers, hikers and anglers pretty much all year round. The immediate surroundings of the lake, the meadows along Szilas Creek and Cinkota Park Forest, are home to about 150 species of birds, but there are many protected plants and even swamp turtles on the eastern side of the water.
District XVI. Naplás-tó
An easily accessible and convivial option is Kis-Hárs Hill, which can be reached by by bus 22 or 22A from Széll Kálmán tér (15min journey time) or the Szépjuhászné station on the Children’s Railway. From there, you can head for the Imre Makovecz lookout tower, with its magnificent view of north Buda, the city centre and Gellert Hill. Barbecue facilities line the path up.