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5 family-friendly nature trails within Budapest

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  • Erika Csom-DÖMÖTÖR

15/10/2021 3.12pm

With warm, sunny days still upon us, you can take the whole family out for a walk along a nature trail to find frogs, climb lookout towers and spot rare beetles. Here are five suggestions, all within Budapest itself.

Photo: Kálló Péter - We Love Budapest

Guckler trail

1/5

In 2018, Budapest's oldest nature trail, the Guckler sétány more than 100 years old, was renovated. This promenade on Hármashatár Hill has long been a popular spot for runners and hikers alike. The trail can be reached from the Fenyőgyöngye stop on bus route 65 following the blue signs, then taking a turn at the green cross. This easy walk is lined with boards displaying past and present local history, and lookout points with the Kiscelli Museum, Árpád Bridge and a block of flats known known as Faluház. The trail also features Hungarian-language games for families accessed by QR codes on signboards. With small kids, the almost completely flat, 7km-long circular path should provide few complaints, while more adventurous youngsters will enjoy Tábor-hegyi Cave on the steep slope (follow the cave sign on the right and then back on the same path). The end of the trail is indicated by the sign for Virágos-nyereg, after which you can either walk back on the same path to the starting point, or turn onto the blue-signed route, a steeper but more beautiful trail all the way up to the Guckler Lookout. From there, you can choose between two roads, leading to the car park. The study trail can also be viewed virtually on this link.

Setting-off point: The Fenyőgyöngye stop on bus route 65. You can also park here along the side of the road, though space is scarce at weekends

Length: An easy 7km. It’s more tiring going up to the cave or following the blue sign to the Guckler Lookout. Pushchairs not recommended


Photo: Medgyesi Milán - We Love Budapest

Lake Naplás

2/5

Many people visit Naplás for the lake alone, but there is also a short but exciting nature trail around it. Along this renovated track, parallel with the cycle path, you soon reach the floodplain forest, then fields, before returning to the start via the dam house and embankment. Along the way, you might also meet many species of birds that live or rest here, egrets, seagulls and swans, but you can also observe marsh turtles in sunny weather. Unfortunately, many pond slider turtles have also been fed into the lake by outsiders. The area around the lake, one of the largest nature reserves in the capital, is also home to many species of butterflies and frogs. It’s also worth exploring the winding promenades of the Cinkotai Forest on the other side of the road and climb up the new lookout tower opened this year. Food and drink are available at Nap-Plázs by the car park.

Setting-off point: Car park by Naplás út

Length3km, quite flat but not suitable for pushchairs



Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Merzse swamp

3/5

Once upon a time, Budapest was surrounded by swamps, many of which have since disappeared. One which has survived development is Merzse, out by the airport at the very edge of Budapest. The first signpost of the nature trail is located at Rákoskert station, so it can easily be reached by train. From here, you find the first rest area by walking on a wide dirt road. This is pretty much where the tour starts, following the green frog signs. Keeping to the right, next to the field, you first reach a wooded grove surrounded by willow and poplar trees, then the reeds that are home to many plant and bird species. The last stop is a lookout tower, from which you can observe the rich birdlife of the swamp, so do remember to bring your binoculars. This is perhaps not the most spectacular of nature trails, but it contains a few discoveries and provides a good example of how the city embraces nature reserves, as most of the area around it is built up, with the airport nearby. Kids who love geocaching should find plenty of treasure. In rainy weather, it can get quite muddy, so bring waterproof shoes.

Setting-off pointRákoskert station

Length: 6km, quite flat but not suitable for pushchairs

Photo: We Love Budapest

Nagyfejű csajkó nature trail

4/5

There is another walk easily accessible from the Fenyőgyöngye bus stop (see above Guckler trail). This nature trail was unveiled in 2021, so it is one of the newest ones in Budapest. The construction of this path was among the first projects of the rehabilitation initiative of the Szép-völgyi forest. The history of this area and the nature conservation work taking place here are presented at each of the 11 stops, the tenth describing the earth-boring beetle, nagyfejű csajkó,  and why the path was named after it. As there are many hiking trails crossing this one, the track can be continued on several others, perhaps towards Hármashatár Hill or the Árpád Lookout Tower. Reaching Csajkó field, which used to be an illegal landfill, a covered rest stop has been set up, with a few wooden toys for kids, shaped like an earth-boring beetle itself, a hawfinch and a European copper skink waiting on the tiny playground. It’s an ideal, light walk with small children, but is not recommended with prams because of the narrower, winding paths on some parts. You won’t find any eateries along the way, so bring snacks with you. You can refill water bottles from the fountain on Csajkó field.

Setting-off point: Kecske-hegy car park, accessible from Szépvölgyi út – the driver might let you off between Nyereg út and Szépvölgyi út if you ask nicely.

Length: 1.5km, longer if required. Pushchairs not recommended


Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

Sárga kör

5/5

This favourite kid-friendly trail can even be reached by the Children's Railway, but bus 22 also stops here at Szépjuhászné. There is a relatively large car park at the station, which unfortunately fills up quickly on sunny weekends. From the other side of the railway tracks, the yellow sign starts uphill on Nagy-Hárs Hill. The slightly rocky, steeper road is quite short and the Csanádi rest stop is pretty close. From here, the Károly Kaán Lookout Tower is only a few steps away, from where the road starts downhill. Unfortunately, it’s not allowed to enter the cave named after László Bátori, who lived here as a hermit, you can only peek through a small hole. Then, you can continue the hike on an easy trail until you reach the conjunction. From here, on the yellow triangle, you can reach the Makovecz Lookout in a few minutes, or choose the short nature trail named after István Fekete, which ends here. If you want to get back to Szépjuhászné, follow the signs of Mária út M or the green circle Schüller út, a light walk to the start point. There's snack outlet, usually with strudel, a handy carrot to motivate younger ones. At weekends, stews cooked in cauldron are also available.

Setting-off point: The Szépjuhászné stop on the 22 bus route, crossing the rails at the yellow circle sign up, then back at the M and green circle signs

Length: 5km, not suitable for pushchairs


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