During October, we barely remember the summertime music festivals, but it is still too early to make plans for Christmas or New Year's Eve, so it is a perfect time of the year for a little hiking. Luckily, Budapest is not only rich in places for a good party, but also offers diverse green spaces that are transformed by the autumn leaves into brilliant expanses of yellow, orange, and brown. You can reach many of these places by public transport and be back home well before sundown, calming your nerves in just a few hours.
Living museum of Sas Hill
About 250 meters from the city limits, there is a 30-hectare nature reserve that is basically a living museum on top of the hill. The speciality of the area is that there are species of plants that remained here since the Ice Age; you have to be careful where you step, because it would be unfortunate to exterminate a specimen by accident.You can also find some peculiar geological formations as a result of thermal-water activity, and you can get to know the specific living culture of the area. A major benefit of this parkland is that the area can be visited with a wheelchair. See more information about Sas Hill here.
Elizabeth Lookout Tower
János Hill is not only the highest point of Budapest, but it is also a swell place for an outing. It is easiest to go by taking bus 291 from Pest's Nyugati Station to the Zugliget, Libegő stop, where you'll find the city's only chairlift, whisking riders from the foothills to within steps of the peak in only 12 minutes. After reaching the top, it takes only a few moments to reach the 528-meter-high peak, where the Erzsébet Lookout Tower is built. The neo-Romanesque building is 23.5 meters high, and has 100 steps leading to the top. It was named after Empress Elisabeth, who visited this place in 1882. Another alternative for getting there: take bus 21A from Széll Kálmán tér to Normafa, and with a half an hour walk you can reach the tower. However, this is not a very adventurous hike.
Hármashatár Hill is a popular hiking destination, where you can take splendid walks in the shade of oak and fir trees. The peak is on the border of Budapest's Districts II and III. This is where ORFK's telecommunication-center tower is built, and the National Blue Hiking Path can also be found here. In the inner part of Hármashatár Hill, Kecske Hill also awaits visitors with panoramic views over the hills to the west and serving as a launching point for paragliders. A pleasant forest path leads up to the 384-meter hill, where Lion's Rock, like a real big cat, guards the tourist path and the 11-meter-long Lion's Cave. If you are already there, don't miss out on the Árpád Lookout Tower either, which is on top of the 376-meter-tall Látó Hill.You can get a magnificent view of the Danube and the southern and western sides of Buda's miniature mountains.
ELTE Botanical Gardens
If you want to relax without having to climb mountains, there is also a place to go for that. Budapest has two gardens where you can get out of the rumbling city and concentrate only on the autumn leaves. One of these is the Arboretum of Buda (not to be confused with the Arboretum in Gozsdu), which is part of Corvinus University's campus, and mostly serves as a display garden.The other garden is Füvészkert, a botanical garden housing a wide variety of plant species. Whichever you choose from the two, they will provide a great opportunity to relax amid nature.
Anna Meadow is one of the most frequented hiking spots of the Buda Hills. It can be found between two centers of the area, 500 meters from the Normafa and 1,000-1,200 meters from the upper station of the Chairlift. From here you can reach Fairy Rock, emerging from Fairy Hill, after a really short hike. The rock has been renamed several times in the past century. It was called Hermit Rock and Antal Rock, but its original German name was Himmel (Heaven). It has a walking road built into its side, and from its top, you can get a panoramic view of Budapest.The area of the rock is under protection since 1977, and belongs to the Protected Area of Buda. Another curiosity can be found in this place: 30-40 meters from the northeastern corner of Anna Meadow, you can see the Stag Well. Tradition says that the well got its name from the time of King Matthias, when the deer from his reservation regularly came here to drink water.
Adyliget is located south of Hosszú Hill, and northeast of Hűvösvölgy. The estate with family homes was established in the 1920s, and was named after István Tisza (it was later also called Tisza István garden suburb), and then from 1939 was called Tisza Liget, and eventually got the name Adyliget in 1949. Legend has it because the famous poet, Endre Ady, liked to have lunch at the nearby Balázs Inn.
Nagy-Hárs Hill and the Kaán Károly Tower
Nagy-Hárs Hill peak is in the Buda Hills at a height of 450 meters. One of the benefits of the area is that, as opposed to János Hill and Normafa, this area is more untouched. Still, it is not difficult to get here, as the Children's Railway passes just by the foot of the hill. On top of the hill is the Kaán Károly Tower, where the panorama is really overwhelming. One negative aspect is that there are no paved roads at all, so this trip is for really enthusiastic hikers.