Hungarians enjoy walking. In this tidy country the scenery may appear to be somewhat monotonous. Apart from the hill country in the north, with Kékestetö (1014m) as highest mountain, all is rather flat. All the same, there are 11000km of marked hiking trails!
Much walking is done in national parks. Most famous is Hortobágy Puszta Park, the ultimate plain so to say, and consequently declared World Heritage Site. Another is Bükk National Park, an area of mountains and forests in the north of Hungary. Also great for hiking is the northern karst region of Aggtelek National Park, where you can go underground as well.
Of the 11000 kilometers of hiking trails, 2500 have been marked as Blue Trail. These Blue Trails or Kéktúra in Hungarian, lead right across the country and coincide with European long distance trails E3, E4 and E7. The original Blue Tour is said to be the oldest long distance hiking trail of the European continent. It dates back to 1938 and was laid out to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the death of King St. Stephen, first king of Hungary. Good reason for celebration of course. The current 1128km long route strings together all hilly ranges and touches on Lake Balaton. On the way you can collect 147 stamps at so-called check-points, often in railway stations etc. You are kindly requested to address the local officials in a friendly manner for a stamp, and the official website advises as follows: "It is useful (and advised) to carry an ink pad with you along your hikes, because the inking of the official stampers can not be guaranteed." Also forests, and with it portions of the trail, may suddenly be cut down and cleared.
A few practicalities: excellent topographical maps and guides are available. Bring a tent, and swimsuit/trunks, because Hungarians build the best swimming pools in Europe.
- Oranginas, hiking trails Europe April 1998
- Rate 6
- Positive Matra mountains: a protected area. Steep, rugged slopes, screes, talus slopes and -slides; dense beech forests. Vulcanic zone. Rich flora and fauna. Beautiful valleys. Vineyards at the foot of the mountain range.
- Negative When we walked there (1998) we could not find the routes. Accommodation was rare. Perhaps our preparation was not enough. Meanwhile - we heard - there are plenty of well marked trails and good maps.
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