- Name Országos Kéktúra (OKT)
- Length of trail 1,164 km, 723 miles
- Length in days 57 days
- Start of trail Írott-kő
- End of trail Hollóháza
- Traildino grading MW, Moderate walk, backpacking trail
- Hut tour grading T1, Walk
- Access towns Írott-kő, Hollóháza
1164 km, 57 days. Írott-kő Mountain and Köszeg (on the border with Austria) to Hollóháza village (on the border with Slowakia).
The National Blue Trail, or Országos Kéktúra, is the oldest of the three Blue Trails. It runs through the northern, hilly part of the country, starting in the West at the border with Austria and ending in the East near Slovakia and Romania. Balaton Lake and the outskirts of Budapest are some of the includes. History is everywhere and the path won’t miss a single castle, like for example the idealised ruins of Visegrád.
Work started in 1930 and the official opening of the Kéktúra was in 1938. This makes the National Blue Trail one of the oldest long distance trails in Europe. The popularity in Hungary is immense but outside the country it is little known even if it coincides with European Path E4. Look at it as the Appalachian Trail of Hungary.
The National Blue Trail is a great opportunity to get to know Hungary and every hiker should consider adding it on her/his (whish) list. Not the physical effort stands out, as the highest point is only 1.014 m and the total length 1.164 km. You will be walking on rural tracks and forest trails, easy walking apart from the sticky clay in some places. The summer heat is best avoided. Winter is okay for walking: not that much snow.
Obvious reasons to walk the Blue Trail: the rich history in the heart of Europe, the interesting and sometimes hard life of its people and of course the extensive deciduous forests, rural countryside and traditional villages. Springtime offers a bustling bird life and wealth of flowers. Agriculture is quite modern and strikingly different from the small scale farming in nearby Romania. Villages are passed regularly and usually have a small shop or two, also offering a coffee or a beer – beware the very limited opening times (sometimes no more than 7.00 – 9.00 am). Economic circumstances are often bleak and people move out of the villages leaving the traditional houses to the crumbling forces of nature.
Accommodation is possible in so called Vendégház, guesthouses where you can get a room and a kitchen, but no breakfast, for a reasonable price and the bonus is the opportunity to dive into the archaic interior of those pretty houses with furniture dating to the earliest decades of communism. Many of them can be pre-booked via the internet. Alternatively, consider using buses: all villages are connected to larger towns and you can bet a bus will leave in the afternoon and will return next day early morning to drop you in the same village where you interrupted your hike. Third strategy is camping. Wild camping is allowed and many walkers do so.
You do not need to master Hungarian, ditto do not expect the villagers to speak or understand any language you may speak. But don’t panic because they know by experience that anybody with a backpack and dirty trousers tends to utter no more than three questions: where can I sleep, where is the shop, where is the f. stamp post that should be here according to my map. For sure you’ll get appropriate answers even before you open your mouth.
Stamp posts? Yes, in order to proof that you have completed the Kéktúra from start to finish you must visit all 151 stamp posts and fill the designated blanc squares of a stamp booklet that is for sale at the national hikers organisation MTSZ. Buy it online and have it sent to the first hotel before you start. The price – very low – includes a real badge they will sent you in return for a completed stamp book. At the time of writing some 6.500 hikers finished the trail and have their names added to the national Kéktúra list. May be some day yours is on it too.
You should know that the trail marking (blue) is excellent and huge efforts are spend to keep the trail in a good shape.
The Kéktúra counts three trails, of which this one – the Országos Kéktúra – is the most popular. The other two trails are Rockenbauer Pál Dél-dunántúli Kéktúra and Alföldi Kéktúra, less popular, less well known. These trails exhibit a different Hungary. Országos Kéktúra is part of the European Path E4.
- Hungarian National Long-distance Blue Trail (E4): Visegrad to Irott-ko
- Hiking guide to the north-western section of Hungary’s National Blue Trail which forms part of the E4 European long-distance footpath. The guide covers the route from the historic town of Visegrád on the Danube, across the Buda Hills on the outskirts of Budapest and the Bakony Hills along the north-eastern shore of Lake Balaton, to Írott-ko in... Read more
- Hungarian National Long-distance Blue Trail (E7): Irott-ko to Szekszard
- Hiking guide to the western section of Hungary’s National Blue Trail, including part of the E7 European long-distance footpath. The guide covers the route from Írott-ko in the Koszegi range on the Austrian border, across the Orség National Park and the Mecsek Hills near Pécs, to Szekszárd. At the border crossing with Slovakia near... Read more