I don’t think anyone needs to be introduced to the name of Dobogókő in Hungary. Located in the heart of the Visegrad Mountains, the village has been and will always be a popular place for hikers, with its varied hiking trails, monumental cliffs, and not least the stunning Danube Bend panoramas. The only icing on the cake is that Dobogókő is also a popular pilgrimage site for those interested in spirituality, because this is where the earth’s lines of power come together, and the scarcity of the heart can be found. Supposedly, if you put your ears on the rocks, you can hear the heartbeat of the earth. This has been confirmed by no lesser man than the Dalai Lama, who visited this place during his stay in Hungary, and I vote of confidence in him.
It’s not the spiritual way what I’m going after now but a 16km long tour that even hardcore hikers say, it’s worth visiting. The 16 km track alone is not a huge distance – obviously, it’s a matter of your fitness level – but because of the varied terrain and climbs, it’s a particularly difficult track. But that’s where its beauty lies. Even if it’s a difficult hiking trail at the end of the day, you’re guaranteed to have the best visual and adventure experiences.
So let’s go hiking to Prédikálószék – Vadálló kövek and Rám Gorge, about which I tell you everything you need to know. As general information, here’s a map showing the route I accomplished. The total length is 16.6 km, which can be completed in 6 hours, together with photo breaks and chilling periods.
It’s good advice to start the hiking with proper shoes that are comfortable and hold your feet, and you don’t mind in case they get wet. Wear an extra backpack instead of a handbag, because, in the gorge, you’re going to need both hands to climb. I’m not saying the latter for fun. I met a woman in the gorge who held her briefcase in her hand. Of course, she turned back. Water can be taken periodically at the source next to the Királykút House, but bring 2 liters of liquid with you, that’s for sure.
The tour starts from Dobogókő, where we left our car in the parking lot and headed in the direction of the Danube. We passed by the safe house, at which it is worth stopping on the way back for a delicious gulyás és pörkölt meal. Before you go deep into the forest, let’s spend a little time in two places. The first is the Szent István terrace, where you can get a taste of what a sight will welcome you at the highest point of our tour. The other is the shrine of Mary, which was consecrated in 1927, on the rocky hillside next to the lookout. The prayer wall is an excellent opportunity for a little quieting, from where you climb back down the stairs and can continue your journey along the path marked with the red triangle.
Soon after passing the yurt accommodation on the forest roads, you will reach a well-cared-for resting place, the aforementioned Királykút House. Here you have the opportunity to rest or even put a bonfire along with the established bacon fryer, but that’s not what this tour is about, so let’s keep going.
The terrain rises slowly among the trees, breaking the monotony of verdant trees with a cozy staircase and a gorge without water, just so you don’t get bored. When you reach the part closed by the wired fence, turn left and after a relatively long walk, you will stumble straight into the Prédikálószék lookout.
In fact, Prédikálószék is a huge andesite rock, which is considered the highest point in the Visegrad Mountain with its 639 meters. It is probably named after its pulpit-like shape. The volcano island, which was formed in the Miocene era, has always attracted many hikers. Underneath the hill, you see the beautiful Danube bend, while on the other side of the river the peaks of Börzsöny, including Szent Mátyás Hill, Csóványos and Nagy-Hideg Mountain dominate the panorama.
In the spring of 2016, they began building a lookout tower here under the care of the Pilis Park Nation Park, which was designed by architect József Koller. Today you can see the result of it in a 12-meter-high wooden building. From the top level of the lookout tower, you can see the whole breathtaking view of the Danube bend from Esztergom to the Visegrad Castle. If you want to see what the view is like from the other side, click here. At the levels of the lookout tower, the life stories of kings who played a significant role in the area can be found on hand-painted information boards.
Continue the trail from Prédikálószék lookout point to Dömös, on the red triangle sign, and you reach Vadálló Cliffs in a short walk. A sign warns that this is particularly difficult terrain, so let’s walk carefully on the ridge and mind your steps.
For me, this was one of the most beautiful stations of the tour, although I have a strong fear of heights, the jagged cliff peaks that were created 12 million years ago are an eye-catching sight. The larger stone formations also have their own names, such as The Throne of Árpád, Exclamation Point, Hanging Stone, Jerk, Broad Tower, Nagytuskó and Attila’s Helmeted Head. There’s seven of them, just like the wicked.
Leaving the cliffy area, along and elongated downhill starts that ends in the Szőke Spring Valley, where you reach the impressive Rám Gorge on the green horizontal tourist-signed line. The place covers a gorge of volcanic origin and is 1 km long, which is considered one of the most difficult hiking areas in Hungary. Between the high cliffs, the landscape is wild, and the road is constantly narrowed until it reaches a width of 3 meters.
The gorge is full of water, and usually, the area is closed after snow melting and heavy rainfalls. In some places, it is enough to just jump from one side of the stream to the other, while in other places ladders help dry arrival on the other side. The whole gorge is fantastic, from which I’d rather show you a gallery of pictures rather than wording.
Leaving the gorge, the bad news is that the terrain is rising again, you have to climb from the bottom of the valley to the 699-meter-high level of Dobogókő, as the tour ends there. My last spare energies and thigh muscles were burning for the last few kilometers and I couldn’t wait to reach the safe house and have a delicious dinner. But before that I stopped on the Rezső terrace, I took one last look at the landscape in front of me. Despite all the sweat drops during the day, it was a tour I’d like to re-do at any time.