Spring is my favorite time of year. Not only because both my birthdays are due this period (about the second one read here) But also because it’s still a miracle that nature can renew from its ashes. Nature sets a good example that change can be beautiful. Nature doesn’t think, it just does its job.
In today’s epidemiological situation, many people are likely to wonder whether they should leave the four walls of our homes. We hear from everywhere that we rather stay at home and go anywhere for the most necessary reason. Not to make fun of the situation, we can say that the virus is not standing in front of the front door to attack us as soon as we leave home.
According to the regulations, to protect the mental health we can leave our homes. You can ride a bike, go for a run, or take a healthy walk or hike in nature. In my blog post, I don’t want to encourage anyone to immediately take their hiking shoes and jacket and start hiking. For inspiration and memory saving purposes only, I have collected ten Hungarian sites dear to my heart, which are less visited and which we have the opportunity to visit not only in the spring but also in summer and autumn, without guilt.
This place in northern Hungary in the heart of Bükk is remarkable and it is the third highest and inhabited settlement in Hungary. That first place in the row is only because it’s my home, part of my family lives here. With herbs, mushrooms and countless hiking trails of the Holy Cross of Bükk, the village has been a popular place for hikers for decades. What I offer with warm heart is the road to the lodge in Fehérkőlápa, which can be reached from both Bükkszentkereszt and Lillafüred. The silence here is disturbed only by the chirping and scrabbing of the birds, or by the mushrooms into which you can stumble anywhere after raining. Here’s a teaser’s video of the time when spring flowers are replaced by the flap, oyster and parasol mushrooms.
2. Hárs Mountain
Not far from the noise of the capital, in the Buda hills, you can find the Kis and Nagy Hárs Mountains. I especially like these places because, unlike Normara or Hármashatárhegy, they are never crowded. During the 4.5-kilometer tour, you can first get to the lookout point named after Károly Kaán, a forest engineer, from where you can see Pest and Pilis pretty well in fine weather.
In the lower part, there is another lookout tower, which holds the name of Imre Makovecz. In addition to many famous Hungarian buildings, he also designed the high school in Sárospatak, where I spent my most beautiful student years. During the excursion, do not forget the Bátori Cave, where a Paulite monk lived in the 15th century for 20 years and spent his days translating the Hungarian bible and the life of saints. Although the cave is closed with a large iron door, the flow of cold shows that something is lurking deep in the earth.
The name of the settlement is most familiar to many from the 1980s when it was geographically chosen as the center of the country. As proof of this, a monument was inaugurated in the middle of the Pusztavacs field, which is now a little tore, but this does not detract from the beauty of the protected area. The area belonging to the Danube-Ipoly National Park is home to several special animals and plants, which are immediately informed by signs. If you hear whistling noises while walking, let’s look at your feet. Because it’s conceivable that the whistle won’t be the wind, it’ll be the work of a guy whose living area we’ve moved into.
4. Odvas Mountain
The Budaörs Mountains were added to my favorites this year, not for a small price. Because I rode my bike out of Budapest to reach them, and then I climbed them, and then I rolled back to my apartment. With this, I think I’ve had more than a week’s health walk. The barren mountain ranges can be accessed in an optional way, and you can decide, on the basis of your own fitness level, to head from Calvary Hill to Mount Odvas, Kő Hill, Farkas Mountain or Mount Szekrényes. If you want to tour them all, you should spend at least three hours hiking. My favorite was Mount Odvas, because in the spring, from the windflower to the female petal, the whole hill smells like flowers.
I discovered this town in Nógrád County last year when I was looking for poppies. The castle at the top of the mountain offers a magnificent view from afar in the embrace of the Medves Plateau and Sátoros Mountain. It is worth walking among the verdant trees, as well as exploring the solidified basalt columns under the walls of the castle, which are exceedingly rare geological formations and can be seen only four places in the world. As a point of interest, most of the cobblestones covering the streets of Budapest are also from this region, to be exact, from the Macskalyuk mine.
6. Aranyosi Valley
The most important hiking spot of my childhood is this valley in the Zemplén Mountains, where I hiked and played with my cousins a lot back in the day. If you want to move far away from the world, you can do so in this 15 km long valley. The landscape is beautiful and varied, the air is so clean that you can bite and at the Erdész spring rest you can even fill your bottle with water. The roads of the Aranyosi Valley are asphalted, so you can even start exploring the place by bike.
Among the hills of Vértes there is one of the most special places in Hungary, the Monastery of Majk and the Hermitage of Kamaldul. The members of the monastic order are best known for taking a vow of silence and speaking only on special occasions. The beautiful Baroque complex is currently under renovation, but the monastery is still an impressive sight. Walking through Majkpuszta, it is worth visiting the Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Celli, taking a walk among the green trees on the Pilgrimage Route of Mary. Not until the end, because the total length of the road is 1400 km and takes 60 days to walk through it. At the end of the trip, let’s relax on the banks of the nearby fish pond and admire the view of willows reflected on the water.
It is the smallest town in Pest County, mainly inhabited by Serbs. However, this is not only why the place is special, but also because the Zichy Chapel stands in the flood square of the Danube, further from the village. The neo-Gothic and romantic building, which has been abandoned for a long time, has been desisting once a month since 2009. The chapel offers a stunning view on the green surroundings, it is worth going on a short walking tour from here on the banks of the Danube.
It’s one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Bakony, but not the easiest ones. The 15-kilometer tour with gorges and slopes takes about 5 hours. A few years ago, there was a stream at the bottom of the deep crevice, but now only dry leaves were rattling at the bottom of the valley. It’s only worth going to the gorge with the right hiking shoes because the hiking trail leads through the existing stream and the nonexistent stream and you have to balance a lot. Seeing the huge rocks, I felt like a giant was playing with his polka dot balls and then leaving them in a messy way. In the narrowest part of Ördögárok, it is possible to make a via ferrate climb. I took the easy way out, I rather climbed the nearby hill.
Zsámbék is at the bottom of Nyakas Hill and offers many long or shorter hiking trails for nature lovers. Let’s take a big step down the steps of the Giants, walk along the St. Norbert’s trail, which offers beautiful views of the former Premonmontre monastery. The 1000-year-old building is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Hungary, which I once think everyone should see. After all, as István Möller’s lines say on the board in the courtyard of the church: “Let us look at these ruins as reminders of the old days, which speak of the hardships of the history of our country.”