Enjoy autumn outside of Budapest

Our beautiful capital offers a wide array of activities when it comes to spending your free-time. However, there is probably no better time to discover some exciting places surrounding Budapest, especially if you’re a nature person, than autumn. And even if you’re not that into hiking, sometimes you just have to get out of the city, enjoy the silence of the woods and relax – after all, the positive effects of spending time in nature are scientifically proven.

Rippling creeks and breathtaking landscapes

The Visegrád Hills offer a number of different hiking routes – the most popular ones are Dobogókő and the Rám Chasm, a ravine valley with ladders and handhold chains. However, another place worth discovering is the Dera Canyon. Starting in Pilisszentkereszt, the National Blue Trail, which is part of the European Long Distance Walking Route E4, leads to the canyon. Although the path may be challenging at times, the romantic and magical landscape compensates for nearly 200 meters of altitude difference. In case you still have some stamina left, definitely check out the ruins of a monastery from the 12th century in Pilisszentkereszt.

 

Fairy tale forests

Just under and hour from Budapest, the Börzsöny Hills have the most magical woods, straight out of a classic fairy tale, peppered with charming little villages. Nagybörzsöny awaits visitors with a number of cute guesthouses – from there, you can take romantic walks (preferably with a partner) or try the forest railroad. For those up for a little hike, you can follow the tracks and the yellow trail through the Hosszú Valley to Kisirtáspuszta. For more advanced explorers, we suggest following the yellow cross markings to climb the Hosszú Crag.

Right between the Börzsöny Hills and the Naszály Mountain there is a lovely village called Magyarkút. The forest surrounding it even has a spring called Irma Spring whose water you can actually drink. As for other local delicacies, you shall not go home without tasting venison stew in one of the inns.

Two wheels are better than one

For those who prefer riding a bike instead of walking, we suggest visiting Vác and the nearby Szentendre Island. Although you can reach Vác by a 25-minute train ride, you really should try the scenic route. You can start your trip with riding the HÉV from Batthyány Square in Buda to Szentendre – of course, you can cycle all the way there, but we were also considering beginners. Then you can cross the Danube with the Szigetmonostor ferry and discover Szentendre Island by bike. After riding all the way up to Tahitótfalu, you shall have a well-deserved meal at the Pokolcsárda (whose name literally means Hell Pub). Following that, you can cross the river again by a ferry to Vác.

From the bishop’s palace with the diocese library to the synagogue and the cathedral, Vác is a heaven for history geeks. It also has a triumphal arch, the only one of its kind in Hungary, which was built to honor Empress Maria Theresa in 1764. Legend has it that since the arch was built in under two weeks, the empress was afraid to ride her carriage through it. However, when she left a few weeks later and saw that the arch was still standing, she deemed it safe to pass through. The whole town has a historical atmosphere and its baroque downtown is even more beautiful in the evening when the buildings are illuminated.

Another interesting spectacle is something that you would not traditionally expect from a quiet town – Vác is renowned all around Europe for the mummies found underground in a crypt in exceptional condition, conserved by the dry climate of their resting place.

A colorful nature reserve

About 20 kilometers from Budapest, the Somlyó Hill and its surroundings form a specially protected nature reserve with a captivating flora and fauna. For example, this are is home to almost half of the Macrolepidoptera (larger butterfly) species in Hungary. You can also find practically every species of lizards native to the country as well as windhovers and European rollers. After an exhilarating hike, you will arrive in Fót where you can have a nice dinner at the Fáy Wine Press House and explore the town’s emblematic church reminiscent of the Notre Dame in Paris.

Botanical beauties

Located north of Budapest, Vácrátót has the largest and most well-known botanical garden. This area of 72 acres is home to almost thirteen thousand plant species and breeds. Besides taking an excursion from the capital, this is also kind of a trip to far-away lands: you will feel like you are in the tropical forests of East Asia or the pine forests of North America before you know it