Over the past five years, revenue from outdoor/hiking products companies has continued to grow, and this growth is forecast to be far from over. Nature is trendy again, and unlike many, at best, senseless fashion waves, the increasing popularity of hiking is not only enjoyable for the genre but also very rewarding.
It is medically proven, for example, that the time spent in nature is good for health. The green (no, not that green) lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, and specifically increases life expectancy. The human body simply has a need for proximity to nature, and the fairly basic principle is that movement is healthy. And the two together are obviously a fantastic combination.
Recommended hiking trails in the Matra Mountains
Hungary is also a part of the hiking boom, which is largely due to its especially beautiful countryside. Mátra is one of the most trampled landscapes by hiking boots.
The volcanic part of the North Central Mountains has two of the highest peaks in the country (Kékes (1014 m) and Galya (965 m)), which in itself is a major attraction. In addition, 26 of Hungary’s 100 highest points are located here, which project that the monotony of flat landscapes doesn’t have to be feared when we set sail here.
In addition to the forest-covered hillsides – a bit unusual way from volcanic mountains – there are numerous caves and spring-rich, dense water networks that add color to the 900 square kilometers of the Mátra repertoire.
Although, overall, the countryside is more ideal for those with more routine in hiking, there are also easier, less onerous routes as well. Due to the characteristics of the Kékesi short hike, which is located right next to the Kékes, it is recommended for all ages and fitness level hikers: it is only 3 kilometers long and we only have to overcome 165 m of elevation. The route also crosses the Nordic ski resort. The nearby located Sas-stone is worth a small detour, as the panorama from there is (also) magical.
Certainly, one of the densest hiking trails in Hungary is the circular tour, which touches Galyatető in the Mátra Mountains in the sense that you are going high enough and you are passing through dense forests.
For this more adventurous tour, which is recommended for more experienced hikers, and which we can set off for 3 kilometers from Mátraháza near Vörösmarty hiking house, we are going to come across beech and birch forests, pine forests, overcoming steep but cumulative ascents, from some places with a breathtaking panoramic view to the Galyatető tourist house, which is about halfway, and the lookout next to it.
Thanks to the 580 meters elevation difference in the distance to be conquered during the 14.4-kilometer tour, it is not only our physical performance that makes us feel at the top. One of the most modern, well-equipped tourist houses in the country awaits us in Galyatető, where we cannot only relax but also refill our empty carbohydrate stores during the march in the refuge’s restaurant.
In addition, we have free wifi and phone charging facility. The lookout tower has been rising in the sky since 1937, after being renovated, those who have agoraphobia can beg for their lives from a height of 30 meters.
It is better if they have some alcohol to get the courage because it would be a mistake to miss out on the prospect that opens up to us here. On our way back, let’s take a detour to the country’s tallest water purifier, the Csórrét Reservoir, which, despite being a man-made object, is a spectacular sight as a mountain lake.
One of the local small brothers of the National Blue Tour is the Gyöngyös – Parádsasvár Hiking Tour organized by the Vörösmarty Badge Maker Tour. The route from the city called Gyöngyös is a full-day adventure for hikers as they have to climb 20 kilometers and they have to overcome 831 meters of elevation.
Like the Blue Tour, we can earn a badge for accomplishment by collecting stamps and completing a so-called tour report. We reach the village of Mátrafüred through the 500 meters high Sár-hill, and on the way, we have a good chance of stumbling upon deer.
Here we can climb to the top of the Kozmáry Lookout Tower if we wouldn’t have enough of the already considerable amount of ascent awaiting us during our hike. Then, the road goes through the picturesque Kálló Valley, then through Mátraháza and finally through the Footpath Berck, the final stop is coming, Parádsasvár. The tour can also be completed from the opposite direction, which is probably more practical because we can pick up the badge after submitting the tour report in Gyöngyös.
The Mátra is also a venue for a number of endurance hike, for really routine, professional hikers and tourists. There is already a level time to complete on such tours, most of them tens of kilometers long, as it is the Mátra, but also have to expect very significant elevations.
Not only is the Galya 50 a special performance tour because of its trail: The entry fee for a charity tour to help people living with autism with any amount that we can throw in at the fundraiser box by the start-up. By its name, we have to travel 50 kilometers in the beautiful countryside of the Mátra, with a total elevation of 2016 meters.
The level time is 13 hours, so be sure you have a headlamp! It can have a checkpoint anywhere during the tour, so we don’t need to be creative with the selected route. Although the organizers are preparing with supplies, some extra of our own cannot hurt. The tour is subject to pre-registration and the first 500 applicants can enter.
There is no Mátra without Kékestető. There are several ways to get to the top (understand it well), one of the biggest experiences of which is the Summit Attack Tour starting from the already mentioned Vörösmarty tourist house. The medium, 10-kilometer-long hike takes us through an extremely diverse countryside, crossed by a spring, a lake, a swamp, and wooden bridges.
Lake Pisztrángos, which is located at the beginning of the route, has indoor seats and fireplaces for a more relaxing stay. It is worth refilling our water resources at the Petőfi Spring here, as elevation will continue to rise up to the summit, the Kékestető.
We shouldn’t miss the lookout here, as we can look from the top of Hungary, which is not an everyday experience. There is also a restaurant in the lookout if we get very hungry. On our way back, down the ski slope, we reach the Veronica Meadow, then we reach Mátraháza, and finally back to the starting point of the hike.
As we can see, the Matra is a well-deserved destination not only for local but also for international hikers. This is a spectacular area where we can experience many of the wonders of nature. In the clear air, we can test ourselves against the steep hills and slopes, and walk the paths where the famous Mátra Barns were once hidden and robbed, and in return for our tiredness, there will be countless memorable sights.
In the clear air, we can test ourselves against the steep hills and slopes, and walk the paths where the famous outlaws of Mátra were once hiding and raiding, and in return for our tiredness, there will be countless memorable sights to behold. So don’t hesitate, get those boots on!