Walking through Hungary’s longest continuous hiking trail is one of the most beautiful challenges in the life of a hiker. The route takes several days. It has 27 sections and is 1167 kilometers long.
The essence of the National Blue Tour is to enjoy regular hiking and get to know the country’s natural and cultural sights.
The National Blue Tour
They say life is not a sprint but a marathon. Of course, they also say live fast, die young. And we Hungarians also say, “Haste makes waste.” So they say a lot about how it is good to live. And while these wisdoms can be valid through life stages, even alternately (well, the die young phase doesn’t leave a lot of room for others), it may seem most useful for one to come up with a methodology that suits him or herself.
This is, of course, time and energy-consuming, and due to normal week-to-day operations, both sets are quite scarce. However, there are also ways of recharging whereby thoughts are born spontaneously without much effort.
The National Blue Tour
In addition to doing good for the body and soul, we can also think of walking long kilometers as a kind of meditation, inspired by the wilderness. Hungary is a gold mine of hiking: there are shorter, longer, lighter, and harder tours, and we can choose from them based on our individual needs.
Among them, the Queen of all Hungarian hiking trails, the first long-distance hiking trail in Europe, the National Blue Tour, stands out greatly. The marathon tour, consisting of 27 separate sections, is 1167 kilometers long and connects the northern parts of Hungary.
Of course, this is not about a bird chirping spring morning, spitting in our palms and while clashing with them, the appropriate person hurriedly designated more than a thousand kilometers of hiking trails. Not at all. We have to go back to the 1930s when the Blue Tour was created. By this time, the country was already well-built with hiking trails, with uniform blue signs, – which is where the name Blue Tour came from – and expansion was underway.
Based on the fact that a wise man will make more opportunities than he finds, these existing and under construction routes have been systematized. In 1938, this is how the 910-kilometer hike was created.
The current route runs from the Irottkő Lookout on the western border to the Hollóház in the eastern part of the country. The Blue Tour is a stamp collecting tour, which means that with our official stamp collecting booklet, we have to collect official stamps at the various stations of the sections to prove the completion of the section and then complete the tour.
Although the numbering of stages starts at the western end and there are stage-specific level times, there is no restriction as to sequence or completion time. The stamping system of the tour also provides an impulse for boots adventurers to continue, since after obtaining the first few stamps, there are chances that you will be disturbed by blank spaces in the notebook.
Of course, this isn’t the main reason for completing the Blue Tour. The trail links the most beautiful areas in the northern part of Hungary to a unique experience thread, presenting in a colorful variety all the natural and cultural specialties that are so essential to our country.
There is the Danube Bend, which is one of the most beautiful areas in Hungary. In section number 16, for example, we take Dobogókő, the highest point of the Visegrád Mountains. The well-known hiking destination offers a spectacular view from its 700-meter-high altitude, moreover, if we gaze enough, we can see all the way to the High Tatras in the clear weather.
Visegrád is also part of the section, a port city on the Danube, one of the most important quarters of the medieval Hungarian kings. One of the most beautiful gorges of the country lies near Pilisszentlászló, the valley of the Dera stream, which, with its small wooden bridges and comfortable resting places, is one of the favorite places of excursion for the locals.
Sections 20 and 21 of the Blue Tour pass through the highest mountains of Hungary in the Mátra Mountains. The trail leads hikers through hills and valleys to the most famous peaks of the country, including Galya-tető, Csór-mountain, and Kékestető. Stunning mountain views, dense forests, and mountain villages help us to keep our mind off counting kilometers. Be sure to take a break at Kékestető, the highest point in the country, as this is one of the peaks of the stretch, in not just a physical sense.
Four sections of walking will take you through the magnificent landscapes bordering the “Hungarian Sea” (known as Lake Balaton) from the north, in the Balaton Uplands. It is also difficult to list the countless beauties that hikers will encounter during the third, fourth, fifth and sixth stages of the tour. Walking through the cozy villages gives us a glimpse of the life of the countryside, and the enjoyment of the hospitality – and firewater – of the locals; the steps will be easier.
Sümeg and Keszthely have a wonderful castle and the Festetics Castle takes us back in time. The unmistakable basalt cap of Szent György Mountain is a trademark of the area and one of the centers of the Balaton wine region.
Badacsony’s butte is also a popular destination for tourists. There are several lookout points along the route, which is definitely worth a stop because the panorama of Lake Balaton from these points is breathtaking.
And of course, there is Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe. This is the country’s leisure center, which is worth dipping our tired marchers into, preferably during the warmer months of the year.
In addition to the above, of course, millions of natural treasures, cultural monuments, wild landscapes, secluded paths, and landscapes await Blue Hiking entrepreneurs. It takes a good amount of planning, in addition to a good amount of determination, to accomplish the length. Even in mild seasons, we will be exposed to the effects of the weather, and if we miss count of our calories, it may not be worthwhile to interrupt our hiking with hunting.
However, with these in mind, we can safely and without insurmountable difficulties go through this very special tour, which attracts more and more foreigners in our homeland every year.
To make it official, National Geographic has made the National Blue Tour one of the 25 most recommended travel destinations in 2020. It is certain that there is little opportunity to get to know the country in a more complex and in-depth way. And perhaps the same is true for getting to know ourselves. As we circle the kilometers, we can get deeper into our own thoughts, and maybe at the end of the tour, we may not only reach our destination on the map. Worth a try.