Got around Tolna, Baranya. This Hungarian proverb is used for those who have been around many places, seen many things or traveled a long distance before arriving somewhere.
There are several stories regarding the origin of the proverb. According to one of them, since the two counties were the center of contemporary Hungarian literature and reformation in the 16th century, people who roamed the countryside have got into the intellectual bloodstream, meeting everything that was important and matter then.
Either way, we can put this proverb into practice in an easy and rather entertaining way – I mean its first interpretation. By conquering the hiking trails of the Mecsek Mountains that include Tolna and Baranya, we can say that we have embraced the most beautiful parts of the two counties.
Roaming in the Mecsek
Over three hundred square kilometers of mountainous areas are extremely rich in springs and, as a natural attraction, are surrounded by numerous picturesque valleys. The best of these can be found on the hiking trail that runs through the Warm-Mány Valley (Meleg-mányi-völgy) and the Great-Deep Valley (Nagy-Mély-völgy).
The almost 13-kilometer distance runs along perfectly marked roads. We don’t need climbing knowledge to overcome the 420-meter difference in elevation, but we have to tackle some difficult sections.
Bearing in mind that several springs are on our way and we need to go through them, it is a good idea to make equipment that keeps moisture out of our boots.
The tour starts from Dömörkapu, passing through cozy beech forests, valleys and streams to the Warm-Mány Valley, wherein a spring and a beautiful wild onion field greet us. Here we can find the travertine stairs, which are typical of the Mecsek, and where the streams fall under.
Moving on, we pass the highest (deepest?) Waterfall of the Mecsek, the Ágnes Waterfall, which is falling from two meters high. As we reach the Great Deep Valley, we have to go through several springs between its steep walls. If we like, we can also take the ruins of the Kantavár which were built in the Middle Ages. We also return to our starting point by touching the ski slope at Misina-top.
The 592-meter-high Jakab Hill is, literally, the most spectacular sight of the Western Mecsek. The mountain and its surroundings are particularly rich in natural beauties, and we can find numerous historical monuments. So everything is given for a great hike, and this round trip from the Éger Valley Park Forest is just like that!
The 13.5-kilometer-long route which is just below the summit, apart from some steep climbs, doesn’t require any special preparation, it is a good idea to go on the trip with suitable hiking boots.
Walking along the path of the red sandstone of Jakab Mountain, we can quickly find ourselves walking along lakes and springs, and we can take a look at the stretch we have made so far from the lookout at the Éger-top.
On the southern side of the mountain, oak and pine trees alternate, and from Panorama Road we can see the bottom of the Mecsek. Next to the red sandstone cliffs of the Babás szerkövek, we reach the natural lookout of the rocky balcony which gives the home of the Jubilee Cross, and which also offers a magnificent panorama.
Reaching the top of the mountain, we are greeted by a glade, from which we can find the ruins of the Pauline monastery, which were (re) built in the 1700s. Downwards on the road, there are also valleys and springs, and then, when we return to our starting point, we can catch our breath in the nicely designed rest area of the park forest.
If we go to the Mecsek, we can’t go past Orfű, which is the most popular excursion point in the area. Or we can go past it, in fact, it is a must-see! The area is surrounded by the most beautiful lakes in the area, with small forests, a not too high hilltop, and a lookout tower, which is luring the hiking boots like a real little jewelry box.
The light, but more spectacular nine-kilometer circle starts from the shore of Lake Pécs. Through the shady beech forest, we can climb up to the top of the 320-meter-high Balázs Hill, where we can admire the scenery below with a great panoramic viewpoint.
Arriving from the mountain, the trail leads along to Lake Orfű and then we arrive at the Mecsek’s largest source of water, the Vízfő spring. We come back to the shores of Lake Orfű, where we reach the settlement of Orfű, where we can even stop by to look at the Country House or St. Martin’s Chapel.
Leaving the village, we will tread the shores of Lake Pécs again, and if we like, we can make a small detour to the nearby tourist center, the Medvehagyma House. Walking along the coastal promenade, we will soon return to our starting point.
If we get breathless, and we would sink underground in our shame because of that, well, well, but we can’t get there without hiking! The Abaligeti Cave is one of the best-known caves in Hungary located under the Mecsek.
The longest cave in the mountains runs along a stream, its constant air temperature and humidity have proven to be a healing climate, and since 2000 it has been officially a healing cave.
During the guided hikes, we can admire the deep geological features, and the 466-meter walkable section can be completed in plain street clothes. A spicy little additive is that the cave is a very important bat resting place, and in the winter, a large number of skin mice survive the harsh weather here.
Once we arrive on the surface, we can rent a boat on Abaligeti Lake near the cave and close this pleasant little hike on the water.
Hopefully, the above shows how much it is worth to visit Tolna, Baranya, even if we don’t want to increase the number of our trophies. Hikers will find a real gold mine in this highly valued region of Southern Hungary, as all types of landscapes and natural formations are present at the same time and diversity is a delight.