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Adventures and discoveries on the Hungarian Blue Trail

The best-known hiking trail in the country connects the natural and historical treasures of the northern Hungary, including the larger mountains, Lake Balaton and the capital. The Hungarian Blue Trail provides a special experience in each season and offers unparalleled variety to adventurous hikers.

The history of one of the best-known hiking trails of Hungary dates back to 1930. This is when the idea of creating unified tourist signage was born. The direction and the two endpoints of the trail, Hollóháza and Írott-kő were also set out. Only a few people are aware that according to the original plan, the hiking trail crossing the northern parts of Hungary would have been red, but considering the previous signage of the trail it was ultimately decided that it would be blue. The establishment of the national trail produced a tourist trail that covers the majority of the country’s natural and historical assets. The works were often hindered by the fact that due to private and hunting zones being impacted, agreements had to be entered into and certain connection points had to be modified. The Hungarian Blue Trail was finally inaugurated in 1938 – on the 900th anniversary of the death of Saint Stephen – with the launch of a jubilee hike. The event gained fame as the Saint Stephen Wandering. That year, 16 hikers were awarded with the gold-plated commemorative medal acknowledging their 18-day hiking performance.

Pick a trail

From the 1950s, hiker initiatives focusing on badge collection were launched along the trail crossing the country, through which a tradition forgotten due to the war was revived. However, the unmatched popularity of the Hungarian Blue Trail is due to the educational TV programme directed by Pál Rockenbauer entitled One and a Half Million Steps in Hungary (Másfélmillió lépés Magyarországon).

The trail can be completed in any season and broken down into sections as well. The entire route is rich in both natural and historical attractions. Because of the vast amount of experiences the trail has to offer, it is worth spending more time on a particular section.


What the numbers say

The popularity of Europe’s first long-distance hiking trail is also attracting foreigners. The trail crosses the northern parts of the country, and has a total length of 1,171 kilometres, divided into 27 sections. Hikers need to take into consideration that altogether they will face 31,000 metres of elevation along the way. The total distance can be completed with 332 hours of hiking. This may seem like a huge challenge to conquer at first, but so far, more than 7,000 hikers have successfully completed the national blue trail. The most popular sections (13 and 14) are the ones closest to the capital, but the rest will also bring guaranteed joy and satisfaction.

Picturesque villages and vineyards

The most beautiful section of the Hungarian Blue Trail is perhaps located in the Balaton Uplands. The trail connecting Badacsonytördemic and Nagyvázsony is 45 kilometres long. Along the way, hikers are greeted by magnificent landscapes. Section 6 of the national trail follows the chain of the panorama surrounding the northern shore of Lake Balaton. From Badacsony, the view of the turquoise water of the lake is a sight to behold, and so is the panorama from the lookout towers on the plateau. Wandering along the grape arbours, you will come across Csobánc Hill and the castle ruins. The view certainly makes up for the tiring path leading to it. The section then proceeds towards the Sea of Stones, the ruins of the Veléte Palace and the Kinizsi Castle of Nagyvázsony, before passing through the charming villages of the Káli Basin.

Forgotten castles hidden in the surrounding forests

Section 10 of the national hiking trail takes you to the greenwood of Vértes. The footpath connecting Bodajk and Szárliget is 56 kilometres long. The area attracts visitors with rich and diverse flora and fauna, medieval castles and historical, hidden settlements. This section is easy to complete as the path is not as rough a terrain as it may seem at first sight. It crosses the vast forests of the landscape protection region, which is home to several castle ruins, including Csókakő, Gesztesi and Vitány Castles. There are only a few lookout towers along this section of the hiking trail, but hikers are greeted in turn by vast beech forests, steep valleys and the endless stillness of the forest. The section also crosses Vérteskozma, one of the most beautiful depopulated villages in Hungary. The settlement is like an open-air ethnographic museum, perfectly preserving the characteristics of the village architecture of the 19th century, pervaded by fresh air and silence.

Csókakő Castle

Blue Trail booklet

If you decide to start completing the Blue Trail, it is recommended that you obtain the Hungarian Blue Trail Roadmap and Checkpoint Booklet, so that you can collect all the stamps for a particular section. During the trail, you can collect stamps from 152 designated checkpoints to validate the completed sections. The booklet has no expiration date and there is not set deadline for the completion of the entire trail. Besides collecting stamps, you also make lifelong memories and friendships.

Blue Trail booklet