Magyar Magyar


KékesEger region

Due to its geographic location, Hungary is without high mountains and harsh summits, and is thus not seen as a ski paradise so, every winter, Hungarians seek out other European countries to enjoy winter sports. However, this does not mean that there are no mountain air, picturesque views and skiing slopes available within the borders of the country. 

If you would like to seek out the highest points of the country, you need to head northeast: the tallest peaks are found in the Mátra, a part of the North Hungarian Mountains. These include Kékes, which stands 1,014 meters above sea level, making it the highest point in Hungary, the Hungarian Mount Everest; climbing it is something you must do at least once in your life – like holidaying at Lake Balaton. It is followed by the 965 meters tall Galyatető, also belonging to the Mátra; actually, 26 of the 100 tallest mountain tops in Hungary are found in the Mátra!


While you hike here, be prepared for cool weather, as you may need a sweater even in the summer while walking under the dark, thick canopies of the beech forests. The forests of the Kékes are considered special: there are high mountain beech forests with unique microclimates, found only on peaks rising above 900 meters – in Hungary, they are found only here and in Galyatető. 

Although the mountain does not reach 1,500 meters, the beneficial effects of mountain air can still be enjoyed. In 1963, Kékes was officially declared a climatic health resort and, in 1932, the country’s first climatic sanatorium was constructed here, fulfilling the same function. Skiers also discovered the area in the 1930's – although it is not comparable to European ski paradises, it offers excellent sporting opportunities for fans of skiing, snowboarding.


The hiking destination can be reached from Budapest from the direction of Gyöngyös, through the M3 highway by car or bus; the roadway goes up as far as the peak, and, in recent years, well-accessible roads were also established for cyclists

The television tower standing on the mountain top is accessible with entry ticket and features a buffet and observation deck. From the circular café, you can enter an open observation deck from where you can enjoy the 360° panorama provided by the highest point in Hungary. From the peak, there are shorter and longer back-and-forth hiking trails along designated touristic routes: one popular route, indicated by blue, will take you down to the nearby municipality of Mátraháza (or, in the other direction, you can climb from Mátraháza to the highest peak of the country). Other municipalities of the Mátra: You can hike to Parád, pass through Csór Mountain to Galyatető or through Mátraháza to Mátrafüred.


You can combine climbing the Kékes with visits to the hamlets of the area: there are some truly picturesque small municipalities within the region featuring a variety of sights and opportunities for relaxation – you can get acquainted with the beauty, tradition of the Hungarian land, with its charming churches and with everyday life in its villages. In the spa of Bükkszék, you can experience the effects of the famed Hungarian thermal baths while at the castle of Sirok and the round church of Kisnána, constructed in the age of Árpád, you can learn about Hungarian history. You will also find in the Mátra the highest lake of the country in Sástó, the famous Szent Kút well, believed to have miraculous effects, along with a place of pilgrimage in Mátraverebély. The Ilona Valley Waterfall of Parád is the natural waterfall with the largest difference in height in Hungary; even among artificially created waterfalls, only the waterfall of Lillafüred exceeds it in height.