- From the final stop of Királyrét Forest Railway, following the green (Z) trail through Király Meadow and Kisinóci Meadow, we reach the Kisinóci Guest House.
- From here, we will be following the National Blue Trail with the exception of two small sections. Walking along the stations of the cross of the calvary, descend to Kóspallag and cross the village.
- After the steep path of Piroska Hill, enjoy a gorgeous panorama of Börzsöny on Békás Meadow.
- After an intensively descending section, turn left onto the green (Z) trail to visit the Törökmezei Fishing Pond, then the spring of Fehér-kút on the green circle (Z●) trail.
- At the junction, continue slightly right on the red (P) and green square (Z◼) trail to the Törökmező Guest House and the adventure park directly next to it.
- Following the blue (K) trail, cross Törökmező and a droveway turned silvopasture with leave trees to reach Kövesmező, where we can enjoy a unique panorama of Visegrád Castle. From here to Julianus Lookout Tower on top of Hegyes-tető, we will be accompanied by the signs of the Törökmező Study Trail. Following the green “T” (ZT) trail branching off the path, get to Büdös Lake adding 100 metres to our tour. The path rejoins the blue (K) trail.
- After the Julianus Lookout Tower, the blue (K) trail descends to Nagymaros railway station, passing by the prospect holes.
We get to the starting point of our tour on the third most popular narrow-gauge railway lines of the country. It was still transporting timber in 1892, but after it was renovated and its tracks slightly altered in 1912, it also served the quarry, taking the excavated stones all the way to the Danube. When the mines were closed down, it seemed that the railway became redundant, but they had an idea in 1954 to save it: they equipped the line with cheerfully rattling passenger trains, first transporting the locals, then the pioneers, and finally anyone who wanted to go trekking in Börzsöny. Today it has heritage trains, diesel engines and solar-powered carriages travelling between Királyrét and Kismaros.
The honey pot of Királyrét
Getting off the train, we have several entertainment options to choose from. Going back a little from the train station, we can hop on the draisine to roam around on the circular forest tracks—provided we can take all the paddling involved. Walking 350 metres north-west on the red (P) and blue cross (K+) trails, we come upon a bird watching perch complete with a one-sided mirror, a spider-web playground and an exhibition activating all of our senses. Visiting the 2.6-km-long study trail marked by images of frogs and the green “T” (ZT) blazing, we will pass by a number of springs, lakes and mines, while we can learn about the natural treasures and the local history of the area. With a mere 300-metre walk, we can take the kids to the forest playground following the green cross (Z+) trail. We can also enjoy the refreshments offered by the snack bar in the centre before setting out on the fairly level but long tour.
Look for the first blazing of the green (Z) trail on the rock next to the wooden building of the Királyrét Research Centre of Ipoly Erdő Zrt. built in 2018. The trail starts off with a slight ascent in the forest, but continues in a level path meandering through the woods. The dense canopy is only broken by the flowery clearing of Király Meadow and the resting stop of Kisinóci Meadow. We cross the winding creek of Pokol Valley, which is a rather modest little stream compared to its name (“Pokol” meaning “hell” in Hungarian). There is a fire pit established next to the shaded benches and picnic tables. Switching to the blue (K) trail, we find the Kisinóci Guest House 200 metres south from here. Those in need of some relaxation can not only find accommodation, hot food, a grill terrace, a traditional oven, forest school, organised activities and Wi-Fi, but they can even go for a refreshing swim in the guest house’s outdoor pool if they booked a room.
Between the two guest houses
We need a sharp eye to find the next blazing of the blue (K) and yellow square (S◼) trails, as they are well hidden on the trees until the leaves fall off in the autumn. We find the forest trail on our left hand side going back (north) 50 metres on the concrete road from the guest house. The path is like a roller-coaster until we cross the creek of Ló Valley, then it changes to a steady ascent. After a fairly level walk from the hilltop, we get to a photographer perch with a one-sided mirror, and if we have the keys to it, we can use it to take pictures of the wild animals around the feeder without disturbing them.
We see three stone crosses along the blue (K) trail, signalling that we have arrived at the top of Kóspallag calvary. The scenery from the cliff on the right is definitely worth a look: we can admire the south-east range of Börzsöny from here. Passing by the stations of the cross in our descent to the village, we can marvel at the fairytale-like setting of the place. At the end of summer, travellers are rewarded with delicious fruit after the challenging descent in the open sun: we can help ourselves to the bursting ripe plums growing on the many trees planted at the side of the road.
Having crossed the village, we continue our way on an asphalt road for a while, passing by the Gate of Kóspallag forest resting stop, then we have to climb uphill again on the side of Piroska Hill. The forest road slowly levels out, then runs into an agricultural area. The blue (K) trail is marked on the trees here, but we do not have to enter the wood, just follow the agricultural road next to the cornfield. The landscape opens up after an L-turn: We can feast our eyes on the Börzsöny summits surging around us in a 180-degree panorama. There are no markings in the junctions as we go on, we just have to keep going straight until we have crossed Békás Meadow. Looking back from this spot, we can enjoy another spectacular angle of the panorama, this time to north-east.
Entering the forest there is a steep descent ahead of us, at the bottom of which there is a junction. Here we can turn right on the blue (K) trail for a shorter access to the Törökmező Guest House, or turn left for a more scenic road leading to the same place following the green (Z), then the green circle (Z●) trails, on which we can also visit the Törökmezei Fishing Pond and Fehér-kút Spring. Do not let yourself be disappointed by the “Non-drinking water” (“Nem ivóvíz”) sign placed on the old, dried-up source of the spring—our target is just a few steps away. Although the side source has not been tested, the crustaceans swimming in the constantly moving water of the spring are a positive comment on its condition. Only drink the spring water at your own risk.
Following the green (Z) trail from the spring, we reach a junction where signs and blazed markings point us in the right (southern) direction towards the guest house, which is only a 100 metres away on the red (P) and green square (Z◼) trails.
Get your adrenalin fix at Törökmező
The place was named after the Ottoman army resting here between two battles: “Törökmező” literally means “Turk Meadow” in Hungarian. While the Turks raised their pulse with the excitement of battle, we can do the same by launching an air strike against the tree obstacles of the adventure park. After all the swinging, crawling and balancing involved in the tree-top obstacle course, it is time to relax in the shade of the trees sipping on refreshments, or watching the many interesting animals of the TörökmeZOO.
We continue on the blue (K) trail from here, which is joined by the Törökmező study trail with its green “T” (ZT) markings and other signs.
Leave trees, Medieval droveways and silvopasture
The next section of the tour takes us back to the Middle Ages, when herdsmen were droving cattle, goats and sheep to the markets in Germany. To save some distance before the thousand-mile trip, they made a passage into the forest at the Danube Bend as a shortcut. They cut almost every tree on the oblong clearing, only the fruit trees were left (hence they are called “leave trees”)—killing two birds with one stone: the herdsmen could rest under the shade of their foliage, and ease their hunger and thirst with their fruit. The rich pastures of the clearings also fed the livestock.
The locals had goats and sheep grazing in these parts until the 1960s, but as nomadic husbandry is not present in the area anymore, nature would steadily claim the area back if the conditions were not maintained by regular mowing.
Reaching Kövesmező, we are welcomed by a fire pit, picnic tables, benches and the informative stations of the study trail. If it is available, choose the table on the left (east) side of the concrete terrace to enjoy the view of Visegrád Castle sitting glamorously on the steep hillside decorated with jagged andesite formations above the Danube. The scenery is the most beautiful just before sunset; and in the early morning, the radiant rising sun contours the silhouette of the castle. It is quite hard to take our eyes off this sight...
As we continue the tour, the blue (K) trail leads us uphill in a black pine wood. We can learn about the introduction of this adventitious species to the area if we read the sign placed in the thicket on our left. Watch out for the markings of the green “T” (ZT) trail at the top of the ascent, and follow it to the right to visit an exceptional natural treasure, Büdös Lake. (The blue (K) trail leads through a clearing patch; the study track will rejoin it after a little while.) Try to walk as quietly as possible on these 100 metres, as the tiny lake is frequently visited by the thirsty wildlife of the otherwise rather dry Börzsöny. If we are lucky, we might even see deer, boars, roes or foxes. If our time allows, we can use the covered perch at the side of the lake.
We can get back to the blue (K) trail from the path with two left turns. A challenging ascent gives away why Hegyes-tető is called Hegyes-tető: meaning “pointy hilltop”…
At the bastion of Julianus
On the tree-covered hilltop, we climb up two storeys on the narrow stairs of this fort-like tower built in 1939. It is a guaranteed “wow” moment for first-time visitors, as the bendy arch of the Danube is visible on both the east and west side of the panorama, while it is blocked from view by the blunt hump of Szent Mihály Hill in the middle. It is a fun geological fact that the Visegrád Hills holding up the lofty castle across the Danube used to form one massive mountain together with Szent Mihály Hill, until the ancient Danube cut it in half by continuously and tirelessly eroding the two hills.
We can find shelter from rough weather conditions in the resting area in the middle of the lookout tower that even has windows, and south of the tower we can use outdoor picnic tables and benches with a bit more restricted view among the trees.
Continuing our descent on the blue (K) trail, we come upon an enclosed, deep hole resembling a giant well. These used to be prospect holes that were dug with pickaxes back in the Middle Ages in search of various precious metals. The miners descended into the holes on wooden ladders, and the excavated resources were lifted up in leather bags with the help of pulleys.
Turning left on the ridge of Szent Mihály Hill, we follow the blue (K) trail on an initially rather steep and slippery section—making the hike rather difficult in rainy weather. By the time the steep descent levels out a little, we can catch regular glimpses of the water surface of the Danube Bend sparkling through the trees, all the way to Nagymaros. The trail takes us back to the train stop of the town.