Basically, eastern Mátra is a 13 km-long southwest-to-northeast ridgeline with short and steep side ridges attached on both sides. The steep valleys between them hide rapid creeks (Závoz-völgy), cascades (Ilona-völgy) and gorges (Tarjánka-szurdok). These valleys divide the ridge into a series of saddles (“kapu” on the map) and conic peaks making the hike in this section keep rolling from peak to peak.
At the same time, this is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Hungary. Steep cliffs and the vista from andesite rock formations over the flat Alföld (Great Plain) to the south or mountains to the north and east truly reward hikers for their effort. As the mountain is not very extensive and neighboring mountains are close Mátra grants an unusually intensive sense of height from its lookout points.
The picturesque hike between Kékes-tető and Markazi-kapu runs along an especially narrow ridgeline. The top of the andesite crest sometimes hardly provides space for more than a footpath. The trail passes the cliff of Sas-kő, which affords a view over both sides. This is especially exciting in mild winters when the hillsides in the north are snow-covered while the mosaic of fields in the south show a cavalcade of colors.
The landscape of this region was inappropriate to establish settlements as it lacks flat mountain tops as opposed to West Mátra. As soon as we step into the silver world of mature beech forests past Kékes-tető traces of human activity are limited to hiking and logging trails and buildings.
Compared to other mid-mountains in the country Mátra is abundant in rock formations and natural lookout points. Together with exposed ledges and nomadic circumstances these features make your hike through East Mátra one of the most memorable hikes all along the Blue Trail.
- Make a detour for a dayhike from Kékestető to Parádsasvár and visit Károlyi Castle designed by Miklós Ybl and the Glasblowers’ Workshop with a historic background of 300 years.
- Sástó: the lake and its surroundings with a lookout tower and a nature trail as well as the Adrenaline Adventure Park in an abandoned andesite mine.
- Make and out-and-back trip from Markazi-kapu to the waterfall of Ilona-völgy, the highest natural waterfall of the country; 1-1.5 hours back and forth Green ● (Z●); especially spectacular after heavy rainfall and melting.
Recommended entries and exits
- The trail runs far from inhabited areas so possible exits are distant.
- Kékestető (OKTPH_106_1): bus stop “Kékestető, Szanatórium”
- 7 km from “Hármashatár foresters’ lodge” stamping location (OKTPH_107): bus stop “Markaz, posta”
- In Mátraháza, the bus stop lies on the Blue Trail.
- In Sirok, the bus stop lies on the Blue Trail.
- In Mátraháza, free of charge parking lot at the junction of the road to Kékestető.
- In Sirok, paid parking below the castle, free parking in the village.
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
Basic gear: hiking boots, seasonable wear, drinking water, food. Use Természetjáró app. to navigate.