Börzsöny and the volcanic mass of Visegrád Hills across the river used to be one geological unit in the old times. Two million years ago, when the sea receded from this area, the ancient Danube found its way between the two ranges and cut the structural unit of the landscape in half by continuously and steadily eroding the hills. We will see the greyish volcanic rock, andesite often on our tour.
The first section of our route leads on the side of Szent Mihály Hill. In exchange for putting in some extra distance, we get precious shards of panorama blinking at us every once in a while. If we would like to see the whole S-bend of the Danube, we can visit the lookout tower on top of Prédikálószék across the river.
We walk past the pieces of andesite around the quarry on our way to Remete Cave, where hermits used to live in the Middle Ages. There are only two other places in Hungary where artificial caves are found that used to be inhabited by hermits: Tihany and Szentkút.
Walking uphill to Hegyes-tető, we can see several holes in the ground resembling deep, gigantic wells. These are prospect holes that were used in ore mining at the beginning of the 1970s. The mines closed down since, and the holes are slowly filling up as the forest reclaims the area, but it is best to stay away from the edges and not cross the railings. The ground around the holes is soft and crumbles easily, and it is close to impossible to climb out of the holes without professional equipment once we fall in.
We will be rewarded with the most majestic panorama of the tour at the highest point of our route, from the top of Julianus Lookout Tower on Hegyes-tető. At first it could be unusual and surprising that the panorama is decorated by the Danube both looking east and west. The southern part of the horse shoe shaped curve is blocked from our view by the mass of Szent Mihály Hill. On its right side, in the direction of the path leading down the hill, we can see the houses of Szob, and to the left, the nearby rooftops of Nagymaros are visible. On the other side of the river, we can feast our eyes on the picturesque Citadel. The stone tower was built by the Encián Tourist Club in 1939.
Descending to Zebegény, we can climb up to the Kós Károly Lookout Tower on Nagy-Kerek Hill. It is not an accident that the wooden structure is shaped as a watchtower: It honours the memory of the ancient Roman defensive line, Limes. From the lookout tower, we can see from Zebegény below us to Pilismarót across the river.
- We can reach the panorama points going slightly off trail. Do not miss any of them, as these are the essence of the tour.
- Although it is not a particularly long route, due to the occasionally rough terrain and the many lookout spots, it is best to calculate ample extra time when planning our tour. Use a map to easily identify the various sights of the panorama from the Julianus Lookout Tower.
- On hot summer days it is highly recommended to walk down to the Zebegény beach (200 metres from the railway station), and have a cooling bath in the Danube.
- Make sure to check out the phone booth library in Nagymaros. If we want to have a really “sweet” start, we can visit the cake shop opposite the library before the hike.
- A few sections of the route are steep and difficult to walk on. In dry weather the gravel might crumble and roll off under our feet, and on rainy days the slippery mud might make our hike difficult on the steep path. Be careful!
- Do not do this tour with small children or if your sense of balance is slightly off.
- From Nagymaros-Visegrád railway stop, go south-west following the yellow square (S◼) trail.
- If we start from the river bank, we can follow the blue (K) and red (P) trails west until we reach the railway stop. After passing under the railway bridge, start following the yellow square (S◼) trail.
- The end of the route is the Zebegény railway stop.
- The starting point and the end of the route is on road 12 connecting Vác and Szob.
- It is best to park next to the railway stop. We can get back from the end of the route to the starting point in a few minutes by taking the train.
- Parking next to the railway stop is free.
Author’s map recommendations
Book recommendations for this region:
- Because of the steeper sections, make sure to wear closed hiking boots that hold the ankles securely. It is important that our shoes have non-slip, ribbed soles.
- Trekking poles can be a great help for keeping our balance.
- The first section of the route is only for experienced hikers, it is rather steep, and there are no water sources along the route at all, so make sure to bring enough water with you.
- Természetjáró app (Trekking app) is recommended for navigation.