Aggtelek Karst Hills is a small range of low hills near the Slovakian border with a maximum height of 604 meters (Fertős-tető) forming the Karst of Gömör-Torna region together with Slovak Karst on the other side of the state border. The area is abundant with karst phenomena, which may explain why so many terms originate in the local dialect.
Aggtelek Karst has two distinctive parts. The northern part is a bare karst region with bumpy plateaus and deep valleys. Slopes with calcareous shrubland, rock outcrops and steep cliffs are common here. The southern side avoided by the Blue Trail is a covered karst region with an aquitard layer on the top. Waters from this region dive underground at the border of the two areas feeding an extensive cavern system.
The world heritage site Baradla-Domica Cavern System has a total length of 25 km with impressive dripstone formations and good tourist facilities provide an insight into the underground world. As the result of water dissolving limestone the cavern itself is an underground valley of a river. As layers gradually elevated underground creeks etched new tunnels creating a multi-level cavern, sometimes elevated to the surface.
The elevation of horsts resulted in plateaus of various heights and wide grabens, e.g. the plateau above Jósvafő with dolines and the hucul stud or the dry ditch of Szelce-völgy. In Ménes-völgy a chilly karst spring awaits hikers in a gorge-like environment. In general, the landscape of Aggtelek Hills is characterized by a mixture of chilly creeks, rolling plateaus, karren fields and sweet meadows.
The Blue Trail sets off from Putnok, crosses the wooded hills of Borsod and passes the bog of Mohos Ponds to arrive at the grassy topped hills. Traversing the hills the trail passes tiny villages and offers great views. Past Zádorfalva you will enter the woods to approach Aggtelek and the karst. After crossing the calcareous grassland and shrubland, the trail continues through a forest to Jósvafő. Past the village a lengthy hike through the forest begins passing a picturesque meadow on the plateau of Jósvafő with a series of dolines and the hucul stud. The trail descends to Szelcepuszta in Ménes-völgy and then climbs to the plateau of Alsó-hegy with wide meadows and the monument of the ill-fated village Deren. A short but steep ascent will take you to Szádvár castle to enjoy the most beautiful view of the mountain and finally, winding among dolines the section ends at the edge of Bódva valley and the border of Cserehát.
- Visit small museums of Gömörszőlős in houses of traditional architecture to learn about the past and present of the village (and to support their efforts to maintain the village).
- Take your time to discover the wonders of Baradla-Domica Cavern. Various guided tours are available.
- Make detours in and around Jósvafő to visit the emerald green Tengerszem tó in the forest fed by a karst spring and to explore the village center dominated by the creek.
- Take a break in the lengthy hike past Jósvafő at the hikers’ lodge of Szelcepuszta (Borz-Alom Forest School) or the castle hotel there.
- From Szelcepuszta or Jósvafő, make a detour to Szelce-völgy, probably the most beautiful valley of Hungary.
- Make an hours’ long detour to the castle ruins of Szádvár between Szelcepuszta and Bódvaszilas to enjoy the most beautiful view of the area.
Recommended entries and exits
- Kelemér (OKTPH_118_1, OKTPH_118_2, OKTPH_118_3): bus stop “Kelemér, autóbusz-váróterem”
- Gömörszőlős (OKTPH_119): bus stop “Gömörszőlős, községháza”
- Zádorfalva (OKTPH_120): bus stop “Zádorfalva, autóbusz-váróterem”
- Aggtelek (OKTPH_121_1, OKTPH 121_2): bus stops “Aggtelek, Baradla-barlang” and “Aggtelek, Kossuth utca Barlang bejárati út”
- Jósvafő (OKTPH_122): bus stops “Jósvafő, szálló bejárati út” and “Jósvafő, autóbusz-váróterem”
- 5.4 km from Derenk (OKTPH_123): bus stop “Szögliget, autóbusz-forduló”
- The trail passes several grasslands and open meadows where expect hot temperature and direct sunlight in summers. Prepare to protect skin and head.
- Beware of unpredictable trailside waters. Make sure to have sufficient water supply.
- The Blue Trail crosses Putnok north to south and runs past the railway station and the bus stop in the center, too.
- From Bódvaszilasi railway station spur trail Blue + (K+) leads to the Blue Trail.
- Free of charge parking near the railway stations of both places.
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
- Basic gear: hiking boots, seasonable wear, drinking water, food. Use Természetjáró app. to navigate.
- Prepare to protect skin and head in open meadows and grasslands.