The reason I like this region so much is that it means something different to everyone, even those who live their whole lives here (like me) are infatuated for different reasons. Hidden treasures and secrets are abundant around the land near the Danube Bend. Some tiny jewels, others literal goldmines, and you’ll find a bit of both categories in this list. I’ve limited my ideas to the area bordered between Zebegény and Nagymaros, the part we call the Danu Bend.
Have you visited any of these already?
Sárkánydomb (Kite Hill), Zebegény
A place for the kite-flyers out there.
I’ve had quite a few Kite festivals and gastro-parties on this hill, but I still love lounging around just as much as the first time. A perfect evening, with a few friends and a bottle of good wine while getting lost in the sight of Zebegény, which offers a panoramic view that hundreds of people can enjoy at the same time.
Remetebarlangok (Hermit Caves), Nagymaros
Speaking about stunning views and extreme sports…
The Szent Mihály hill above Nagymaros hides several appertures dug into its side. These mysterious, shallow caverns offer an awesome panorama that can earn them the title: Stone Age penthouses, even though cavemen never occupied these caves. Archeologists have dated them back a “mere” 1000 years.
Hungarian monks from the first age of the nation carved them to meditate on life’s great mysteries while looking at Dömös in the distance. Just like I always do.
Büdös tó (Smelly Lake), Nagymaros
The name might suggest otherwise, but this place is awesome.
Does it really stink? You might ask and the answer is: not as much as you may think! This lake is basically some twisted trees in a green sludge. 30 minutes on foot from Nagymaros lies this hidden little lake that would be easy to spot from far away if not for the forest covering it. And as repulsive as it might seem judging from the name alone, moving closer you’ll realize that you are dealing with the cutest little place in the Danube bend, with duckweeds and real ducks aplenty.
Nagymaros Farmers’ market
Just so I won’t seem so antisocial…
The center of Nagymaros collects the farmers, vendors and craftsmen (and women) of the region every Saturday. This fair is something everyone should experience at least once, even those who are not fond of sweet, home-produced fruits, fresh vegetables, the bustling atmosphere, handcrafted gems, the friendliest locals and of course, fellow travelers.
The Backwaters of Kismaros
A charming, hidden little island lies between the two towns….
Deer, pheasants, ducks and songbirds fill this little-known area of the Danube Bend with life. The small forest by the backwaters of Kismaros is the place I always go to when in need of a quiet reading session.
Bertényi Miklós garden, Visegrád
There is more to this place than the castle of Visegrád.
My favorite forest park can be found in the nature reserve of the Pilis hills. With exotic flora, its own micro-climate, and an ornithological path, the place feels like being in another forest within the woods of the Pilis. While the vast majority of people walk around in the castle, this is where I like to spend my time.
Kós Károly Lookout, Zebegény
An irresistibly cute wooden tower above Zebegény.
The birthplace of awesome Instagram Stories, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more charming little village than Zebegény. Besides seeing this amazing 80-year-old settlement, you can get a glimpse of the whole Danu Bend as well.
Dőry Villa, Zebegény
If I had to choose between nature and luxury, I always go for the former. Except when talking about the Dőry Villa…
This fairy-tale palace stands by the riverside, and I’ve always wondered how it would feel waking up in the tower and sipping a cup of Jasmine tea while gazing at the panorama. Unfortunately, no one is able to do that at the moment. The villa has sadly been standing there, vacant, for quite a while now. It’s still worth it to admire this amazing villa from the outside.
The perfect place for a date: hidden, exotic and breathtakingly beautiful.
I stumbled upon this gem halfway between Dömös and Visegrád and have yet to share it with a lot of people, so you better feel special. 🙂 It is a wide pasture with an amazing view. Just like the first item on the list, however, you are unlikely to bump into any kite-flyers. Unless I’m there of course…
The Provostship of Dömös
How often do you find thousand-year-old churches?
Another legacy of ancient Hungarians is this 11th-century building. When you see it you wouldn’t think that the ruins hide a near-untouched interior. Frequented by Hungarian kings and their descendants, this Catholic church can still be visited today. From early spring until late autumn you can join guided tours organized by the ecumenical community leading the provostship.