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My starting point is close to Budapest, which also makes this southern corner of the Pilis Mountains a perfect hiking spot for anyone visiting the Hungarian capital.

I parked the car at a hidden street in Pilisborosjenő. The small village was always known for its grape-culture, and used to be inhabited by Turks, Serbs and Germans, or immigrants from Transylvania during the centuries and had all of its area burned down in the 19th century – so has quite an exciting past. They call it the gate of the Pilis, with good reason: one can use it as the starting point for the most beautiful and exciting hikes in the region.

I started with an uphill, listening to the sounds of pheasants from the meadow to my left. I remembered this section from my hike years ago when I was walking through the OKT, which is the Hungarian Long-distance Hiking Trail with its 1164 kms. If you hike along the OKT (which is signaled by blue signs next to the trails), you get to know the most beautiful, most interesting and also sometimes painfully real faces of Hungary. But after the uphill, I left the blue signs and turned left onto an easy path with lots of dynamic ups and downs. This forest is called Malom or Mill Forest. It is a very enjoyable wide path, suitable for all levels of hikers, and what I truly love here: you can hike or run among pine trees, which is not very common in Hungary.

After 4 kilometers, I turned right to run along the Solymári Valley. The valley is actually the natural border between two Natural Protection Areas: the Budai and the Pilis Mountains. These areas are both managed by the same National Park and their dolomite and chalk base is now covered in geologically young drift. This section of the run is a bit more challenging, with steeper uphills and more frequent curves and turns along the way, roots of the trees emerging from the path, but also quite interesting: on our right we can see the Jenői Tower, which is a dolomite rock with four caves in it, on our left we pass by a military base below us.

After 2 kilometers I turned right again to first follow a wide bicycle trail, and then arriving back to the blue sign. For Hungarians there is a well-known cinematic location on our right, but we have to go off-road to visit it: the artificial ruins of a castle that was used for the famous historical movie called Egri Csillagok (The Stars of Eger). I did not go there this day, but soon I left the trail anyway to run in the meadow – the signs are not very visible here as there are no trees, but soon I got to the magnificent view over the Teve szikla or Camel Rock. It is actually not a single rock but several dolomite rocks that were formed by the erosion of the softer chalk surface next to them. As always, I stopped here to admire the view over the Mill Forest and the smaller hills around. It is also possible to descend and walk around the rocks, or sit down for a well-deserved snack.

The next section took me through gorgeous black pine tree forests and then before entering the village from the opposite end of it, I met some silent ponies eating their breakfast without caring about me. I was happy to see them anyway. The signs led me through the village and then along an exciting and fast downhill on rocks and stones.

When I arrived to the last kilometer of my run, I summarized how much I saw and experienced during such a short time: forests of different kinds, high rocks, majestic views, and the ponies of course. Although I was running this time, I would take any friend to hike along and see just how close nature is and hike great is to hike in Budapest.


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