Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Kektura: Conclusion

Did I like this hike? Yes, indeed! I liked it tremendously. This has been an incredibly pleasant and relaxing hike. Although it has not been very spectacular it has been very enjoyable - and Hungary has surpassed my expectations be far! Why? I had expected a rather flat country and was positively surprised to find the Kektura landscape to be relatively hilly in parts - especially in the Eastern part. So I had plenty of really beautiful views. Plus the forest was extremely pittoresque in Indian Summer. Would I recommend this hike to a friend! Yes, absolutely and I would go even further: Kektura is a real insiders' tip for outdoor novices. Why do I recommend it especially for beginners? There are several reasons:

Wild camping is legal and easy: Most beginners are worried about wild camping which is illegal in most of Europe. Therefore they tend to go Scandinavia or Scotland where wild camping is legal under the "every man's right". But what hardly anybody knows: Wild camping is legally allowed in Hungary - except in National Parks. I was so surprised about that that I double checked it various times but all my sources agreed: German guidebooks, the English Kektura website, my Hungarian friends and even a forester I met on the way. And it is dead easy as well: on the Kektura you walk through forest most of the time. And as the landscape is rather flat or hilly at best it is usually very easy to find a flat spot for your tent! So no need to go to Scandinavia or Scotland especially out of reason number two:

Hungary has a high margin of error: Let me explain what I mean with this. Beginners tend to commit more mistakes than experienced hikers. And if things go wrong you somehow have to get out of the situation. In Scandinavia this can be tricky: The weather is usually adverse, in the North there is not much shelter from forest and if you have to bail out it will cost you a fortune due to the high price level in Scandinavia. Hungary is so much more "forgiving": The weather is moderate, there is not much altitude or exosed areas and you are mostly walking in forest where you are sort of sheltered from the elements. Plus the waymarking is so good that is is diffcult to get lost. But if you have to bail out it will be cheap: Hungary has a great and very cheap public transportation system that serves literally every little settlement. The infrastructure is great with little shops in almost every village. Water is not an issue due to an abundance of public water fountains in every settlement. But most important: Accommadation is plentyful and cheap: I usually paid between 15 and 25 EUR for one person. So if the weather turns bad or you are simply too tired you can just treat yourself with sleeping in a bed under a roof!

High fun factor: Due to the relatively low price level you can easily treat yourself once in a while - with sleeping in a cosy bed or eating in a restaurant. I loved the food which was always really good quality at cheap or moderate prices. As you can see I especially liked the desserts. And I should not forget to mention that a glass of wine will set you back less than 1 EUR!. Plus Hungary is full of thermal baths and it is so relaxing to soak in hot water after a long day of hiking. A visit to a thermal bath will set you back something between 5 to 10 EUR - just bring a swim suit. 

Honestly, I don't understand at all why Hungary is not more popular as a hiking destination. Ok, it lacks alpine scenery, but it offers an abundance of beautiful decidouos forest where you will probably not see a single soul in days but plenty of wildlife. In no other country I have seen so many deer, wild pigs and mufflons. Hungary is very sparsely populated and you will definitely see a lot less people on the Kektura than on the Kungsleden in Sweden. Plus it is so cheap and easy to get there. Both low cost airlines Ryanair and Easyjet fly from Germany to Budapest.

So if you look for a interesting new hiking destination go to Hungary - you won't regret it!


Amy L said...

Christine, thanks for the nice summary of your hike in Hungary. Sounds like we need to add it to our list of candidates.

Hannah said...

Hallo, toll dein Bericht, auch schön, dass Sie wieder einen großen Weg außerhalb D nach Ihrer Erkrankung geschafft haben! Bin ein großer Fan geworden.
Was machen Sie jetzt im Winter?

Anita said...

Hallo Christine, habe mich auch über die schöne Berichterstattung zu Ungarn gefreut...bin im Sommer dort mit dem Fahrrad viel alleine unterwegs gewesen und habe nur Positives erlebt. Ich bewundere ihren Mut und wünschte es Ihnen gleich tun zu können.... weiterhin viel Erfolg, ich freue mich wieder zu lesen. Auch meine Frage: Was machen Sie im Winter?

Aeldra Robinson said...

This is in definitely one of my favorite blog posts of yours. I love it!Such a wonderful place to visit. All the pics are amazing. I also want to go there and i think first i need to learn the language so that i can do fully enjoy there. Thanks for sharing us.

planning a trip to europe

Leo from Austria said...

"Honestly, I don't understand at all why Hungary is not more popular as a hiking Destination"
Dear Mrs. Thürmer: My answer to that is ... Orban. I personally went often to Hungary (in particular since it is close to Austria, where I live). But since the current Administration is in power and acts the the way it is - opressing intelligence and turning everything upside down - I am not going. But governments come and go - and sooner or later I'll be coming back and this hike (of which I've never heard so far) is a wonderful suggestion, thank you very much.
P.S.: And thanks a lot for this excellent blog. Heard of you first time yesterday on WDR5 ("Mit Neugierde unterwegs").