3 July 2021

National Blue Trail route / part VII

We set off at the narrow ridge of the Mátra and visit the western half and the middle part during the 20th Blue Trail route. We rise from an altitude of 180 meters above sea level to 964 meters, while reaching the highest villages in the country in wild romantic forests studded with dark andesite rocks.

Whether we look at the Mátra from the direction of the Great Hungarian Plain, the Pétervásárai hills or the Karancs, we see a long, slightly lowering line in the middle, which towers over its surroundings like a green wall. The wreck of the once proud Carpathian volcano carries an S-shaped ridge, with a series of parallel peaks in the west, thus the mountains are more extensive here. Elsewhere, only short side ridges start from the central line. Do not look for significant peaks in the highest region, as the name "top", which is often conspicuous on the maps, reveals the morphological phenomenon for which hard andesite, tilted structure generated by tectonic shift and subsequent erosion are responsible: the Mátra peaks on flat ridges. We only find real peaks on the edges and on the eastern ridge.

The main ridge of the Mátra runs high, while on its two sides there are mostly only low ridges and island-like peaks. Thanks to this, visiting the highest points we can enjoy wonderful, spacious panoramas, towards the hilly north and the endless plain to the south. In addition to these views, the rock towers indicate the volcanic past, the rock walls that taper the ridge in some places, and the exposed stone seas are responsible for the charm of the mountain.

Not only can the Mátra take pride in the two highest mountain blocks of the country, but probably there is no other mountain more popular among domestic tourists (apart from the mountains adjacent to the capital). When the weather is nice on weekends, bigger crowds move around the area. 

Flat points - especially in the Western part of the Mátra - favored the development of settlements, nowadays these villages are popular resorts due to their climate and closeness to nature while in the winter they provide the venue to an active skiing life. The motorways encircling the mountain, the dense public transport network visiting the highest peaks, the romantic forests attract lots of tourists to the Mátra. Hikers will find a wide range of hiking trails, and mass tourism maintains a relatively large network of hiking cabins in the mountains - especially in its western part. However, the range and development of mountain sports services have yet to improve in the Mátra.

Route 20 of the Blue Trail takes you into the vast forest in Mátraverebély and climbs up the almost alpine-like clearing of the Ágasvár tourist house. Leaving the classic tourist hostel, we are already walking on the ridge, treading a romantic, one-man path into the gorge valley of the Csörgő stream, which also houses a forest reserve. We visit tourist villages in a quiet milieu on Hungary’s highest points, and reach the award-winning lookout tower beside Galya-tető, which gives a memorable panorama of the Mátra and its surroundings. Finally, we descend into the Mátra saddle, the lowest point of the ridge, which also accommodates a traffic gateway. From here we walk to Mátraháza, from where the next route of the Blue Trail guides you to Kékes.

TIPS

  • With a short but steep detour you can climb to the top of Ágasvár following the K ▲ sign. This is one of the most lavish lookout points in the mountain, don’t miss it!
  • The Csörgő-lyuk Cave can be visited by prior arrangement with a cave tour guide, prepare with individual accessories (helmet, lamp).
  • At Mátraszentistván, the Vörös-kő Lookout Tower is only a short detour, from where we can look down on the areas north of the Mátra.
  • During the tour we can choose from a wide range of tourist accommodations: the Galya Tourist Center in Galyatető, and the Ágasvár Tourist House in the western part of the mountain, and we can also spend a night in the Vörösmarty tourist house.

Section lengths from stamp to stamp (in kilometers)

Mátraverebély 7.6 Ágasvár Tourist House 4.2 Mátraszentistván 5 Galyatető 3.6 Vércverés  3.1 Vörösmarty Inn 1.8 Mátraháza

Recommended intermediate embarkation and disembarkation points along the route

• Mátrakeresztes (near OKTPH_100_1, OKTPH_100_2): Pásztó, Ágasvár hiking cabin bus stop• Mátraszentistván (OKTPH_101_1, OKTPH_101_2): Mátraszentistván, bus waiting area bus stop• Galyatető (OKTPH_102_1, OKTPH_102_2, OKTPH_102_3, OKTPH_102_4): Galyatető, Kodály Zoltán promenade bus stop• Near Vércverés (OKTPH_103): Mátraszentimre, nyírjesi kőbánya bus stop• Vörösmarty tourist house (near Mátraháza) (OKTPH_104_1): Mátraháza, Vörösmarty tourist house bus stop

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