Hiking in Budapest? We’ve collected the best hiking trails and spots within the city limits for you.
Landmarks, check. Spas, check. Ruin pubs, check. If you already know every nook and cranny of the capital (and checked every cycling destination off your list), it’s time to explore its natural beauty! As you might have heard and seen, there are some pretty scenic hiking spots even within the city limits – these are easy to reach and quite rewarding as well. Here’s a collection of the five most popular (and beautiful) hiking spots in Budapest.
Arguably the most popular destination for the denizens of Budapest, János-hegy sports a spectacular viewpoint well above the city level (by the way, should you want to gawk at the beautiful panorama of Budapest close to or even right from the city center, we recommend you read our article on the top 8 viewpoints in the city). There are plenty of trails leading up to Erzsébet-kilátó (“Erzsébet Lookout Tower”), so János-hegy could actually fill up this list on its own. There are three major paths leading to the top through the fanciest neighborhoods of the city: taking any of these paths in the 12th district (you can start right at Széll Kálmán square) will guide you through a stunning display of natural and architectural splendor. You can also opt to approach the summit from Budakeszi: while this requires a little more effort, it’s more than worth ascending through the serene forests covering the hills of Buda.
Normafa is only a 20-minute walk away from János hill, and the view is almost as mesmerizing as from the top of Erzsébet-kilátó.
The flipside: Its popularity is definitely a downside. Warm, sunny weekend during May or September? Expect heavy pedestrian traffic.
Known mostly as a district and not as a hiking trail, Sas-hegy is a lesser known sibling of the popular contesters (János and Gellért hill) on our list of top hiking trails in Budapest. As a matter of fact, Sas-hegy (“Eagle hill”) offers a unique view from the very heart of Buda – without the need to hike uphill too much. Although accessible by car and public transport, Sas-hegy is easy to reach on foot: if you start your journey at Széll Kálmán square, you’ll get to venture through lush and less densely populated neighborhoods. The barren peak of Sas-hegy doubles as a natural reserve, as well as a visitor center, so you can learn more about the flora and fauna of the region.
The view itself. Even locals will find Sas-hegy a unique viewpoint, putting the city they know in a different perspective.
The flipside: This is not a very demanding hike trail, so for those trying to test their endurance, Sas-hegy is probably not the best option.
Okay, one might argue that Gellért-hegy shouldn’t count as it’s located close to downtown. It also has one of the most popular landmarks of the capital along the Danube – so why bother to include it in a list of the top hiking trails in Budapest? Well, some might get to the top with a tourist bus to snap a selfie, but it doesn’t mean that’s the only way of doing it. Start your hike at Gellért square, and slowly ascend on the western slopes of the hill: your path will lead through one of the greenest spots in the heart of the capital. Looking for a challenge? Try “Verejték lépcső” (lit. “Stairs of Sweat”). The name speaks for itself.
No matter how fun (or demanding) it is to get to the top, the best thing about Gellért-hegy is the Citadella and the gorgeous view around it.
The flipside: While the ascent can be testing, the path itself is pretty short. And the top might be swarmed by tourists.
Those of you looking for a proper hike may now sigh in relief: finally, the trail I was looking for! Let’s be fair, while the other spots on our list of top hiking trails in Budapest are loved for the view or their landmarks, Hármashatár-hegy is the default hiking destination for most locals. Just hop on bus line 65: it drops you off right where the trail starts. Climbing atop Hármashatár-hegy is not a big deal as it’s pretty close to your starting point, but your hike shouldn’t end there: if you head over to Kálvária-hegy, you’ll get to exercise a little more while venturing through the hilly landscape.
Hármashatár-hegy itself. Its barren peak offers a stunning view: the Danube, most of the city itself, and the surrounding hills are all visible. And if you’re lucky (and the weather is clear), you’ll spot the silhouettes of the more distant hills like Pilis, Bükk, and even Mátra.
The flipside: This trail is roughly 15 kilometers long with plenty of elevation. Make sure you are not dressed for a light walk but a proper hike.
Dubbed by romantic souls as the “Grand Canyon” of Budapest, Rókahegy offers a unique hiking spot for the occasional wanderer. To be fair, Rókahegy (lit. “Fox hill”) is not even remotely close to the actual Grand Canyon, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting. Decades ago, it served as a quarry for many years, but it has become a natural reserve since, attracting hikers throughout the entire year. Jump off HÉV 5 (one of Budapest’s suburban railway lines, marked purple on city maps) at Csillaghegy, and if you’ve checked out the local beach, continue your path uphill until you reach the quarry of Rókahegy.
Nature has reclaimed what it had lost earlier: Rókahegy is both a memento of human impact and a serene getaway in the capital.
The flipside: This is a relatively short hike, and the noise of the city isn’t as far as some would prefer.
If you’ve walked all the trails on the list, but want to keep moving, we recommend you go on an exciting cave tour in Budapest. Click here for more info.
- Where can I hike in Budapest?
- Most hiking spots are on the Buda side: Gellért-hegy, János-hegy and Hármashatár-hegy are popular and gorgeous destinations in the city.
- Is it worth it to hike in Budapest?
- Absolutely. Some of the most stunning vantage points are only reachable if you hike.
- Do tourists hike in Budapest?
- If you have more than 3 days to spend, a lot of tourists prefer hiking to get to know the city.