Danube-Ipoly National Park
The Danube-Ipoly National Park (Duna-Ipoly Nemzeti Park) is a huge nature reserve in the north of Hungary. The park includes 3 regions of the country – Pest, Nograd and Komárom-Esztergom, and is the second largest national park after Hortobágy. Low mountains and hills, river valleys and plains stretch on its territory. Landscape and natural diversity will amaze you! And the park is located not far from Budapest.
History of the region and the park
The natural beauties of the region made it attractive at the dawn of humanity. The archaeologists have found evidence of people staying in many caves of the park, here, beginning with the Stone Age. Later, various nomadic tribes and nationalities passed through here regularly. But already in the 1st century the Danube in this area became a frontier zone of the Roman Empire. After the fall of this great state, the territory was populated by scattered tribes. And finally in the 10th century, it was here that the Kingdom of Hungary was born. Over time, in the Middle Ages, many cities and towns, fortresses and churches were built in the region. In the 15-16 centuries the territory of Hungary became a battleground with the Ottoman Empire. After the liberation of the country, the region was a fairly quiet and peaceful place until the Second World War.
Agriculture, extractive industry was actively developed here. Beautiful nature attracted many artists and writers to these places, many artists who are proud of the Hungarians, were born in this region. It is noteworthy that exactly here, in the city of Visegrád, near the beautiful bend of the Danube, in 1991 the heads of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland signed a declaration on European integration.
Already in the second half of the 20th century, in the present territory of the park, nature reserves and nature protection zones began to be created. Later they were merged into a national park. And its main goal is not only the protection of natural resources, but also their augmentation and work with the population of the country.
Information about the park
- The founding date is November 28, 1997.
- The area of the park is 603.14 square km.
- Includes 3 regions of the country.
- Includes 3 mountain systems: Pilis, Visegrád, Börzsöny.
- The highest mountain is Csóványos, 938 m.
- Includes 8 landscape areas.
- Unites 33 nature protection zones.
- About 170 species of protected plants.
- 117 species of birds.
Attractions of the Danube-Ipoly National Park
In addition to environmental protection, the administration of the park actively conducts environmental education of the population. The infrastructure of the park is well developed. There are many hiking trails, including educational, various gardens, caves, schools and museums. Also there are zones in which the entry is forbidden for tourist – these are nesting places for birds, which cannot be disturbed. Below there are the most interesting places of the Danube-Ipoly National Park.
- Arboretum Alcsúti. Very beautiful place in 40 km to the South-West from Budapest. In the past it was the garden of the castle of the aristocrat József Nádor. Now the castle is preserved, but it requires restoration. Near it there is a lake and a garden in the English style. On the area of 40 hectares there are about 540 species of trees, bushes and flowers. Nearby there is a chapel. Historical excursions are conducted. The arboretum is located in the village of Alcsútdoboz, Phone number: (+36) 22353219.
- The pedestrian route Dinnyési Fertő. It is popular because of the opportunity to observe the nesting of wild geese. The guide will meet you from the train (departing from Budapest to Dinnyés station), and will conduct an excursion. A highlight of this place: at sunset, thousands of birds soar into the sky before the night – this is an unforgettable sight. Phone number: (+36) 306634630.
- Ethnographic museum. It is located in the village of Ócsa, you can go there from Budapest by train. There is a rich ethnographic collection, exhibitions of dolls and handicrafts. Several hiking trails also start from this village. Phone number: (+36) 304943368.
- Forest School Kökörcsin Ház. It is located in the city of Esztergom. From here, many hiking trails start. The places are very picturesque and they are the abode of rare species of animals. It is also possible to climb to the observation tower on the top of the hill, from where you can see a wonderful view of the Danube.
- Natural garden Jókai Mór. It is located on the Western outskirts of Budapest. In addition to the garden itself, there is also a small manor and an ornithological center. It was founded back in 1853, but after the death of the owner it fell into decay. It was revived in 1975. Address: Költő utca 21, phone number (+36) 13914610.
- Cave Pál-völgyi. A unique and beautiful cave was opened in 1904, and became accessible to visitors in 1919. Now people with disabilities can also get into it. It is a fabulous route with a length of 500 m with a difference in altitude. When you visit, it is worth considering that the inside temperature is 11 degrees. It is located in Budapest, on Szépvölgyi út 162. Phone number (+36) 13259505.
- Cave Szemlő-hegyi. It is the most famous cave not only in the park, but in all of Hungary. It has karst origin. Due to its process, it contains many stalactites and stalagmites. In addition to the excursions you will find an interactive exhibition hall, which shows the processes of cave formation, as well as modern methods of their salvation. Please note when visiting that the air temperature inside is only 12 degrees. The cave is also located in Budapest, on Pusztaszeri út 35, phone number (+36) 13256001.
In addition to all of the above, it is definitely worth visiting some of the towns in the national park. It is good for the tourist that they are all located along the same road, to the West and North-West from Budapest.
- The city of Szentendre. It is a very beautiful city with many small streets with cobblestone, small squares and houses with a red tile roofs. Previously, refugees from Serbia lived here, so the village has a unique Balkan flavor. There is an art gallery and many museums, the most famous of them is the ethnographic museum Skanzen, which is the largest in the country.
- The city of Esztergom. It has a beautiful medieval center. Here, on the bank of the Danube, there is the Royal Palace. And next door – a Catholic church, the main in the country. The St Adalbert Basilica, built in 1869, has about 100 m in height. From the dome you get a stunning view of the Danube and the surrounding land.
- The city of Visegrád. It is famous not only because of the meeting of the Visegrad Four. This city was a strategically important point for both the Romans and the Hungarian Kingdom. On the hill above the city there is a very old fortress, that once was a Roman bastion. There are legends that Vlad Țepeș (Count Dracula) himself, was imprisoned in it. Now in the evenings beautiful costumed performances take place in it. Near the bank of the river there are the ruins of the once beautiful palace. Now it houses the Museum of King Matthias. It overlooks the famous natural landmark, the Danube bend, and the wooded slopes of the Visegrád hills.
In the visitor centers you will find all the necessary information about hiking trails and interesting places in the park. Also there are educational programs and excursions.
- Sas-hegy. Budapest, Tájék u. 26. Phone number (+36) 304084370.
- Pilisi len. Pilisszentiván, Bányász u. 17. Phone number (+36) 305111802.
- Hiúz Ház. Szokolya, Királyrét. Phone numbers (+36) 27585625, (+36) 302380063.
How to get there
Since all the attractions of the park are quite scattered throughout its territory, it will be most convenient for you to begin by visiting the Administration of the Park. It is located in Budapest, on its western outskirts, on Költő u. 21. Take buses of routes 21, 21A, 60, 212, 990, go out at the stop Svábhegy. You can get there on the tram, route 60, and get out at the same stop.
Phone number of the administration: (+36) 13914610.