Narrow-gauge railway, draisine, bird watching through a one-way mirror from a photography perch, a study trail with puzzles - just a few of the many reasons for which we will want to climb up to Királyrét in the depth of Börzsöny.
The main destination of our hike is one of the most frequented hiking spots of Börzsöny: Királyrét. The area belonging to Szokolya has always been very popular. It used to be a favourite hunting area of the aristocracy and the king in the Middle Ages, then the focus shifted to iron in the 18th century: Ores were mined from the hillside, smelted into pig-iron in the furnaces and forged into any desired form with enormous hammers in the foundries. The massive equipment was powered by water: The stream was dammed at five places, to have the overflowing water turn the installed wheels. Today, only two small lakes remain in the area.
A must see stop on the route is Hiúz Ház (“Lynx House”), a visitor centre that also operates as a forest school. We will have to put to use all of our senses at their exhibition, which does not appear to be too big at first, but definitely offers a parade of experiences to children and adults alike. We can learn about the flora and fauna of Börzsöny in the building. There is also a playground for the kids, and those interested in bird watching may climb into the perch of Bence Máté to peek through the one-sided mirror into the wood or at the feeder.
Before setting out on the less than 3-kilometre-long study trail, it is worth getting a copy of the guidebook at the Hiúz Ház, available in both “adult” and “kid” version. Bori Béka guides us through the pine trees, along quiet lakes and in the depth of the forest, while we can use the turn grid to decipher the answers to her questions. Besides learning about the natural treasures of the area, we get an insight into the everyday life of the smelter and the narrow-gauge railway.
The full length of the study trail is 2.6 km, which takes about 40 minutes to complete—but keep in mind that studying the guide book, solving the puzzles and exploring the sights might easily increase this to about 2 hours.
Make sure to check the timetable of the Királyrét Forest Railway when planning your trip.
At the end of the route, we can return to Csattogó Valley on the Via Margaritarum trail, marked by a ring of beads. Following the red (P) trail all the way, we will get to Verőce train station.
Plan it yourself.
It is up to us how difficult our hike is going to be. If we follow the route marked on the map, we will enjoy a moderately steep ascent that raises our pulse slightly, and which could be the equivalent of a light cardio workout. If we reverse the route, and start by taking the narrow-gauge train from Kismaros to Királyrét, then walk back on the red (P) trail, our route will be a really easy, gentle descent where we do not have to strain ourselves at all. With small children, it is best to take the narrow-gauge train there and back, and visit the study trail for a leisurely hike.