TOUR LENGTH: 176km
On the 176-kilometre tour, following the Pomáz-Pilisszentkereszt route, we make our first stop at the Danube-Ipoly National Park and Dobogókő. This popular hiking destination is the highest peak of the Visegrád Mountains, 700 metres above sea level. According to folklore the Earth's lines meet here and the heart chakra of the planet can be found here. Some say that if you put your ear on the rock, you can even hear the heartbeat of the Earth.
From the top, you can enjoy a great view of the Danube Bend, and on a clear day you can even see more distant mountains, such as the Mátra or the High Tatras.
We continue towards Esztergom, the seat of the Archbishop of Esztergom and the centre of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary, before turning towards Bajna. This town is famous for the neoclassical Sándor-Metternich Castle designed by József Hild, which has been renovated inside and out. It was once the home of Count Móric Sándor – dubbed the Devil’s Horseman – and his family. Legend has it that he even jumped off his own balcony onto his horse and often rode inside the building.
Our next stop is the ruins of the Premonstratensian monastery and church in Zsámbék, built in the Middle Ages. The church, designed in late Romanesque and early Gothic style, was destroyed by the great earthquake of Komárom in 1763.
We continue our journey to Alcsútdoboz, where the sky-high plane trees and the Arboretum of Alcsút are worth a visit. This former castle garden of Archduke Joseph occupies an area of 40 hectares.
Before reaching our next stop, the Etyek wine region, or the ‘vineyard of Budapest’, we take a look at the Korda Filmpark, a state-of-the-art studio complex where international superstars from Harrison Ford to Matt Damon have filmed.
Viticulture in the Etyek area dates back to Roman times, and from the mid-1860s stone cellars were built, most of which stand to this day. We will spend some time at the historic Circle Cellar which, as well as being the jewel of the village, offers wines of high quality – those who will not be getting back in the saddle afterwards will be welcome to sample some, while others will have to wait for their return to Budapest!