Take in the sights of Budapest and beyond as you soar above the city. The hills surrounding Budapest are a popular spot for paragliders and Siklóernyős tanfolyam, a paragliding centre in Budapest, offers a range of courses for all levels as well as tandem sessions and paragliding open days, during which you’ll learn the basics of paragliding and take a test flight.
Literally translated as “iron road”, via ferrata involves participants attaching themselves to iron railings along climbing routes which could otherwise be deemed impassable or too dangerous. A number of routes can be found at Csesznek, a village in western Hungary, with a range of difficulty levels to explore. Guided tours are available and recommended for beginners; alternatively, equipment is on hand to rent for those who are more experienced.
Skydiving over Lake Balaton
If the idea of jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet (3962 meters) is your idea of a good time, then Skydive Balaton is the place to go. With dives taking place over Lake Balaton, central Europe’s largest lake, skydiving here offers the chance to enjoy stunning views as well as an exhilarating experience. Registered skydivers can undertake a solo skydive with Skydive Balaton but for those who don’t hold a licence, tandem jumps are operated by their sister company Ugrani Jó.
Stand up paddle boarding is not only a great outdoor activity and way to explore but also a great workout! Staying upright while paddling through the water is harder than the pros make it look, but no less fun. At the SUP Center in Balaton, paddle boards are available to rent (the staff will show you how it’s done if you’re a beginner), lessons can be booked for those who want to learn more and there’s a schedule of SUP yoga classes for an alternative way to enjoy sports on the lake.
Caving under Budapest
Deep under Budapest, a network of caves can be found which totals a length of over 120km! Only two caves can be visited by those without previous caving experience: Szemlö-hegyi, which is wheelchair accessible, and Pál-völgyi, Hungary’s longest cave system. Both can be explored on tours along well lit paths (Szemlö-hegyi is wheelchair accessible), while the more adventurous can explore Pál-völgyi’s natural section, complete with narrow passages to crawl through and walls to climb.
As well as number of great walking routes around Budapest, Hungary boasts well signposted hiking routes for all levels. Head to the Mátra mountains for the chance to enjoy a more challenging hike. (the country’s highest peak, Kékestetö, is found here). The Danube Bend, Bükk National Park and Lake Balaton are all popular hiking destinations, known for their beautiful scenery and variety of terrains. The National Blue Trail (OKT in Hungarian) runs from the Írott-kő Mountain on the Austrian border, to Hollóháza (a small village on the Slovakian border) and is both a popular and significant route, with many locals seeing its completion as a milestone in their hiking careers.
Hungary’s beautiful countryside and combination of flat and hilly terrain are just two reasons to hop on your bike and tour the country on two wheels. The country has seen a number of new cycling trails appear thanks to the sport’s growing popularity in the area. Head to the EuroVelo website to check out three trails which will take you on a tour of the country’s most beautiful towns, past stunning lakes, and through popular wine regions such as Tokaj.
What Hungary lacks in coastline it makes up for with its abundance of rivers and lakes. Watersports enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice as a range of activities, from canoeing and kayaking to sailing and windsurfing, can be enjoyed across the country. Lake Balaton is the destination of choice for many thanks to its huge surface area. Head to Siofok for windsurfing or enjoy water skiing at Vonyarcvashegy on the lake’s northern shores. Canoeing and kayaking are best enjoyed on Lake Tisza and the Danube, while those with an open water diving certificate can join Paprika Divers in exploring underground caves and an old beer factory!