Hiking Challenge: Kéktúra

Being a student in Hungary means that you get to discover an entirely new culture during your university years. A lot of people take the chance to get to know not only the culture, but also the natural beauty of their permanent home. While big cities like Budapest, Debrecen, or Szeged are immensely exciting and hold a lot of treasure to discover, there is nothing quite as beautiful as the countryside. If you like hiking and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, you'll definitely love one of Hungary's most famous challenges, the Kéktúra.

What is the Blue Trail or Blue Tour?

Országos Kéktúra translates as National (or Country-wide) Blue Trail in English. The curious name covers a path-following hiking challenge, which crosses the whole country! The color blue stands for the iconic blue waymarker, which guides the rambler along the 1160 km long footpath. The Blue Trail was introduced in 1938, being the first such long distance walking path in Europe.  Although its route was a bit shorter back then, not much has changed in how it looks. Hungarian hikers started completing the route as early as WW2, and to make it a bit better known, Lokomotív Sport Club of Budapest announced the National walk on the "blue" hiking path in 1952. From the name Lokomotív, you might have already guessed that the hike has something to do with trains. The funding sport club was basically using trains to reach hiking areas in the country, which is visible is how the trail was marked. The Blue Trail has 27 smaller sections, ranging from 14 km to 73 km, whose starting points are easily accessible by train.

Up for a challenge?

Moreover, the trail also has 149 checkpoints, or stamping places. Although the trail can be completed for the sheer fun of it, most hikers get the official stamping book (which can be purchased from the Hungarian Rambling Association and from tourist info points), which serves as a proof of completing the challenge. The hikers validate their booklets at each checkpoint with a stamp, which they send to organizers when they finish the hike. If everything is well, they receive the Blue Trail pin, which is a great source of pride. There are also three bigger sections on the route of the Blue Trail which have their own badges. These can be obtained without completing the whole Trail; however, by completing the Trail one is also eligible for these.

Why should you do this?

1160 km seems like a lot, but you have to keep in mind that you don't have to do the whole trail in one go. Some sections can easily be completed with a day's leisurely walking, while others are perfect for a short weekend. In the meantime, you'll see parts of Hungary that not many tourists get to see - and not many locals either, as a matter of fact. And, let's be honest, how cool is that when you can say that you've walked across the whole country? So far, almost 6000 people completed the challenge, some of them did it more than once! If you get a few outdoorsy friends together, this is a perfect way to do something big and fun while you are in Hungary!

So, are you ready to take on the challenge? Contact us at studentguide.hu to get more info about the Blue Trail!

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