Our first stop in the Mátra Mountains was the pretty resort town of Mátrafüred. It was very quiet, the air was fresh and fragrant on a hot summer day.
We took a walk through the sleepy little town. Beautiful country houses and gardens, shaded wide streets, beautiful flowerbeds on the sides of the main street, a pretty park leading into the natural forest with trails to nearby villages, a wooden bridge across a small creek, a young woman selling cherries and fruit of the forest... We loved Mátrafüred!
A small distance up Route 24 from Mátrafüred we arrived in Sástó, a small lake and camping site occupied by Hungarian vacationers. We enjoyed an easy walk around the lake; on the way we saw children in a pedal-boat, a fisherman dressed in local costume, ducks happily sailing in the lake, and more...
It makes a nice stop when travelling on Route 24.
Hungary's highest mountain, Mt. Kékestetö, is only 1015 m high, but we thoroughly enjoyed the drive up a winding road to the top, the sweeping views from the TV tower at the top and a walk in the forest.
The observation deck on the TV tower is accessible by elevator, and offers great views all around. There are well-marked hiking trails through the forest on the mountain slopes (different trails are marked in red, blue and yellow); if you follow the trails to the end you can reach the villages below. There is a cafe on the mountain top, located in a wooden hut opposite the tower, which is a nice scenic place to rest after a hike.
In winter Mt. Kékesteto serves as a ski resort, and there is a hotel right at the mountain top, built a little bit like a medieval fortress-tower. There is a beginner's ski slope leading to Mátraháza, and another slope for more advanced skies. Both have ski lifts.
This restaurant and wine cellar was recommended to us by the tourist information office in Gyöngyös, and we were very grateful to them for this recommendation!
From the main road (Route 24) we took a side road to the village of Farkasmály, only a short distance away. Regélõ house and wine cellar was built in 1834, a typical rural house in a wooded area with a creek nearby. There are tables and benches outside, but we preferred to sit inside the house and feel the atmosphere. Further inside we visited the well known wine cellar, which also served as shelter for 7800 residents of Gyöngyös during the 2nd World War.
The menu is written in Hungarian with German and English translation, and it was difficult to choose among all the tasty items. The food was exquisite, and the service by the owner of this family-run restaurant was very friendly.