Our walking pilgrimage starts from Tata, the Town of Waters, and going through the quiet Gerecse Hills, we pass by small villages, natural wonders. Finally, we arrive in Esztergom, the medieval centre of the Kingdom of Hungary, which has been the archbishop’s residence of the Hungarian Christianity to the present day. The top attraction of our journey may be a boat trip on the Danube river: nothing is more impressive than arriving on a boat to the wonderful Budapest, Pearl of the Danube, bathing in evening lights.
Accommodation in Tata:
This luxurious hotel is one of the oldest in Hungary dating back to 1770. The hotel has a unique, 240 m2 wellness centre with a jacuzzi, swimming-pool and several saunas.
Accommodation in Tardos:
A small, modest, but comfortable pension in the centre of the village, with a very good restaurant.
Accommodation in Péliföldszentkereszt:
A very modest, but clean guesthouse, at the Marian Shrine. All the rooms are with bathroom – just like on every other places, only the furnishing and the style of the room can look a bit outdated.
Accommodation in Tát:
A small and tidy hotel, on the bank of the river Danube.
Accommodation in Esztergom:
It is really a nice, first class hotel with wellness facilities (Jacuzzi, saunas), just few steps from the Esztergom Basilica.
|Basic package: €290||All inclusive package: €690|
|Accommodation||Pensions and guest houses;
in double rooms (mainly) with bathroom
|Good quality hotels and pensions;
in double rooms with bathroom
|Catering||Modest breakfast + warm dinner||Breakfast + warm or pre-packed lunch (depending on availabilty of a restaurant) + warm dinner|
|Guidance||At 2 places: Tata, Esztergom||At 2 places: Tata, Esztergom|
|Accompanying person||Pilgrim host, who drives the accompanying car, gives all the necessary information and arranges everything, but doesn’t walk with you.
Spoken languages: Hungarian and English, German, French or Italian.
|Pilgrim host (see basic package)
+ hike leader, who walks with the group leading all day.
Spoken languages: Hungarian and English, German, French or Italian.
|Boat trip on the Danube (Esztergom – Budapest)||no||yes|
|Info pack & map||no||yes|
|Traveling to Tata and traveling from Esztergom||no||transfer from Budapest airport|
The prices apply for a group of at least 10 persons.
Of course you can also mix the two packages (e.g.: you want the basic package, but with a transfer from the airport and the boat trip). In this case please contact us, and we will calculate you the best price possible.
We will be waiting our guests at the railway station in Tata in the previously agreed times, and then take them to their accommodation, where they can have lunch.
After lunch, we can get to know the historic monuments of Tata: the castle, built at the end of the 14th century and taken back by the Habsburg troops from the Turkish by using a petard in 1597. Then we have a walk in the city decorated with Baroque beads and built on the shore of a lake (Eszterházy-Castle (from outside), Parish Church, Calvary, Water Mill, English Park, Belfry, Capuchin Church).
Distance: 12,5 km | Elevation difference: +500 m, –350 m
This day is an exception on our pilgrimage: on today’s journey we don’t follow St Mary’s Way but that of St. James, leading to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The way passes by our accommodation and leads us back to Mary’s Way.
We leave Tata going over the beautiful English Landscape Garden, and passing vineyards we soon get into the forest. We will have to overcome significant elevation differences by climbing up to the Slovak village Tardos, where our accommodation lies. Here, we can not only visit the Country House displaying the old lifestyle of Slovaks, but also the Radio Museum, which houses almost 150 still working radios from the last 100 years.
Distance: 15 km | Elevation difference: +520 m, –630 m
We have to overcome significant level differences again by climbing up almost to the highest point of the Gerecse. For all our hard work we are compensated by the unspoiled nature and tranquillity.
After covering the first long section of the road, we arrive at the venue of our great but undeservedly forgotten historical tragedy, Pusztamarót. After the Turkish troops occupied the centre of the country, Buda, in 1541, an army with significant numbers entrenched itself here, recruited from local people.
However, the Ottoman Empire’s army outnumbered the local resistance: at least 20-25 thousand Hungarians died in the fights and the Turks captured many more. After visiting the Pusztamarót memorial we arrive in Péliföldszentkereszt at the end of the day, where the guest house of the Salesian religious order provides simple refreshment to our bodies and souls, tired from walking all day.
Distance: 16 km | Elevation difference: +720 m, –760 m
Péliföldszentkereszt, which once accommodated Templars, hermits, and Nazarene monks, became a well-known place of pilgrimage when a little boy who had been lame since his birth was cured.
Five years later it was declared an official place of pilgrimage and Pope Benedict XIV accepted a piece of the Holy cross from here as an authentic relic. Today, the Salesians of Don Bosco operate the shrine and welcome the guests and pilgrims wishing to relax.
During our trip the biggest challenge will be to overcome a steep 300 m high slope. After reaching the top of the hill of Nagy Gete, we go past the village of Csolnok. Here we can commemorate those political prisoners who had been sentenced to work in mines at the beginning of the 1950s and were kept as prisoners in the labour camps situated next to the village.
Descending from here we go towards Dorog, which is famous for its coal mining, however our accommodation is situated a little further from the pilgrimage route on the bank of the Danube, to where we get by car.
Distance: 10 km | Elevation difference: minimal
Finally, we arrive at the final destination of our pilgrimage, Esztergom. The approaching sight of the Esztergom Basilica accompanies us almost all the way during our trip this day. Beginning from Dorog, we will be going on flat terrains until the end of our way in Esztergom, which is situated on the bank of the Danube. Esztergom’s heart is the former Royal Castle, which is towering over the Danube, and the Esztergom Basilica, built on the place of a medieval cathedral. During the evening farewell dinner we celebrate the end of our pilgrimage, the memorial certificates are handed out to the pilgrims, and we are also part of a small surprise.
On the last day, we will visit the most famous sights of Esztergom: the Esztergom Basilica, built on the place of the Saint Adalbert Cathedral, where we can recall the image of King St Stephen, his son Saint Saint Emeric (Imre), the mother and wife Blessed Gisela, and the educator St Gerard of Csanád.
On request, we can also participate in a Catholic mass (in Hungarian). Then we visit the Esztergom Castle Museum standing beside the Basilica. By walking in the eight hundred year old building, we can become familiar with the troubled history of the Royal Castle and formation of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, thanks to the assistance of the tour guide. After visiting the museum, a sightseeing tour in the city follows and then you can travel back on a ship to the magical Budapest, which will be bathing in its evening splendour. And perhaps, at the end of our road, we succeed in recognizing that our whole life is a wonderful pilgrimage…
I will be your leader in the third section of our pilgrimage on Mary’s Way, In the Footsteps of Hermits and Saint Kings.
Though now living in Southern Hungary, I was born in a small town near Budapest, about an hour in bicycle from Esztergom, the goal of our walking pilgrimage. Thus, I will lead you to my home region where I walked and cycled much about two decades ago.
The city of Esztergom has been the heart of the Hungarian Catholic Church since its foundation of ca. 1000 AD. It is therefore that is hosts the biggest cathedral of Central Europe sitting on a hill magnificently above the Danube river.
I am looking forward to lead you through the Gerecse Mountains to Esztergom and then to navigate on the Danube to Budapest.
See you in Tata!
The Mary’s Way Association
“Central Europe’s Pilgrim Way”