St Mary’s Tour – Section I

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In the Footsteps of Hermits and Royal Saints Section I

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Walking pilgrimage tour on Saint Mary’s Way

  •    Duration: 6 days (5 nights)
  •    Date: at any time for groups or individuals
  •    Route: Bakonybél – Zirc – Bodajk (Hungary)
  •    Distance: 62 km (~16 km/day)
  •    Difficulty: 2/5 (easy)
  •    Price: from € 280

In the Footsteps of Hermits and Royal Saints

We depart from the Saint Mauricius Monastery of the Bakonybél Benedictines on Mary’s Way towards Zirc. Following the journey of Saint Gerard of Csanád, who once was a hermit here, we arrive to the first Hungarian shrine, Bodajk. It was often visited even by Saint Stephen I, first king of Hungary and his son, Saint Emeric (Imre).

One can continue the pilgrimage on Mary’s Way in our Saint Mary’s Tours, Section II and III. In this case the final destination is Esztergom, the medieval Royal Centre of the Kingdom of Hungary. The town has been the archbishop’s residence of the Hungarian Christianity to the present day.

Click and scroll down for more information:

  • A walking pilgrimage across the beautiful and perfectly peaceful Bakony forest visiting monasteries, churches
  • Cistercian Abbey of Zirc
  • Hidden shrines of Mary: Bakonybél, Csatka, Bodajk
  • Székesfehérvár: the first capital of Hungary with the grave of Saint Stephen (first Hungarian king)
  • Tour guidance at 3 places:
    Bakonybél monastery, Zirc abbey, Székesfehérvár city
  • Pilgrim passport and certificate
  • …all this in a small group of fellow pilgrims

Day 1

  • Lunch: Three-course meal
  • Dinner: Three-course meal

Accommodation in Bakonybél:

  • Hotel Bakony***

A medium size hotel with an own park, next to the forest, and not far from the Benedictine Abbey.

Day 2

  • Buffet breakfast
  • Lunch: Packed lunch on the way
  • Dinner: Three-course meal (in the Restaurant of the Rézkakas Guesthouse)

Accommodation in Zirc:

  • Guesthouse Amberg (double rooms)
  • Guesthouse Rézkakas (single rooms)

Both accommodation are only some minutes walk from each other and the Cistercian Abbey. They are both small family run guesthouses, with all comfort and rural style.

Day 3

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch: Packed lunch on the way
  • Dinner: Two-course meal (at the guesthouse)

Accommodation in Csesznek:

  • Guesthouse Erzsébet

A family run comfortable guesthouse near the castle.

Day 4

  • Buffet breakfast
  • Lunch: Packed lunch on the way
  • Dinner: Three-course meal (in the restaurant of the Hotel Öreg Prés)

Accommodation in Mór:

  • Hotel Öreg Prés

A good quality medium size family run hotel, which consists of a new hotel wing and four old peasant houses, ideal to reveal the German tradition and architecture of the town.

Day 5

  • Buffet breakfast
  • Lunch: Packed lunch on the way
  • Dinner: Three-course meal (restaurant of the Károlyi Castle Hotel)

Accommodation in Fehérvárcsurgó:

  • Károlyi Castle Hotel

In the elegant and luxurious hotel developed in the castle the Károlyi Counts, you can become a part of the 19th Century Hungarian Aristocracy.

Day 6

  • Buffet breakfast
  • Lunch: Three-course meal (in Székesfehérvár)
  Basic package: €280 All inclusive package: €590
Accommodation Pensions and guest houses;
in double rooms (mainly) with bathroom
Good quality hotels and pensions;
in double rooms with bathroom
Single supplement €70 €100
Catering Modest breakfast + warm dinner Breakfast + warm or pre-packed lunch (depending on availabilty of a restaurant) + warm dinner
Guidance At 3 places: Bakonybél monastery, Zirc abbey, Székesfehérvár city At 3 places: Bakonybél monastery, Zirc abbey, Székesfehérvár city
Luggage shipment Yes Yes
Accompanying car Yes Yes
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.
Wine tasting in Mór wine region no yes
Admission fees no yes
Info pack & map no yes
Traveling to Bakonybél and traveling from Bodajk no transfer from Budapest airport
Insurance no no

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). In this case please contact us, and we will calculate you the best price possible.

Chapel in Bakonybél
Day 1 (Bakonybél)

We will be waiting our guests at the bus stop in Bakonybél or at the railway station in Zirc in the previously agreed times, and then take them to their accommodation, where they can have lunch.

Meeting is at 14.00 o’clock at the Saint Mauricius Monastery in Bakonybél established a thousand years ago, where Benedictine monastic life was revived in 1998. First, with the assistance of our tour guide, we familiarise ourselves with the thousand-year-long history of the small monastery hiding in the deep forests of the Bakony Mountains, and we can get an insight into its everyday life as well.

Following supper, we participate in the evening prayer (compline) of the Benedictine community. Eventually, we can finish the day at the nearby Pannon Observatory where, because of the excellent quality binoculars and extremely low light-pollution, the examination of the night sky provides a unique experience.

Latecomers may join the afternoon programs as they wish.

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Remeték 4
Day 2 (Bakonybél – Nagy-Som-hegy – Zirc)

Distance: 14 km | Elevation difference: +540 m, –360 m

Our pilgrimage begins! First we walk to the miraculously beautiful Borostyánkút (Amber well) next to the place where bishop Saint Gerard of Csanád led his solitary life around 1023. He retired from public life after finishing the education of prince Saint Emeric (Imre), the heir to the throne.

Later, we arrive to the feet of the highly protected Mount Nagy-Som, then leave towards the ancient Zirc where the centre of the Hungarian Cistercian Monastic Order can be found.

With the explanation of our tour guide we can get to know the monks’ new life ideal originating from the 11th century Benedictine community, while we can wander around the parts of the Zirc Cistercian Abbey open for visitors (Baroque abbey church, crypt, medieval ruins, historic library, arboretum).

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Remeték 5
Day 3 (Zirc – Ördög-árok – Bakonyoszlop)

Distance: 14 km | Elevation difference: +300 m, –440 m

This morning we go further North: first, we go in the spectacular valley of the Cuha stream and then, by going East, we get to the entrance of the Ördög-árok (Devil’s Gorge). Walking in the zigzag-winding gorge we approach the narrowest point of the 2 km long road (Gizella pass or Devil-dam), after which we descend approximately 4 or 5 metres on an iron ladder to the path below. The Devil’s Gorge is only recommended for experienced hikers. We advise another path for those, who would not like to hike through the Devil’s Gorge.

Our destination is Bakonyoszlop, from where we go to our accommodation by car, which is situated at the foot of the seven hundred years old Csesznek castle. After occupying the accommodation, we also “besiege” the now ruined castle, destroyed by lightning centuries ago.

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Remeték 6
Day 4 (Bakonyoszlop – Csatka – Nagyveleg)

Distance: 19 km | Elevation difference: +330 m, –380 m

We continue our pilgrimage from Bakonyoszlop on Mary’s Way. First, we go through Koromlapuszta, consisting of only a handful of houses, and arrive in Csatka and Szentkút (Holy Well, a famous place of pilgrimage). In recent years, Szentkút is visited by more and more Gypsy pilgrims around 8th September.

Gypsies coming here express not only their reverence for the Holy Mother, they also sell all kinds of things and look for husbands for their daughters while singing and dancing: music can be heard everywhere. We reach our accommodation by car situated in the nearby town of Mór famous for its wine. We can even try them after dinner in the course of a wine tasting.

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Day 5 (Nagyveleg – Gaja-szurdok – Bodajk)

Distance: 15 km | Elevation difference: +280 m, –320 m

This morning we go back to Nagyveleg by car. In the afternoon, we arrive at the spectacular Gaja-gorge where one of the most famous Hungarian outlaw, Jóska Sobri, allegedly found shelter together with his companions. Having gone over the last hill and passed the calvary, we arrive to the destination of our pilgrimage: Bodajk, the first Marian shrine of Hungary, where several miraculous healing occurred in the last centuries.

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Székesfehérvár, utca
Day 6 (Székesfehérvár)

After breakfast we travel to Székesfehérvár by car, where we  get to know the former coronation centre of the Hungarian kings with a tour guide (ruins of the coronation church, bishop’s palace, cathedral, ecclesiastic museum, Cistercian Church). We end our pilgrimage with a lunch and we probably recognize: actually, our life is a pilgrimage as well which is going on…

Our guests will be taken to the railway station according to their wish anytime during the day.

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I am a passionate hiker. I especially like the mountain, which we are going to cross in this pilgrimage: the Bakony mountain, special for its gorges. We will even pass one of them, where I last was with my dog, which had to be carried down on the ladders – unable to continue its way otherwise.

Beside these gorges and valleys, my favourite is the Cistercian Abbey of Zirc, with picturesque wall painting; an old “cartoon” of the Cistercian Order’s story.

It is also a very special countryside for me: I spent my honeymoon in Bakonybél and Zirc with my wife, two settlements, what you must see as well.

Let me invite you and guide you all along the way!

See you in Bakonybél!

Attila Hernády

Mary's Way Association

Our professional partner:

The Mary’s Way Association

“Central Europe’s Pilgrim Way”

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