Szalajka Valley near Szilvásvárad is not only one of the most popular hiking places in the Bükk-mountains, but also in the whole country. Its popularity is primarily owing to its uniquely beautiful natural environment, good accessibility, excellent infrastructure, reliable railways, child and family-friendly activities and countless dining and shopping opportunities. One day is not even enough for exploring the entire area. Therefore, I suggest you take some leave and enjoy a long weekend here in the North Hungarian Mountains' forest wonderland, Szalajka Valley.
One of the main attractions nearby is the country's most popular railway in Szilvásvárad, especially for children. In the 1930s, the forest railroad was mainly used for the transportation of wood and limestone. Back then, it was stretching on almost 30 kilometers. Nowadays, it counts as a widely-known family program primarily for the little ones, but it can be entertaining for adults as well. It starts at Fatelep station right at the entrance to the Szalajka Valley. The current length of the line is nearly 5 km, and the final station where you have to get off is called Gloriette clearing.
The trout is native to the area around Szilvásvárad. Due to the rapid reproduction of fish, the bed of the neighborhood's biggest fish pond was deepened several times. In the valley, there are countless further smaller and larger lakes, where beyond trouts, numerous other types of fish live. Not surprisingly, the main offer at local restaurants are all fish meals. Among others, I recommend you to try Pisztráng buffet, where you can taste a variety of trout and other classic snacks on a covered terrace. At weekends though, you might need to wait a little longer for freshly baked bites, so try to order on time!
Szikla spring is one of the largest springs in the Bükk Mountains. It is a rare and beautiful natural phenomenon, where the crystal clear water comes to the surface through a cave. According to many, the spring is the most significant geological treasure in the Szalajka Valley, that is located near to the Fátyol waterfall.
The most beautiful, and my personal favourite place in Szalajka Valley, is the 17-meter-high Fátyol waterfall, which is a unique natural phenomenon in Hungary. It holds a tremendous conservation value, which makes it a true treasure for locals and many others. Fátyol waterfall is a short walk from the end of the mentioned forest railroad in the Gloriette clearing, or a light hiking tour from the large parking lot at the junction of Szilvásvárad and the forest.
The richest prehistorical finds in the Bükk Mountains were discovered in the Istállós-kő cave. Ancient deer and cave bear bones, stone and bone tools, along with other objects that had been used by the prehistoric man were found here. Nowadays, the empty cave leads along with Szalajka spring and a serpentine-type hiking trail, which is not actually an easy hike, but can be a special experience for adventurers. The cave is a triangular cross-section with a 45-meter depth and a 10-meter width.
To sum it up, Szalajka Valley counts as a unique natural and touristic gem in Hungary. This forest wonderland in the North Hungarian Mountains is situated 150 kilometers far from Budapest, so it takes about two hours to reach the valley by car. Of course, you can choose public transports as well. The point is that Szilvásvárad and Szalajka Valley are worthy destinations. As I mentioned above, one day is not enough, so if you are having a longer vacation, I recommend you to explore absolutely everything nearby!
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