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Duna-Ipoly National Park

Into the Caves of the Danube

  • Location: Esztergom, Hungary
  • Size: 60,314 hectares
  • Established: 1997

At dusk a bat comes flying out of a dark cave deep within the impressive Pilis Hills, while the crickets prepare for their daily symphony. Within moments, many more bats from the hundreds of caves in the national park dance to the sky and head toward the grasslands and shores of the Danube, to dine on mosquito and waterfly.

The Danube-Ipoly National Park was the ninth national park founded in Hungary, and is perhaps the most diversified of all of them. Situated between the Danube and the Ipoly Rivers, it keeps the Pilis-Visegrád Hills, Börzsöny, Ipoly Valley and the Danubian part of the Great Plain in one unit and is committed to preserving the natural values of the highland woods and river habitats.

The national park includes several impressive hills, such as the Csóványos (938 m), the Nagy-Hideg Hill (864 m), the Pilis Peak (756 m) and the Dobogó-ký (699 m). The rock-bed of the Pilis Hills stretching from Esztergom to Budapest is made up of limestone and dolomite. Because of the basic characteristics of the rock formation, the hills are exceptionally rich in caves. Most of the 334 caves of the national park can be found in the Pilis Hills. Other areas of importance include the Pilis Biosphere Reserve, the Ipoly Valley Ramsarian Area, the Pilis Hill-side Forest Reserve, the Preacher’s Podium Forest Reserve and the Pogány-Rózsási Forest Reserve.

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