Swis Nature

Duna-Ipoly National Park

National park in the Danube Bend

The Duna-Ipoly National Park comprises the Pilis, the Visegrád and the Börzsöny Hills, the undisturbed sections of the Ipoly Valley and parts of the Szentendre Island.

The rock-bed of the Pilis Hills stretching from Esztergom to Budapest is limestone and dolomite and the majority of the National Park’s 200 caves can be found there, hosting rare bat species.

The volcanic Visegrád Hills and the hills of High-Börzsöny were split during the last ice age by the intersection of the river Danube.

The flora of the National Park is remarkably complex. It ranges from oak forests, hornbeam-oak woods, beech-groves through ravine woods to the flood-plain vegetation which follow the rivers. On the higher, cooler parts of the mountainsides Sessile Oak mixes with Hornbeam and they create the so called Hornbeam-Oak forests. Since the latter species grow shorter, it forms a thick second tree stratum, which gives shades. These darker parts of the forest have less developed shrub level, and in the herb layer only a few perennial species live, like the well-know Snowdrop. They spend the summer and the winter in the ground as bulbs.

The landscape of the river valleys is very different from the scenes of the Pilis and the Börzsöny. The narrow streams are accompanied by European Alder and, on lower lands, by fragile willows. The natural mountain grasslands have thin soil, without deep forests. On rocky ridges and southern, steep slopes are the rocky grasslands. At better soil conditions meadows develop.

The National Park provides safe home for many -more or less endangered- animal species. Insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals thrive in the protected areas of the hills, valleys and water habitats. Among the birds the imperial eagle, the falcon, the bee-eaterand woodpecker species brood in these protected areas.

One spectacular species of the insect fauna is the longhorn beetle, which also appears in the logo of the National Park. It is widely spread in older beech forests, but the reduction of old beech forest areas threatens its existence.

Our highly protected carnivorous mammal is the Lynx, which has almost completely disappeared from the area in the beginning of the 20th century. There have been only casual observations in the Börzsöny in the last ten years. It is an extremely careful carnivore, sensitive to the disturbing presence of human.