Pilismarót bay and free beach
Pilismarót bay is located on the right side of Danube between 1704,8 and 1706,7 stream kilometres. Its distance from Budapest on water is 55 km and 16 km from Esztergom. Due to river gravel mining it has become an artificial bay, where mining was started by dredge ships in the 60s. The bay is 1900 metres long and 370 metres wide on average. It has been being dredged continuously so its size has doubled recently. Its entrance from the Danube is approximately 300 metres wide. It represents a unique place within the Hungarian section of the Danube because the other bays cannot be compared to it either in size or in nature. Its water is much cleaner than that of the Danube, the water depth is 4 metres on average, but there are 8-10-metre-deep hollows. It is also a winter port capable of storing boats. In case of an emergency, it can function as a shelter. It is a destination for weekend trips and has become more and more popular in recent years. During dredging the upper part of the bay is closed with buoys signifying that entrance is not allowed. In this case, shipping is only allowed on the lower part of the bay. Waterskiing, jet skiing and other water sports are officially prohibited. On the bank one can often meet anglers due to the bay’s still water and fish stock. However, anglers do not like water sports enthusiasts who break the rules. The free beach of Marót can be found a couple of hundred metres from the entrance of Pilismarót bay. Due to the favourable embankment it was a popular swimming and camping site already in the 80s. Nevertheless, the beach has suffered siltation recently and so its attendance has declined. This place is a must for people longing for a fried dough, bratwurst or a nice cold draft beer.
Helemba island and its surroundings
Helemba island is located opposite Helemba, at the 1712 stream km and belongs to Esztergom. Its length is about 1,5 km, its breadth is between 100-200 metres. It is a silvicultural island which was the orchard of the archbishop of Esztergom in the 13th century. About 3 km above Helemba island Garam flows into the Danube which has created sandbank islands with its sediment. The biggest one of these is Helemba island. Due to the island’s features it only gets underwater if the water level in Esztergom reaches 6 metres.Large numbers of herons nest here because this is the only heron colony in the Danube bend.
Sandbank – “Bald Island”
The island created by the sediments of Garam, which is the most popular among sailors, is the sandbank situated in the middle of Danube. It is located about 1 km from Helemba island, to the south. It is a popular weekend place for boaters, water skiers and boatmen. It can only be discovered at low water level in Esztergom and Budapest. In the 90s when the water level was low enough, people could walk over to Szobi island, which was opposite the town of Szob and which was swept away by the Danube’s current. According to the Shipping Regulations it is impossible to do water sports in border waters. However, it is possible to do water sports (jet skiing, waterskiing) on the right bank of the Danube between the sandbank and Helemba island where the international waterway is not obstructed. If someone does not want to go further away from Esztergom, then one can do the same activities in the 1,5-2 km long area between the Maria Valeria bridge and the paper factory in Párkány along the left bank, for the Slovakian authority does not prohibit them. This area is designated for water sports by the National Transport Authority.
The archipelago that consists of five islands and is located between Esztergom and Tát is called so. Actually, it consists of three big and two small islands. Around 1960 an artificial dam was built at the border of Tát in order to direct the water into Danube. Earlier the water flowed through unhindered from the main branch of the river, but the levees stopped the free water flow. The flow is provided by two or three slightly clogged 60 cm diameter pipe. As a consequence, the pace of the siltation of the Táti branch was faster than normal. The sediments of a number of brooks have also contributed to this process. The archipelago is home for numerous rare and protected plant and animal species. Perhaps the most interesting island is Körtvélyesi island on which there is a hayfield. This place is also called mosquito island because it provides home for mosquito larvae and unbearable amounts of bloodsuckers. More than three forth of the islands belong to Danube-Ipoly National Park. It is a calm, quiet place and is loved by anglers. However, due to its still water it is not appropriate for swimming. During high tide, shipping here can provide a unique experience while looking at the intact archipelago. The sunset is worth watching from the point of the island.