Take a pleasant hike to one of Bakony’s hidden treasures, explore space from an observatory, then finish the day with a romantic stroll around one of the country’s oldest abbeys. Even in the cold, Bakony still has an abundance of activities that can fill a whole day, or even a long weekend.
“Was that really a herd of deer?” When someone asked this question, we still didn't know how we ended up in the middle of nowhere by following the sign for the study trail and not for the road to the activity course in the forest of Eplény. So how do you end up in virgin forest, home to families of deer?
Let’s start at the beginning. The lookout tower here can be reached from the village of Eplény through the study trail, and not just from the ski center. Standing opposite the hill, it’s important that you turn left at the Margit grocery store, towards the signposted study trail. There’s also a sign at the end of Gyöngyvirág utca, to the right, but thereafter, signage becomes confusing.
It might be an interesting route for those who wish to find themselves in the fantasy world of David Lynch – the sizzling high voltage wires in the middle of the dreary winter forest make it feel like an episode of Twin Peaks.
The road to the lookout tower is much easier if you follow the right path and, besides the view of nearby skiers and the hills of Bakony, you might even catch a glimpse of Balaton’s eastern edge.
Pannon Observatory aims to provide entertainment for those who wander around the Balaton Uplands and Bakony when the weather is not so stellar. The observatory, mainly recommended for families, is worth a few hours of your time, and with all the information available, it’s best to ask for a guided tour.
Visitors can not only touch meteorites from space and a life-sized Mars rover, but can also learn a lot about modern-day missions to Mars and the discoveries of Galileo. Under the starry sky of the screening room, everyone can marvel at the universe.
If you wish to forget about urban life, then spend half a day around Hubertlak, also called Bakonyi Gyilkos Lake because of its similarity to Gyilkos Lake in present-day Romania. Here, it is about 3 kilometers from the resting spot of Odvaskő on the road between Bakonybél and Pápa, hidden deep in the forest. Though its name translates as ‘Killer Lake’, it is perfect for serene contemplation. If you still have time and energy left, the cave at Ordaskő is worth the climb, as is eerie Borostyánkő chapel in Bakonybél.
With spring in the air, a trip to Bakony wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the most important town in the area. Romantic Zirc arboretum reopens over the long weekend of March 15th – from then on, the first visitors can enjoy the lush greenery around Cuha-patak in its glory. It is hoped that the abbey brewery will also be open for visitors in March: remodeled in 2015, here they brew five different varieties.
Within the building is a beautiful library with a unique collection of early books. Church and library can only be visited a part of a guided tour, something to bear in mind if you’re here for the weekend.