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Nyelv kiválasztása: Magyar

Let’s climb and clamber – 15+1 great hiking trails at Lake Balaton

Balaton Active - Articles

Monday, June 5, 2017 — Luca Michaletzky

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

It’s all so simple: you just have to take the first step. In the past few months, we laced up our hiking boots on countless occasions and visited many spots around Lake Balaton that we would be happy to visit again any given time. Sometimes we were greeted by wilderness, and sometimes nature turned its tamer face towards us; we were amazed by animals and unique geological formations, and we even found mysterious lakes and marshlands.

We gathered together all these experiences here, and thanks to the contribution of Turista Magazin (“Tourist Magazine”), you can learn more about the quality of the trails, the difficulty of the tour, and a bit more about the view you’ll get in return.

The mysterious – Gulács 

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Wild, tangled, untouched nature – located in the Badacsony region, Gulács is for those who would like to believe that it’s still possible to get lost, even in these modern times. Although it doesn’t reach beyond the clouds, it still has plenty of exciting things to discover so it’s a must-have destination for adventurous hikers.

  • Length: 3 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 220 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? If crawling isn’t a problem, then go for it!
  • Food and drinks: Take some with you! Those who arrive by car can reach Gyulakeszi Car Rest Stop in about 8 minutes after the tour – the place is famous for its toast and tasty burgers.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: **** 
  • View: **** 
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *** 
  • Notes: Due to the truly untouched-neglected trail, it isn’t suitable for strolls.

The paraglider paradise of Balaton – Csobánc 

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

It’s really impossible to get lost if you’re approaching the hill of Csobánc from the nearby village, Gyulakeszi, since the route is thoroughly marked. However, due to the little woodland (and many vineyards) we can see where we’re going all along. Up on the hill we can see the remains of Csobánc castle, which was built in the 13th century; here we can stop to rest and marvel at the wonderful view of the Balaton Uplands. Don’t be surprised if you’ll be greeted by some paragliders and a strong wind once you reach the peak. 

  • Length: 2.7 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 215 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? For tough kids, sure!
  • Food and drinks: Villa Tolnay Winery at the foot of the hill surely has something to drink.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: ****
  • View: *****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****
  • Notes: The trail is a little steep, but it’s well built.

A place of surprises – Tóti-hegy

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Tóti-hegy (Tóti Hill) surprises its hikers with an exciting quarry, abandoned press houses, and an incredible 360-degree panorama. It’s a pleasant, slightly sloping walk, but if we also want to check out the main prize, which is the view, we have to climb up on a much steeper slope

  • Length: 1.7 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 130 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? The beginning of the trail is pleasant even with toddlers, but the end is a lot tougher.
  • Food and drinks: Eat and drink at Istvándy Winery.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: ***
  • View: *****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: ****

The unusual butte – Hegyestű 

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén - We Love Balaton

Hegyestű

8273 Monoszló, Geológiai Bemutatóhely
Hegyestű on facebook
Details

Although it doesn’t really look like they usually do, Hegyestű is still a butte. It’s original shape was taken away through the mining of basalt, but this way at least we can see what’s hidden inside, and if we walk up to its top, we can learn its history at the Hegyestű Geological Site. There’re other trails in the area at Monoszló, Balatonhenye, Tagyon, and Szentantalfa. Some of these trips can be made by car, sometimes the trails go past press houses, while other times they lead among trees.

  • Length: Exactly 5 kilometers if you start from Szentantalfa (with an elevation gain of 130 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Absolutely, but make sure to keep the children safe from cars along the roads.
  • Food and drinks: The trail leads through several villages, so there’re plenty of restaurants and/or wineries to stop at.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: **
  • View: ****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****

A view of the east basin – Csákány-hegyi lookout tower

Photo: Csongor Kiripolszky – We Love Balaton

Endrődi Sándor Lookout Tower

8229 Csopak, Csákányhegyi utca 8.
Endrődi Sándor Lookout Tower on facebook
Details

The 12 meters high lookout tower on the top of Csákány-hegy (Csákány Hill) in Csopak was handed over to the public in 2015; you can see the entire south basin of Balaton from here. To add a hike to this view, we just have to follow the trail of the blue sign that leads through Nosztori-völgy (Nosztori Valley), but be aware that there are some steep parts on the path.

  • Length: 1.3 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 160 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Yes, if your kids are a bit older and like to hike.
  • Food and drinks: There’re many places to have something to eat at, like MÁRGA Bistro or CODE ZERO down the beach.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin 
  • Difficulty: ****
  • View: ****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: ****

Chill in an ice cave – Szent György-hegy

Photo: Alexandra Heim – We Love Balaton

Szent György Hill Basalt Organs Study Trail

8300 Raposka, elágazótól balra
Details

The 30-40 meters tall basalt organs, the icy cave of a dragon, ferns, and flocks of butterflies await hikers at the study trail of Szent György-hegy (Szent György Hill). We can picnic at hidden, shaded little nooks, drink from the soft water of the lion-head fountain, admire the view from the peak, see the catholic and orthodox chapels – should we list more things? Let’s go to Szent György Hill!

  • Length: 5 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 260 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Yes, but it’s good to have a strong helping hand to aid the children while skidding down the hill, while passing the basalt organs, or when they’re playing around on the giant, moving rocks above the ice cave.
  • Food and drinks: We can choose from among Gilvesy, Nyári, Bencze, and Szászi wineries, and many others; or just try all of them after the hiking.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: ***
  • View: ****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****

The eternal classic – Kisfaludy Observation Tower

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén - We Love Budapest

Kisfaludy Observation Tower

Details

Badacsony is the iconic hill of Lake Balaton, so we obviously can’t leave the Kisfaludy Observation Tower out of this list, especially since it’s not only located on this emblematic hill, but it’s also the tallest of its kind in the Balaton-region: we are talking about a 18 meters high building which was built on an elevation of 437 meters. The view from the top is simply magical: besides Lake Balaton, all the hills are clearly in sight. We can get acquainted with all of the other buttes from here, making it easy to pick our next hiking trail in advance.

  • Length: 3.2 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 315 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Maybe the entire trail would be too long for kids, but you can take a part of the tour by car.
  • Food and drinks: We can get the wines of local wineries at Pláne Badacsony Wine Terrace, while Borbarátok Restaurant will surely provide the necessary calories for the trip.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: ****
  • View: *****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****
  • Notes: a true woodland trail, but the built road is wide and steps at multiple spots help to conquer the elevation.

The mystic one – Fekete-hegy

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Eötvös Lookout Tower

8281 Szentbékkála, Fekete-hegy
Eötvös Lookout Tower on facebook
Details

If you’re starting your journey from the village of Szentbékkálla, head towards Eötvös Lookout Tower first: the trail is surrounded by press houses and springs of clear water, while from the top we can see the entire Káli Basin. If there’s still a desire to go on an adventure, let’s go to the mountain lakes, then the Vaskapu-árok. Bring some snacks and one of the rocks on the famous stone field will be perfect to have a picnic on, but don’t worry if you come unprepared – Köveskál, the village full of nice restaurants is only a few minutes away.

  • Length: 2.5 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 185 meters) + 4.5 kilometers to Köveskál 
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? An easy trail, but the more exciting! Definitely bring the kids, too.
  • Food and drinks: Pegazus in Szentbékkálla is great, but there’re places where we can eat our own food and drinks. With a bit more walking we can easily reach Köveskál, and there’re plenty of spots to choose from there.

    Ratings by Turista Magazin

  • Difficulty: ***
  • View: ****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****

In search of million-years-old thermal springs – Tihany Geyser Fields

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Lóczy Study Trail

8237 Tihany-Sajkod, Apáti templomrom
Details

What comes to mind when talking about Tihany is more likely to be the abbey, the ferry, the market, or lavender – but not excursions. However, there’re plenty of trails here towards the wonderful world of Lake Belső. Let’s walk around the lake first and get acquainted with the flora and fauna, then start the Lóczy Study Trail; one of the most beautiful spots there is the Aranyház-gejzíkúp (a geyser cone). This special geological formation was shaped by the thermal springs that surfaced here millions of years ago – and there’re many others in the area.

  • Length: a roundtrip of 11 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 160 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Yes.
  • Food and drinks: After getting back to Tihany, there’re a thousand places to choose from.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: **
  • View: ****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****

A hidden destination – Kopasz-hegy

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Kopasz Hill

8282 Mindszentkálla, Kopasz-hegy
Details

This is a less-known destination of the Káli Basin. The hike starts at the basalt steps that will make us sweat (reach these from the direction of Rákóczi Street in Mindszentkálla); local saying has it that there’re as many steps here as many days there are in a year. Follow these up to the top of the hill, from where there’s a great view of the landscape and the nearby hills – and a chance to rest. Be careful with the steps on the way down as some of them are mossy and slippery.  

  • Length: 0.7 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 120 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Great for ever-moving children, just be careful on the steps on the way down.
  • Food and drinks: The area’s ruin-pub, Káli-Kapocs is right there in Mindszentkálla, but we can also taste some goods at the “goat cheese queen’s” farm in Bácshegy – just make an appointment in advance.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: *****
  • View: ***
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: ***
  • Notes: the steps will make you sweat!

The vertiginous – observation tower tour in Balatongyörök

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Balatongyörök Szépkilátó

8313 Balatongyörök, 71-es út mellett
Balatongyörök Szépkilátó on facebook
Details

Although Szépkilátó is just a clearing with a high elevation instead of being a typical observation tower, its view of Lake Balaton is simply wonderful. We can even sit down and have a picnic up here, and then freshen up in the ice-cold water of Római Spring. Then we can continue our journey to the nearby Batsányi Observation Tower (here we can stock up on food), then we can go along the Dad Pele study trail. It’s best to take this lookout tower tour stretched over an entire weekend.  

  • Length: just the study trail is 8.5 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 220 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Yes, and the Dad Pele Trail was especially designed for children.
  • Food and drinks: A bunch of retro buffets await us at the Batsányi Observation Tower.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: ***
  • View: *****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****
  • Notes: it’s not a hard tour; the amount of endurance we need depends on the length of the tour.

The bird paradise – Töreki Lakes

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Töreki Lakes Study Trail

8600 Siófok, Töreki utca
Töreki Lakes Study Trail on facebook
Details

The Töreki Lakes Study Trail is near Siófok – this beautiful nature reserve ribbons among and next to the artificial lakes that were formed in the valley of Cinege Creek. Besides the special flora, this land also has a rich fauna, especially when it comes to birds. We can spot harriers and bee-eaters, and, for the great pleasure of geologists, countless rocks and minerals – the signs along the road give us more information on these.  

  • Length: 9 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 40 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Absolutely! There’re many resting areas, and even a playground on the trail.
  • Food and drinks: Take some with you since there’re open-air fire pits.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: *
  • View: **
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: ****

The place to fish – Kányavári Island

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

2HA Vineyard and Wine Cellar

8284 Kisapáti, Szent György-hegy
2HA Vineyard and Wine Cellar on facebook
Details

This is one of the easiest tours. There’s a sign along the road from Balatonmagyaród to Sármellék, indicating the detour to Kányavári Island. After studying the avifauna and exploring the fishing spots and open-air fire pits of the Great Crested Grebe Study Trail, we can head to the Kányavári Island Great Lookout – there’s a gorgeous view of Hídvégi Lake and Kis-Balaton from there. It’s definitely worth a few hours of one’s time.  

  • Length: 1.6 kilometers
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Yes, there’s even a small lookout tower, a sort of a tree house for children.
  • Food and drinks: Take some with you as there’re spots where you can eat it.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: *
  • View: ****
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****

Pilgrimage to the Stupa of Zalaszántó

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Stupa

8353 Zalaszántó, Világosvár
Stupa on facebook
Details

There’s a sanctuary as white as snow near Zalaszántó: it’s a Buddhist stupa. The special place can be reached from the center of the village on a road surrounded by small press houses and the hills of Zala. There’s a park decorated with prayer flags around the shrine, while inside there’s even a relic of Buddha. We can participate in the open meditation if we visit in the morning on weekends.  

  • Length: 3 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 130 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Parts of the tour can be completed with children; however, around the stupa it’s better to have peace and silence. If it’s not possible, look at the building from a bit further away.
  • Food and drinks: Take some with you.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: ***
  • View: ***
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: *****  

Story time – Nagyberek

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén - We Love Balaton

We can discover the mysterious marshland of Nagyberek near Balatonfenyves on the south shore – and we can do it either with our hiking boots on or in canoe. Wandering on wonderful waterways we can see little egrets, great egrets, bitterns, lilies, and yellow nuphars that will make us feel like we are in a storybook.  

  • Length: We can choose from tours of various types and lengths 
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? Yes.
  • Food and drinks: Take some with you.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: Depends on the type and length of the tour.
  • View: Depends on the type and length of the tour.
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: Depends on the type and length of the tour.

+1: The dark side of Badacsony

Photo: Tamás Kőrösi - We Love Balaton

Istvándy Wine Workshop

8261 Badacsonytomaj, Római út 155.
Istvándy Wine Workshop on facebook
Details

Bazalt Körút, or Basalt Round , debuted on April 15, 2017 and it shows a different side of Badacsony, one that’s probably new to most people. 65 years ago there was an internment camp on the hill, and Gergely Istvándy, the mastermind behind the trail wanted to show this to people. The 14 stops of the path include one at the basalt quarry of Tomaj, a place that demanded sweat and blood; the Klastrom Well; and Europe’s first basalt church. We can contemplate on all the things we saw with a glass of fröccs and the beautiful Balaton view at the end of the tour.  

  • Length: 10 kilometers (with an elevation gain of 180 meters)
  • Is it a kid friendly trail? With older children, yes.
  • Food and drinks: Take some with you for it’s a long trail, but you’ll get some snacks for the journey at the Borműhely.  

    Ratings by Turista Magazin
  • Difficulty: ***
  • View: ***
  • Trail quality/infrastructure: ****
  • Notes: Due to its length, one has to have endurance.

Translated by Emma Póli

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