Take a look at these gorgeous photos, and you’ll see why it’s worth leaving the busyness of Siófok behind, and visiting the greenest part of town. Stroll among the beautiful lakes, get lost in the tunnel of rich vegetation, and learn about the wonderfully diverse wildlife of the valley of Töreki.
Töreki would be an absolutely ideal setting for a scary horror film: as Csongor and Zalán, the heroic Hungarian travelers venture deep into the mysterious jungle, we can see the tunnel-like green trail in front of them, and feel the suffocating, humid tropical air and the bites of the mosquitos. All of a sudden, Zalán stumbles into a trap, and in an instant he’s descended upon by aborigines, who drag him away to sacrifice him to the monster of the lakes of Töreki.
Reality, of course, is a lot less serious, but Töreki looks very much like a rainforest: the heavy rains have turned it into a kind of green hell, a wild landscape with a romantic study trail.
If you’re trying to reach this hidden corner of the South Balaton region by car, it’s best to exit the M7 at the eastern junction of Zamárdi or toward the center of Siófok. Go down main road 7 in the direction of Széplak until you see the Töreki sign and the gas station at the intersection. You can also try public transport: you can take bus 7 from the Siófok bus terminal, which will take you through several railway stops all the way to Töreki alsó.
You’re finally here, but why is that a big deal? If you love the idea that within the same town you can immerse yourself in the bustle of the crowds (Petőfi Promenade) and enjoy the peace and closeness of nature, you’ll no doubt be a fan of the nature reserve in the valley of Cinege Brook.
Just imagine: herons soaring in the sky, tree frogs jumping under your feet, spider web sticking in your face, and all you can hear is birds chirping and frogs croaking.
We learned from a sign on the shore that fishing is no longer permitted; the makeshift piers are abandoned, and not even the whirring sound of fishing lines disturbs the landscapes’ soothing tranquility. If you can hear anything, it’s probably traffic rushing by on motorway M7.
Coming here is also an educational experience because the Töreki trail is part of an extensive network of study trails built by the Balaton Uplands National Park. The trail starts at the beginning of Töreki Road where you’ll also find a pebbly parking lot to park your car.
After you cross the road, you can begin to fight your way through the bushes. The situation is not always grim: it was apparent during our recent visit that the path had been cleared, and the grass in the fields had been cut. However, talking to a couple of the local residents, we found out that this was not the case earlier this spring; the surroundings of the bird observation tower, for example, were particularly abandoned.
The study trail itself mostly runs a bit further away from the shores of the pretty lakes, but you can climb up onto the levees on the water’s edge to take a look around. While strolling down the path, you can read the informative signs posted along the way to learn about the area: find out where the tree frog lives, where the night heron nests, and how the valley of Cinege Brook was formed.
If you pay attention, you can also get acquainted with a more cruel side of nature here: we came across a big pile of feathers, which presumably belonged to the victim of some bird of prey. However, we were soon cheered up by the sight of the lookout tower, the top of which is a spectacular vantage point for admiring the nearby lakes.
The wooden tower erected at one of the rest areas is worth checking out: it’s not overly steep, but it’s tall enough that you can see two lakes, lovely water birds, and happy hikers from the top. The climb is not entirely straightforward, as there are no stairs, only a couple of ladders.
Finally, let’s see the numbers: the conservation area covers 300 hectares, the total length of the study trail is nine kilometers, and it takes three hours to complete. This is a pretty easy route, as the elevation of the landscape is minimal. The stops along the trail feature signs in Hungarian, German, and Latin. A great eatery called Egy Csipet Nádas is also located in the area (but it was still closed when we visited), and the famously peaceful Samsara Festival is held in the paradise of Töreki as well.