If you're looking to escape the crowds, these hiking routes through woods around Lake Balaton offer a peaceful distraction from the buzz of everyday life.
Koloska-völgy, with its sub-Mediterranean karst woods and quaint little creeks near Balatonfüred, has a study trail leading through it. Signboards also inform you about local wildlife and geological curiosities. You can refill your water bottle at the Koloska fountain before starting your journey through greenery.
What to see: The Wildlife Park of Koloska-völgy, the observation point at Koloska-szikla, Jókai Lookout Tower and Lóczy Cave are all nearby.
Pauline monastery ruins in Salföld
The path leading to the monastery ruins has a unique feel. To reach them, hidden in the woods, follow the signs starting at the edge of Salföld, but you can also get there from Badacsonyörs or Ábrahámhegy. If you choose the latter, follow the red signs.
What to see: The Pauline monastery was home to local monks for centuries and its ruins are awe-inspiring.
Folly Arboretum and Winery
The arboretum contains about 400 types of pine and 200 other trees and bushes. The first were planted 110 years ago, and walking with a glass of wine in hand, shaded by cypresses and pines a century old, is a truly relaxing experience, with a view to boot.
What to see: There’s a lookout tower and many special trees, like Coulter pines and Atlas cedars.
It's a bit of a climb to reach the shaded hilltop of Badacsony, but it’s worth it. You can visit the Kisfaludy Lookout Tower, or see where a former labour camp used to be – a handy hiking package is available at the Istvándy Borműhely winery to help you get around.
What to see: Szegedy Róza House, Rózsakő, Exiles Stairs, the Ranolder Cross, the Kisfaludy Lookout Tower, the Egry József Lookout Tower, the ruins of a former labour camp and the Szent István Chapel are all nearby.
You can drive to the top of this hill from the centre of Zalaszántó. Parking is available at a small clearing, then you can walk to the Béke Stupa temple amid old cellars and trees, surrounded by a view of the hills of Zala County.
What to see: Béke Stupa was Central Europe’s first Buddhist shrine. It’s 30 metres tall and was inaugurated in 1993 by Tendzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.
Padkűi Lookout Tower
The woods and lookout towers of Keszthelyi-hegység provide the perfect escape from everyday life. You can reach the Büdöskút rest stop from both Vonyarcvashegy and Balatongyörök, and from there you can choose from multiple paths, including the one leading to quiet Vállus.
What to see: The Szent Miklós spring, the ruins of a 14th-century monastery, a military dog cemetery and various lookout towers, including Padkű in Vállus.
This island can be visited all year round without a professional tour guide. Crossing over the wooden bridge, you can take the two-kilometre-long Búbosvöcsök Study Trail, learn more about local birdlife, have a picnic under old trees or just enjoy the constant chirping.
What to see: The two lookout towers, many little bays and, if you’re lucky, unique birdlife.
Buruczky Ferenc Study Trail (Bazaltutca)
There are many interesting and amazing natural formations, including caves and basalt columns, on this trail near Keszthely. Along the way, you’ll find countless spots for a picnic. Just make sure to wear waterproof shoes and to bring mosquito spray.
What to see: The so-called Bazaltutca, a 200-metre-long ridge.
Hubertlaki Lake (Bakonyi Gyilkos Lake)
If you really want to leave the beaten path behind, visit these woods about three kilometres from the Odvaskői rest stop just off the read between Bakonybél and Pápa. You can find Hubertlaki Lake hidden deep in peaceful greenery.
What to see: Odvaskői Cave and Borostyánkút Chapel in Bakonybél are both very tranquil spots worth a visit.
The woods by Töreki Lakes, Siófok
You can quickly escape the buzz of Siófok by visiting this green paradise near town. Here you’ll only find birdsong and peace, and certainly no crowds.
What to see: The study trail leading through the valley of Cinege-patak is nine kilometres long, with a lookout tower and many types of birdlife along the way.