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sights & culture

Treasure hunt and ruin trip around Balaton - Part 1

If you're fed up with lying on the beach and eating lángos, play Indiana Jones around Balaton. You can discover several castle and church ruins for free on both sides of the lake. You can have your lunch surrounded by the mysterious ruins if you take blankets and a picnic basket with you. We collected a few places on the North Shore and Balaton-felvidék which are all worth a visit. Most of these ruins have pictures and descriptions (only in Hungarian) about the ruins of Balaton.


Essegvár in Bánd

The 14th century ruins of Essegvár in Bánd are perfect if you like abandoned ruins, which are literally abandoned. So there's a good chance you'll be here only by yourself. Originally, it was built of wood around 1270, and then it was transformed into a stone building in the 14th century. A short, but steep path leads you to the castle from the village. We visited this spot on a bright summer afternoon, but there was no one else around.


Old paper mill in Sóly

In 1780, the monks of the Cistercian Abbey of Zirc decided to build a paper mill in Sóly to make use of the local stream. The mill started to function a decade later, and the abbey used the paper for dbo and church administration. The production lasted until 1851, because they couldn't keep up the pace with the big factories anymore. It is quite an adventure to find these ruins. After turning from Kossuth Lajos Street to Vasút Street, we had to cross two stone bridges, and after the second one we turned left. The rubble road suddenly ends here, and a huge weedy field takes its place. We were not sure if our small car - definitely not a land rover - could make the journey to its end. Another car appeared out of the blue, and we let the brave driver to overtake us, but they got stuck in the grass. So we stopped and continued the trip on foot until we saw the mill's walls.


Papsokai Szent Mihály templom's ruins in Balatonfüred

Balatonfüred does not only have awesome confectioneries, but many a museum and church ruin can be found here as well. The name Papsoka refers to ties to the Tihany Abbey, because the servants of the Abbey used to live here. This Romanesque church was reconstructed a couple of times, and supposedly it was destroyed during the Turkish occupation. You can already glimpse the ruins from Vázsonyi Street, if heading in the direction of Balatonszőlős. It is definitely worth a visit for the view already, so you should get ready for climbing.


Cave homes and church ruins in Tihany

Tihany has three interesting ruins, so this city could be the ruin raiders' Mecca. The cave homes are definitely worth a tour. You can park your car at the end of Árpád Street for free, and you'll reach the caves (which date back to the 10th-11th century) by a path in half an hour. You can get a good look on everything from the walk path: the lakes, the sailboats, the abbey's towers and the town. The silence of the forest, the butterflies and the song of cicadas all add up to a romantic and peaceful atmosphere. Besides the hermitage, there are two church ruins from the 10th-13th century: the Apáti- and the Újlaki ruins. The Romanesque Apáti Church is close to the branch off towards Sajkod from main road 71. Újlaki Church has been overgrown by wild plants and grass, so it's a bit more difficult to find. You have to go to the furthest parking lot in Club Hotel Tihany, near the reception, and look for two gates in the green fence. The one which belongs to the archers is usually closed, so you have to use the other one. A few dozens of steps will lead you to the small church.


Szarvaskői vár in Döbrönte

Döbrönte and the ruins of the Szarvaskői vár are only a few minutes away from Ganna which is famous for the mausoleum of the Esterházy family. The town's main street offers a magnificent view of the two remaining parts of the castle: the circular bastion and a part of the inner tower.

To be continued...

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