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Spending a Day in Káli-medence

Sights & Culture - Articles

Friday, October 18, 2013 — We Love Balaton

Judging by the size of the Káli-medence this will not be an easy task, still we suggest an alternative, one-day tour from dawn till dusk for an autumn day. You will need a backpack, wellington boots or sneakers and some Hungarian currency. Now, off to the northern shore of Balaton and the Hungarian "Mediterrenean"! All items of this itinerary were tested by us. Fresh air is guaranteed. Káli-medence crash-course from 8AM to midnight.

Preparations

For a one-day tour, you should get up early, just like agricultural workers at the time of harvest: around midnight, the wine disappears from the table and the host sends them to bed, so the mission of the following day can start out in an efficient and promising manner--and everyone can get entertainingly tipsy by noon.(You need not follow this word-by-word, but something similar will do.)

Photo: Dorka Mesterházy - welovebalaton.hu

Waking & Morning

Liliomkert Market

8283 Káptalantóti, Liliomkert
+36 30 266 0706

It is worthwhile to arrive to the Káli-medence on the day before or catch a really early train and wake up to the sounds of the train station in Révfülöp at around 8-9 AM. If you happen to make a Sunday trip, the best place you can have breakfast is the Liliomkert market on the edge of Káptalantóti; here the offer ranges from fresh goat cheese to steaming sausages. The best you can do is to eat-in, that is to make yourself comfortable on a bench near the adjacent plant nursery and breakfast as if in scout camp. The place comes with the additional advantage of having a busy social life, so you will surely meet familiar faxes. On weekdays, however, you will have to resort to any grocery store of your choice or the mythical old lady at the  flea market in Tapolca who is rumoured to sell the very best roast sausage of the region.

Photo: Liliomkert Market. - Balázs Glódi

Snacks

Salföld Conservationist Manor

8256 Salföld, Balaton-felvidéki Nemzeti Park
+36 87 702 857

WHen you had your fill of fresh bread and home-made chocolate milk, you'd better get going. It is best to leave Káptalantóti by bike: turn right at the fork at Salföld, and check out the protected Salföld Manor and the mine lake opposite, which is slowly drying out. If you continue straight ahead, you can have a lángos (or throw stones into Lake Balaton) at Ábrahámhegy, before turning back to examine the beautiful houses of Kékkút and stop at the farther end of the village for spring water. The mineral water of Kékkút, which was supposedly the favourite drink of the Byzantine empress Theodora,is one of the most awesome things you can get in the Káli-medence so be sure to have an empty bottle at hand. After having drunk the fresh water, which has mild, not unpleasant touch of iron in it, and your re-energizing sandwich, take the short-cut offered by the Rózskúti-dűlőút (an unpaved road) and head to Mindszentkálla. This takes about 15-20 minutes, the setting is beautiful and romantic, and you save a few kilometres by not riding on the paved road. The next village is easy to recognise from ithe oddest steep curve in the road you can find in Hungary. The "white cross" on the edge of the settlement also singals that you are in the right place. Riding through village that has a bit more than 300 inhabitants, pass the liqour store and head towards the Kopasz-hegy (a sizable hill that offers a great view of the region). Before reaching the top, you can stop to play on the swings of the playground. At the foot of the (alternative) stoned stairway that runs up the hill, you can find ruins of the Kisfalud church, which was burnt down by the Turkish invaders in the 16th century.

Photo: Dorka Mesterházy - welovebalaton.hu

Having conquered the Kopasz-hegy, just lie down beside the flag (raised to celebrate your arrival) and admire the magnificent view of the entire Káli-basin. On your return, take the classic path instead of the stairs: you can pick rosehip for your winter tea and see bazaltic tuff formations on the way.

Lunch

Kővirág Pension and Restaurant

8274 Köveskál, Fő út 9/a
+36 20 568 4724

Having left the village behind, turn left in 300 metres and eat lunch and pet horses at Tusculanum, an idyllic pension right at the feet of the Kőtenger ("Sea of Rocks"). Those who want a bit more walk before their lunch, we suggest that they should arrive to Szentbékálla through the Kőtenger (next to the polo field). On the way, you can take photos that will draw likes (or its local equivalent) like a magnet on the social media site of your choice; plus, climbing up and down the rocks, some of which boast of the size of a room, is without doubt the TRX of Balaton. If you have not had your lunch by this time, skip a village to Köveskál and eat at the Kővirág Resturant.

Photo: Kővirág Pension and Restaurant. - welovebalaton.hu

For the adventorous, we suggest finding the inn called "Szódás Máli (Mári)" by the locals--ask one of them for the coordinates. Moving on from Köveskál, you have two options: head straight ahead to Zánka, or turn right towards Kővágóörs. If you are exhausted and wish to lay spread out in the grass on the shore of Balaton, choose the previous option; if you are cool with hiking on, visit Kővágőörs. Fall is the ideal season for picking mushrooms and the small woods just before Kővágóörs is the ideal site for that. Be careul not to step on tiny animals.

Afternoon snacks

Do not take the mushrooms directly home! Be sure to show them to Ferenc Takács (Hungarian link), renowned herb expert, who will help you with differentiating between the safe and unsafe ones. Before the optional mushroom-picking in Kővágóörs, stop at the favourite filming spot of Miklós Jancsó (Hungarian film director), the Kornyi-tó, which is the largets lake of the Káli-medence and a paradise for waterfowl. In Köveskál, you can grab a biteat the Káli Inn, for example.

Photo: Well with willow at Mindszentkálla.- Dorka Mesterházy - welovebalaton.hu

Dinner

Káli Art Inn****

8274 Köveskál, Fő utca 6-8.
+36 30 922 8715

For dinner, choose one of the wineries of the region and give yourself over to a few glasses of wine and high-flown discussions. There is a wide range of options from small cellars to exclusive ones. For those favouring the latter, we can recommend the Liszkay Borkúriát above Monoszló, where you'll find ornamental pools in Roman style and delicious wines, or the Káli Art Inn if you are looking for a slightly higher fanciness factor. There is also the newbie Miakő in Köveskál--a place with the tiltle the House of Káli-medence's Wines is not to be missed.
In terms of wine, you cannot go wrong with Káli Kövek (Köveskál) or the Pálffy Wine Cellar. As a befitting ending to the day, visit the Pálos Manor in Kővágóörs, the nicest accomodation of the Káli-medence.

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