BALATON NATIONAL PARK
Geyser cones and bird sanctuaries, wetlands and rocky terrain, hillside vineyards and marshland. And so many more reasons to time out from the water and beaches of the Hungarian Sea to discover the world of the Balaton National Park. You won’t stray far from the lakeside anyway – wherever you go, the sparkle of water glints back at you, in different colours and hues, but always with the same mystery as when you first saw it.
The National Park, established in 1997, extending from the Tihany peninsula to Kis-Balaton (Little Balaton) to the West, is a Mecca not only for Hungarian nature lovers, but also for international visitors. Attractions of particular interest include the volcanic geysers near Tihany and the rich birdlife of Kis-Balaton.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Lóczy Cave (Balatonfüred)
The limestone strata in the west side of Balatonfüred’s Tamás Hill conceal a cave carved out by warm water spurting up from the depths. The cauldron-shapes dissolved into the rock and occasional cave pearls are as unusual as they are fascinating. The cave was discovered in 1894 and opened to the public in 1934.
Traditional Manor Farm with Indigenous Breeds (Salföld)
Take a measure of indigenous Hungarian animal species – Hungarian sheep, buffalo, grey cattle, mangalica pig and Hungarian sheepdogs with their characteristic cordlets – and a measure of traditional farm implements, an exhibition of carts, a playground and regular lectures and events. The result is a manor farm adapted to the 21st century. The National Park management established this Nature Preservation Farm in the gateway of the Káli Basin, on the edge of a small village that has turned folk architecture into a living tradition. It also contains a cosy tea room, souvenir shop and bicycle rental. Disabled facilities are also provided.
Hegyestű Geological Exhibition (Monoszló)
It’s as though the basalt formations of the Balaton Uplands, among them the basalt cone at Hegyestű, were the building blocks of ancient giants. It’s a stunning spectacle. The exhibition at the deserted basalt quarry allows visitors to learn more about the formation of basalt hills, the region’s natural and geological properties, and the traditions of hand-quarrying. The former quarry yard now holds a collection of rocks typical to Western Hungary.
István Fekete Memorial Site and Matula Cottage (Kis-Balaton, Diás-sziget)
Thousands of Hungarian children have been introduced to rowing, learnt to find grass snakes hidden in the reeds, and discovered the colourful, protected birdworld of the Little Balaton after reading István Fekete’s Tüskevár (Thorn Castle). Now you can visit Uncle Matula’s cottage, just as it is described in the novel, and learn about the region’s natural treasures, accompanied by a guide employed by the National Park.
Village Museum (Vörs)
Modern floats and plastic flies – these days fish seem to be queuing up to be tricked by modern technology. But how did local fisherman land their catches in the old days, what tackle did they use and how did they build their homes? These questions, and many more, are answered at the stilted house in Vörs.
Buffalo Reserve (Kápolnapuszta)
You may find it hard to believe that the buffalo is an exceptionally docile creature – until you visit the Kápolnapuszta reserve, that is. See this ancient Hungarian breed in its natural environment, visit the interactive exhibition and enjoy the picturesque picnic spots.
The Jurányi linden, 170-year-old Eastern white pines and rubbery barked trees from the banks of the Amur are just some of the interesting species found in the Zirc arboretum. The gardens contain one of Hungary’s most important collections of plants past and present, particularly those native to the Bakony. The lovingly preserved woodland environment attracts a variety of birds and other wildlife.
Woodland House and Woodland Education Centre, Artisans’ House (Bakonybél)
Bakonybél is not only a picturesque village, it also attracts visitors as an excursion centre and for its cultural and historical interest. The Woodland House contains a forestry and nature collection, while the Education Centre’s woodland courses introduce visitors to the natural resources and handicrafts found in the Bakony hills.
Tapolca Lake Caves (Tapolca)
The caves reaching down below the town buildings are of high humidity and said to have medicinal properties. You can also see where the water once created hollows in the walls and with a little luck, you may just catch a glimpse of a minnow, the cave’s only species of fish, darting across the headlights as you row around the underground network of waterways.
Kotsy Water Mill (Zalaszántó)
Situated between the castle ruins of the Rezi and Tátika hills in the beautiful Keszthely Hills, the small village of Zalaszántó once boasted four water mills. Inside one of the splendidly renovated buildings, you can still hear the clatter of mill machinery even today – the water continues to diligently turn the wheel. Even the picnic tables are constructed from mill wheels.
Stop off at the Aranyház (Golden House) geyser cone at Tihany and visit the other curious geological formations along the Lóczy Geyser Trail. The Badacsony Geological and Botanical Trail allows you to see how the volcanic hills to the north of the Balaton were formed and there is no longer any need to dress up warm when you visit the ice cave on the Saint George’ Hill trail at Raposka. The beautiful Szigliget Kamon-kő Trail combines a number of sites of ethnographical, historical and architectural interest. In the south-eastern region of the Keszthely Hills, between Balatonederics and Balatongyörök, Old Pele’s Trail is a great way to discover the secrets hidden in the woods. And wake to birdsong after taking a rest along the Trail of the Great Crested Grebe. Covering the lonely hill towering like a giant over the basin of the Marcal River, the Kitaibel Study Trail presents the attractions of the conservation area. The path along the slopes of the Kőris hill in the High Bakony protected area provides you with a glimpse of the Bakony forest. Wherever you decide to explore, the trails and pathways of the Balaton National Park are an unforgettable experience.
Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate 8229 Csopak, Kossuth u. 16.
Phone: 06-87/555-260 I Fax: 06-87/555-261 I E-mail: email@example.com I Honlap
8261, Badacsony, Park utca 14.
+36 87 431 046
+36 87 531 013
8313, Balatongyörök, Kossuth u. 64.
+36 83 346 368
8380, Hévíz, Rákóczi u. 2.
+36 83 540 131
8360, Keszthely, Kossuth L. u. 28.
+36 83 314 144
+36 83 511 660
8253, Révfülöp, Villa Filip tér 8/b
+36 87 463 194
+36 87 463 092
8300, Tapolca, Fő tér 17.
+36 87 510 777
8237, Tihany, Kossuth u. 20.
+36 87 448 804
+36 87 538 104
8314, Vonyarcvashegy, Kossuth u. 42.
+36 83 348 253
8749, Zalakaros, Gyógyfürdő tér 10.
+36 93 340 421