With an area of nearly 600 km2, Balaton is the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe. Its waters heat up very easily in the summertime therefore its shores in July and August are taken by storm by tourists.
There are 120 bathing “beaches” around the lake, almost all of which are paid and well equipped. In addition to swimming, at Balaton one can fish, sail, ride pedal boats, and thanks to a large and well-marked bicycle path, one can enjoy a nice bicycle ride.
The landscape surrounding the southern shore has no particular attractions vice versa to the northwest Lake Balaton is surrounded by vineyards and orchards, and there are several interesting places to stop. We decided to visit the Tihany peninsula.
Lake Balaton: Tihani Peninsula. What to see in Lake Balaton
The Tihany Peninsula, only eight square kilometers in size, is the first nature park in the country so it is closed to traffic and must be visited on foot.
There are lovely walks to be had on the lakefront around the 17th-century Benedictine Abbey, along the peninsula’s cliffs and among the vineyards and lavender fields.
The best time to plan a visit to the Tihany Peninsula is definitely June with the lavender bloom. We went in August and could only taste the lavender-flavored ice cream sold in all the ice cream shops in the area (very good).
In addition to ice cream, you can find lots of lavender products such as soaps, candles, oil, jams, etc.
What to do in the Tihany Peninsula
We decided to take the path leading to Barátlakások (monks’ dwelling), an Orthodox hermitage carved into the rock. When the abbey was founded, some monks from Russia settled in caves carved into the basaltic rock.
Today only 3 hermitages remain intact, and traces of 2 others can be discerned. Some cavities contain several rooms; one cavity used as a chapel and one used as a canteen could be distinguished originally.
During excavations in 1984, human skeletons were found. It is thought that the abandonment of the hermitages was caused by multiple landslides.
It is a hike that can be easily done with children, there are a few steps but no particular difficulty. The walk is about 6 km long with an elevation gain of 200 m. We recommend this hike both for the unique architectural value in all of Central Europe and for the very scenic hiking trail especially at the beginning.
It took us a couple of hours counting the stop for lunch (packed).
Back in the car we drove along the road to Badacsony, which is very picturesque in the midst of vineyards, until we reached Balatongyorok, where we had booked our hotel.
Lake Balaton: Tihani Peninsula. Where to sleep and where to dine
Platán Apartmanház – It has several types of self-catering apartments, swimming pool and a nice playground for children. Book here.
We had dinner at Hatod kisvendéglő – Balatongyörök, Kossuth Lajos u. 40, 8313 Hungary. Recommended, ate local specialties sitting at tables outside.
What to see nearby
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