The places written with bold characters in the text show the marked places in the Route-Altitude diagram.
You can find detailed hiking maps about this section of the Blue Trail in the Map Chapter.
I have taken more dozen panoramic views along the more than 1100km long route of the National Blue Trail. They are collected in the chapter named Panoramic views, but I put links to the pictures in the text. If you click on the links, the views will open in a new window.
There are short videos about the medieval condition of the Hungarian castles, fortresses on the Youtube. I have collected them in the Castles, fortressess chapter, but I put links to the videos in the text, as well. If you click on the links, the videos will start in new windows.
If you click on the small pictures in the text, they will open in bigger size.
After stamping at the railway station (Sümeg town, railway station), where the metal box of the Blue Trail's stamp is located on a wooden pillar at the platform side of the building, we begin our next hike through the hilly country of the Balaton-felvidék (Highland of Balaton). This section will be a little bit more interested and varied, than the wide plain of Kisalföld, we will visit on this walking tour many ruined forts and castles, the extinct volcanoes of the Tapolcai-medence (Basin of Tapolca) and of course the Balaton Lake.
When we leave the railway station of Sümeg, we continue the walk on the streets of the town. First we walk along the straight Darnai Kálmán utca (Darnai Kálmán Street). It is a very interesting place in the net of marked Hungarian hiking paths, because the four main signs – the , the , the and the signs go together on this short section – they are painted onto the concrete lamp posts!
We walk until the end of this road and turn onto the Lukonich Gábor utca (Lukonich Gábor Street). We pass the small Calvinistic-evangelistic church and reach the main street of the town. The painted marks lead us farther on the Kossuth Lajos utca (Kossuth Lajos Street) and reach the Flórián tér (Flórián Square), the main square of the town soon. The bus station (Sümeg town, bus station) is located on the middle of the square and the castle is visible very well from this place, as well. The Blue Trail goes straight on the main road, but I recommend you to spend some time in the town and visit its important sights.
The most well-known sight is the castle or rather fortress among them, of course. If we climb onto the high Castle Hill on the steep rising access road of the fort, we can visit the ruins of the medieval fortress and admire the beautiful panorama, which opens from the walls. (Link to the panoramic view) The castle was built in the 13th century, after the Tartar invasion, and it was an important fortress in the 16th and 17th century, against the Turkey troops. The Turks wasn’t able to capture this fort although they tried it many times, but the fortress couldn’t avoid its fate, the Austrian troops demolished it after the defeated freedom war in year 1711. (Video about the medieval condition of the castle)
If the weather is clean enough, we can see the ridge of the far Kőszegi-hegység (Kőszeg Mountains) with the peak of Írott-kő (it is the western trailhead of the Blue Trail) from the walls in northwestern direction beyond the wide plain of Kisalföld, where we hiked in the past few days. The extinct volcanoes of the Tapolcai-medence (Basin of Tapolca) appear in the opposite direction. We can see only the flat tops of the Szent György-hegy (Szent György Hill) and the Badacsony, because they are partly covered by the closer, but lower hills.
Other sights in Sümeg are the Bishop’s palace in the town at the foot of the Castle Hill, the frescos of the Roman Catholic church, painted by Maulbertsch and the horse riding centre on the eastern side of the Castle Hill. If we have good luck, we can see the Várjátékok (Castle Shows), where amateur actors recall the medieval history of the town and the castle.
If we decide to leave this nice Hungarian town, we hike farther from the Flórián tér (Flórián Square) along the wide and straight József Attila utca (József Attila Street), finally we reach the border of the town and the main road number 84. Our road leads into the main road, but there is a dirt road on the right side of the busy highway, we continue our hike on it. We pass the last plants of the town, and slowly climb a little hillock.
After a few minutes we turn onto a narrow asphalt road, which branches off from the motorway. This road leads through a fence into a yard (Mogyorósi-domb Hill, Geological exhibition). There is a camp inside and a small geological excavation. We can study the site of an old, Palaeolithic flint stones mine here, because the Jurassic rocks are found here close to the surface soil. This flint stone mine was used by the prehistoric people living here in its neighborhood.
We walk only a few steps on the narrow asphalt road, after that we turn left onto a well-trodden dirt road and cross the high voltage power lines. The road descends back onto the plain, we can see the railway line below us. Later the dirt road bends beside the rails and cross them later. After a few minutes we reach the railway station (Sümegi bazaltbánya railway station)”. The marked trail passes the first houses, and turns right in front of the main building of the station onto another dirt road. We continue our hike across the fields and get to the junction of asphalt roads soon.
We turn left onto a narrow, worn asphalt road in the “T” junction, and continue the hike on it. The road leads beside big clearcuts and we reach the forest after an about 10 minutes long walk. If we turn back here, we will see the Castle Hill of Sümeg exactly at the end of this road! We continue the hike in the shady forest, later the road begins to climb, first very mildly, but later it will be more and more steeper. After the bend of this road we get to the forester’s lodge of Sarvaly (Sarvaly forester's lodge, stamping place). The house stands on the left side of the road, we can find the small steel box of the Blue Trail’s stamp on the fence, beside the gate.
After stamping we continue the hike on the road along a nice horse chestnut alley. The Sarvaly-forrás Spring and the resting place are located beside our way on a small clearing. It is accessible on a short path beginning at a painted cross on the right side of the road. After a short rest we go on along the narrow asphalt road, after a few bends it climbs onto a low col. Later the asphalt surface of the road finishes, and two gravel roads start there. We choose the left-hand road, it leads on the edge of the old forest and a weedy field, a nice view opens right across the meadow towards the Tátika-hegy (Tátika Hill). Later we will climb it.
After a ten minutes long walk we turn right from the gravel road onto barely used wheel tracks (Turning away from the pebble road), which leads straight in western direction through the forest. After a while we reach the other gravel road, which started right from the branching, here we turn left and continue the hike on it. We have to look for the place of the turn-off very carefully after about 400 steps, because it is almost invisible on the right side of the gravel road! If we find the narrow track, we turn onto it and after a few steps we reach a cut-line ascending straight on the hill. We climb about 300 steps in the high grass of the cut-line, and turn left.
The hard climb finishes here, the track keeps its altitude in the mountainside. After a while the path bends right, and the climb begins again in a small valley towards the top. This is a very neglected section of the route, fallen trees and high weed obstruct the walk in the forest! Later the valley becomes narrower, and the path leaves it. We reach a plateau in the mountainside here, and notice the small Fekete-tó (Black Lake) among the trees. The narrow and neglected trail meanders among the trees in the high undergrowth, we have to fight for every steps! Finally, after a quarter hour long combat in the jungle we get to a well trodden dirt road in the forest (Path to Castle of Tátika). The signs of the Blue Trail turn left here, but if we start in the opposite direction on the dirt road following the marks, after a ten minutes long climb we reach the ruins of Castle of Tátika on the top of the mountain.
The castle was built, similar to other Hungarian castles, in the 13th century, after the Tartar invasion. The core of the small fort was a dwelling tower and other buildings were connected to it. The owners of the castle changed often in the 14th and 15th century, it was the property of the Hungarian king many times. The Turkey troops occupied and demolished it in 1589 and it was never reconstructed. The castle was mentioned already as ruins in the 17th century. Only the northern walls stand at present with some other ruins, but its partial reconstruction began a few years ago. The panorama is beautiful from the ruins towards Sümeg and Zalaszántó village. (Video about the medieval condition of the castle)
If we decide to leave the ruins, we will reach the asphalt road leading towards Zalaszántó on the dirt road in a half an hour. We turn onto the main road and walk about 300 steps in northern direction, meanwhile pass the buildings of Hidegkúti-major homestead, until the beginning of the field on the left side. We jump over the roadside ditch here and continue the hike at the edge of the grassy field beside the trees. A dirt road arrives from right later, we follow it through the fields until the corner of the forest! The road turns into the forest here and goes farther in southwestern direction. We reach the edge of the forest again after a kilometer long walk on this neglected road, the wheel tracks turn out from the forest beside the outermost trees and run at the border of the cultivated area. Later the road crosses the abandoned yard of an old stone quarry, and we continue our hike on its short access road.
In the junction of well trodden dirt roads we walk on straight, a big information board shows the direction and the distance towards the Stupa. Generally there is a big traffic on the road leading to the Stupa, because the visitors come by cars, only a few pilgrims come on foot. The Stupa stands on the 316 meter tall top of the hill, on a grassy clearing. It is Europe’s largest stupa with its 30 meter height and 24 meter diameter. The Stupa contains the teaching and relics of Buddha, together with a “tree of life”. His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama consecrated the Stupa on 17th June 1993.
The route of the Blue Trail turns left before the clearing of the Stupa onto a well trodden dirt road leading towards Zalaszántó village. After a while the road leaves the forest and reaches the first weekendhouses and vineyards of the settlement, it gets an asphalt surface here. The street descends gently among the gardens and houses, passes a chapel (there is a nice panorama to the village and the hills from the door of the small church), later we turn left, and the narrow road sinks into a shady ditch. We reach the first dwelling houses of Zalaszántó after a ten minutes long walk at the other end of the ditch. The Ádám utca (Ádám street) sinks till the bottom of the valley and a brook bends beside the street. The marked route crosses the brook on a pedestrian bridge, the path runs beside the fence of the former Kotsi water mill (it is now a museum) and we reach the main street of the village in a few minutes. We turn onto its sidewalk, and hike on its slope towards south. We can stamp either at the Tátika pub (98 Fő utca, Zalaszántó, the box of the stamp is located in the window) or at the grocery (12 Fő utca, Zalaszántó, the box of the stamp is equipped onto the fence of the terrace). After stamping we can continue the hike or look for an accommodation in the settlement.
The name of Zalaszántó was first mentioned in documents in 1236, its Catholic church already stood in that time, but it was renovated many times during the centuries. So the church has a Romanesque nave but a gothic tower and apse. The wooden sculptures were made in the 17th century. The church was partly destroyed in the Turkey times, but it was fully renovated. The gothic windows of the church are good visible from the main street of the village. Other sights in the village are the Kotsi-malom (Kotsy water mill), which is a museum at present and the small chapel beside the main road, which was built in 1441 in honour of the Immaculate Conception. There is a good camping beyond the northern border of the settlement beside the road. Its name is Szt. Vendel Camping.
We pass the Catholic church of the settlement (Zalaszántó village, church), turn left at the “T” junction onto the Zsidi utca and leave the settlement in eastern direction. The Blue Trail turn down from this asphalt road after about 1000 steps onto a dirt road crossing a narrow forest belt. We reach the corner of a big cultivated area on the other side of the trees, the wheel tracks run at the western edge of the arable field, our heading is about southeast now. As we walk on the field we can see the white walls of Castle of Rezi on the peak of the Meleg-hegy Mountain exactly in front of us. Later we will climb this forest covered hill and visit the panorama opening from the ruined fort!
The wheel tracks follow the edge of the field and we reach its southwestern corner soon. This rarely used road is often plowed, in this case we have to walk at the edge of the cultivated area! We have to look for that narrow path on the corner, which starts about here and crosses the jungle of the valley. It is a serious combat against the creepers and the high undergrowth, especially summertime. Finally the hardly visible trail reaches the Nagy-Séd Brook on the bottom of the valley. We have to cross the water at a small ford, some branches lie between the coasts, we can use them at the passage (Crossing of the creek). The path climbs onto a worn asphalt road at the southern coast of the brook. We turn towards west on potholed asphalt strip and reach the next junction after some dozen steps.
The route of the Blue Trail turns left here, into the old forest and a hard climb begins onto the Meleg-hegy. The dirt road ascends always harder and harder, we reach the col after a half an hour long, exhausting mountaineering. The route of Blue Trail flips on the col and begins to descend on the other side, but the road marked with starts here towards the ruins of Castle of Rezi (Road to Castle of Rezi). If we decide visiting the ruins, we can get to it with a quarter hour long walk and with farther climb. Attention! The marks were painted very rarely beside the road! A really beautiful panorama opens from the walls towards the wide valley of Zalaszántó village and the surrounding hills. Even the Stupa and the Castle of Tátika are visible from that place! (Video about the medieval condition of the castle)
We walk back onto the col, and continue the hike again on the dirt road marked with signs. The dirt road sinks for a few minutes in the forest, later we reach the wide, cultivated field of Cservári-dűlő. We cross this area, and turn right at a “T” junction of dirt roads. We reach Rezi village after a few minutes on this road. There is a Blue Trail's in stamp here, its box is mounted on the information table of “Rezi vár tanösvény” (Study Path of Rezi Castle). An asphalt road begins at the outermost houses of the settlement, it leads us until the centre of the village, during this walk we pass the Laky Demeter tourist house. We can stamp into our booklets in the pub of the village, too. The box of the stamp is equipped on the wall beside the door of the washroom (Rezi village, stamping place).
After stamping we walk farther along the main road of the village and after the last houses reach the fields. We may think here, we left the village, but after a short walk the road reaches the new estate of Rezi. The Blue Trail doesn't cross this residential quarter, but turns right onto the first street at a painted wayside stone cross. This narrow asphalt road leaves the houses and meanders among the homesteads and vineyards. After a while we reach the forest, but before the road enters in the wood, we turn right, onto a path. We step in the forest on this path, which descends from the hill on the right side of a small ditch.
After a while we reach again the vineyards at the far side of the forest, we turn onto a gravel road and get to the Gyöngyösi csárda Restaurant on it. A big weeping willow stands on the right side of the gravel road about fifty meters from its finish. If we step closer to the tree, we will notice two graves at the foot of the weeping willow: the graves of two outlaws, Vak Illés and Kökes Pista. They were captured and executed at this place in 1860.
The “csárda” was a characteristic part of the old Hungarian roads. They were restaurant, pub and accommodation for those people, who wandered on the long dirt roads of the country. Usually the csárda was a post station, as well. The Gyöngyösi csárda was built in 1728, and it stands in its original form beside the busy road halfway between Keszthely and Sümeg towns. The small steel box of the Blue Trail’s stamp is located on a lamp post between the fence of the csárda and the road. You can find another stamp in front of the csárda, at the shelter of the bus stop.
After the stamping procedure we continue our hike beside the wide and straight asphalt road in northwestern direction. We cross the Gyöngyös-patak (Gyöngyös Brook) on a bridge and after a kilometer long walk we reach a white stone cross on the left side of the road. A well trodden dirt road starts here, we turn onto it. We walk towards south now and after some minutes we notice the building of Gyöngyösi csárda again. The dirt road crosses the fields, passes a small, abandoned Jewish cemetery, later it gets to the edge of the forest. It runs for a while on a new tree plantation, here we get to the the branching of the dirt roads. We turn right here and a hard climb begins across the new plantation, later we reach an older part of the new forest. We ascend on the border of the old forest and an about ten years old acacia plantation towards the ridge. A beautiful panorama opens from the upper edge of the new forest towards the wide valley of the Gyöngyös-patak and the surrounding hills, but it will slowly disappear as the young trees are growing on the former clear-cut.
The painted marks lead us on wheel tracks after the upper corner of the former clear-cut, which cross the forest and after a quarter hour long walk we reach the cultivated fields of the wide ridge. We turn left onto a well trodden dirt road and a slope begins back in the valley. After a few minutes we leave the forest, get to the first vineyards and an old, Romanesque church appears in front of us in the hillside. (Egregy, medieval church).
The small church stands beside our route, in the centre of a small cemetery. It was built in the first half of the 13th century and it survived the long Turk occupation without any damage. The church is generally open, so we can view its painted walls, which was made in the 18th century. From the church we can see the whole valley of Gyöngyös-patak, from where we climbed this hill, as well.
We continue our hike on a narrow asphalt road among the long row of restaurants and pubs. The Highland of Balaton is well-known from its wines, the pubs offer local wines mainly. It is worth visiting one of them and rest a few minutes on its shady terrace! Generally they are opened only in the afternoon and evening, before noon they are closed!
After the restaurants and pubs the asphalt road descends into Hévíz town and we continue the walk on the long Zrínyi Miklós utca (Zrínyi Miklós Street) towards the downtown. After a while we reach the centre of the settlement among nice guesthouses and dwelling houses. We pass the modern Catholic church, and turn onto the wide Széchenyi utca. We descend farther on its pavement, till the shady walking road named Rákóczi utca, which leads until the lake bath of the town. The main gate of the bath opens on a small square, the terminal of the intersettlement busses is located here, as well. We can find the box of the Blue Trail’s stamp in the waiting room of the terminal, on the wall (Hévíz town, bus station).
If we have enough time, it is worth visiting the lake. The ticket office is located beside the main gate, they offer half-day ticket as well. If we enter the gate, we can reach the lake, which is the largest thermal lake in Europe, through a nice park. The water is reputed to have curative effects, and there is a thriving health tourism industry in the neighborhood. The curative effect of the lake was probably known to the ancient Romans. Coins were found in the lake in the early 1980s, they also support this supposition. Discoveries from the age of Migration suggest that the migrant German and Slavic population used the lake as well. Written sources are more than 400 years old, they originated from the age of the Turkish invasion.
The buildings of the spa stand on long pine poles in the water of the lake. They are connected with bridges to the shore of the lake. The lake is located in the park, the bather people can find place on the grassy clearings beside the coast. The very much sophisticated complex balneotherapy of Hévíz and the spa are parts of the world's cultural heritage.
The route of the Blue Tail goes around the fenced park of the Lake Bath on a promenade and reach the busy Ady Endre utca (Ady Endre Street). We walk a few hundred steps on its sidewalk beside the fence of the spa until the next crosswalk, where we turn left and cross the asphalt road. We walk through a car park, and turn onto the cycle road. This nice, paved, later with asphalt covered cycling road and promenade connects the two towns, Hévíz and Keszhely to each other for the strolling people and cyclists. We can reach Keszhely in an hour through forests and tussocky fields.
The straight cycling road joins to the busy Hévízi út at the border of Keszthely, we go farther on its pavement. After a few minutes we reach a big junction, here we turn right, towards south. As we walk on the wide Soproni utca (Soproni Street), the Baroque gate of the park of the Festetics palace appears in front of us. The painted marks lead us until the gate (Keszthely town, Northern gate of Festetics palace), but don't enter the park, the route of the Blue Trail gets around the fenced garden. I think it is worth visiting the beautiful garden and the Baroque palace, which are among the biggest ones in Hungary!
Christopher Festetics began the construction of the Festetics Palace in 1745. The two-storey, U-shaped, 34-room Baroque palace was rebuilt several times in the 18th and 19th centuries. Between 1769 and 1770 Paul Festetics III, Christopher’s son had the building reconstructed. The wings were enlarged while the facades remained unaltered. His son, George Festetics I, started the next major reconstruction in 1792. He added the southern library wing to the palace.
Between 1883 and 1887 Tassilo Festetics II had the northern wing demolished and a new wing built which was joined to the old one by a turreted central part. Thus, he almost doubled the size of the palace. The building was covered with a mansard roof, and fitted with central heating and plumbing. After the modification of the facades and the interiors, especially the staircases, the palace acquired its present form.
The building is surrounded by a nature reserve park. The sights in the park include trees that are hundreds of years old, colourful flowerbeds, fountains, statues – among them the full-figure bronze statue of George Festetics I –, the garden pond and the fountain decorated with lions. The palm house and the former coach house with the coach exhibition can be found in the park, while the new building of the hunting exhibition and the historical model railway exhibition is opposite the back gate of the park. (Source of the text about the palace: The official website of the castle)
As we reach the other gate of the park, we continue our walk on the streets of the town and get to the Fő tér (Main Square) on the wide pedestrian precinct named Kossuth Lajos. We can meet with the painted marks of the blue Trail, as we leave the park of the palace. Beside the City Hall, a theater and a high school, the Magyarok Nagyasszonya templom (Church named Our Lady of Hungary) stands here. The church was build in 1386, but its tower much more younger, it was build only in 1878 in the same style. The marks turn left here and leave the Main Square on narrow, meandering streets. We walk along the Jókai utca (Jókai Street), Móricz Zsigmond utca (Móricz Zsigmond Street), Helikon utca (Helikon Street) route, and reach after some minutes the Helikon Park. We cross it on a wide promenade among plane trees and reach the busy Kazinczy Ferenc utca (Kazinczy Ferenc Street) at the another edge of the park (Keszthely, road to the railway station).
The painted marks of the Blue Trail turn left here, but we have to turn right, if we want to stamp into our booklets! The building of the railway station is located in 500 step distance in this direction. The box of the Blue Trail's stamp is equipped on the wall of the waiting room beside the door of the wheelchair accessible toilet.
After stamping we go back to the Helikon park, where the marks of the Blue Trail arrive on the promenade. We have to walk farther on the sidewalk of the Kazinczy Ferenc utca, but we are closest to the Balaton Lake here. If we cross the road and the railway here, we will reach the lakeside promenade in a few minutes. It is worth taking a short walk on the coast, visit the port of passenger ships and feed the swans of the lake. After this short detour we can go back to the track of the Blue Trail.
The painted marks lead us on the sidewalk of the Kazinczy Ferenc utca, but we don't have any sight onto the lake. This town is very busy in summertime, holiday people walk on the streets, go shopping or to the strand, the streets are crowded with cars and busses. But Keszthely and the other settlements beside the lake are deserted in other seasons, they sleep their winter dream. We walk on the long and straight Kazinczy Ferenc utca, later on its continuation, on the Apát utca and Toldi Miklós utca (Apát Street and Toldi Miklós Street) finally after a while we get to the end of the settlement, and reach the edge of a grassy meadow. We walk until the farther side of the field and turn left onto the Balaton utca (Balaton Street) at the border of the next settlement, Gyenesdiás village. We go on at the edge of the meadow on the narrow asphalt strip of a cycling road until the roundabout of the busy main road number 71 (Gyenesdiás village, roudabout). We cross it, and if we are tired, we can rest some minutes at the wooden benches and desks of the hiker's resting place in the noise and gasolin vapors :-) So I recommend to spend our first rest a little bit later!
We continue the hike in eastern direction from the roundabout on the sidewalk of the busy Kossuth Lajos utca, pass the wooden sculpture of Attila (he was the leader of the Huns) and after about 400 steps turn left at the junction of roads. We walk along the quiet Hunyadi utca (Hunyadi Street), pass the cemetery and begin to climb among the hills. At the end of the asphalt road and the settlement we go on straight and step into the forest on a well trodden dirt road. The climb will be a little bit harder, the road passes a quarry in the pine forest, and after a few minutes we get to the wide clearing of Nagy-mező (Nagy-mező Clearing). We can see the nice resting place situated in the shade of big pine trees, but we can take a short detour from here to the top of the Varsás-hegy (Varsás Hill) on the steep climbing path of marks. The climb is only five minutes long, but a beautiful panorama opens from the top level of the Festetics lookout tower towards the Balaton and the surrounding hills! (Link to the panoramic view) If we come back from the tower, we can keep a longer rest on the wooden benches, or continue our hike in the forest immediately.
The marked path of the Blue Trail leaves the meadow in eastern direction, first we follow the route of the gymnastics path among the trees, later we ascend on a gravel road. We walk continuously in the forest, making turns among the forest roads. Our route descends slowly in a valley, we turn right there and follow the dirt road meandering on the bottom of the Büdöskúti-völgy Valley. We climb the wide col of Szék-tető on this road, it ascends about hundred metres in three kilometer distance, meanwhile it passes two resting places. The route of Blue Trail reaches the narrow asphalt road leading along the ridge after an hour, that we leave the Nagy-mező and we turn left onto the worn asphalt strip (Col of Szék-tető, worn asphalt road). We take a few dozen steps on the road and turn right onto the next dirt road.
This road follows the top of the wide ridge, later we turn right in the branching of dirt roads onto wheel tracks and descend into a narrow valley. As we get to the bottom of the valley, we walk a few hundred steps there, leave the forest and finally we turn left at the edge of cultivated fields. This path reaches a gravel road after about 400 steps, we turn onto it and get to the small Vállus village after a five minutes long walk. We can find the metal box of the Blue Trail's stamp on the wall of the former grocery of the village after the church on the left side of the steep sloping road (Vállus village, stamping place).
We leave the asphalt road at the end of the slope, beside the bus station, and turn right onto a dirt road. The climb begins beside cultivated fields, after a while we get to the forest, and continue the walk among the trees. The dirt road climbs softly in the side of the Barbacs-hegy (Barbacs Hill), later the upward slope finishes and the road descends until the first weekend houses and vineyards.
We turn left in the “T” junction onto other dirt road, which leads at the edge of the gardens and gets to an asphalt road. We cross it, and continue our hike among vineyards. We have to keep our northeastern direction among the gardens towards a far group of trees, which stand on the edge of a small plateau in the hillside. We reach them after a hard climb in the hillside of the Kő orra Hill. If we cross the patch of trees on a narrow path, a beautiful panorama will open from the other side of them (Lookout point on the Kő orra Hill)! (Link to the panoramic view)
The Tapolcai-medence (Basin of Tapolca) lies in front of us at the foot of the hills and we can see almost every extinct volcano of the basin from this place! The hills of Szigliget stand on the right, we can see the ruins of the fortress with a good binocular on the top of one of them. Left from them stands the Badacsony, it is perhaps the most well known extinct volcano. It stands at the shore of Lake Balaton. Left from the Badacsony we can see the Szent György-hegy (Szent György Mountain), its shape is very similar to the Badacsony, a lot of people mix them! Unfortunately the Gulács Mountain stands behind the Szent György-hegy, so we can’t see it! Finally left in the far we can notice the Csobánc, which is the smallest among the volcanoes. Later we will climb almost all of them!
If we walk on, our way climbs softly in the side of the Kő orra, but we will stay in the side of the hill and don’t climb it. After the last vineyards the wheel tracks will finish, only a small path goes on. After a while the path turns right and begins to descend steeply through a patch of forest. After a few minutes long steep slope we reach the gardens and vineyards again. We turn onto a gravel road, which passes the Máté-kút (Máté Spring) and the resting benches beside it, and we descend farther towards Lesenceistvánd village. The first stamping place is the pub of the village, we can find it at the junction of roads in the centre of the settlement behind the grocery (Lesenceistvánd village, stamping place). Another stamping place is the Fatehén büfé (Wooden Cow Buffet :-)) at the yard of a house (address: 97 Kossuth utca, Lesenceistvánd). The box of the stamp is equipped on the wall of the buffet beside the bar.
A long-long walk is waiting for us on asphalt roads here! First we hike one kilometer until the neighbour village named Lesencetomaj, here we turn left, cross the busy main road number 84 (Crossing of main road 84) and hike further 1.5 kilometers till the main road leading towards Tapolca. We turn onto it, and after an hour long walk, after the crossing of the railway (Tapolca town, railway crossing) we reach the town beside the old buildings of military barracks. We turn right after the second railway crossing at a roudabout onto the bypass road leading at the edge of the town, and reach the railway station after a quarter hour long walk (Tapolca town, railway station). We can stamp into our booklets at the Lokomotiv Pub and Restaurant in front of the railway station. The box of the stamp is equipped onto a wooden post at the terrace of the restaurant.
After stamping we continue the hike on the route of the Blue Trail, go through the pedestrian underpass in front of the railway station, cross the park on a promenade, turn onto the Dózsa György utca (Dózsa György Street) and later onto the wide and busy Deák Ferenc utca (Deák Ferenc Street). This road leads until the Fő tér (Main Square), which is only a wider part of the Deák Ferenc Street. The houses of the square are newly renovated, it is worth to stop and watch them. Here stands (or rather sit) the statue named Kis királylány (Little Princess) by László Marton. There is a house with an arcade on the right side of the square, we go through the arcade as we follow the marks, and reach the small Malom-tó (Mill Lake) on a promenade. The lake lies in a park, there is a restaurant with a terrace in the old building of the water mill. A small creek starts from the lake, the Tapolca-patak (Tapolca Creek) flows into the Balaton. Close to the lake, behind the watermill stands the ruin of the former castle of the town. It was destroyed in the Turk Age and a school was built above the remains. Now you can find only the ground of two towers and a wall in the park beside the elementary school.
The most beautiful sight of Tapolca is the Tavasbarlang (Lake Cave). It is accessible from the Fő tér with a five minutes long walk on the route of the marks. The nearly 300 meter long cave system, this unique attraction, is situated in the heart of the town. It was opened to the public in 1912 after ten years of its discovery. Small boats can be hired to explore the cave system.
Merely 15–20 m below the town a 5 km long cave system criss-crosses the Miocene limestone layers. This includes the 3.3 km long Lake Cave, which is mostly filled with karst water. The cave was discovered in 1903 during well digging. Thanks to the explorations even round boat trips were made possible from 1937. Because of its special origin and unique formations, it was designated already in 1942, and placed under strict protection in 1982. The mixture of the cold karst water flowing here and the thermal water upsurging from the deep dissolves limestone. Initially narrow passages, then smaller and larger niches were formed. During a very long time they widened into spacious chambers and passages. Source of the text: The official website of the Lake Cave.
After the sightseeing we continue or hike along the Blue Trail. The marks lead us on the promenade beside the Tapolca Creek and later on the Martinovits Ignác utca (Martinovits Ignác Street) and Vastagh János utca (Vastagh János Street). We reach slowly the border of Tapolca, cross the bypass road and continue the walk on a small, but busy asphalt road exactly towards the Szent György-hegy. After a half an hour long walk we reach the big vineyards at the foot of the mountain and the place, where the Blue Trail leaves the busy asphalt strip (Turning away from the asphalt). We turn right here and continue the hike on a narrow and worn asphalt road among the long rows of the vineyard. After a few minutes we turn right and the climb slowly begins in the mountainside.
As we climb higher, we leave behind us the big vine growing area and walk among the smaller gardens, vineyards and wine cellars. The asphalt surface of the road finishes after a few minutes, a dirt road, later only grassy wheel tracks climb farther in the mountainside. After a while we notice the well known “Basalt Orgels” of the Szent György-hegy in front of us. These high basalt columns were formed after the eruption of the mountain, when the lava got consolidated in the mountainside. Later the rising of the road disappears, but we have to turn right at the last house, pass it and enter the forest on a narrow path. Finally we reach the resting place beside the closed tourist house of Szent György-hegy Mountain on big basalt stairs. We can find the stamp of the Blue Trail in a window of the house behind the shutter.
If we walk farther after a short rest, our path gets more steeper, later we reach the stairs leading towards the flat top of the mountain among the basalt columns. At the end of the long row of wooden and basalt stairs we reach the forest at the edge of the almost flat top of the Szent György-hegy. Two smaller paths branch out from the well trodden footpath, it is worth walking until their ends, because they lead onto the top of the Basalt Orgels. A nice panorama opens from the end of the paths onto the basalt columns and the environment of the mountain. (Link to the panoramic view)
We will reach the clearing with a resting shelter on the path of the Blue Trail soon (Szent György-hegy Mountain, path to the summit), here the marked path turns left and begin to descend from the mountain. But this place is not the real top of the mountain, we can visit it on a path which is signed with marks! From the top of Szent György-hegy opens a really beautiful panorama onto its environs and the Balaton Lake, it is worth visiting it!
If we go back to the junction of the paths and turn onto the Blue Trail, we will begin the descent from the mountain and reach the vineyards and wine cellars in the southern mountainside soon. The dirt road descends only very mildly as we walk around in the mountainside. We take almost a quarter circle around the Szent György-hegy, later we turn down from this well trodden dirt road and begin to slope on a path. After a few minutes we reach another dirt road, turn left onto it and begin to walk in the opposite direction, than a few minutes ago!
Later the road turns right, but we keep the heading on a path. After a few minutes we get to the Oroszlánfejű-kút (Oroszlánfejű Spring, it means Lionheaded Spring). We can fill up our bottles from the cool and clear water of the spring before we continue our hike. An asphalt road begins at the spring, we reach the baroque building of Tarányi pince (Wine cellar named Tarányi) and the Lengyel kápolna Chapel on it.
We continue the hike on the asphalt road, and reach slowly the foot of the mountain. The road turns west, but after a while we leave it and cross a big vineyard along a gappy acacia strip. Later the forest strip finishes, we walk farther on a sandy dirt road, and reach the asphalt access road of Hegymagas village on it. We turn onto the asphalt strip and after a 1.5 kilometer long walk get to the busy main road number 71. We cross it and continue our walk on the bicycle lane beside the road (Turning onto the cycling road). After a one kilometer long walk we reach the access road of Szigliget village. We turn onto it, and later, where the asphalt road bends right, we walk straight on a steeply rising stony road. A few minutes later we reach a small car park in the hillside.
The Blue Trail goes farther on this road, but here is the starting point of a promenade, which climbs to the ruins of the fortress of Szigliget (Szigliget village, road to the castle). The small box of the stamp is located on the post of the billboard beside a Catholic church. Another stamp is in the wine shop named “In vino veritas”. Both places are at the beginning of the promenade.
We can obtain the stamp at the start of the promenade and the ruins are high above us, but it is worth climbing till the remains, visit them and admire the beautiful panorama, which opens from the walls. (Link to the panoramic view) This fortress, similar to other ones in Hungary, was built after the Tartar invasion in the middle of the 13th century and was destroyed by the Turkey troops in the 16th century. We can find the third Blue Trail's stamp on the wall of the ticket office at the ruined gate of the castle. (Video about the medieval condition of the castle)
If we turn back onto the route of the Blue Trail, we have a three kilometres long walk until the railway station of Badacsonytördemic village on asphalt roads, but we can take a short detour meanwhile to the ruins of an 800 years old church. It is accessible by a two minutes long walk from the “T” junction of asphalt roads in southeastern direction. After a while we leave the village, the road runs at the foot of the Antal-hegy (Antal Hill), later at a junction we turn east, cross the wide and deep trench of Eger-víz, after a long and straight section the main road number 71 again, and get to the railway. We turn left at the railway barrier and get to the railway station beside the rails after few hundred steps. The stamp of the Blue Trail is located in its metal box at the ticket office of the station (Badacsonytördemic village, railway station).
After the stamping procedure we can hike farther. We walk a few steps on that road, where we arrived to Badacsonytördemic, and turn right, onto the Zöldfa utca (Zöldfa Street). We reach the main road of the village on it. The Blue Trail turns right here, but after fifty steps turns left and a hard climb begins onto the Badacsony Mountain. It is perhaps the most well known extinct volcano of the Tapolca Basin, it stands at the coast of Balaton Lake with its symmetrical frustum of cone shape.
We begin the ascent on the Rodostó utca (Rodostó Street) among gardens, later we continue the hike on the steeper and narrower Újhegy út (Újhegy Road). After a while the asphalt strip leaves the last dwelling houses and reaches the wine cellars and vineyards in the mountainside. This meandering road is very narrow, it does not have any sidewalk, if we meet with a car, we have to step to the fences of the gardens to give way. The road climbs higher and higher in the mountainside, slowly it reaches the last gardens and vineyards at the foot of the rocks. After a while we get to the beginning of the Bujdosók lépcsője (Stairs of Exiles).
The name of the stairs refers to Prince Rákóczi Ferenc, who led the revolution against the Austrian Empire between 1703 and 1711. The revolution was defeated and the prince with his mates had to go in exile into the Turkey village Tekirdag (its Hungarian name is Rodostó), at the coast of the Marble Sea.
This stairway is very long, and it has two sections. The first part leads to the former Rodostó tourist hostel, which is closed this time, and it contains 125 basalt stairs, but the pavement ascends among the group of stairs, as well. The Blue Trail gets around the fence of the former tourist hostel on a path and the stairs continue on the uppper side of the yard. The second part is the longer one, it has 464 stairs! We reach the wide plateau of the Badacsony after a long and exhausting climb among trees and basalt rocks! There is a resting place on the edge of the plateau and a path signed with marks leads to a small lookout point from there. The Szent György-hegy and Badacsonytördemic village is visible from that place.
The path of the Blue Trail meanders on the edge of the plateau counterclockwise and we reach the Ranolder kereszt Badacsony Mountain, Ranolder Cross after a few minutes long walk. Unfortunately there is no panorama from the path underway because of the thick forest! There are resting benches and desks on the clearing behind the high stone cross, but a beautiful view opens from the lookout terrace beneath the foot of the cross! (Link to the panoramic view) We can see the western basin of the Balaton from this point with the villages and towns. The stone cross was built in 1857, its name refers to the bishop, who erected it here, at the edge of the plateau.
The path of the Blue Trail continues at the edge of the plateau, and after a while we reach another lookout terrace. From this place we can see rather the middle basin of Balaton Lake. The path leaves the edge of the mountain here, and cuts through on the plateau. We walk along a cut-line in the forest, after a few hundred steps we turn right and take a small descending detour to the lookout point named Hertelendy emlék, where we have a nice view towards the eastern part of Balaton. We lose a little level here, but later we climb back onto the plateau, continue the walk in the cut-line again and reach after a quarter hour the highest point of the Badacsony, where the wooden Kisfaludy lookout tower stands (Badacsony Mountain, Kisfaludy lookout tower). The nice wooden tower was inaugurated in year 2013, which is built intsead of the old, worn tower. It is worth climbing it, because a beautiful round panorama opens from its top level onto the environs of Badacsony Mountain!
After the lookout tower the path of the Blue Trail leaves the plateau and descends steeply in the deep and narrow valley of the Kőkapu to the vineyards of the northern mountainside. At the first houses the regular cone shape of the Gulács Mountain appears in front of us, and if we turn back here, we can see the basalt rocks of the Kőkapu (Kőkapu means Stone Gate). If we continue the walk, a nice view will open towards the Szent György-hegy from the meadow of Köbölkút.
Our dirt road descends among vineyards into the wide valley between the Badacsony and Gulács mountains, pass the resting benches and desks at the Köbölkút (Köböl Well), later we cross the main road in the col (Crossing of the main road). Now we begin the climb in the side of the Gulács. After the last houses and gardens we enter the forest and climb steeply onto the forest covered shoulder of the mountain. The path of the Blue Trail doesn’t visit the top, it begins to descend here, but we can climb the summit of Gulács on a very steeply climbing path, which is signed with marks (Gulács Mountain, path to the summit). The marked path sinks in the mountainside and reaches after a while a narrow asphalt road leading towards Káptalantóti village. We turn onto it, and get to the centre of the village after a half an hour, while we have a permanent nice view towards the Csobánc Mountain, which towers in front of us.
We can stamp with the Blue Trail’s stamp at the Horváth kert pub at the centre of the village (Káptalantóti village, stamping place), the box of the stamp is located on the grid of a window right from the door. After stamping we leave the settlement on the asphalt road. This road leads till the main road, where we turn right and walk on this asphalt strip about 3-400 steps. We turn left at the junction of the next dirt road towards the last extinct volcano of the Basin of Tapolca, which is the Csobánc. The Blue Trail crosses a weedy meadow, later we reach the vineyards of the hillside on the dirt road. We can see the ruins of the fortress very well from this road, they stand on the southern edge of the plateau of the mountain.
The dirt road climbs higher and higher in the mountainside, and after a while we reach a junction of dirt roads. The marks turn left and continue the climb, the marks go on straight and begin to descend back to the valley. After the junction we pass the small clearing of the Vár-kút (Vár Well), later we leave the dirt road and turn right onto a narrow path. We pass the last weekend house, step into the forest and a very hard climb begins here until the plateau! We reach the flat top after a ten minutes long exhausting climb. The path take a big half circle at the edge of the plateau of the mountain counterclockwise, during the walk we can admire the beautiful panorama of the Tapolca Basin and the extinct volcanoes. (Link to the panoramic view) We get to the ruins after a short walk. The box of the Blue Trail's stamp is equipped on the pole of the flag beside the ruined walls (Ruins on the top of Csobánc Mountain). (Video about the medieval condition of the castle)
The Csobánc is the last volcano, which is visited by the path of the Blue Trail, it is worth taking a short rest at the ruined fortress and admire the beautiful panorama of the Tapolca Basin! The renovation of the walls began a few years ago, the shape of the old fortress becomes more and more complete. If we continue the hike along the path of the Blue Trail, we will descend on the western side of the mountain on the ancient access road of the castle. The road sinks meanderingly in the bare mountainside, later we reach the vineyards and weekend houses again. We walk around the mountain in its northern side, and get to a narrow, worn asphalt road after a quarter an hour.
We walk a few steps on this road in south-eastern direction and turn left, onto a dirt road. The marks arrive here back to the route of the Blue Trail, they made a shortcut, because they didn't climb the Csobánc! We pass vineyards and wine cellars on the dirt road, it finishes at the last houses in the side of Hajagos Hill. We step on a footpath among the trees, this meandering byway pass the old, former stone quarry of the Hajagos Hill, later joins to a forestry road. These rarely used wheel tracks lead us to a well trodden dirt road, which connect Mindszentkálla village to the main road number 77. We turn onto this dirt road and walk about a kilometer on it. The Blue Trail turns left and leaves this road beside the first vineyards, and goes on together with the nature trail named Kékkő.
We continue the hike on a meandering, grassy wheel track, first through a bushy pasture, later beside a big fruit plantation. The wheel track finishes at a hunter's highstand, only a footpath leads us beside a small ditch. Finally we get to a dirt road beside a big vineyard, the Blue Trail reaches the hill of the Kőtenger (Stone Sea of Szentbékkálla) on it.
The rocks of the Stone Sea were formed from the sand of an ancient sea, whose sandy coast was located here. The unusual rock formations and stone cavities evolved following the post-volcanic era when thermal springs erupted in the area, and the hot water hardened and cemented the local white sand into a stone mass. Later, in the Middle Ages people sculpted mill stones from the rocks, but a little part of them left here for the posterity.
The path of the Blue Trail climbes the hill and goes along its ridge among the rocks, later it descends on its other side. We reach the border of Szentbékkálla on a dirt road and continue our way on the Toldi utca, but we leave the village soon on a dirt road. Later we turn onto a path and visit the remains of an old mansion in the hillside. It was the mansion of the bishop of Veszprém still in the Middle Ages. We turn back to the village from the ruins and get to the centre of the settlement soon. We can stamp into our booklets at the pub. The stamp is located in its steel box on the terrace of the pub on the wheel well (Szentbékkálla village, stamping place).
We continue the hike on the Kossuth Lajos utca (Kossuth Lajos Street), later we turn left and leave the village in western direction. The Fekete-hegy (Fekete Hill) stands exactly in front of us with a lookout tower on its top. At the big bend of the asphalt road we go farther on a dirt road until a “T” junction of dirt roads. The marks of the Blue Trail turn left here, but if we follow the marks leading right, we will reach in five minutes the ruins of the church of the former Töttöskál village in the hillside. The village was destroyed in the Turkey Ages, but the church was intact till the end of the 18th century. A nice panorama opens toward the Basin of Kál and the far volcanoes of the Basin of Tapolca from that place.
We continue the hike along the Blue Trail among vineyards and gardens on a well trodden dirt road, and in the next junction turn right onto wheel tracks. These tracks turn left at a stone cross, but we walk straight on a narrow footpath and cross a patch of forest. After a while we leave the trees and reach a small asphalt road at the end of the footpath. The cave of the Öreg-hegyi-kút (Spring of Öreg-hegy) is located exactly on the other side of the asphalt strip. The spring gives always cool and clear water. We turn right onto this road and go farther on the same level in the hillside. After 3-400 steps we turn right in a junction, onto a steep climbing road leading towards the top of hill. Later it turns right and we go exactly in the opposite direction, than a few minutes ago, but with some floors higher! The quality of this road becomes worse and worse, after a few minutes it will be only a wheel track, later a grassy path. It finishes at the gate of the last yard, here we turn left, and continue the climb on a stony footpath. This path ascends continuously, later we leave it, turn right and cross the forest on another path. We reach the lookout tower named Eötvös Károly after a 20 minutes long walk in the forest (Fekete-hegy Mountain, Eötvös lookout tower).
A beautiful panorama opens from the top terrace of the lookout tower towards the Basin of Kál and the far extinct volcanoes of Basin of Tapolca. We can see even the Balaton Lake among the hills! It is worth resting a few minutes in the tower and admire the panorama! (Link to the panoramic view) If we walk on, the path of the Blue Trail meanders a while on the edge of the Fekete-hegy among the trees. After a while, at the junction of marked trails, where the marked path begin to sink in the hillside, the marked path turns left and cross the flat top of the Fekete Hill. We have to follow this meandering, hardly visible path through the fields among trees and small forest patches, finally about one km later we turn right, onto another wheel tracks. We reach the forest again, our road descends in a gorge from the plateau. The slope finishes at the end of these wheel tracks, we pass a barrier, turn left there and continue the hike on a dirt road leading among vineyards and fruit plantations. This road sinks mildly in the hillside, later crosses a forest patch and the houses of Balatonhenye village appears at the edge of the forest. We reach the village after a few minutes.
The box of the Blue Trail's stamp is located in the centre of the settlement, on the billboard in front of the pub. (Balatonhenye village, stamping place). After the stamping procedure and a short rest we continue the walk along the Kossuth utca (Kossuth Street) until the Calvinist church of the village, where we turn left in the junction and climb a hill on a narrow asphalt strip. After the last houses the aphalt surface of the road finishes and we reach a junction of wheel tracks in the bare, stony hillside. We have to follow those wheel tracks, which begins to climb at the edge of the field into northern direction. The marks are painted very rarely, only on those places, where the tracks crosses forest patches or passes lonely trees. We reach slowly the flat plateau on the meandering road, pass a wide cultivated area and enter the forest.
Our dirt road crosses the forest and we reach a pebble road after a kilometer long walk (Turning onto the pebble road). We turn onto this road, and after a 40 minutes long walk we get to the buildings of the forester’s lodge and the forest school (Csicsói forester's lodge, stamping place). Generally forest schools are cheep accommodations in the nature, where school classes can spend a few days to get to know the flora and fauna of the forest. Almost every pupil of primary schools can spend a short vacation in similar places. The stamp of the Blue Trail is located on a wooden post in front of the buildings, at the gate of the yard of the school.
Later we walk on and reach the end of this gravel road after a half an hour. We turn right onto the narrow asphalt road leading to Nagyvázsony village, and walk about 4-500 steps on it. We have to watch the left side of the road, because we have to turn onto a narrow path, which leads back into the thick forest! If we find it, we have to follow this narrow path, which descend mildly through the forest until the ruins of the monastery of Tálod. Only one wall stands alone among the trees of the forest, it shows the place, where the building was standing until the Turkey Ages, when it was destroyed. We find the Kinizsi-forrás Spring and the resting place beside the ruins.
After the spring we reach the edge of the forest, and continue our hike on grassy wheel tracks through the fields beside it. We pass the ruins of the Szent Ilona kápolna (St. Helen's Chapel) and after a half an hour long walk the tracks climb the bare hill of Szent Mihály-hegy (Szent Mihály Hill). The wheel tracks lead parallel with the border of the forest in 50 steps distance, and we have to find that narrow path, which leads into the forest. After a ten minutes long walk among the trees we reaches an old stone well in the forest. This is the 500 years old well of the former monastery named Szent Mihály. The ruins of the monastery stand in the forest among the trees on a small clearing (Path to the ruined Szent Mihály monastery). It was one of the biggest cloisters in Hungary in the 16th century, when it was destroyed by the landlords on the district, that the Turkey troops could not use it as fortress.
After the monastery we reach Nagyvázsony village after a few minutes long walk and glimpse the ruins of the ruined fortress. We find the stamp of the Blue Trail at the small building of the ticket office in its box equipped on the wall (Nagyvázsony, castle). We find another stamp in the Kinizsi Pub (address: 84 Kinizsi utca, Nagyvázsony). We stamp into our Blue Trail booklet, and with this act finish our long hike through the Balaton-felvidék Region.
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