Day 2

Tihany Peninsula - Morning

This marvellous peninsula, devides the Lake Balaton into two. It is a pearl of not only the region or the country but also of Europe. The Tihany Peninsula has been the first national reserve area of Hungary (1952).

The surface of the vulcanic peninsula is covered by limestone geysers.

Two lakes inside of the peninsula increase the beauty of the hillsides and mountains covered with vineyards , lavender fields, and forests.

The volcanic group that turns up from the Balaton is an area of geological heritage value with two inner lakes and the two steepled benediction abbey churches . The open surface of the Inner Lake is 25 m above the level of the Balaton

The uniqueness of its formation, the appearance of today's scenery, the geological and historical relics along with its rare plants and wildlife all enhance its status as one of our most beautiful natural treasures.

Awards of Tihany

  1. European Village Renewal Award 2014 went to Hungary, Tihany. A high-rank international interdisciplinary jury elected the winner after intensive assessment Tihany, Hungary.

    "Tihany impressed with an exemplary development process which was initiated by the village officials and was carried by the citizens and supported by experts. Numerous already realised projects made the motto of the competition "lead a better life" a reality in Tihany. The fact that a participant of a country from behind the former Iron Curtain is awarded with the European Rural Village Award shows the great development progress which was achieved over the last quarter of this century "

    Erwin Pröll, Chairman of the European Association for Rural Development and Village Renewal, said enthusiastically in a first reaction.

  2. Tihany’s natural treasures were Europe-wide acknowledged by 2003 when the Council of Europe awarded the peninsula with the European Diploma of nature reserves.

Outstanding Geological values:

As a result of volcanic follow-up activity, thermal springs created more than one hundred geyser hills in the peninsula. The most beautiful one is called Aranyház (Golden House) after the golden lichen covering its rocks.

The geyser cones came into being after the volcanic activities in the area stopped, whilst hot waters regularly spurting forth created characteristic travertine and hydroquartzite formations.

The unique geological value of the Tihany peninsula is its complete Upper Pannonian sequence rich in fossils. Its most famous fossil is the "goat hoof", a petrified Congeria shell.

Historic relics of the peninsula are also outstanding.

Tihany is one of the sacred places of Hungary. The Baroque complex of buildings of the Monastery of the Benedictine Order, established by King Andrew I in 1055, crown the picturesque village. Its undercroft carved into the tuff, includes the tomb of the king as well. Tihany was a royal burial-place.

Deed of foundation of Tihany Abbey dating from 1055 which is the earlie written record of the Hungarian (at the same time Finno-Ugrian) language.

Before the 18th century a fortress used to stand on the site of the present monastery, it was never occupied by the invading Turkish army.

Now some old houses of the ancient fishing village serve as a village museum, preserving the relics of the popular 19th century architecture of the Balaton Uplands.

Carved homes of the monks

From the early middle agescan still be found on the steep slope of Óvár Hill facing lake Balaton. In the 11 th -12 th century Greek Orthodox friars carved their cells, a chapel and a dining room into the 20 m high basalt tufa cliffs. This is the only hermits' place which is a relatively well-preserved in Central Europe. Its local name is Barátlakások (Friar homes).

Exeptional flora and fauna:

The rare, valuable species of the fauna and flora are present here as a result of the mild, Mediterranean-like climate. The arid forests of oak, ash and sumac are especially picturesque in autumn. One of the rare nesting birds of the peninsula is the horned sparrow owl, and in summer nights we can often hear the loud call of the cicada and the balm-cricket living in these forests.

We find several rare, protected submediterranean plants (Sternbergia colchiciflora, Scilla autumnalis) in the grassy steppes of Tihany. Spontaneous forest development started on the ancient Pannon grasslands that were extensively used for grazing before. This may be clearly observed on the side of the Csúcs Hill. In 1990 a thatched sheep-barn, fitting in with the surroundings, was built on the hillside. The sheep kept here help nature conservationists to restore the pastures that had been neglected for so long.

The area is especially rich in butterflies prefering the warmer climate: over 800 butterflies occur here, some of them are extremely rare (ruly tiger, red underwing, looper)

Many species live here which are extremely rare or are unknown elsewhere in Hungary. Just the number of papilio species for instance exceeds 700. The area is also very interesting ornithologically, especially the Outer lake attracts numerous resident and passing birds. On the top of the mountain a whole line of Mediterranean and subMediterranean plants grow on secondary meadows, among them the Sternbergia colchiciflora, the autumn ox-eye daisy (Scilla autumnnails), the Convolvulus cantabricus, and the Valerianella pumila. Here also there is the prickly lucerne (Medicago rigidula), several species of feathergrass (Stipa sp.) along with the dwarf iris (Iris pumila). Flowering on the eastern side of the cliff is the Gagea bohemica, the Cotoneaster matrensis and the Coronilla emerus.

Tihany Peninsula - Afternoon and evening

The Lavender House Visitor Centre

The once raging fire of the volcanoes and the harmony of the landscape that was shaped as a result of it is interpreted in the visitor centre by a short, spectacular film (also available in English) and by an interactive exhibition (with English interpretive boards). We will show you the centuries-long co-existence of people and nature along with the emblematic culture that developed from it: lavender production.

Lavender plants of Tihany region:

The southern side retains the last of the once famous lavender plantations of the peninsula. In 1924 lavenders were planted here and the plantation took on a size of almost 100 acres. Lavender oil produced in the region was renowned.

It didn’t take long time and the essential oil made from lavender of Tihany surpassed the quality of French plantation. This was proven by the fact that lavender of Tihany was subscribed on the stock-market.

The peninsula with its particularly sunny, rainless, semi-Mediterranean climate and with its slope on volcanic rocks seemed perfect region for lavender. Since then the more hectares of plantation are a determining factor for the characteristic romanticism of the region, which is receiving the visitors of peninsula with magic view and fragrance in summer.

Moreover a special natural wonder is added to this view on the turn of July and August, which is called “Butterfly valley” by the citizens. A real wonderful scene unfolded before us from the shore of Lake Balaton: thousands of butterflies are dancing above the violet blooming “sea”, dazedly from one flower to another. Of course the growing of lavender belongs closely to the life of the town. We can get a look-in to its tradition through the Lavender Festival organized year by year.