Balatonfüred is far more than just a lakeside resort by Balaton Lake. It is abundant not only in historic buildings but natural values as well. An outstanding example for this is the less-known Koloska Valley with varied forest communities, calcareous outcrops and a bubbling creek. These features make the valley quite atypical in the Balaton Uplands area.
Supposed by renowned geographer of Balaton Lake Lajos Lóczy, the valley was named after a (Benedictine) monastery (“koloska” referring to “kolostor”, monastery in Hungarian), however, historical evidences are not available to support this theory, not even the existance of that monastery. In addition, the name of the valley dates back to earlier times than the Hungarian word “kolostor” was coined (during the language reform in the 1780s). Consequently, the origin of the name is more likely related to the Hungarian first name “Kolozs”.
The idyllic spring used earlier as a watering trough for local livestock was soon discovered by tourists. Fortunately, steps for development and protection of the valley also soon were taken. Records from the early 1960s mention 4,000 visitors per year, which rose to 100,000 by the end of the ‘70s. In the meantime, although development progressed slowly, the picturesque Red (P) trail parallel to the paved road from Arács was established.
The entrance to the valley is in Arács, the constituent part of Balatonfüred, between Tamás Hill and Péter Hill. The trail along the valley bottom starts at the renowned forest restaurant Koloska Csárda and follows Koloska Creek. The surrounding forest is dominated by oaks while deadwood and the rich undergrowth are signs of a sustainable forest management.
The widened end of the valley hides Koloska forrás (Koloska spring) in a picturesque clearing surrounded by dolomite rocks that protect the cool microclimate even in summers. Earlier locals called it “the valley of seven springs” as water emerged through sedimentary bedrock at more spots. Main developments in the valley were carried out in 1961 promoting tourism to replace pastoral farming. Although changes ended watering livestock here, a general recession of pastoral farming also began those years. Picnic spots and fire pits were constructed as well as network of hiking trails were established in the area. The spring feeds a little pond, which greatly contributes to the ambience. Drinking water is accessible from a pump well above the spring.
If you follow the Green ▲ (Z▲) markers from the spring, the steep spur trail will take you up to Koloska Sziklák (Koloska Rocks), home of Scots pines. The lookout point offers a beautiful view over the valley.
The Red (P) trail crosses the clearing and the valley narrows into a gorge with more outcrops. Visitors either taking a leisurely walk or hiking may learn about local fauna, flora, geology and forest management from information boards of a nature trail. Further calories may be burnt at stations of the fitness trail.
At the end of the valley, you may see the Koloska-hárs (Koloska Lime tree), a lime tree grown into a rock. Past 1.5 kms, at a junction of hiking trails you may choose to turn back the same way or take another trail and make it a loop trip.
- Koloska Valley is 4.5 long (from Koloska Street in Arács to the junction past Koloska-hárs).
- Take a detour to Jókai lookout tower on Tamás-hegy (Tamás Hill) along the Blue (K) trail to enjoy a panoramic view.
- Following the paved road from the restaurant you will soon reach the entrance to the game reserve of Koloska Valley. Open all year round, free entrance.
- Check houses in Koloska Street representing local folk architecture.