- From the ruined Apáti Church follow the Green T (ZT) markers into the woods.
- At a junction on a meadow take a steep but short (200 m) detour along the Yellow ▲(S▲) spur trail to the left to visit Őrtorony lookout tower.
- A long panoramic section follows (3.9 km) until you reach the first shady shelter. The Green T (ZT) trail takes a 90 degree turn here to the left.
- Among the geyserite cones the Green T (ZT) trail turns left. Follow the Yellow + (S+) straight ahead. It descends to the shore of Belső-tó (Inner Lake).
- At the lakeside, turn left (and leave the marked trail) to walk 300 metres along the fence to follow the Green T (ZT) trail again.
- Past the Inner Lake the trail traverses among holiday houses of Kis-Erdő-tető and leads to the lookout point at Szélmarta-sziklák (Weathered Rocks).
- Past the rock outcrop, descend to Kossuth Lajos Street. Cross the street and continue uphill.
- The view over the Bay of Füred disappears behind the bushes as the Green T (ZT) trail keeps descending. Past an S-bend you will arrive at the rock with the hermits’ caves (Barátlakások).
- Pass the caves and the trail begins a descent and soon arrives at the lakeside road. Turn right and after 800 metres you will arrive at the bus stop near the ferry port.
A view over silent volcanoes
From the bus stop, the trail parallels the main road towards the western side of the peninsula. The small lavender field that you will pass is one of the first lavender plantations from the 1920s. At the ruined church, the only remains of the devastated and abandoned village of Apáti, the Green T (ZT) trail enters the woods and leads uphill on the slope of Apáti Hill. At a clearing the Yellow ▲ (S▲) spur trail on the left begins a short but steep ascent to Őrtorony lookout tower.
It offers an incredible 360-degree view and the structure of the peninsula is presented from here like a model landscape with signature landmarks each demonstrating an episode of local geological history. When 7 million years ago basaltic lava broke through the thinned crust of the Carpathian Basin, volcanism of Balaton Uplands began right here, on the peninsula. Melted rock failed to reach the surface of the wetland but could vaporize the water content of the sediment, generating a huge explosion. Lithified debris formed tuff rings around the vents. One of them were detected in Outer Lake, another in Inner Lake and the third one south of Csúcs-hegy. After volcanism, these low-relief flat floored craters called maar fill up with water to form natural lakes. Maar may also refer not only this subtype of volcanoes but the lake itself too. Past 4 million years of vulcanism, the landscape calmed down, and tuff rings began to erode. This transformation was accompanied by intense thermal spring activity. The three separate basins that later merged by subsidence to form the lakebed of Balaton were formed around 20-25 thousand years ago. Water level varied by climate changes. There was a period when Tihany was an island. Landscape was fundamentally transformed by human activity. In the early 19th century canals were made and Outer Lake was drained to make meadows. Forests were limited to the edges of the peninsula and the highest peaks. Expanding tourism called for taking steps to preserve local natural values and in 1952, the first landscape protection area of the country was formed here. Today it belongs to the Balaton Uplands National Park, and boasts with the European Diploma as a location of exceptional conservational interest.
Panoramic trail above Balaton
Return to the nature trail and continue to the peak of Nyereg-hegy. The white rocks create a somewhat hot microclimate and habitat even in springtime. The view over the western basin of the lake begins to unfold here. The bay just next to the peninsula is rather peaceful as the shoreline is mostly intact, nearby villages are less frequented and boats are also rare. Actually, this is only spot around the lake to observe the western basin lengthwise with a view both over the northern and the southern side. Where the trail bifurcates the pathway to the right leads to a cave named after a famous outlaw of the area in the early 19th century (Sobri Jóska), who, anyway, may have never been there.
The trail continues to be rolling with several spots to enjoy the view. Then you will descend to a paved road. After crossing the road, a lengthy ascent with fewer lookout points begins to the picnic spot on the top of Hálóeresztő-hegy.
Exploring traits of thermal springs
The trail stops to follow the shoreline and turns inside the peninsula. The white rock formations bordering the pathway are geyserite cones, several of which can be found on the southern tip of the peninsula. After volcanism ended in the area, the site of Balaton was a wetland. Water oozing to hot rock down below returned to the surface through cracks in the form of hot water solutions. This geological environment fed more than a hundred thermal springs (not to be confused with geysers). Their high silicic acid content contributed to the cementation of other rocks. When reaching the surface, geyserite and limestone were deposited from the water due to sudden temperature drop. Checking some of the cones from close you may even see their vents. The internal structure of some formations was opened up by mining before they gained a protected status.
The most splendid view over the Inner Lake is offered by the geyserite cones. The Green T (ZT) trial slaloms among several strange boulders. The most famous is the rock of Aranyház (Golden House) named after yellowish lichen that grow on its surface. It is especially spectacular in autumn. The view over inner parts of Tihany is amazing from its top, but does not compare to that of Hármashegyi geyserite cone (further down along Yellow + (S+)). It boasts a picturesque vista over the dark blue surface of Inner Lake, the village of Tihany, and the turquoise green Balaton. Follow the Yellow + (S+) markers to descend to Inner Lake. Turn left on the shore to return to the Green T (ZT) trail.
Back to the shore
After rounding Inner Lake, the trail leads uphill again to Szélmarta-sziklák (Weathered Rocks) on the top of Kis-erdő-tető. These rock formations were also formed in basaltic volcanism. As a result of tectonic shifts, they got tilted and softer layers of the rock composition have been abraded by wind-transport. In the meantime, freezing water in the cracks also shaped the soft tuff. This is a perfect spot to take a rest before the last rolling section of the hike.
The trail descends again to cross the paved road leading to the village. Then an ascent begins to reach the peaks along the eastern shoreline. The view unfolds towards the Bay of Füred, Balatonfüred and Csopak. A short loop will take you to the outer edge of the hills and the last section of the hike begins.
The slope of Óvár-hegy hides an attraction that excites many visitors coming to Tihany. The caves of Barátlakások (Monks’ Homes) could be formed in the basaltic rock as it is soft enough to carve due to its structural composition. Monks moved here in the 11th century. Some of the caves were buried by rockslides but the rest were renovated and secured. The only spring of the peninsula (Ciprián-forrás) is nearby, which also could support their life here.
An atmospheric pathway leads to the paved lakeside road. Walk 100 meters on the other side to reach the ferry port with the bust stop.