A Weekend in the Lesence Area - Discover the Wonders of the Five Villages with Us!

culture VEB2023 / Photos: Csaba Toroczkai

If you had just 48 hours to explore the most beautiful landscapes of the Balaton Uplands, most of you would probably head for the Kál Basin and Nivegy Valley, but if you venture west from Tapolca you will find some enchanting landscapes. Zalahaláp, Uzsa, Lesenceistvánd, Balatonederics and Hegymagas: these five small villages make up the Lesence area (Lesencevidék), where it is well worth spending a few hours or even a few days.

If you come from Tapolca and continue north, you will soon reach the Zalahaláp sign. Passing through the village, you will see Haláp hill, from the top of which you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the Balaton Uplands and the Tapolca basin. If you walk along the Haláp nature trail, you can take a closer look at the amazing wildlife that can be found here, and there are several cellars in the area where you can relax with a glass of fine wine.

From Zalahaláp towards Tapolca, continue on road 77 and then road 84 until you reach the village of Uzsa, which has just a few hundred inhabitants and offers many exciting sights for nature fans. For example, Csarabos forest and Csarabos Nature Trail in Uzsa, which is part of the nature reserve in the Lesence Creek valley. They take their name from the plant called csarab (heather), which turns purple in late summer. On the hillside next to the village you will find the 800-year-old Pauline monastery and the Holy Spirit spring.

If you are heading back towards Lake Balaton from Uzsa on road 84, you will soon reach your next stop at Lesenceistvánd. Bordered by the Bakony forests to the east and vineyards to the west, the small village is a good place to visit the Máté (Matthew) Fountain, the Chapel of the Virgin Mary and a nearby popular hiking spot, the 400-metre Kő Orra (Stone's Nose), which is included in the National Blue Trail.

As you gradually get closer to Lake Balaton, you will find Balatonederics at the junction of roads 84 and 71. The road is lined with vineyards in several places and there are wine cellars in Ederics, but as you're now quite close to the shore you might as well take a dip in Lake Balaton. The municipality is most famous for the African Museum and Zoo, founded by Africa hunter Dr. Endre Nagy. It has a collection of hunting and ethnographic exhibits, trophies and a small zoo for the adventurous visitor. There are four caves in Balatonederics, all of which are under special protection, the most famous of them being Csodabogyós cave. The (known) passages of the cave are more than 6 kilometres long, making it the tenth longest cave in the country and an unmissable destination for hiking and climbing enthusiasts.

Leaving the cave behind you, head towards Balatonfüred, and after passing the Castle of Szigliget turn left towards Hegymagas, where you can see the Szent György Hill and its basalt towers. These unique formations are the result of volcanic activity 3-4 million years ago. You can take a trail to see them up close. Another attraction of Hegymagas is the Lengyel Chapel, built by the Lengyel family in the 18th century, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of Lake Balaton.

A trip to the Lesence area offers a wealth of natural wonders, culinary delights, unforgettable panoramic landscapes and accommodation for a relaxing break. You can explore the area by car or on foot on the hiking and nature trails mentioned above, but if you'd rather hop on a bike, you can do the same on the cycle route from Uzsa to Balatongyörök.

As all five municipalities have joined the VEB2023 ECoC programme, there will be no shortage of cultural events in the area in the future, and it is guaranteed to be worth not just a weekend but a longer stay in the area.


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