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Blick auf Tihany, Bild: ZGPhotography / shutterstock

Tihany – picturesque mountain village at Lake Balaton

On the northern shore of Lake Balaton in Hungary, the largest inland lake in Europe, lies the village of Tihany. The village is located on the peninsula of the same name, its centre is picturesquely enthroned more than 80 metres above the water, visible from afar. Regional cuisine, Hungarian folklore and interesting leisure activities attract numerous visitors every year, and Tihany also has an important symbol of Hungarian history in the form of the remains of an abbey founded by King Andrew I almost 1000 years ago.

Central location on the lake enables optimal mobility

Tihany is well developed in terms of transport. Although the village does not have a train station and is also a bit away from the main road 71, which is important for the Balaton region, this peripheral situation is due to the peninsula location of the village. The road network is nevertheless well developed, as the car ferry crosses from here to the southern shore of Lake Balaton. It runs every 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the season, and Balatonfüred, Balatonföldvar and Siofok can also be reached by excursion boat. Public buses connect Tihany with the nearby villages on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, so that the surrounding area can be explored without your own car.

Fantastic views and culinary specialties

Benedictine monastery in Tihany
The famous Benedictine monastery, Image: Botond Horvath / shutterstock

The fantastic location on Lake Balaton with wonderful views over the lake is the trademark of Tihany. The place is located on a mountain up to 80m high and is an unmistakable eye-catcher even from a distance. This panorama and the ideal ferry connection often invite even visitors who actually spend their holidays on the southern shore of Lake Balataon to take a short detour. In the town centre with its narrow and often steep streets, holidaymakers can discover the region’s past up close. In addition to historic buildings, farmhouses and fishermen’s houses have been lovingly restored like in an open-air museum and give an impression of the former life in the village with their arcades and thatched roofs.

At the port of Tihany, tourists will also find everything their hearts desire. Many terraces offer a wonderful view over the lake, and in the small inns, csardas and cafés, travellers can indulge in regional specialities. Fish dishes have a long tradition at Lake Balaton and the fiery fish soup is a speciality in Tihany. In addition, there is of course also Hungarian goulash, meat skewers and other hearty delicacies, but the region is also famous for cakes and pies in all variations.

The historical heritage of Tihany

Tihany is a culturally significant place on Lake Balaton. In 1055, King Andrew I founded a Benedictine abbey on the peninsula, which quickly gained supra-regional influence. The founding document of the monastery is one of the most important documents in Hungarian history, in which more than 50 villages in the surrounding area were mentioned for the first time.

Souvenirs Tihany
Classic pottery in Tihany, Image: pgaborphotos / shutterstock

Not much of the original buildings has been preserved except for the Romanesque crypt, but the successor buildings in particular are attractive to tourists, as they point to Tihany’s eventful history. The town was already affected by the Mongols, and the fortifications built on it survived the time of the Turkish occupation, but were blown up by the Habsburgs after the reconquest in 1702. The original monastery had burned down decades earlier, but today the baroque church built there in the 18th century is the landmark of Tihany, visible from afar.

However, the history of the place did not begin in the Middle Ages. Excavations have shown that the area was already permanently settled in the Bronze Age, and later the Romans maintained extensive trade relations from here. Today, visitors can find out about Tihany’s eventful history in the monastery building right next to the church. The impressive exhibition shows numerous exhibits from Lake Balaton, liturgical vestments and religious artifacts, but also some medieval manuscripts and the story of the legendary King Andrew can be admired.

Fascinating nature and water-related leisure activities

Visitors who do not want to deal exclusively with the history of the monastery are also welcome in Tihany. Numerous hiking trails invite you to explore the nature of the peninsula and discover castles, ruins and the two crater lakes “Belsö-to” and “Külsö-to“, which were formed millions of years ago. Fascinating geysers show the visitor that he is still in a region with volcanic activity, at the same time numerous viewpoints allow overwhelming views over the lake.

At the lake itself, holidaymakers can also spend relaxing days. Swimming is of course part of Lake Balaton, although the water in the vicinity of Tihany is particularly refreshing, as lower water temperatures prevail due to higher depths. For this reason, the peninsula is also very popular with anglers, while sailing around the entire lake is a pleasant pastime. Finally, tourists can also take the boat to the neighbouring villages, where picturesque vineyards, old village churches, hidden caves and Balatonfüred, the oldest spa town on Lake Balaton, await.

All larger towns have the typical shopping mile of Lake Balaton. Numerous stalls and stalls offer useful snacks, regional food and souvenirs, while night owls should feel particularly at home in the seaside metropolis of Siofok. However, the quiet life is not far away either, because the Puszta begins only a few kilometers from the lake. Holidaymakers can enjoy the incredible expanse of the Hungarian countryside and watch cows and ponies trot through picturesque villages. A small, hidden inn is also quickly found in the Puszta and it is not uncommon for funny musicians to play tasty and inexpensive meals.

General information

Tihany is known for its picturesque landscape, which is rich in lavender fields and geological formations. The peninsula is also known for the Tihany Echo, a natural echo that was once reflected back from the steep walls of the former monastery.

Climate

The climate in Tihany is temperate continental, with warm summers and cool, humid winters. The best time to visit is from spring to autumn, when temperatures are pleasant and nature is in full bloom.

Sights

  • The Benedictine Abbey of Tihany: Founded in 1055, it is one of the main attractions on the peninsula and is known for its impressive Baroque architecture and historic tombs.
  • Lavender fields: Tihany is famous for its extensive lavender fields, which bloom especially in June and are a popular destination for tourists.
  • Inner Lake and Outer Lake: Two crater lakes located on the peninsula that are popular places for walks and nature watching.
  • Tihanyi PIAC Marketplace: A local market where visitors can buy handmade handicrafts, local specialties, and fresh produce.

Activities

  • Hiking and cycling: The peninsula offers numerous hiking and cycling trails that lead through beautiful landscapes.
  • Boat tours on Lake Balaton: From Tihany, visitors can take various boat tours on Lake Balaton.
  • Visit to the lavender fields: A must, especially in June during the flowering season.
  • Birdwatching: The region is rich in bird life, especially in the transitional seasons.

Culture

Tihany has a rich cultural history, which is reflected in the architecture, museums, and local festivals. The village preserves many of its traditional customs and offers cultural events throughout the year.

Gastronomy

The gastronomy in Tihany reflects the culinary diversity of the Balaton region, with an emphasis on fresh fish dishes and regional wines. Local specialties include dishes such as the “Balaton whitefish”.

Journey

Tihany is easily accessible by car, as it is close to the main traffic arteries around Lake Balaton. The nearest major train station is in Balatonfüred, from where there are regular bus connections to the peninsula.