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Natural Leaders in Western Palearctic

Northern Transdanubia Tour

9 days

During this tour you will encounter ancient, half-billion-year-old granite rock-formations, but also very young volcanic monadnocks as well. But you do not need to worry: the volcanoes are not active! There is a wide variety of lakes and wet habitats on this area as well, starting with Middle-Europe's largest lake, Lake Balaton, "The Hungarian Sea" and finishing with a huge swampy area called Lake Fertő National Park. The various sight-seeing tours and visits of castles, fortresses make this program very rich. In just one week you can see all the best of Balaton National Park and Fertő Hanság National Park.


Arrival in Budapest, sightseeing and accommodation. Special alternative programs are available depending on the arrival time and interest of the group: try one of the different great birding, hiking and cave-visiting possibilities in the city or visit a medieval Turkish spa! There are some who fall in love with the place after the first glimpse, others become devotees of the city only after a long acquaintance, but there is one thing they all agreed with: this is one of the most beautifully situated capital cities in the World. The broad Danube runs through the middle of this metropolis of two million people, separating the hilly Buda side from Pest, which is a perfect plain. The Danube panorama with the Castle District is a World Cultural Heritage site listed by the UNESCO. To know why, you just have to look at it and visit the area full with beautiful medieval buildings and churches. It is just hard to forget the beautifully illuminated bridges and buildings alongside the river.


Visit 2 special Bird Sanctuaries at Lake Velence. Easy tour to special granite rock formations, boulders which are the oldest ones in Hungary. We might see a Bee-eater colony in the Velencei Hills as well. Sightseeing in the former Coronation Town of Hungary, Székesfehérvár: an European Award winner downtown. Actually the city has a very diverse selection of cultural, historical and even natural sights. Travel across wetlands to Veszprém City, the "Capital of the Bakony Mountains".


Tour in an old Yew-Tree forest followed by a visit to a world-famous Herend China Factory, largest producer of handmade china in Europe. Visit different parts of the Bakony Mountains: seasonal tours to a special beech forest, mountain marshes, oak woods with dense underwood or visit a unique geological formation, a primeval karst with fossils. Admire an European Award winner Way of the Cross in the middle of the Bakony Mountain.


Travel through the Bakony Mountains to Lake Balaton, "The Hungarian Sea". Waterworld at the Balaton and wonders of the Tihany peninsula: special ponds which are perfect birding sites, a 1000-year-old Abbey, hermit caves, Golden House geyser cone.


Criss-cross the territory of the Balaton National Park, get acquainted with the ins and outs of the geology, flora and fauna of the various habitats. Enjoy the view of the world famous group of volcanic hills in the Tapolca Basin, St. George Hill, Badacsony Hill, Gulács. You can even try an easy boat-tour in a natural cave under the street-level of Tapolca city. Feel yourself in Africa at Becehegy or in the Middle Ages at Keszthely. Taste mineral water and/or wine directly from their sources and ramble among the palisades of basalt rock towers.


After visiting a bird and buffalo reservations at the Lake Kis-Balaton Landscape Protection Reserve, we will conquer a strong fortress. Then we say good-bye to the Bakony Mountains, and head to the most north-western medieval Hungarian city, Sopron. On the way, we will stop at different spots depending on the season and the interest of the group. Some of the possibilities are: special churches, meadows, botanical gardens, mansions, fortresses.


"Drudgery" in a limestone-quarry: hunting for million-year-old shells with your camera. Walk through the rooms of Hungary's largest Baroque mansion, the "Hungarian Versailles" at Fertőd. Visit different parts of the Fertő Lake National Park and arrive at the "City of Rivers", Győr.


Tour a 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey on the World Heritage List. Follow the world's oldest human tracks: step close to the half-million-year-old footprints of our prehistoric ancestor (nick-named: Sam or scientifically named: Homo erectus paleohungaricus). Feast your eyes on the pearls of the Danube Bend: Esztergom, Visegrád and Szentendre. These are the most unique cities in the picturesque landscape of the river Danube surrounded by hills. Esztergom used to be the capital of Hungary for three centuries and then became a catholic centre. The sight of the monumental classicist cathedral and the old town emerging from the surrounding hills captures the imagination. The medieval royal castle used to be the palace of the Archbishop. Birds of prey from the nearby ranges are often seen above the former Royal Castle of Visegrád. It's hard to forget the breathtaking view of the Danube Valley among the hills from the Salamon Tower. Szentendre is a lively centre of art and folklore. Depending on your departure time next day we can discover much more: the islands of the River Danube, an Outdoor Museum of Village Architecture or a botanical garden.


Prepare for departure, shopping, leaving Budapest from the Ferihegy Airport.