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The Hungarian Mediterranean on the shores of Lake Balaton: jewels of the Káli Basin

The Káli Basin Balaton

The Káli Basin on the shores of Lake Balaton is also called the “Hungarian Mediterranean” because of its rolling hills and southern European atmosphere resembling Toscana. Discover the romantic little villages of this region!

The small Káli Basin is considered a genuine treasure chest on the shores of the “Hungarian sea”, offering many attractions and special geological values. Absorb the view of the Rock Sea of Salföld, the Hegyestű, gaze at the temple mount of Kővágóörs, possibly discover the vibrant aquatic world by Lake Kornyi, and you will immediately understand why this basin, with only eight villages, is characterized as Mediterranean!

The charming villages and exciting attractions of the Káli Basin

The Káli Basin – a representative area within the landscape of Upper Balaton – was declared protected in 1984. This is no coincidence because this region is extremely diverse geologically, offering many unique natural values to behold. One of the most beautiful jewels of the Upper Balaton National Park includes eight villages each of which reveals a unique charm. It’s worth visiting each of them.


If you choose to discover the enchanting villages of the Káli Basin, we recommend that you plan a whole day for this excursion to give yourself time to absorb the unique, southern European atmosphere. If possible, you should tour the region on foot, by bike or on horseback to appreciate each attraction in the unique, harmonious landscape. We’ll list the things you should definitely not miss in the villages!



The Rock Sea covered with juniper is visible on the border of the village which is actually residue from the bottom of the Pannonian Sea. It contains remarkable fossilized creatures. The village also accommodates the Salföld Manor – one of the most popular exhibition venues in the Upper Balaton National Park – where you can see friendly, indigenous Hungarian domestic animal species. If you have the time, also visit ruins of the Romanesque-Gothic cloister of Saint Paul in the forest!




This tiny village has a several hundred-year-old, enchanting rural heritage building and offers a spectacular panorama at the vineyard cellars. Visit the border of the village and taste the fresh, flavorsome water from the sour water spring named after Empress Theodora!




On the border of the village take a detour to the church ruins of Kerekikál and see the fortifications of the motte from the era of the Hungarian conquest.




The special Rock Sea in this village offers one of the most interesting attractions in the Upper Balaton region. The rock surfaces eroded by water and wind, the giant, bizarre needles, rocking stones between the ledges, the rugged little trees and shrubs, and the tops of church towers will present a world that you are not likely to have encountered anywhere else.




If you want to top off your program with a spectacular view, go up to the Eötvös look-out station. From there you can descend to Balatonhenye, a settlement dating back to the era of the Kingdom of Hungary. Visit the stunning karst plateau, where the special geological formations are a popular tourist destination!




After passing through this village, you should definitely go up to the Hegyestű butte. The northern half of the mountain was extracted by the former quarry, but the remaining 50-meter-high half opens up the secret of the basalt volcano’s interior that was active 5-6 million years ago! This is a rare phenomenon even on a European scale.




The church ruins in the village are a special attraction, but the rural heritage building is also worth seeing! 




This village is the “culinary center” of the region, offering a number of emblematic restaurants if you care to spice up your day with an appetizing meal. Lake Kornyi – located between Köveskál and Kővágóörs – has very vibrant aquatic life. Take a rest at the lake and immerse yourself in the untouched wonders of nature!

Wildlife in the Káli Basin: keeping us company in the landscape

You can count on a number of enthusiastic partners during your discovery of the Káli Basin: mallards, spoonbills, European Bee-eaters, deer, wild boars, rabbits, aigrettes and hawks have made this region their comfortable home. If you have a weakness for the beauty of flowers, plan on spending a lot of time on admiring protected plants which include blue-flags, gentians, bird's-eye primrose and orchid. One thing is certain: thanks to the flourishing wildlife and the variety of charming attractions, when discovering the region, you will inevitably stumble into things that will captivate you!

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