The town of Tihany (pron. tee-hahn) is 140 km from Budapest, situated on the eastern coast of the Tihany Peninsula. The town stands on the peak of a small hill, which provides beautiful views to Lake Balaton and the Inner Lake (Belső-tó), a popular fishing spot.
The best-known symbol of the town is the twin-towered Tihany Benedictine Abbey, built by King Andrew I., who was buried in the crypt in 1055. The church itself was rebuilt in Baroque style in 1754 and still functions today. There are frequent organ concerts in the abbey church during the summer. The viewpoint next to this lovely white church is one of the best in the area.
On the eastern side of the hill, you will find many charming restaurants offering tables with panoramic views, and wineries with tasty white wines from the Balaton region.
Tihany is famous for its large fields of lavender, which are alive with bloom in the spring. There's also a Lavender House Visitor Centre, where visitors can learn more about the history of the Peninsula, and the region's lavender-growing culture.
Another very interesting spot to see in Tihany is the Hermitage north of the town. These living spaces, complete with cells, dining room and a chapel were carved out of the living rock of the hill in the 11-14th century by Greek Orthodox hermits. These historic sites are unmatched in Europe.
And Tihany is not yet out of unique things to show you! Look for the echo-stone in the town, a single point where unique regional acoustics return the echo of your voice perfectly from the open hillside of Tihany. This very rare phenomenon, still exists to this day, despite continuous local construction.
Strolling back down the hill, Tihany's harbour is also worth a visit. From here you can reach other towns around Lake Balaton or take a boat cruise on the lake. The ferry-boat takes you to Szántód on the south coast. It carries passengers, bikes and cars as well.
The area around the Abbey is made up of small streets and squares filled with traditional restaurants, handicraft courtyards, confectionaries and souvenir shops. Walking around Tihany is one thing you must definitely put on your vacation-to-do list!