The South Zala family friendly round tour is recommended for families with children over 5 years and/or with grandparents, who want to enjoy a hiking day together.
The route is most easily accessible by car, but there are sections along the tour where bike or even a horse carriage can make the trip more enjoyable.
The tour also includes a number of experience stops, however, it might be difficult to fit all of them into one day.
Some parts of the family-friendly attractions can be visited and enjoyed any time of the year, but there are also some, which can only be visited from spring to autumn. You can choose from various types of sightseeing tours: natural (eg. Lake Galambok or the Buffalo Reserve), histroical (the agricultural and chariot exhibition of the Csönte Mansion, or the 7 Chieftains Histroical Museum), creativity encouraging programs (Kendlimajor Art colony, or the horse show in Fenyvespuszta), or active recreation (thermal bath in Zalakaros or Zobori Adventure Zoo).
At the end of the trip, visit the lookout tower at the op of the vineyard hill in Zalakaros, if the weather is nice, you are able to look at the landscape of the area where you have spent the day.
The starting point is the Tourist Information Office in Zalakaros, next to which there is also a bicycle rental.
Go south from the Zalakaros Spa Square. After only 200 m, the entrance of the indoor spa can already be seen.
The continuous developments of the Granite Thermal Spa resulted in it becoming one of the country’s most popular family water complexes. The facility offers services indoors, in addition, there is an aqua park, a beach and a spa center.
The indoor fun pool has 10 different water attractions. From here, you can directly go to the outdoor adventure pool, where neck shower, and whirlpool adventure elements are available all year round. The so called "Vízipók-Csodapók children’s world" is a swimming pool area for children, but there is also another adventure pool established for children indoors.
The family bathing program, if all adventure elements are included, provides at least a four-hour relaxation experience.
Having passed Zalakaros, in Galambok turn right to the side road leading in the direction of Csapi on the right hand side. The 11-acre Lake Galambok can be reached in that way. The water of the lake used to be utillized in agriculture for the irrigation of orchards and lands. The lake currently is utilized primarily for tourism. The lake, due to the continuous care services, is the habitat of common carp, grass carp, basses, northern pikes, bream, crucian carps and catfish. Angling at night is possible, but only for the members of the association. By the lake, a restaurant and a rest area were established for hikers.
In addition, you should take a short walk by the lake situated in the valley.
Leaving the fishing pond, you get to Csapi. In the center of a small village between the Zala hills, a playground and rest area await the hikers. In the village’s school disadvantaged children study, the institution has its own dormitory, where camps are held for children during the summer.
Within the town, at the rest area, move on to the access road leading to Nagykanizsa.
From Csapi, go towards Nagykanizsa. Going along the old main road no. 7, a small road branches off to the right, towards Kisrécse Kendlimajor. The artist colony in Kendlimajor enjoys great popularity, it is visited by 30-40 artists every year.. The annual international art camp attracts a lot of art lovers. During the two-week-camp, you can meet several outstanding Hungarian artists, but many other nationalities such as German, Russian, Bulgarian, Latvian and Italian are representated, as well. At the end of the camp, an exhibition presenting the finished works is held, which can be visited by anybody free of charge.
In the Kendlimajor, children can participate in various craft workshops, while adults can visit the gallery of the works created here.
Please check before the trip whether there is any current program held in the art camp.
After looking around, return to the branching and continue your journey west.
The paved road meets the center of Kisrécse from the right, then after a few km it reaches Nagyrécse.
To get to the center, turn left after having passed the cemetery.
There are two buildings in the center, which visitors should check out.
The Neo-Romanesque form of the church was initatied by Baron Inkey during the reconstruction in19th century. In the sanctuary, the romantic style altarpiece created by Orlay Petrich Soma draws the attention. The painting shows St. Ladislaus bringing water to the ground from the rocks. According to tradition, the local painter based the portrait of St. Ladislaus on Inkey László, a feudal lord. The altarpiece has been owned by the Diocesan Museum of Veszprém for several years, only recently has it been returned to its original position.
Opposite of the church, is the Inkey family residence, the Inkey castle or mansion, which is now the community center.
The Berényi Inn is located in the northern part of the settlement, where families can choose from a wide range of dishes in a comfortable environment. The restaurant offers horse-drawn carriage tours and horseback riding. Children can play in the small playground in the park of the restaurant. From Nagyrécse, on highway no. 7 (directly next to the restaurant) go towards Budapest, all the way to Zalakaros Miháld branching, then go towards Zalakaros.
The country house is in Somogyi Béla Street in Galambok. The walls of the building are made of mud and a stolen porch similarly to the traditional peasant houses has a tripartite arrangement: it consists of one room, a kitchen and a chamber. From the porch you can enter the beam and boards covered rooms. The agricultural building next to the country house also has three parts: the stables, barn and hutches. The buildings of the village represent the typical construction habits of the past.
From the country house continue your journey in the direction of Zalakaros. Turn right in front of the mayor’s office and go ahead on the access road leading to Sármellék.
Leaving Galambok, on the right hand side a narrow private road leads to the Csönte Mansion. The special collection of the Mansion brings the old times back. Tools, objects, agricultural machinery and carriages can be seen, which were once essential in everyday life, farming or transport. The mansion also deals with rural tourism, the outdoor oven is used to cook local culinary specialties for the visitors. The unique piece of the collection is a mail carrier, by which you can go on a short tour, as well. (You need to register for the service prior to your visit.)
Leaving the mansion, get back to the access road and go towards Zalakomár. In the center of the village, turn left towards Balatonmagyaród, Keszthely.
Shortly after Zalakomár, you arrive at the branching at the Buffalo Reserve. The Buffalo Reserve can be approached by turning right. The largest buffalo population lives here in Hungary (250-300 buffaloes). If you have time, walk around the area of the reserve or you can try the buffalo salami. The buffaloes’ behavior is presented during a nature trail. Along the route there is a three-storey lookout tower. There is a playground and a petting zoo for children. In fine weather, group joyrides are available.
Leaving the Buffalo Reserve, go ahead on the main road to the north. Passing Balatonmagyaród, you can find 2 attractions close to each other. In the branching of the Kányavári Island the petting zoo of Fenyvespuszta is located on the right. The attraction is open to visitors from the advent of spring. During summer weekends foal shows are organized, which guarantee a great time for every family member. You can go on horse-drawn carriage trips, and children can experience riding a pony, as well.
The road that leads to Kányavári island starts in front of the petting zoo in Fenyvespuszta.
An exquisite, arched wooden bridge can be found a few steps from the parking lot in front of the island, which takes you to the quiet little island. The bridge was designed for pedestrian traffic. Climbing to the lookout tower of the island, you can primarily look at the diverse birdlife of the Kis-Balaton. In the area, the 2 km long Great crested grebe trail provides you with a systematic knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Kis-Balaton.
The benches and the designated fire ring on the island provide an opportunity for family outdoor barbecue. (You are required to bring along fuels because damaging the plants of the island is forbidden!)
From the Kányavári island a 20-minute-drive brings you to Zalaszabar (driving through Zalavár). Arriving at Zalaszabar a signpost directs hikers to the right towards the Holnapocska Camp and the Zobori Adventure Zoo. On the street leading to the hill, you have to turn toward Kápolna Street (always to the right), to arrive at the youth recreation center on the hilltop.
The Zobori Adventure Zoo offers a great active entertainment opportunity primarily for children.
In addition to the petting zoo, a ropes course, sports facilities and indoor slide rooms are available. It is possible to rent bicycles and Segways, as well.
The view over the Kis-Balaton is wonderful from the adventure park.
After visiting the Adventure park, return to the main road and go back to the village center. (Puskás Ferenc’s bust is on the Main Square of the village.) Turn right, and set off to along the Kis-Balaton in the direction of Zalakaros. The first settlement you arrive at is Nagyrada. There is a special rest area in the village center. Next to the community center, an open-air fitness park was built, where you can drink some fluids, or have the opportunity to methodically move your muscles. After the refection, continue the trip southwards. The next settlement is Garabonc.
One of the attractions of Garabonc is the Garabonciás Farm. This is not only a small agricultural business but an „adventure economy”, as well, where you can go horseback riding, driving, as well as try and buy local products. The services of the farm expanded in 2013, when the 7 Chieftains Historical Adventure Park opened. The complex depicts the history of Hungary from the era of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin until the last Hungarian king in a light-hearted way.
Horse-drawn carriages regularly go from the farm to Zalakaros. It is worth taking part in such a trip and take a look at the natural beauty of the mountains and vineyards of Zalakaros.
You arrive at Zalakaros from the north. At the branching at Zalakomár, turn right and go ahead on Alsóhegyi Road. The road is quite narrow with strong ascents, but you quickly get to the vineyards. At the end of Alsóhegyi Road, turn right and you will see the lookout tower. Next to the four-story lookout tower, a rest area and a cozy wine bar are available to the weary traveler. Take advantage of the opportunity and look around from the top of the lookout tower.
You arrive at the Szilágyi Confectionery after having passed Kilátó Street, Pipacs Street, and Rózsa Street. The Szilágyi Confectionery is a family business founded in 1977. You can always find biscuits made from seasonal fruit there, and you can taste the „cake of the country”.
Southwards on the main road in front of the confectionery, the event space and the farmers’ market of Zalakros are located between the bus station and the Tourist Information Office. As the holiday season begins (mid-June), a variety of programs are organized every weekend for those interested in culture. The events are great entertainment for all ages. The farmers’ market can be found behind the event space. The market protected by pergola is open throughout the week for customers. It is worth, however, to visit the market on a Friday or on a Saturday. Based on local tradition, the market becomes lively in the afternoon.