The route can be organized as a full day hiking trip for families and small groups of friends or for high school classes with great stamina. During the tour, visitors get to know the natural landscape values of South Zala. In connection with each stop, it is worth getting some information about local legends regarding former Turkish border fortress battles. The trip also touches on the vineyards situated between Gelse, Kerecseny, and Orosztony; as well as on Örömhegy (Joy Hill), which is one of the most well-known sites of backpacker tourism in South Zala offering a wonderful view of the surrounding valleys. The hike is difficult. Bring along the suitable equipment (tour boots) and enough food to the round tour.
The tour starts from the parking lot of the thermal bath in Gelse. The spacious and spectacular interior of the thermal bath provides a good atmosphere and pleasant pastime for both children and adults. Those who prefer engaging in sports can do so in the 25 m swimming pool. The water mushroom makes splashing around more fun for the children. If you had spent enough time in the water, and want to treat yourself, you can relax in the Finnish saunas, steam cabins, infrasaunas, salt cabins, and standing solariums of the bath. The thermal bath is temporarily closed due to technical reasons, it is planned to reopen at the end of 2014.
Go west from the thermal bath and turn right next to the church. Along the main road go until you reach János Arany St.
At the intersection of János Arany Street and Jókai Street a narrow highway goes east towards the forest. Follow the red + sign on this road. After leaving Gyótatető, go along the forest lane. Several stages of the forest lane is especially muddy even during hot summer days, therefore, you need to wear appropriate, closed footwear. The forest lane ends with a gently sloping meadow, you have to walk up from here. On the hilltop, the cross of Törökcsapás indicates your destination.
Törökcsapás is the periphery of Kerecsény. The name refers to the Turkish military road that used to run here. It was a vineyard and an inhabited settlement until the the end of the 1960s. Currently, meadows and forest areas alternate along the road. Take a look at the view from the hilltop. Border gallants probably were tracing the Turkish here in the 17th century.
After leaving the hilltop of Törökcsapás, following the red blaze, you arrive at Kerecseny.
The dead-end village is surrounded by hills. Its main natural attractions are its geographical location, the Pannonian landscape between the hills with the grazing flocks of sheep. You can make a detour in the settlement to the Meadow Farm, where you can try dairy products, or visit a petting zoo.
Leave Kerecseny by the cemetery following the red trail blaze. A dirt road connects the cemetery of Kerecseny and the cemetery of Orosztony. At the entrance of the cemetery in Orosztony, a rest area has been established and a wooden statue (kopjafa) was erected to commemorate the Millenium. Continue the tour straight ahead in the direction of the church.
The other sight of Orosztony is the Holy Trinity Church, by its entrance you can see the Holy Trinity Statue.
Turn right at the church, if you do not wish to make a longer detour towards Pogányvár.
In Orosztony, go straight ahead past the church (St. Imre Street) and turn left at the kindergarten. Go straight along the road. Leaving the settlement behind, continue to the north, then turn right at the first bend of the driveway and continue the road straight ahead, on a less maintained, stony road. During the nearly four-kilometer-long walk (continuous slight ascents) you can take delight in the vineyards. The paved road ends at the lookout tower of Pogányvár (meteorological observation station). This is one of the most beautiful elevated points of the Zala Hills. The view of the varied, gently rolling hills of the Kis-Balaton and Lake Balaton is great, but castles are nowhere to be seen.
There could have been a paliside, a small Turkish station on the „hill” bearing the name Pogányvár. Oral tradition preserved the name of the last possible commander, Pili Pasha’s name, as one of the heights of the hill is still called Pilivár. There is also a story preserved by oral tradition that the Pasha's daughter fell in love with a local landowner: Tamás Szegi, and because she could not be his, she committed suicide. According to the legend, her spirit still haunts Pilivár at full moon. Another legend has it that below Pogányvár there is a big cavity, into which the whole village with all the cattle of the era fit prior to the Turkish period. Later, the Turks stored the gold they had sacked in the neighborhood. According to the legend, this „great amount of treasure" can still be found below the mountain.
Go south on the street next to the church. At the first crossroads, we can see the next trail blaze (green blaze) that you have to follow until the Thury wooden statue.
The Rural Value Nature Trail is in the settlement, where you can get to know the region's flora and fruit trees.
Leaving the settlement, the asphalt is replaced by crushed stone and then a dirt road leads until the wooden statue commemorating Thury.
Beside the bridge of Hamuháza, the wooden statue commemorating György Thury, Kanizsa’s captain can be seen. Historical research proves that on April 2, 1571 he fell here in an unequal battle fighting the Turks.
Crossing the bridge at Hamuháza, a red triangle appears next to the green blaze. You should follow the red triangle to reach the key house on Joy Hill. The road runs through a shady forest, where huge, old oak trees can be seen among the younger ones. You arrive with a strong ascent to the tourist rest area. The memory of the former vineyards and cellars is only preserved by ramshackle little houses on Joy Hill and the postmen’s key house in Nagykanizsa, which awaits tourist all year round.
Note that in order to book accommodation, you have to contact the organization maintaining the building.
Near the key house on Örömhegy, in the neighborhood of the St. Christopher Chapel hikers had a wooden statue erected in honor of Pál Rockenbauer in 1979.
Leave the blue blaze at the statue, and continue the tour following the red triangle. You pass the hunting ranch on Örömhegy, and continue the hike in the forest.
Leaving the hunter’s lodge, follow the red triangle. The terrain is diverse, after a longer descent comes a stronger ascent. In many cases mud makes walking more difficult.
Follow the red blaze until you see the red triangle on the left hand side again. (The red blaze leads until Törökcsapás, including Szorosi hill).
The red triangle, going along Szorosi hill as well, turns west.
Following the red triangle, a winding wagon track runs till the Öreghegy in Gelse. Along the road, the view over the TV tower in Újudvar in the south is great from the valley. After leaving the fields behind, you return to the woods, and after a short ascent, the statue of St. Urban greets the hiker on the Öreghegy.
Turn to the north at the Orban statue and follow the blue + sign. The Hell hill of Gelse begins at the next cross on the mountain (erected by János Radó), where the Ördög (Devil) family who became legends in the Turkish period lived. Oral tradition has it that the 7 sons in the family defended the population of the village against a Turkish incursion and Turkish swindlers. Therefore, the seven devils of Gelse do not symbolize evil, but courage. In the settlement, an event is organized every summer where young men commemorate gallantry, in the village center, even a restaurant is named after the family.