BAKONY–BALATON GEOPARK (Hungary)
The Bakony–Balaton Geopark is located in western Hungary, near Lake Balaton—the largest one in central Europe, also known as the “Hungarian Sea”—, in the north-western part of the Carpathian Basin, surrounded by young folded mountain ranges.
Conservation, Education & Tourism
The Bakony–Balaton Geopark highlights a rich geodiversity of sharp cliffs and hot springs, emblematic volcanic remnant hills set against a diverse geological and morphological mosaic of different formations. The Geopark features old crystalline rocks from several hundreds of millions of years ago up to more recent rock formations. One of the largest, fossil-rich Alpine Triassic carbonate successions, and dinosaur-bearing Cretaceous rocks as well as tropical tower karst can be found here. The sediments of the former Lake Pannon include diverse endemic species of molluscan fauna. Gorges and karst plateaux in the Geopark feature 700 caves, hundreds of sinkholes, and a 10-km-long thermal-water maze under a town.
Added to this geological wonderland is the legacy of five thousand years of human occupation: rich archaeological heritage of the prehistoric and Roman times, ruins of medieval castles, old monasteries, two millennia old but still living viticulture and beautiful examples of traditional folk architecture.
This area, comprising most of the Balaton Uplands National Park and other protected areas, is one of the most varied parts of Europe regarding biotic assets. The extreme complexity and mosaic-like character of the habitats (e.g. fens, oak forests, dry grasslands), the high number of species make the region especially unique.
The leader organisation, Balaton Uplands National Park Directorate—cooperating with civil and scientific organisations, local communities and other Geopark Partners—carries out intensive geological nature conservation activities which provide an excellent basis for the development of interpretive sites (e.g. the Eastern Gate of the Geopark, the Lavender House Visitor Centre in Tihany), nature trails and programmes, such as guided geotours and adventure caving tours. Bakony–Balaton Geopark open-air school programmes and contests develop a closer connection between students and geological heritage. Complex geotour-guide training courses create new opportunities for local service providers.
The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States