The place with the greatest historical significance on Lake Balaton is Tihany, a peninsula jutting 5km into the lake. It's helpful to think of it in two parts: Tihany village, perched on an 80m-high plateau along the peninsula’s eastern coast, of the same name, is home to the celebrated Abbey Church and in the height of summer the church attracts so many people it’s hard to find space to breathe. Visit the church but then escape the madness by wandering around the tiny town, which is filled with lovely thatched-roof houses.
Juxtaposing this claustrophobic vibe is the peninsula itself – a nature reserve of hills and marshy meadows that has an isolated, almost wild feel to it. Two inland basins on the peninsula are fed by rain and ground water. The Inner Lake (Belső-tó) is almost in the centre of the peninsula and visible from the village, while the Outer Lake (Külső-tó), to the northwest, has almost completely dried up and is now a tangle of reeds. Both basins attract considerable bird life.
Tihany is a popular recreational area with beaches on its eastern and western coasts and a big resort complex on its southern tip. The waters of the so-called Tihany Well, off the southern end of the peninsula, are the deepest – and coldest – in the lake, reaching an unprecedented 12m in some parts.