freshwater lake in Hungary
Europe > Central Europe > Hungary > Lake Balaton

Balaton (Plattensee in German) is the biggest lake by surface area in Central Europe and gives its name to this entire Hungarian Lake Balaton region.

CitiesEdit

 
Map of the Lake Balaton region

  1 Siófok (Tab, Zamárdi, Balatonföldvár)
Popular holiday resort competing for the title "Capital of Lake Balaton".
  2 Keszthely
The oldest town at the lake. One of the largest palaces in Hungary, the Festetics Palace can be found here with its historic two-level Helikon Library. Main sights are the Helikon Palace Museum with coach, hunting and historical model railway exhibitions, the Palace Garden with Palm House and Bird Park, Balaton Museum Georgikon Croft Museum, Imre Festetics Animal Park. The historical main square with the Town Hall, János Vajda High School, former Franciscan Friary and the neo-Gothic parish church. Baroque style Pethő House and the neo-Classical Synagogue in its yard; Helikon Park, four beaches at the lake.
  3 Tapolca   (Badacsonytomaj)
Nice small town, Cave Lake.
  4 Balatonfüred
The other city competing for the title "Capital of Balaton".
  5 Marcali
  6 Balatonalmádi   (Balatonfűzfő, Balatonkenese)
  7 Fonyód (Balatonboglár, Balatonlelle, Lengyeltóti)
  8 Hévíz
This is the location of the world’s second-largest thermal lake, used as Medicinal Spa. Other sights are the Mary Magdalene Church from the 13th century, the seven-towered Holy Spirit Church and the Roman Ruins Garden. In the surroundings: Historical Memorial Park and Kis-Balaton House in Zalavár.
  9 Gyenesdiás
Resort village at the lake with beach. Sights include Avar History Exhibition, House of Nature, Our Lady of Snow Chapel, Saint Helena Chapel, Darnay's Wine Cellar, Berzsenyi Lookout, Festetics Lookout. In Zalaszántó: Peace Stupa, Kotsy Watermill, Heritage House, Gingerbread House, Tátika Castle Ruins, Rezi Castle.
  10 Vonyarcvashegy
Resort village at the lake with beach. Sights include Saint Michael Chapel, Chapel of Vonyarc, Light Cross, Pál Kitaibel Lookout. In Balatongyörök: Batsányi Lookout, Mátyás Bél Lookout, Szépkilátó (lookout point), Kneipp Experience Walkway.
  11 Zalakaros
Famous for its thermal spring bath. Main sights in the surroundings: Kányavári Island and Petting Zoo in Balatonmagyaród; Buffalo Reserve in Káptalanpuszta; Zobori Adventure Park.

Other destinationsEdit

  • 1 Badacsony   — most famous winehill for its wine, on the northern coast
  • 2 Balatonszárszó   - popular, family-friendly tourist destination on the south shore of Lake Balaton
  • 3 Balatonszemes
  • 4 Szent György-hegy — perfect for hiking, visit the basalt organs
  • 5 Szigliget   — with the ruins of a Castle on the hilltop
  • 6 Tihany   — nice peninsula with an inner lake and church visible from most of the lake
  • 7 Balaton Uplands National Park   – located to the north of Lake Balaton
  • Exhibition sites: Arboretum Zirc, House of Forests Bakonybél, Lóczy Cave Balatonfüred, Hegyestű Geological Exhibition Site Monoszló, Manor Salföld, Lake Cave of Tapolca, Kotsy Watermill Zalaszántó, Folk House Vörs, Buffalo Reserve Kápolnapuszta, Csodabogyós Cave Balatonederics, Kőlik Cave of Szentgál, Disused Sand Quarry Várpalota

UnderstandEdit

The Balaton was popular during the Cold War with both Easterners and Westerners because it was cheap and relatively easy to reach from both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Get inEdit

By planeEdit

By trainEdit

Frequent trains from Budapest Déli run down the south side of Lake Balaton. Intercity trains stop at main stations such as Siófok, Balatonföldvár and Fonyód. Slower trains stop at all stations. Allow between 1.5 and 4 hours for the journey, and about Ft 3000 for the one-way fare. There are discounts for families (33%), adults under 26 (33%), and students (50%). Not all ticket windows at the terminal accept credit cards so you should check the signs.

By carEdit

From Western Europe:

  • From the direction of Linz/Vienna: turn off the Motorway A1 towards Eisenstadt on the motor-road A3 and cross the border in Sopron (Klingenbach). From here there is a highway leading through Ukk and Sümeg to Lake Balaton or more precisely to Balatonederics. lf you take road 71 westwards you can reach Keszthely within a short time.
  • From Graz: if you turn off the motorway A2 towards Fürstenfeld you can cross the border in Heiligenkreuz (Rábafüzes). Lake Balaton from here is about 100 km. Through Körmend and Zalaegerszeg on the highway 76 the journey by car takes maximum one and a half hour.

From Southern Europe:

  • From Slovenia: from Lendava/Lenti you can reach the West-Balaton Region on road 75 from Croatia on the E71 towards Balatonszentgyörgy. For those who are coming from Italy, take the road leading through Tarvisio and Graz.

From Eastern Europe:

  • From Poland, Romania: Through Budapest on the motorway M7 towards Lake Balaton.
  • From Slovakia: You can come either through Budapest and after on the M7 or from Bratislava on the road E65 through the frontier station of Rajka and then through Mosonmagyarovár on road 86, then you take road 84 towards Ukk/Sümeg to the direction of Lake Balaton.

From inland:

  • Keszthely is easily reached by road from Budapest using M7 / E71. This highway bypasses Székesfehérvár and Siofok on the southern flank of Lake Balaton and is relatively traffic free except in the peak tourist months of June, July and August.

If you are willing to take a little more time to reach your destination you will be rewarded with a more scenic route using highway 71 along the north shore of lake Balaton. This route will take you first a couple km away Gyenesdiás further going through Balatonfured and passes the Tihany peninsula, which is well worth a detour.

Get aroundEdit

SeeEdit

 
Szent György Hill basalt organs, close to Badascony
  • Badacsony: the most well-known, most popular hill of the region. On this truncated cone of volcanic origin. Viticulture. Hiking routes and a four km long study path
  • Balatonederics: Africa Museum and Zoo
  • Balatonszentgyörgy: Csillagvár is a star form hunting mansion
  • Small-Balaton: A study path on Kányavári Island. Buffalo Reserve in Kápolnapuszta near Zalakomár
  • Szent György Hill: Basalt organ pipes nature monument
  • Szigliget: Castleruin of Szigliget on top of a 230 m high volcanic hill
  • Tapolca: Grotto - Cave Lake with length of four km
  • 1 [dead link] Dörgicse (W 19 km from Balatonfüred on the road). Sights: Millennium Memorial Park (Loc.: Templom tér), Lutheran Church of Alsódörgicse (Built in 1794, in late baroque style), Roman Catholic Church of Alsódörgicse (Built around 1820, late baroque style), Lutheran Church of Felsődörgicse (Built at the end of the 18th century), Lutheran Church of Kisdörgicse (Built in the late 17th century), 'granarius' (former granary of the local farm of the Piarist Order, now restaurant, in basement a vine cellar, on upstairs a small exhibit of old tools can be seen), granary of Felsődörgicse (now Pántlika Winery), historic bridge (over Kuvölgy Valley, 18th century), historic temple ruins (consecrated in honor of St. Nicholas, Kisdörgicse settlement, Size 10x6 m. from Arpadian Age, Romanesque stone 'village style' church), historic temple ruins (Named about St. Peter's, Felsődörgicse settlement, partly include some Roman building's wall, built in the 11th century, Boga Radvány clan, expanded in the 13th century), ruins of the historic church of Our Lady (Alsódörgicse, 13th century).
  • 2 Gyulakeszi (SE 4 km from Tapolca, bus (hourly until 20:00, less than 10 min)). Sights: Remains of Csobánc Castle (nly a few meters Wall can be seen), ruins of the 'Bad' Church (Csobáncszög settlement, 1220s), the Roman Catholic Church of Bishop St. Martin, Csobánc Hill (a beautiful basalt hill with nice view ), St. Donat chapel (Hill of the Vineyards), Esterhazy Palace (18th century), Csigó Castle (18th century).
  • 3 Hegyesd (NE about 8 km from Tapolca). Castle ruins (1370s), Old Stone Bridge (1800s). To do: take an hour tour to Hegyesd Hill (281 m a.s.l.). - To stay: Sleep in the very cheap Culture House (call + 36 20 3382251, for max. 23 persons).
  • 4 Nagyvázsony (German: Großwaschon) (West of Veszrém). Kinizsi-Castle (Kinizsi-vár, Located: Vár u. 9. Email: info@kinizsivar.hu, Tel: (88) 264-786, (20) 245-2158) with Museum, Zichy mansion (Zichy-kastély) and park, Pauline monastery ruins, Post Museum, Schumacher House, historic St. Stephen's Church ( Gothic origin, rebuilt in Baroque style ), Reformed Church, Kinizsi source (Tálodi forest), Turul Statue. To stay Hétkanyar Cottage (5 en-suite rooms, for 15 + 2 persons, large living room and a fully equipped kitchen), Várcsárda-Restaurant (a KINIZSI VÁR mellett, Temető u. 7. 88/264-344), Malomko Pansion: (Kinizsi út 47-49), - Vázsonyvölgy Pansion: (10 renovated rooms for 23 persons), Plébánia (Mattresses Accommodation and Camping, Kinizsi út 78, Email: matracszallas.Camping@gmail,com Capacity 200 persons, in tent Ft 1200 per person, in the building on mattresses Ft 1500 p.p. ), Kinizsi Tourist Hotel (Temető u. 1., Tel: +36 30/479-5013 , Email: info@kinizsivar.hu, 5 rooms, 38 beds), Vandor resting (room for rent, Csokanai u. 38. Tel: +36 20-316-5900, contact person: Ms. Csapó Andrea) , - Napraforgó Guesthouse, (Tel: +36 20-3656-177, dubics.gy@sanet.hu, Iskola u. 73., two rooms, 4 plus three beds, ask for Mrs. Dubics Anita), - Mrs. Kugler Jánosné B&B ( Óvoda u. 13., Tel: +36-88-264-572, three rooms, six beds), Baják Guesthouse (kids camp an Youth Hostel, Tel: +36 70-531-60-35), Várpanoráma Guesthouse, Vágvölgyi Lujza Barnhouse (Baráti puszta 2. (Kapolcsi Hwy detour, 36 70 609-2489, ten beds in the house plus tent places).
  • 5 Örvényes (German: Erewin) (SW 8 km from Balatonfüred on the road, take a train). Örvényes (German: Erewin). This is the smallest settlement of the Balaton Region with 170 inhabitants. Monuments. The water-mill (1055), the famous historic monument of the village, can be found some meters from the main street. In the 18th century rebuilt Miller house ethnographical and folk art collection can be found. The protected historic monument, the Stone bridge, (built in the 18th century in Baroque style), the Water-mill, the Statue of Nepomuki St. János (end of 1700). The church (1200, Roman style, can be found on a hill above the mill). Saint Imre church (built in 1778-1783, in late-Barouque style). Two open air crosses (13th century, in the graveyard, and the other on the way to the wineyard). The Folk House (in St. Imre street). The ruins of a Roman villa. Bridge of Pécsely Creek (double port, late Baroque structure, circa 1800). Do: Surrounded by the National Park of the Balaton-Highland, walk to the valley of the Pécsely stream, to the old oak trees or to the ruins of Zádorvár. Örvényes beach is nice and quiet, where you do not have to pay ticket. -Stay: There are guesthouses, rooms for rent and a small camping.
 
Paloznak Resort Village near to Lake Balaton
  • 6 Paloznak (NE 6 km from Balatonfüred, only buses stopping here, the nearest railway station: Alsóörs and Csopak, by boat: scheduled ships depart from Alsóörs and Csopak). Monuments here: Roman Catholic Church (Arpad era), Belfry; Village houses of peasants; County House (ethnographic exhibition); Millennium Park, Dragon Fountain; King Ladislaus Sculpture; Fountain of Heroes; Saint Donatus Sculpture; Calvary; Pongrácz Castle, Hampasz Fountain. Do: In summer, church concerts, outdoor concerts, exhibitions provide entertainment. In the last weekend of September there are the Village and Harvest Days. There are guesthouses, rooms for rent, two campings, a couple of pubs and a restaurant. (see here http://www.paloznak.hu/turizmus/szallashelyek)
  • 7 Pécsely (W 7 km from Balatonfüred take a bus). Zador (Himfy) Castle was built on the Derék- Mountain (also called Zador-hill) at the end of the 14th century. It is worth visiting the 'kopjafas' (carved wood colums) of village center and the beautiful folk buildings on the Hosszú street. Stay: Csikós Lovasudvar Pension, Klára-puszta; +36 87-445 308, 06-87-445 309, info@csikos-lovasudvar.hu. Krisztina Guestrooms, Templom u. 93.; +36 96-349 916, 06-30-529 9080, kriszti@krisztinavendeghaz.hu. Vollmer Lovasudvar [dead link], Stables and Rooms, Hosszú u. 67.; +36 87-445 131. Quint B&B, Iskola u. 181/b. Vörös Ernőné B&B, Balatoni út 9.; +36 87-445 074. Soós István B&B, Balatoni út. Szőnyi Károlyné, B&B, Hosszú u. 56/a.; +36 87-445 147. Kálmán József B&B, Fő u. 108. Kántor Ernőné, Iskola u. 195.; +36 87-445 174. Mészáros Pince, Nyáló-hegy; +36 87-720 804, +36 20-471 6933; meszarospince@canet.hu. •Kulcsár Vendégház [dead link], 8245. Pécsely, Vásártér u. 165.; +36 20-463 8723.
  • 8 Révfülöp (SW 27 km from Balatonfüred on the Hwy #71, take a train: Székesfehérvár-Balatonfüred-Tapolca railway line, By boat: Balatonboglár). The main historical attraction remains the old downtown and port, both featuring eclectic architecture evocative of the turn of the 20th century. - Homeland Collection, Lutheran church, the Fountain of the King of Frog (Bela Raffay work, 1993, marble and bronze). "Szigeti" church ruins, Ecsérpusztai church ruins (near Révfülöp but Kővágóörs administrative area), Boat Station building, Boat Station Pier, Millennium Lookout Tower (on the mountain north of the town). Révfülöp Tourinform office: Villa Filip tér 8/b, Tel. & Fax: +36-87 463-092, Tel. +36-87 463-194, E-mail: revfulop@tourinform.hu, Open in season 15 Jun-31 Aug M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su 09.00-13.00; out of season Weekdays: 07.30-16.00, Sa-Su closed ) Stay: Balatontourist Napfény Camping, (Halász utca 5. Tel:+36-87/563-031, Fax:+36-87/464-309, E-mail: napfeny@balatontourist.hu), Emília apartment (for 4+7 persons, air-conditioned apartments, contact: Mr. Balogh György, Csárda út 10. Tel.: +36-87/464-393, Tel.: +36-30/4015-197, E-mail: balaton@emilia-apartman.hu). Centrál Tourist (currency exchange, apartment and room reservations, Badacsonyi u. 1., Tel.: +36 87 463-456, Tel.: +36 70-602-2679, Tel.: +36-30 959-1395, Email: centralszallas@gmail.com, Hullám Hostel Révfülöp ( Füredi út 6., Tel.: +36-87/463-089, Mobile: +36-30/9122-229, E-mail: info@balatonhostel.hu), Iris Guesthouse [dead link] Room to let -(for 10 persons, contact person: Ms. Papp Ibolya, address: Ady E. u. 15., Tel.: +36-30/751-6618, Tel.: +36-70/233-6559, E-mail: irisvendeghaz@gmail.com), Vakáció és Sport Üdülők Révfülöp (accommodation for 90 people 2-3-4-5-6 beds, Kossuth út 18., Mobile: +36 30/9975-347, E-mail: info@balatonivakacio.hu), Judit Guestrooms (three rooms, wine tasting, Petőfi út 74., Tel: +36 87 464-043 evening, Mobile: +36 20 429-4545, E-mail: gelencserzoltan@freemail.hu), ¤ Fülöpi Apartmanok, accommodation throughout the year, two apartments for 5 persons with large terrace, enclosed garden, owner: Mr. Molnár Árpád, Füredi út 40. Tel./Fax: +36 87 464-219, Mobile: +36 20 22-12-975, Mobile: +36 20 981-2535, E-mail: racz.magdolna@gmail.com), Ezüstfenyő Guesthouse, apartments up. For 2 + 1 and 4 + 1 persons with terrace, large enclosed garden, Mr. Szántó János, Csárda utca 4.,Tel: +36 87 464-212, Mobile: +36 20/969-2602, E-mail: jszanto1@gmail.com), ¤ Bódis Apartman (for öt fő részére - kert, bográcsozó, grillező, a Balatonhoz és a centrumhoz közel, külön bejáratú apartman kiadó! Mrs. Bódis Lászlóné, Ifjuság lakótelep.5, Mobile: +36 30 901-93-90, E-mail: bodma51@citromail.hu), Margaréta Guesthouse (for five persons - the house with large terrace, a spacious living room, ask for Mrs. Kadáné Róth Erzsébet, Kacsajtósi út 6., Mobile: +36 30 760-4819, E-mail: roth.erzsebet@gmail.com), Mária Guesthouse (for 3 + 1 persons - home garden, terrace, barbecue, Málna utca 24., Tel:+36 87 431-028, Fax: 06-87 431-614, E-mail: miditourist@miditourist.hu).
 
Medieval ruins of the Pálos abbey, Salföld village
  • 9 Salföld (NE 11km from Badacsony, take a bus). Mary Magdalene Pauline monastery , monument house (Roman Catholic Church (St. Matthew). - Stay: Salföld Local Government guest house (Kossuth utca 27., Tel.+36 20 2757511, dbl /tpl/quad Ft 6 000/8 000/10 000 room per night, min. two nights), Barn Gallery Restaurant and Bed and Breakfast (Tel.+36 30-584-7522, Max. 6 people. Accommodation with breakfast Ft 4,000 per person, in the winter of Ft 5000 per person.) Ms. Silvia Hess B & B, Sali Guesthouse, Mr. Mihály Simon B & B, Ms. Harl Erika Holiday home, La Nonna Guesthouse.
  • 10 Szentantalfa (N 5 km from Zánka). Ruined Church of Mountain St. Blaise (Szent Balázs-hegyi templomrom), Wine tourism.
  • 11 Szentbékkálla (E ten km from Tapolca). Sea of Stones (volcanic rocks), Ruins of Palace Veléte
 
Szigliget
  • 12 Szigliget (NW of Badacsony, take a bus or a train to Badacsonytördemic-Szigliget station three km away, from May to Sept scheduled boats from Badacsony and Keszthely). Castle ruins, Old village with thatched houses, Avas church ruin, Esterházy Palace and Botanical Garden. The Countrywide Blue Tour passing the village.
  • 13 Tapolca (NE 28 km from Keszthely take a train). -Cave Bath, Mill Pond, Garden of Ruins, City (School) Museum Templom domb 8, Main Square (the former marketplace, functioned as a trade centre from ancient times. Decorated with the statue of Holy (1757) and the Little Princess). Marton Gallery (permanent exhibition of works by László Marton). Catholic Church (Templomdomb). Protestant church (reminiscent of churches in Transylvania, 1936). Watermill. Y-houses. The Countrywide Blue Tour passing the Town.
 
Tihany
  • 14 Tihany (SW 9 km from Balatonfüred on the road, take a bus a bike or a boat). A village on the northern shore of Lake Balaton on the Tihany Peninsula (Veszprém County). - catch a ferry from the port to Tihany, a stunning peninsula only a stone's throw away. With its Benedictine Abbey and amazing countryside, this peninsula is a must see. However, bring good shoes as due to the hoards of tourists that flock to the town evrey summer, you might feel the need to go hiking into the hilly interior. The whole peninsula is a historical district. The prime sight is the Benedictine Tihany Abbey now also a museum (Address: I. András tér 1. Tel.: +36 87/538-200. It was founded in 1055 AD by András (Andrew) I, who also buried here. The church was rebuilt in baroque style in 1754. The still functioning abbey is a popular tourist attraction. It also has the superb view of Lake Balaton.). The echo is the othor main attraction of the village. See the Shouting Girl sitting on a 'Rock' (there is a legend which connect to the Echo. ' ...a princess with golden-haired goats was punished and her goats were lost in Balaton, only their nails remained, and she was obliged to answer to every passers-by... '). other sights: Reformed Church (1793). Former Summer Residence of Archduke Joseph of Habsburg (a Resort Palace built in 1924-1925. can be found in the center of a very nice English Landpark which is about 20 000 m²), Former monastery wine cellar and press house. Former abbey granary. Former Abbey Village's pub. Former Abbey doctor's residential house. Former Sports Hotel. Former abbey grange. To Do here: enjoy the beaches on the peninsula ("Somos" open beach, "Gödrös" open beach, Port beach, Yacht club beach, Beach of Sajkod), cycling (a newly built cycle road made safe to exploring the area on bike ), hiking ( numerous volcanic hills, geysers, the Outer and Inner-lake, the forests and the Balaton shore on foot or on bike), Open-air theatre (live performances and concerts in beautiful environment), Open-air folk museum ('old life' is presented by several buildings of the museum along Batthyány street), Family leisure park (a playground with a lof of toys, the sand box,the swing and the rope slide, also there is the bowling and the mini golf field). Dolls museum (Visszhang u. 4. Tel.: +36 87/448-431, porcelain dolls from latest 19th and early 20th centuries), Historical Wax Museum of Hungarian kings and Pirate Museum (Kossuth u. 35. Phone: +36 30 9468-220). Marzipan Museum (Batthyány u. Phone:+36 30 216-8191). Open Air Museum (Pisky sétány 12. Phone +36 87 714-960). Hungarian Historia (Audiovisual attraction, Posta köz 1. Phone +36 30 864-8373). Levendula House Visitor Center, Tel.: +36 87 538 033, Forest adventure park (try to climbing tree or a half-circle slide), Shipping [formerly dead link] (Balatonfüred and Siófok can be easily reached by boat), strolling on Pisky promenade (look at the beautiful panorama).
 
Zánka
  • 15 Zánka (SW 21 km from Balatonfüred, take a train). Zánka is an intimate village at the gate of Nivegy-valley, on the shore of Lake Balaton. Its historic monument with nationwide significance is the Christian Reformed Church built in the 11th century. The other sight of the village is its Village Museum (’Tájház’) from the 18th century. The Village House (’Faluház’) is the centre of the local cultural life. The Children and Youth Centre, the former Pioneer Town (’Úttörõváros’), which is the national centre of youth tourism, belongs to Zánka. Its sailing and ship port is open. On the territory of the Children and Youth Centre an adventure park was established. The establishment is suitable for the vacation of disadvantaged children, too. Do: The emblem of Zánka is Hegyestű. Take a walk to visit the first geopark of the country. Pentecostal Wine Festival every year. Excellent place for fishing tourism. The cycle path around Lake Balaton goes across Zánka. The local riding school welcomes guests all the year. In Zánka there was a Riding Festival. Among the programmes of Zánka the Fishermen Days in summer and the Grape Harvest Festival in autumn are outstanding. Stay: In the village you can find many pensions and private quarters in addition to the restaurants of high quality. The Children and Youth Centre has got a hotel.

DoEdit

 
Jetty in the sunset

Beautiful national parks, protected quarters, they demonstrated the old times, reservatums, theatres, aquaparks, sea baths, sport opportunities on earth, water and air, concerts and beautiful museums await every visitor.

  • Caving — see Exhibition sites above
  • Hiking in the northern hills.
  • Exploring wine cellars. A well worn trail is the climb up Badacsony Hill, which is peppered with small wine growers selling their wines by the glass and bottle. Much of it is mediocre but you may find some gems. Treat it like a pub crawl and have fun.
  • Cross-Balaton Swim Contest..
  • Relaxing in thermal spas. The two best known are at Héviz and Csisztapuszta (just south of Fonyód). Marcali, in northern Somogy county
  • Sailing. There are several annual sailing races for those preferring competition. For boat rental Fonyod, Balatonlelle and Balatonfüred are the best places. An 8-m yacht from about Ft 70,000/day.
  • Swimming. Summer water temperatures range from about 16 °C to the mid 30s; because the lake is shallow, yesterday's air temperature will be a good guide to the warmth of today's water. There are many places to go down waterslides and just take in a bit of shallow bathing, but be aware that the shallow banks of Balaton are very murky. You can scarcely avoid getting silt everywhere. Beaches on the north shore tend to have more facilities, but have an entrance fee.The shore here tends to be rocky and the water deepens rapidly to a maximum of about 14 m. Most beaches on the southern shore are free, though large sections of the shore are privately owned by hotels and campsites. The lake shelves slowly, so you can walk out for 500 m or more before you are out of your depth, so it's very safe for children. Large free beaches are at Zamárdi, Balatonboglár, Fonyód and Balatonfenyves. There are many hundreds of access points to the shore, so you are unlikely to have to walk far to find a pleasant place to swim.

Since the lake is shallow, summer storms can create very large waves, and people have drowned in most years. A system of warning beacons around the lake alerts bathers to expected strong winds and storms: 30 flashes/minute, colour white/yellow means winds 40-60 km/h, and you should move close to the shore. 60 flashes red/white means winds over 60 km/h. Time to get out quickly!

  • Kite surfing. On windy days this is an exciting sport, but it takes a few days to learn to stop falling off. Needs a reasonable level of fitness. Centres are Balatonboglár and Balatonfenyves.

BuyEdit

Buy local wine of course!

EatEdit

The land of Balaton delights not just your eye, but your stomach. On every area receive you a real gastronomical history. You can taste the traditional foods of lands, or the famous wines of the land of Balaton.

One kind of local food is lángos, a bread-like pastry usually sold on beaches. It is offered with different toppings like cheese, sour cream, and ham, or often plain just with garlic-sauce on top. Another common "beach food" is cooked corn on the cob (főtt kukorica), grilled sausages (sült kolbász) and of course, ice cream (fagylalt, or more colloquially, fagyi).

You can also try a special Lake Balaton fish called fogas (pike-perch or Zander), served roasted.

DrinkEdit

The hills north from Balaton are known for their wine. The best you can do is going for a wine spotting tour.

SleepEdit

Lake Balaton has been the holiday playground of ordinary Hungarians for over a century, and most of the accommodation is in private houses and apartments rented by the owners, often through agencies. All along the road there are signs for "Tourist information" which are really agents for accommodation and tours, rather than the official tourist offices (called Tourinform). Many visitors arrive without booking and can usually find rooms for around €15 per person/night. Costs for a house with 3 bedrooms can run from about €300/week to over €1,000 (luxury house on lake shore).

It's worth to book the accommodation before arriving because in July and August most of the places are totally full and it is hard to find a free room.

High season for Hungarians is the school holidays, from mid-June to the end of August, but many people go home by St Stephen's Day (20 August). The whole place becomes very much quieter by mid-August, and you can easily find accommodation. On the downside, lakeside bars and restaurants also closed for the season.

Go nextEdit


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