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Lake Balaton

Local people call Lake Balaton, central Europe's largest fresh water lake, the Hungarian sea. The lake became Hungarians' number one vacation resort after the Trianon Treaty following World War I when large areas of Hungary including some seashore along the Adriatic sea were taken away.

All members of the family will find something to do at Lake Balaton whether it's bathing, sailing, horseriding, playing golf or wine tasting.

Map of Lake Balaton
Balaton Basics
Historic Sights
Active Pursuits
What to Eat?

Map of lake Balaton and the Surrounding Area


Balaton Basics

  • Average depth: 3-4 m
  • The water is the deepest between the Siófok and Szemes basins at the so-called Tihany well with 11.5 m depth
  • Length 77 km between Keszthely and Balatonakarattya
  • its width varies between 3 and 14 km, the nearest is between Tihany and Szántód where the only ferry service on the lake operates during summer


Lake Balaton Hungary Northern Shore Lake Balaton Sunset at Lake Balaton


Once volcanic hills of the Badacsony reflect in the smooth water surface on the northern shore while on the south side of the lake you'll find sandy beaches between Balatonaliga and Balatongyörök perfect for bathing and sunbathing. The shallow water along the southern shore warms rather quickly during summer reaching around 26-28 °C.

In the evening the water feels warmer than the air and the last beams of the setting sun create a romantic, colourful setting to an evening dip in the velvety water.

In summer the major towns (Keszthely, Siófok, Zamárdi, Balatonboglár, Balatonfüred) around the lake come alive with colourful programs including a buzzing nightlife. Should you get bored by lieing on the sun or soaking in the silky water you surely will find a concert, a cooking festival or a sport event that will jazz you up.

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Historic Sights Around Lake Balaton

The two-towered Abbey of the Tihany peninsula can bee seen form far away. Apart from several very old historic monuments, Tihany has a unique climate and vegetation including some rare plants and herbs.

Keszthely at the western crook of the lake has several attractions including the imposing Festetics castle with its 101 rooms and surrounded by a beautiful English park.

Szigliget Fortress Thatched House at Lake Balaton Keszthely Festetics castle


Siófok in the southern shore is the center of summer parties and concerts organised by the Coca Cola beach. Famous sand-covered beaches like the Aranypart (Golden Shore) and the Ezüstpart (Silver Shore) offer an unforgettable summer relaxation. A range of cultural sights and porgrams enetertain tourists not just during summer but during the less warmer seasons too.

Balatonfüred was a popular resort of many Hungarian writers and artists whose magnificent villas has been turned into museums (Jókai Villa, Blaha Lujza Villa). The town was declared a medical centre first in Hungary.

Patienst has been treated for centuries in the Hospital of Cardiology and the Sanatorioum and the mineral water of the town can ease digestive problem. Indulge in the breathtaking scenery during a walk along the flowery Tagore promenade. Balatonfüred is a centre of viticulture in the region it received the International Town of Grape and Wine in 1987.

Medieval ruins form the foundation of churhes in the villages around the lake. Old chapels stand very often among grapewines safeguarding their fragrant produce.

Fortresses built in the middle ages remind us of long gone times in Szigliget, Rezi, Tátika.

Once water mills were operating at the bank of fast flowing streams and the you can also see characteristics examples of fine folk architecture like white washed houses with porch.

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Active Pursuits

You can explore the lake-side settlements on one of the best cycle paths in the country, with total length of approx. 200 km.

Whether you want to learn windsurfing, go for sailing, or just admiring the picturesque scenery at sunset from a boat you'l find an opportunity to do so at Lake Balaton.

More than 200 vehicles travel on the lake in the summer season including sightseeing boats or ships designed for night enetertainment with music.

Sunset at lake Balaton


For some andrenaline boost try bunge jumping in Siófok or in Balatonfüred.
In these two towns you'll also find water ski courses.

Sightseeing flights depart from the airport between Zalakaros and Zalakomár so you can get a bird's eye view of the lake and its surroundings.

Hungary is one of those countries where you can still ride for pleasure at superb horse riding clubs and farms where you can learn the basics of horse riding form experienced trainers. The neighbourhood of lake Balaton is no exception numerous riding clubs offer riding lessons, organize summer camps and tours of varying length.

In winter when temperature falls well below zero for for many days the frozen lake attract ice skaters and a new winter sport craze, ice sailing is also becoming more and more popular.

Winter sports at Lake Balaton

Natural Beauties

Two National parks protect the national beauties and rarities: the Balaton Upland National park lies north of the lake.
The Káli basin (Káli-medence) will surprise you with some marveollus geological formations and natural tresures. Basalt columns stand as proof of volcanic activity in the distant past. Tiny, peaceful villages and the fresh air make the Káli basin a very pleasant hiking area.

The Kis (Small) Balaton National Parks in the eastern corner of the lake is one the most precious wetlands in Europe. The serenity of the national park provides excellent opportunity for birdwatching and fishing.

Grey Heron at Kis Balaton wetland

The Kápolnapuszta buffalo reserve between Zalakomár and Keszthely gives home to a herd of 200 buffalos.

Buffalo Reserve at lake Balaton

You can ride a camel in the Africa Museum and Safari Park at Balatonederics where other exotic animals along with hunting trophies and an ethnographical collection gathered by the founder Dr. Endre Nagy can also bee seen.

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Spas Around Lake Balaton

If you can't get enough of water and bathing indulge in one of the famous spa towns near Balaton.
Apart from indulgence the medicinal waters will rejuvenate both women and men, ease rheumatic, arthritis and a few other health problems.

Lake Hévíz

Hévíz the worlds largest hot water lake with healing benefits attracts many visitors every year.

The steam hovering above the water surface and the surrounding woods prevent water tempreature from going go below 24-26 C in winter.

People suffering from chronic gynaecological, rheumatic, and some dermatological diseases can find healing in the waters.

The nearby Zalakaros is also reputed by its healing thermal waters. The components of the water is well used in treatment of people suffering from locomotor, chronic inflammatory, and degenerative articular diseases, nervous system problems, problems of the heart and the circulatory system, metabolism disturbances, chronic gynaecological and periodontal diseases.

Alsópáhok Spa Resort

Alsópáhok (near Keszthely in Zala county) is families' and kids' paradise.

The hotel and recreation complex lies on a hilly, green area offering beautiful panorama. several thermal pools both inside and outside, large, children-friendly playgrounds, interactive programs and generous buffet breakfasts and dinners papmper the guests.

Qualified staff look after your little ones if you want some kid-free time.


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Wine Regions Around Lake Balaton

The fine climate and the exquisite soil made the area around Lake Balaton one of the most significant pillars of Hungarian wine production with four wine regions.

Badacsony Wineyard

  • Almost exclusively white varieties are grown in the area known as Balatonfelvidék (Balaton Highland) from which fiery, full-bodied white wines are produced.
  • on the volcanic slopes of Badacsony Pinot Gris (szürkebarát), Olaszrizling (Italian riesling) and a local white variety Kéknyelű are produced

  • the Balatonboglár-kőröshegy area is best known for its light fruity wines made from Irsai Olivér, Királyleányka, Chardonnay varieties.

  • Riesling and cabernet sauvignon are the most popular wines produced in the Csopak-Balatonfüredi Wine region, while Tihany is noted about its Merlot

If you want to learn about and most importantly to taste all the wine types at the same time produced around Lake Blaton visit the House of Balatonian Wines in Keszthely.

Schedule your visit to the area in September-October where almost every settlment around the lake has a harvest festival where you can not only taste wines but sample some regional food and dance with the locals.

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What to Eat at Lake Balaton?

Fish and fish dishes dominate the cuisine in restaurants and inns around Lake Balaton. You must eat pike perch which is usually fried in oil or roasted. This tasty fish with its snow white meat has been a top delicacy here for many years. Fisherman's soup also a good choice if you want to have a taste of the region's gastronomy.

Other popular Hungarian dishes like goulash or paprika chicken are also offered in the lake-side eateries.

You can have quick snacks at every beach: though you'll usually have a choice of heavy, fatty meals: fried sausages with mustard and fresh, white bread, lángos a deep-fried dough flavoured with garlic and served with sour cream and cheese on top quench your hunger quickly.

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Regions Nearby Lake Balaton

Central Transdanubia

Southern Transdanubia

Western Transdanubia


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