Lake Balaton is a perfect holiday destination
As the asphalt heats up in the city, everyone heads towards Lake Balaton. Between May and September, the largest lake in Central Europe, less than an hour’s train ride from the capital, will become a favorite holiday destination for city dwellers. Typical Budapest scene: couples, friends and families leaking on Friday afternoon, reappear on Monday morning. Suntanned and relaxed.
Chilling out at Lake Balaton is a sacred ritual for the Hungarians, we carry the smell of reeds by the lake and langos in our DNA, but whoever walks by the lake for the first time immediately understands the admiration. The long pepper-shaped Balaton offers not only the unmissable local street food and pedal boats. Ancient castles, picturesque countryside, vineyards, historic towns and underwater caves await visitors. The landscape evokes a postcard: meandering streams, lavender and sunflower fields, limestone vytillos and family wineries everywhere.
The unique microclimate of the countryside guarantees that the wine and cheese region around the lake will spoil us with a selection of delicacies. Everyone will find a program to their liking: active holidaymakers can choose from a number of hiking and cycling routes or adventure parks. History fans and gastronomes can enjoy the unparalleled panorama of the wine terraces alongside the Mediterranean charm of the rustic stone villages.
Wine terraces, vineyards
Looking at the beautiful volcanic mountains around Lake Balaton, it is hard to imagine that once upon a time huge volcanoes dotted the landscape, spitting ash and lava. A must-see for nature lovers is the basalt organ tour of St. George's Hill, which evokes a fairytale landscape.
Due to the fertile mineral soil, the people who have lived here have enjoyed the nectars of this rich wine-producing region since Roman times. A wine cellar tour is an unmissable program for wine consumers, and romantics should sit out on the beach watching the sunset in the company of a bottle of Balaton wine.
At the top of the peninsula on the north coast is the oldest medieval settlement, from where the panorama is a turquoise dream in every direction. Romance and history go hand in hand in Tihany, the Hungarian Provence, where a baroque abbey, cobblestone and lavender field add color to the landscape, with sailboats in the background.
The Romans have been soaking here for two thousand years, and Hévíz has been a Mecca for mineral treatments ever since. The warm-water lake full of water lilies is the largest natural thermal bath in the world, providing a solution to many musculoskeletal disorders. But it is also a perfect choice for someone who would simply float in the water.
And speaking of floating, the Balaton days are mainly about paddling. Better and better beaches await bathers and sunbathers who want to try the Hungarian Riviera. Paddle boats, sup, windsurf, langos with sour cream and jam packed pancakes - the locals already know that these are in the correct order.
It is the oldest and today the most stylish settlement on Lake Balaton. Füred was one of the main hub of the European aristocracy in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is reflected in the villas and buildings with ornate facades. One of the favorites for locals and visitors alike is the Tagore Promenade. The first tree, from which the promenade was named, was planted by the famous Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagore, thanks to his healing at the sanatorium in Füred.