Balaton Lake

Balaton Lake is the largest lake in Central Europe. It is a tourist destination that welcomes millions of visitors and residents every year.
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Balaton Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Transdanubian region. It is the largest lake in Central Europe as well as one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations.

The Zala River is the main stream to the river, while the artificial Siò canal represents its main outflow.

Although the mountainous region of the northern shore is known because of its history – back in the days it was the target of a German attack – and because its lands are rich in viticulture, its western shore is now a popular tourist destination.

Tourism development

The first resorts were built in Balatonfüred and Hévíz; towards the end of the 19th century those same landowners started building affordable summer homes to rent out to the middle class.

During the Sixties and the Seventies, the area around Balaton Lake became a very popular destination also for Germans and for other residents of the Soviet Bloc.

Today the most popular sites around the lake are Siófok, Keszthely and Balatonfüred. Zamárdi, another tourist town on the southern shore, hosted the Balaton Sound electronic music festival. Balatonkenese, on the other hand, hosts various gastronomy events.

Tourism on Balaton Lake is well developed, attracting different kinds of target: Siófok for instance is very popular among young people thanks to its numerous night clubs. In Keszthely there is the Festetics Palace, a famous cultural site, while Balatonfüred is an historical bathing town hosting the famous annual Anna Ball.

The main touristic towns have artificial sandy beaches, allowing visitors to spend a relaxing day outdoor. Other activities available on the lake are: sailing, fishing, and practicing other water sports.

The weather

This region has the highest level of rainfall across Hungary. The microclimate in the Balaton area is similar to the mediterranean weather, allowing viticulture to become an important activity for the region.

The high tourist season goes from June to the end of August, when the water temperature is very nice, reaching up to 25 °C. Most of the natural beaches are made of rocks, and slushy sand.

Although the peak of the tourist season is summer, the lake is also frequented during the winter, when visitors go ice-fishing or even ice skating on the frozen surface of the lake.

Excursions around the area

There are many day trips that you can take around the area if you wish to explore the countryside, the surrounding hills or the wineries on the north-coast, such as Badacsony.

It is also possible to go on a bike tour, as Balaton is almost completely surrounded by bike lanes.

Getting to Balaton Lake

In order to get to the Balaton region you can fly to Sármellék Airport, even if most of flight connections are seasonal. Flights leave mostly from Chez Republic and Germany.

Otherwise, you can land to Budapest and rent a car in order to get to the lake. From Budapest it is also possible to take a train. There are many trains leaving everyday from Deli and Keleti stations to Lake Balaton.

Balaton Lake, where to stay in the area

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Where is located Balaton Lake

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