Known affectionately as the Hungarian Sea, Lake Balaton is Central Europe’s largest freshwater lake, it’s about 50 miles long with colourful little towns, quaint rustic villages, and bustling resort towns around its shoreline. You will also spot many magnificent vineyards on your travels around the lake. I have included lots of videos for you to take a look at and give you plenty of ideas for your next visit to the wonderful Lake Balaton in my home country, Hungary – 40 minutes from the lake.
Hungarians love to flock here every summer, to escape the city and for some outdoor fun. This top-rated lake is the most visited family destination in Hungary.
To get a good “feel” of Lake Balaton watch this amazing video.
Siófok, also known as the Capital of Lake Balaton, is the largest city on the lake’s shore. During the summer months it boasts an active nightlife, with vibrant bars, clubs and restaurants available to all visitors. People also come for its long coastline, with friendly sandy beaches.
One of the oldest urban settlements in Hungary, it boasts quite an impressive list of tourist attractions definitely worth visiting. If you are here mid-July then catch the famous Street Music Festival, the largest and most colorful of its kind in all of Hungary. Veszprém Zoo is set in a wonderful natural space with a large variety of different species, open every day of the year, including weekends and holidays. There is a daily zoo walk and you can experience life size dinosaurs.
Balatonlelle is a cheerful, well-kept small town, which offers countless attractions for visitors. Located on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, about 35 km west of Siófok. Attractions include a (paid) sandy beach and a long public (free) grass beach, an aqua-park, go-cart course, and in the first week of August the town holds an annual wine festival.
Csopak is one of the most well known outstanding wine-districts of Hungary, where grape growing and winemaking has been in operation for more than two thousand years. In the village you can take part in the wine days held during August, with folk music and tasty food made by the locals. A very jovial way to spend a day.
The Strand (beach) of Csopak is famous for being the number one sandy beach for the last few years.
Csopak also offers a wealth of sailing opportunities and there are also boat trips to Tihany village, on the northern shore. Well worth visiting.
If you are interested in other beaches gaining awards then you will find more information here: Best Beaches around Lake Balaton 2019: https://dailynewshungary.com/exciting-these-are-the-best-beaches-of-lake-balaton-this-year/
Nobli / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
A beautiful video showing you the delights of Fonyód.
Fonyód is a holiday resort on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, and can boast the first ever dog beach at the lake. A very well maintained beach that you can let your dog run, swim and have fun. It is forbidden at other beaches around the lake.
The town is famous for its mineral water which is bottled there under the name Fonyódi.
Balatonfüred is a bustling Hungarian spa town on Lake Balaton’s north shore. Esterházy Beach is considered to be the most “elegant” beach of the city. It has well kept lawns, blooming flower beds and pretty park benches. For the energetic you can play volleyball and streetball on the beach pitches, or sunbath on platforms and swing chairs which can be rented. The summer months in Balatonfüred are popular times with visiting tourists.
It is home to The spectacular Annagora Aquapark with the second largest wave pool in Hungary. More information here: https://annagora.com/en/annagora-aquapark/introduction/
Keszthely is situated on the western shore of Lake Balaton. It is the largest city by the lake. The town boasts 3 wonderful quality beaches each gaining a prestigious Blue Waves Flags award.
After the city’s waterfront, the main attraction of Keszthely has to be Festetics Palace. This sensational Baroque palace, is positioned just north of the city centre and yet feels wholly secluded. While you have to pay to take a tour of the palace interior, visitors are free to roam the expansive English gardens at the front and back of the palace.
Hévíz is a spa town in Zala County, Hungary. The famous Lake Hévíz, is located here and offers the ultimate in wellness experiences. The local inhabitants have know about its healing properties since the Stone Age. The lake is dotted with picturesque water lilies, and it’s inhabited by a variety of bacteria and algae that contribute to its healing properties. This is definitely the highlight of Hévíz. So apart from being a haven for relaxation, Hévíz town is also teeming with cultural events, arts and crafts and many gastronomical delights.
Find out about other Hungarian Thermal Spas here:
Tapolca attracts many tourists to this little town due to its surrounding green hills, relaxed atmosphere and laid back pretty country lifestyle. The Mill Pond is a small romantic part of Tapolca and is great for a leisurely amble around its quaint streets.
The main attraction has to be The Lake Cave, the winding 300m underground limestone cave system, navigable by boat along a subterranean lake. It weaves under the houses of Tapolca, discovered over a hundred years ago, fascinating and truly atmospheric. More information can be found here: https://bfnp.hu/en/tapolca-lake-cave-visitor-centre-tapolca
Balatonboglár is a small resort town situated on the south shore of Lake Balaton. It is the official centre of the Balatonboglár wine region, and is often called the “town of grapes and wine.”
Ferenc Vejtey Promenade is a lovely beach with a gorgeous romantic setting especially enjoyed at sunset.
Sphere Lookout is an observatory up a small hill. The hill is slightly steep in places so maybe hard for less able bodied people but well worth the views when you get up there. Definitely need to visit for the staggering 360 degrees views across the lake – there is a small entrance fee.
The village can be found on the northern bank of Lake Balaton established on a small hill. The castle, nicknamed the “Fortress of the Balaton”, sits proudly overlooking the lake. Withstanding the test of time since its construction in the 13th century, Szigliget is a slice right out of history, and you will enjoy taking a step back in time. Szigliget Castle is definitely a must-see if you’re in the area.
The castle bares over 750 years of history and represents a valuable legacy to the Hungarian people. There are many events held at the castle grounds, including the Castle Festival and the renowned Historical Archery Competition. Szigliget castle also features various thematic exhibitions, emphasising the daily life of people living in medieval times. You can capture amazing views from the top.
Tihany is located on the northern shore of the lake, on a charming peninsula overlooking the majestic Lake Balaton. It is one of the best loved destinations around the lake. It becomes quite crowded during the summer season. The lush walkways, appealing houses, the famous Tihany Abbey and the adventurous nature trails are all part of the Peninsula’s charm.
One of the biggest attractions in the region is the yearly held Lavender Festival. In the second half of June many people arrive to Tihany from all over the country to admire the pretty fields of violet.
Kohegyi Kilato – Stone Hill Lookout video gives you the wonderful panoramic views from the tower across Lake Balaton and a taste of the beachlife in this resort.
Zamardi is also very well known for its glorious beaches and incredibly popular music events, particularly Balaton Sound. It is held in July every year and is one of the largest open-air electronic music festivals. This four-day festival held on the southern bank of Lake Balaton, is a great place to dance the night away and then recover the next day on the sun loungers by the water.
So there you have it, 13 super places to visit around Lake Balaton. If, like everyone else in the world, you have restricted travel, you can play the videos and take part in exploring these areas virtually whilst planning your next visit. Are there any places I have missed, please let me know in the comments?