But even if you’re not a water baby, the lake’s surroundings are alluring. There are many reasons to travel to the “Hungarian Sea,” including the opportunity to see the enormous Festetics Palace and taste regional wines at nearby vineyards.
Here are some reasons why you should put a trip to the Lake Balaton area on your bucket list this year.
What are the travel restrictions for Hungary?
To enter Hungary, visitors from the EU and the UK must provide proof that they are completely immunized. Although a COVID-19 immunization certificate is required, no health forms need to be completed prior to entry.
British nationals who are not fully immunized must present the results of a PCR test that was negative up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Hungary.
Swim in the biggest thermal lake in Europe
You could do much worse than Lake Hévz if you prefer to swim in hot water. Just a few kilometers west of Lake Balaton lies the largest swimmable thermal lake in the world, which has grown to be one of Hungary’s most well-liked health tourism destinations.
The current building at Hévz boasts spire-like turrets and stretches over the lake, providing convenient access to the water. It was once used by the well-known bath-loving Romans and never reached temperatures lower than 22 degrees.
While bathing, mud packs, and traction baths are all part of traditional Hévz therapy, you are invited to just take a foam noodle and wade around in the lake’s red water lilies instead.
Try some of the local wine
The Balaton wine area has more than 9,000 hectares, and its attractive vines cover the mountainous northern side of Lake Balaton. It is home to several historic and distinctive Hungarian grape types.
The Badacsony wine district, which has the most wineries in the area, is located on the steep slopes just north of Sziliget Castle. The vineyards in this area are protected from winds from the north, and the lake’s cold breezes help to keep the grapes’ acidity in check.
However, you are not required to be in the hills to drink these excellent underappreciated wines. As twilight falls, board a sailboat from Balatonboglár and enjoy a drink of light white Rózsak as the sun sets.
See the lifestyle of the aristocracy
It is simple to understand why Festetics Palace draws 200,000 visitors a year with its opulent baroque architecture and waterfront position.
The most visited palace in Hungary is located in the town of Keszthely, just a short distance from the western shores of Lake Balaton.
The palace was built over the course of more than a century beginning in 1745, and its second level is where you’ll discover its most exquisite features.
The oak staircase, one of eight in the palace, is by far the grandest and is lined with family portraits. The building’s library is located in the east, a lovely oak-paneled chamber with over 90,000 books, a wooden spiral staircase, and a modest collection of ancient globes.
Ride a bike around the lake
There are few better ways to experience the 210km circumference of the largest lake in central Europe than by bicycle.
The Balaton Bicycle Circuit primarily comprises of peaceful side roads and cycle lanes, and there are several bike rental shops dispersed across the numerous lakeshore villages.
It’s recommended to cycle the entire lake in a few slow sessions rather than all at once because it will take all day (note that the northern side is hillier than the flat southern side).
Around the shore, there are several bicycle-friendly bistros and eateries, and it would be totally acceptable to have a swim or snooze in the shade of the trees.
Enjoy the several cuisine events in Balaton
Hungarians enjoy eating, and Lake Balaton is no exception. Anyone who has been to Hungary before (and tried their large portion sizes) would know this.
Seafood is king here because the waters are abundant with fish, and it’s a necessity to try the local fish soup, which is a combination of carp, predatory fish, catfish, and small fish.