Lake Balaton, Hungary

A local's guide to Hungary's holiday haven

 Peaceful morning view of the lake from the terrace of our wooden hut
 Golden hour by the harbour at the end of the famous Tagore Promenade
 Picking pears from our organic garden - first hand experiencing all the goodness nature has to give
 Kicking my feet up and soaking up the sun during a swim break by the lake
 Beautiful buildings and shadows in the surrounding areas of the lake in Balatonfüred
 Sunset and swan watching at the beautiful harbour of Balatonfüred
The thermal lake of Héviz and its charmingly old fashioned architecture

With Budapest making Hungary a popular city break destination, chances are that you may have visited or planning on visiting my beautiful home country. For those looking to travel beyond the capital's tourist zones and city attractions, a must-visit place is Lake Balaton where you'll have the chance to experience Hungary in a true local style.

Located in the west part of the country just 2 hours away from Budapest, it's such a large lake that some call it the 'beach' of Hungary. Attracting locals and travellers alike, the area gets especially lively in the summer months when the temperatures in Hungary rise and holidaymakers make their way there to enjoy the weather, landscapes, parties and all that it has to offer. 

The lake is 75km long in length and 15km wide with its two shores each attracting a different kind of crowd. The flat and sandy southern shore is known for its' resort towns where you'll find plenty of opportunities for parties, festivals, boat cruises and lakeside bars. With a lively holiday feel, it's full of young people from around the country gathering together for some summer fun. 

The mountainous northern shore is the area we visited. It's a famous wine region, full of culture, historic character and traditional locals. Having stayed with a relative of mine who happens to be a local, we were lucky enough to explore the region with a guide who was able to fill us in and show us around the best places including Balatonfüred and Hévíz. 

Balatonfüred provides a true holiday experience in a more local, quiet setting - perfect for relaxing and taking in the beautiful surroundings. The famous Tagore Sétány (Tagore Promenade) is a long street along the river filled with market stalls, restaurants and entertainment. It comes to an end by the harbour which we explored at the perfect golden hour - the atmosphere and beauty of the place at sunset really made me fall for it. 

Hévíz is another small resort town worth visiting, famous for the Hévízi Tó (Lake Héviz) which is said to be the world’s largest biologically active natural thermal lake. How impressive! The lake has medicinal effects as its source comes from a deep cave rich in minerals such as sulphur and chlorella as well as algae and medicinal mud. A little on the smelly side but we had no hesitation in taking a dip its warm 22 Celsius water full of health benefits. 

Overall, Lake Balaton is well worthy of visiting as its within close distance to Budapest and offers some extraordinary surroundings and opportunities to experience. The two differing shores of the lake make for an all round holiday experience with the opportunity to enjoy a quiet getaway, a fun-filled party holiday or better yet, a combination of the both.

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