Lake Balaton and surroundings

Tihany, Hungary

The “Hungarian Sea”, as locals often call it, is 78 km long lake with silky green-yellow water in the middle of Transdanubia. Lake Balaton is one of Hungary’s most precious treasures and most frequented resorts. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe. The southern shores of Balaton are ideal for small children because of the shallow water, while on the northern shore the water gets deeper instantaneously. In summer water temperatures can reach as much as 28-29 C. The water and the sleek mud of the lake are excellent remedies for nervous complaints, anaemia and nervous fatigue.

Picturesque vineyards in the region produce a large choice of excellent wines that go very well with the delicious local food. Large numbers of inns and restaurants welcome guests from home and abroad.

Siófok is the largest town on the southern side of Lake Balaton and is known for being the party town of the lake. Its port serves every boat route on the lake and cruise boats start from here as well. You can also find pleasant parks here ornamented with statues. The Water Management Museum covers the history of shipping and fishery on Lake Balaton, while the Museum of Minerals displays a huge collection of minerals.

Keszthely, the oldest settlement of Lake Balaton was an important hub of commerce in Roman times. The beautiful Festetics Mansion with its ornate wrought iron gate, surrounded by an English park, is the third largest chateau in the country. The Balaton Museum tells you everything you might want to know about the lake’s formation, flora and fauna, the history of bathing culture, waterborne traffic and archaeological and ethnographic memorabilia of 7,000 years.

The hill is an extinct casket-shaped volcano. Its slopes are covered with some very strange geological formations, fossilized lava columns called “basalt organs” as well as vineyards which produce the excellent wine of the Pauline monks called “Grey Friar”. One of the two hundred year old press houses is home to one of the most popular restaurant. Its terrace also offers an excellent panorama.

The twin-towered church of the Tihany peninsula is distinctly visible from a long distance. The peninsula, inhabited for almost a thousand years, is of volcanic origin, and has a profusion of rare plants and animals. The crypt of King András I, founded in 1055, survived the turbulent past and still stands in its original form. The present church was built over the crypt in the 18th century in Baroque style and includes several wood carvings. In the Museum of the Benedictine Abbey, you can find an exhibition about ancient times. There are frequent organ concerts in the abbey church in the summertime.

Hévíz has a thermal bath that has been attracting visitors for more than two centuries. The lake of Hévíz is covered with water-lilies and extends over an area of approximately 44 400 square metres, with a depth of 38 meters at the centre. It is the second largest hot-water lake in the world, at a temperature of 33-35 °C in the summer and around 24-26 °C in winter. Treatments are conducted under the supervision of specialized doctors from the Hospital of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation. If you would like to access even more medical and SPA services at Hévíz, click here.