Lake Balaton Area
Lake Balaton, Central Europe's largest freshwater lake, some 60 miles
southwest of Budapest, is Hungary's number one vacation resort and a
major wine-producing region. Easily reached by car, bus or train,
Balaton offers dozens of resort hotels for longer stays. The north shore
of the lake is noted for its resorts, wineries and spas. Jutting into
the lake, the Tihany Peninsula is one of the
country's most interesting national parks and site of a Benedictine
abbey founded in 1055. In fact, the abbey's deed of foundation is the
earliest written record of the Hungarian language.
Among the must-see
are the Open-Air Museum of Ethnography in Tihany and the Festetics
Palace in Keszthely. Villages
with special appeal include the 12th century Dörgicse, Kővágóörs
with its charming peasant cottages, and the resorts of Balatonrendes and
Ábrahámhegy. A legendary view of the region is from the Rózsakő
(Rose Stone) near Badacsony.
Lake's water temperature is about 76F during the
summer, which together with its shallow depth, make it an ideal family
On the south shore
you'll find a series of resort towns and villages: Buzsák, known for
its unique folk art; Várhegy, a Turkish hill fortress near Fonyód, and
Balatonboglár, one of the
oldest resort towns, dating back to 1211 with evidence of Roman
occupation and Iron Age earthworks.
Balaton at the lake's south- west end is a nature conservation area, a
shelter for many rare and protected bird species: white herons,
spoonbills and cormorants. Another untouched natural region is the Káli
basin. Here, most of the old peasant houses in villages such as Kapolcs
and Monostorapáti have been purchased by artists concerned about
traditional values, thus preserving them for posterity.
Read our article 'Come
take the Waters', a
spa itinerary in Budapest and along lake Balaton's north shore.