Lake Balaton, also known as the “Hungarian Sea,” is the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, located in western Hungary. The lake has been a popular tourist destination for many years, attracting visitors with its stunning scenery and diverse range of recreational activities.
The history of Lake Balaton dates back to the Roman Empire, when the lake was known as “Pelso.” The Romans recognized the therapeutic properties of the lake and built bathhouses around its shores. During the Middle Ages, the lake became an important transportation route, connecting the Danube River with the Adriatic Sea. In the 19th century, the area around the lake became a popular destination for Hungarian aristocrats and the lake became a center for yachting and sailing.
Today, Lake Balaton is a popular tourist destination for both Hungarians and international visitors. The lake is known for its warm, shallow waters, making it an ideal destination for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The lake is also surrounded by picturesque hills and vineyards, making it a popular destination for hiking and wine-tasting.
In terms of size, Lake Balaton is the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, with a surface area of 592 square kilometers and a maximum depth of 12 meters. While it is not as large as some of the famous European lakes like Lake Geneva or Lake Como, it is still an impressive body of water that attracts millions of visitors each year.
If you’re planning a trip to Lake Balaton and are wondering where to go, this article is for you. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular towns around Lake Balaton, each with its unique charm and attractions. From Siófok, known for its vibrant nightlife, to Tihany, home to a stunning Benedictine Abbey, these towns have something for everyone. So, without further ado, let’s explore the most popular towns around Lake Balaton in Hungary.
- Siófok – Siófok is the largest town on Lake Balaton and is known for its vibrant nightlife and beach resorts. It is a popular destination for young people looking for a fun night out. During the day, visitors can enjoy water sports such as windsurfing, wakeboarding, and parasailing. Siófok also has a large marina and hosts several boat shows throughout the year. The Kálmán Imre Memorial Museum, dedicated to the famous Hungarian composer and songwriter, is also located in Siófok.
- Balatonfüred – Balatonfüred is a historic spa town on the north shore of Lake Balaton. It was a popular destination for Hungarian aristocrats in the 19th century and is still known for its thermal baths and spa treatments. Balatonfüred is also home to the Tagore Promenade, a tree-lined walkway that runs along the lake shore, and the Jókai Memorial House, a museum dedicated to the famous Hungarian author Mór Jókai.
- Tihany – Tihany is a small town on the northern shore of Lake Balaton that is known for its stunning Benedictine Abbey. The Abbey was founded in 1055 and is a popular destination for tourists looking to learn about Hungarian history and culture. Tihany is also a popular destination for hiking and sightseeing, with several nature reserves and lookout points nearby.
- Keszthely – Keszthely is a historic town on the western shore of Lake Balaton that is home to the Festetics Palace. The Palace was built in the 18th century and is now a museum that houses a large collection of European art and antiques. Keszthely is also a popular destination for wine-tasting, with several vineyards and wineries in the surrounding countryside.
- Badacsony – Badacsony is a small town on the north shore of Lake Balaton that is known for its wine production. The town is surrounded by vineyards and wineries that produce some of Hungary’s best-known wines, including the white wine “Badacsonyi Szürkebarát.” Visitors can take a wine-tasting tour or hike up to the Badacsony Hill for panoramic views of the lake.
- Zamárdi – Zamárdi is a town on the southern shore of Lake Balaton that is known for its festivals and events. The town hosts several music festivals throughout the year, including the Balaton Sound Festival and the Strand Festival. Zamárdi also has several beaches and water sports activities, making it a popular destination for families and young people.
- Szeged – Napfényfürdő Aquapolis, a large water park, is located in the city of Szeged, which is not near Lake Balaton. Szeged is a city in southeastern Hungary known for its beautiful architecture and cultural events.
Lake Balaton is truly a remarkable destination in Hungary, with so much to offer for visitors of all interests. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing spa retreat, an active holiday filled with water sports, or a cultural experience exploring the history and architecture of the region, the towns around Lake Balaton have something for everyone. From the stunning Benedictine Abbey in Tihany to the Festetics Palace in Keszthely, the charm and beauty of the towns around the lake are not to be missed. So if you’re planning a trip to Hungary, make sure to include a visit to Lake Balaton and experience the unique charm of this picturesque region for yourself.