In the world of the Balaton, with its multitude of possibilities, everyone can plan their personal vacation tailored to their own desires and interests. Whether you arrive alone or in a family, with small children or teenagers, with riding clothes or with a hunting rifle, at the height of summer or in mellow autumn, one thing is certain: you will find the landscape, accommodation and activity most suited to your taste.
And what is more, there will be no need for a long search. In spite of the fact that the Balaton region is a veritable storehouse of pleasure, it is not large. A two-hour car journey (and by train, boat, or bicycle it is not much longer) will take you to any location you desire: museums, stately homes, castle ruins, therapeutic baths, lookout points, hunting reserves, ancient reeds, golf courses, yacht landing stages…
Children bubble with enthusiasm about the wonderful paddling and splashing. It sometimes takes a firm command to get them out of the shallow, warm, silky water. Young people talk of the “great parties”, of dancing all through the hot nights. For them the lake is a world of fun, meetings and adventures. Hikers and nature lovers speak of the idyllic peace of the Upper-Balaton, or the vast reed beds in the Kis-Balaton (“Little Balaton”), and of its water-fowl, swirling up like clouds. Painters and photographers affirm that the finest panoramas in Hungary are given by the hills around the lake. Wine lovers immediately sing the praises of Badacsony Kéknyelű or Balatonboglár Olaszrizling, and gourmets that of grilled pike-perch. Fishermen tell of metre long fish, yachtsmen of cruising into a headwind, rheumatism sufferers talk of the therapies and healing in Hévíz, music enthusiasts of the organ recitals in Tihany or the operetta gala in Siófok…
Whatever the case, central Europe´s largest and most beautiful lake is worth a visit.With all the magic of the holidays, Lake Balaton awaits you, your family and your friends.
Places of Healing
The most beautiful parts of the landscape around Lake Balaton were formed by volcanic action, and even 2.5 million years after the extinction of the volcanoes their effect, though tamed, can still be felt. Dozens of sulphuric and carbonated springs burst from the ground along the lakeside, and in most of them people have sought (and found) healing for centuries.
The Hévíz lake
The most famous is the spring at Hévíz, which breaks to the surface at the foothills of the Keszthely hills. This is actually a geyser whose crater lake creates a natural bath of the rapeutic water at 38°C. Only in Iceland can anything similar be found. The sulphuric, mildly radioactive water of the Hévíz lake is just as excellent for the treatment of locomotor diseases as the mud from the bottom of the lake. The Hévíz lake is a sight to behold, particularly at the end of summer, when the red lilies from India flower in their thousands. Around the lake there are dozens of therapeutic hotels and sanatoriums.
During a search for oil in the 60s, splendid curative waters less than half an hour´s drive from thewestern end of Lake Balaton were discovered in the village of Zalakaros. The formerly unknown village has since then grown into a flourishing bathing resort, with comfortable hotels, guest houses, and restaurants offering genuine Hungarian cuisine. Its modern baths are recommended to those suffering from locomotor and respiratory disorders, but is also excellent for the treatment of gynaecological problems. The recently completed bathing complex guarantees a pleasant break for young, healthy fitness enthusiasts too.
The first water of the Balaton region to be used for healing was the carbonated spring of Balatonfüred: a bathing house stood beside it as far back as the 1700´s. Although modern cardiology has long since moved on from the carbonated bath cure, the former sanatorium next to the spring has become a medical institution known all over the country: Balatonfüred is referred to as the Mecca for those suffering from heart disease. In front of the Cardiological Hospital, in a colonnade on Gyógy tér is the Kossuth Spring, and many come to taste its cool, refreshingly sparkling water.