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Home > Budapest Travel Blog > Hungary outside of Budapest - Lake Balaton

Hungary outside of Budapest - Lake Balaton

When people book a trip or vacation, they often think only about the capitals. They don't even think about how many sights there are in the countryside, even though many domestic tourists haven't been to most of the places yet. You don't even have to travel far, you can often find more attractions in the smaller villages, towns and surrounding neighborhood, near the capital than in the big city. Let's look around!

What about Budapest? In our latest series, we will guide you to places in Hungary that are not the most popular and recommended places by travel sites or tourist offices but are a truly once in a lifetime experience when visiting Hungary.

In our first article we visit Lake Balaton.

Lake Balaton, or as many of us and many of our poets have called it the Hungarian Sea, is the most popular summer destination for many tourists from the capital or other rural cities. However, coming to Hungary means not only looking around Budapest, but also other popular and beautiful landscapes of the country. That's why we want to introduce Lake Balaton, or as many call it, the Balcsi.

The 197 km shoreline of Lake Balaton, with its beaches, volcanic hills, resort towns and high-rise hotels, has grown into a major holiday destination in recent decades. The hilly northern coast is a wine region with a lot of protected wetlands and hiking trails in the Balaton Uplands National Park.

Located in Transdanubia, the largest lake in Central Europe is Lake Balaton, a key element in the hydrography of Hungary. It's easy-to-warm, shallow water makes it ideal for bathing and sports. The water is much deeper on the north shore, while on the south shore we have to walk towards the north for minutes before we can soak in the water to the waist. Its wildlife is extremely rich, with a wide variety of fish and reptiles living in its water. In summer, most people go swimming at the lake, but kite, surf and water skiing are also popular forms of recreation for athletes. You can also go kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or sail here. In the winter, unfortunately, it freezes less and less, but in many places you can skate on the artificial ice rink set up on the beaches while admiring the beautiful scenery.

Which part is close to Budapest?

Siófok, located on the south coast, is very easily accessible from the capital. If we are lucky and the traffic is not high, we can reach the lake from Budapest in as little as an hour. It's worth the wait!

The town is famous for its iconic buildings, great beaches, and nightlife. Due to the nearby settlement of Ságvár, it is in one of the oldest inhabited areas around Lake Balaton.

Thanks to its 17 km long coastline, hundreds of hotels and many bars, restaurants and nightclubs, the city is the second most popular destination in Hungary in terms of internal destinations, right after Budapest. The city is one of the richest settlements in Hungary due to tourism. Although the northern shore has been as popular as Siófok in recent years, it still holds the title of the most visited city around Lake Balaton.

This is no wonder, as the lake itself and the surrounding towns offer plenty of opportunities for recreation both in winter and summer. You can take a dip not only in the lake, but also in the spa baths and pools of the hotels around Balaton. The area is excellent for those who want to relax in all four seasons, which is why the "Balaton all year round" campaign was launched a few years ago with the cooperation of companies operating in tourism around the lake.

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Hop On Hop Off

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Budapest card

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Online price: from 33 €

Check out our other services too!

Hop On Hop Off

  • Red route
  • 21 stops at the major sights
  • Audio Guide on 16 languages
  • Free Boat ride of Danube
  • Free walking tour

Online price: from 38 €

Castle Bus

  • Explore the Buda Castle District
  • Eco-friendly buses
from 15 €

Budapest card

  • Free entrance to baths
  • Free entrance to museums
from 33 €

See more on our blog

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Budapest Christmas holiday tips - 4 must see things

What to do at night in Budapest? Here are the best ideas!

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Top 10 things to do in Budapest beyond the touristic places

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