15 cool things to do around Lake Balaton Hungary

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What we talk about in this article

Are you planning a visit to Lake Balaton in Hungary? Prepare for an interesting and cultural exploration. This guide aims to introduce you to some of the best things to do around Lake Balaton, a destination that’s more than just a picturesque natural wonder. From the idyllic beauty of Keszthely and Tihany, to the vibrant energy of Siófok, we’ll take you on a journey through the best villages and towns around Lake Balaton. This article will not only paint a vivid picture of these fun activities, but also give you more information on how to get going. Prepare to be inspired by the charm and culture of Hungary, as we delve into the heart of this beautiful region!

Visit Tihany Abbey

Perched majestically atop the Tihany Peninsula, the Tihany Abbey offers a stunning panorama of Lake Balaton that is nothing short of breathtaking. This Benedictine monastery, founded in 1055 AD, is a testimony to Hungary’s rich historical tapestry. Its Baroque architecture masterfully interweaves elegance and solemnity, while the silence of its walls narrates tales of bygone eras.

Fun Fact: The echo in Tihany, attributed to the unique landscape, was first mentioned in relation to the Abbey’s construction in the 18th Century!

  • Address: Tihany Abbey, 8237 Tihany
  • Getting There: Take a train to Balatonfüred from Budapest and then hop on a local bus to Tihany. Alternatively, ferries operate regularly from the southern shore of the lake.
  • Ticket Price: 1500 HUF (approx 4€) for adults, with discounts applicable for students and senior citizens.
Tihany Abbey Drone Shot
Tihany Abbey Drone Shot
Entrance and tourist activities at Tihany Abbey
Entrance and tourist activities at Tihany Abbey

Sailing on Lake Balaton

Experience the thrill of the wind in your sails as you traverse the shimmering waters of Lake Balaton. Known as the ‘Hungarian Sea,’ Lake Balaton is a paradise for sailing enthusiasts, offering a unique blend of calm and challenging winds. Let the beautiful landscape unfold as you sail past charming lakeside villages and stunning vineyards.

Fun Fact: Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe, freezes during winter and becomes a wonderland for ice sailing!

  • Starting Point: Balatonfüred Marina, 8230 Balatonfüred
  • Getting There: From Budapest, take the direct train to Balatonfüred. The marina is a short walk from the train station.
  • Ticket Price: Sailing tours can range from 20€ to 50€ per person, depending on duration and type of boat.

Stand Up Paddleboarding on the lake

Embrace the calm and tranquility of Lake Balaton with an invigorating session of stand up paddleboarding. Paddleboarding allows you to intimately explore the serene corners of the ‘Hungarian Sea’, at your own pace. As you glide over the crystal clear waters, you are afforded stunning views of the lush vineyards and quaint villages dotting the lakeshore.

Fun Fact: Stand up paddleboarding was introduced to Lake Balaton just a decade ago but has since become a favorite pastime among locals and tourists alike!

  • Starting Point: SUP Center Balaton, 8230 Balatonfüred, Aranyhíd stny., 8230
  • Getting There: From Budapest, take a direct train to Balatonfüred. The SUP Center is situated near the marina, which is a short walk from the train station.
  • Ticket Price: Prices for paddleboard rental range from 3000 HUF (approx 8€) to 6500 HUF (approx 18€) depending on duration.

Check out this SUP tour of Tihany National Park or would you rather engage in a sunset SUP tour around Tihany?

Sailing or stand up paddleboard at Lake Balaton
Sailing or stand up paddleboard at Lake Balaton

Wine Tasting in Badacsony

Experience the rich viticultural heritage of Badacsony, the wine region nestled on the slopes of an extinct volcano by the Lake Balaton! Savor the area’s famed crisp, white wines that carry a unique mineral character derived from the volcanic soil. Here, you can stroll through the scenic vineyards, engage with local winegrowers, and of course, enjoy tasting the local wines.

Fun Fact: The indigenous grape variety, ‘Kéknyelű’, meaning blue stem, can only be found in Badacsony!

  • Starting Point: Badacsony Region, 8261 Badacsonytomaj
  • Getting There: From Budapest, take a direct train to Székesfehérvár, then switch to the Balatonfüred line. From Balatonfüred, Badacsony is a short taxi ride away.
  • Ticket Price: Wine tastings range from 5000 HUF (approx 14€) to 15000 HUF (approx 41€), depending on the chosen winery and the number of wines tasted.
Wine Tasting at Lake Balaton
Wine Tasting at Lake Balaton

Explore the ruins of Szigliget Castle

Step into the pages of history at the magnificent Szigliget Castle, perched atop the volcanic Várhegy hill, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Balaton. This fortress, constructed in the 13th century, once served as a strategic defense post and is now a testament to Hungary’s rich past.

Fun fact: Szigliget Castle is one of the three surviving fortresses out of the original 13 Balaton castles! And, it’s one of the most remarkable castles in Hungary.

  • Starting Point: Szigliget Castle, 8264 Szigliget, Vár utca 16
  • Getting There: From Budapest, take a direct train to Székesfehérvár, then switch to the Balatonfüred line. From Balatonfüred, Szigliget is within an hour’s drive.
  • Ticket Price: Admission to the Castle is 800 HUF (approx 2.2€) for adults and 400 HUF (approx 1.1€) for children.
Explore the ruins of Szigliget Castle
Explore the ruins of Szigliget Castle

Enjoy the hot water at Heviz Thermal Lake

Bask in the soothing warmth of Heviz Thermal Lake, the world’s largest biologically active, natural thermal lake, found in Heviz, Hungary. This tranquil spot is not just a feast for the eyes with its vivid water lilies but also a sanctuary for wellness seekers. The healing properties of its thermal waters, rich in minerals and radon, have been rejuvenating visitors for centuries.

The thermal waters of Heviz not only nourish the lake but also provide a delightful experience for visitors who choose to indulge in the luxurious spa hotels located in this charming town.

Fun fact: Even in the frosty winter, the lake’s temperature remains a balmy 24-26°C, thanks to its thermal spring feeding!

  • Starting Point: Heviz Thermal Lake, 8380 Hévíz, Dr. Schulhof Vilmos setány 1
  • Getting there: To reach Heviz from Lake Balaton, make your way to Keszthely. Once you arrive in Keszthely, it’s just a short 10-minute bus ride to reach Heviz.
  • Ticket Price: A day ticket to the lake bath is approximately 5500 HUF (about 15€) for adults, 4900 HUF (around 13€) for students.
Enjoy the hot water at Heviz Thermal Lake
Enjoy the hot water at Heviz Thermal Lake

Discover the Majestic Festetics Palace, Keszthely

Embark on a journey back in time as you step into the Festetics Palace in Keszthely, Hungary. This Baroque masterpiece, built in the 18th century, is a testament to the grandeur of times past. Tour its lavishly decorated rooms, grand library, and the stunning Helikon Palace Museum. Don’t miss the Palace Park, boasting a rich variety of flora and fauna. Fun fact: The Palace’s library is one of the oldest surviving private collections in Hungary, with over 100,000 books!

  • Starting Point: Festetics Palace, 8360 Keszthely, Kastély utca 1
  • Getting there: From Lake Heviz, take a bus or taxi to Keszthely, which is just 6.4 km away. Festetics Palace is located in the heart of the city and is easily accessible.
  • Ticket Price: Entry to the Palace is approximately 2400 HUF (about 6.5€) for adults, 1200 HUF (around 3.2€) for children.
Discover the Majestic Festetics Palace, Keszthely
Discover the Majestic Festetics Palace, Keszthely

Experience the Charm of Balatonfüred, Hungary

Explore the tourism hub of Balatonfüred, a historic city known as the ‘Capital of the Northern Lake Balaton’. With its charming marina, delicious wine, and healing thermal waters, Balatonfüred is a feast for the senses. Stroll along the picturesque Tagore promenade, marvel at the grandeur of the State Heart Hospital, and sample the finest wines at the Anna Grand Hotel.

Fun fact: Did you know Balatonfüred hosts the renowned Anna Ball, a significant event in the Hungarian social calendar, held annually since 1825?

  • Starting Point: Balatonfüred City
  • Getting there: Direct regional trains run straight to Balatonfüred
  • Ticket Price: Exploring the city is generally free, but individual attractions may have their own admission fees.

The Fragrant Beauty of Tihany Lavender Fields

Immerse yourself in the aromatic bliss of Tihany Lavender Fields, a picturesque sea of purples and greens that stretch as far as the eye can see. Located in the heart of the Balaton Uplands, these fields offer a sensory feast, their soothing fragrance wafting in the air as you navigate through the verdant rows of lavender. The sight of these blooms swaying in the wind is a spectacle to behold, creating a soothing, almost hypnotic, ambiance.

Fun fact: Did you know the lavender harvested from these fields is used to create a range of products, including honey, soap, and essential oils?

  • Starting Point: Tihany Lavender Fields, Tihany
  • Getting there: Buses from Balatonfüred take approximately 20 minutes, or it’s a 10-minute taxi ride.
  • Ticket Price: Entry is free, but bring some cash for the local lavender products!
  • Best time to visit: The lavender typically blooms from June to July, making this period ideal for a visit.
Purple lavender fields
Purple lavender fields

Cast a Line in Lake Balaton: A Fisherman's Paradise

Discover the tranquil joy of fishing on Lake Balaton. Dotted with quaint fishing huts and equipped with boat rental services, the lake offers a serene environment that attracts fishing enthusiasts from around the globe. Its clear waters teem with a variety of fish including carp, pike, and catfish. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, fishing on Lake Balaton guarantees an unforgettable experience.

Fun fact: Did you know Lake Balaton’s unique microclimate makes it an ideal habitat for zander, a prized catch among fishermen?

Make sure to read the rules and regulations about fishing on Lake Balaton before you venture out.

Cast a Line in Lake Balaton: A Fisherman's Paradise
Cast a Line in Lake Balaton: A Fisherman's Paradise

Scale the Heights of Siófok Water Tower

Rising majestically in the vibrant town of Siófok, the Siófok Water Tower invites visitors to ascend its spiraling staircase for a mesmerizing, panoramic view of Lake Balaton. This architectural marvel, standing at a height of 45 meters, combines history and stunning vistas, making it an unmissable stop on your Hungarian adventure. Fun fact: Did you know the tower, built in 1912, doubles as a seasonal art gallery, hosting exhibitions that add an artistic flair to your visit?

  • Address: Fő tér 1, Siófok 8600, Hungary
  • Getting there: The Water Tower is centrally located in Siófok, reachable by a short walk from Siófok train station.
  • Ticket Price: HUF 500 (approximately €1.5)
Scale the Heights of Siófok Water Tower

Unearth the Secrets of Tapolca Lake Cave

Journey to the heart of the earth in Tapolca Lake Cave, a unique hydrological marvel nestled in the town of Tapolca, Hungary. Navigate the labyrinthine subterranean passages in a boat, threading through the awe-inspiring stalactite formations as you delve into this geological wonder. Fun fact: Did you know the cave’s mineral-infused waters were renowned for their curative properties in the 18th Century?

  • Address: Kisfaludy Sándor St 3, Tapolca, 8300 Hungary
  • Getting there: Tapolca is a 2.5-hour drive from Budapest. Once in Tapolca, the cave is a short walk from the town center.
  • Ticket Price: HUF 2,500 (approximately €7).
Unearth the Secrets of Tapolca Lake Cave
Unearth the Secrets of Tapolca Lake Cave

Conquer the Treetops at Zamárdi Adventure Park

At Zamárdi Adventure Park, embrace the thrill of nature and the exhilaration of heights. Tucked amidst the lush foliage of Zamárdi, this adventure park brims with adrenaline-pumping activities. From a vertiginous canopy walk, challenging climbing walls, to speed-sliding zip lines – there’s an adventure awaiting every daredevil. Fun fact: Did you know that the park’s tallest climbing wall measures a whopping 16 meters, making it Hungary’s highest mobile climbing wall?

  • Address: Kiss Ernő St 20, Zamárdi 8621, Hungary
  • Getting there: From Budapest, Zamárdi is about a 1.5-hour drive away. The adventure park is located at the heart of the town, within easy walking distance from most accommodations.
  • Ticket Price: Check the Zamardi Kalandpark website for actual prices

Explore the Wealth of Museums around Lake Balaton

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry and historical wonders that Lake Balaton has to offer. The area is dotted with a host of museums, each packed with unique artifacts that echo the region’s long and fascinating history. From art enthusiasts to history buffs, there’s something to captivate every curious mind. Let’s dive into the must-visit museums around Lake Balaton.

  • House of the Lake Museum – Discover the fascinating ecology of Lake Balaton at this unique museum in Balatonfüred.
  • Helikon Castle Museum – Located in Keszthely, this impressive Baroque castle-turned-museum houses a diverse collection of art and historical artifacts.
  • Kocsimuzeum Keszthely – For the automobile lovers, this museum showcases a range of vintage cars that will take you back in time.
  • Snail Parliament – Witness the unique Snail Parliament, an interesting sculpture park in Balatonszemes
  •  Mineral Museum – Get a glimpse into the world of minerals and gemstones at this small yet captivating museum in Tihany
  • Balaton Museum – Immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty of Lake Balaton at the Balaton Museum in Keszthely
  • Doll Museum – Step into a world of childhood nostalgia at the Doll Museum in Balatonfüred.
  • Jókai Memorial Museum – Visit the memorial museum dedicated to the famous Hungarian writer Mór Jókai in Balatonfüred
  • Marzipan Museum – Delight your sweet tooth and marvel at incredible marzipan sculptures at the Marzipan Museum in Tihany
  • Herend Porcelain Museum – Witness the elegance of Herend porcelain at this exquisite museum in Herend
  • Veszprém Zoo – Explore the diverse fauna at the Veszprém Zoo, offering a fun experience for all ages

Cycle around Lake Balaton

Cycle around Lake Balaton

Cycling around Lake Balaton, a jewel of Hungary, offers an exhilarating blend of stunning landscapes, quaint towns, and the sparkling allure of the lake itself. This adventure is a feast for the senses, as you pedal through lush vineyards, aromatic lavender fields, and past iconic landmarks. What’s more? Did you know that Lake Balaton offers one of Europe’s longest lakeside cycling paths?

  • Location: Lake Balaton Cycle path, Hungary
  • How to get there: The starting location is any towns around Lake Balaton.
  • Ticket price: Free to access the cycling path, but bike rental costs may vary.

Conclusion: there are more than enough fun things to do around Lake Balaton

At just over 100km from the capital city of Budapest, Lake Balaton makes for a worthy and great pit stop on any Hungarian road trip. After spending a few riveting days exploring the hidden gems of Budapest, this tranquil oasis provides a scenic retreat, with numerous boutique hotels and wellness hotels dotting its shore.

The lake’s surroundings hold the promise of adventure and relaxation in equal measure.

Nearby cities like Székesfehérvár beckon with historical treasures like the gothic Bory Castle, adding an extra layer of charm to your journey. In essence, whether you’re a history buff, an adventure enthusiast, or a seeker of tranquility, Lake Balaton seamlessly weaves itself into the fabric of your Hungarian escapade, offering an unforgettable experience.

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