Budapest – summer – high season… most of the beaches are packed. If you aren’t a fan of the “experience” of not even having enough towel space after paying the high priced ticket and to “swim” in the pool like a canned herring, then I recommend Nature with a warm heart!
Instead of packed beaches – discover the lakes near Budapest
As I wrote many times, Hungary is the home of water and therefore lakes, which would absolutely be a mistake to not use to our advantage during the summer high-season.
At the beaches of lakes near Budapest there is always room – even in the shade – and there aren’t too many people, so you can really relax and enjoy the beach, if you choose any of the beaches below instead of the beaches/pools of Budapest.
I tried to collect the closest lakes to Budapest in this article, so that on the day you plan to enjoy the beach you don’t have to waste the precious bathing-time on travelling.
All the beaches below can be approached by public transportation as well, but obviously, during the summer heat, it’s much more comfortable and quicker going by car, especially if you’re with kids.
At most places you can do more than bath, many of them offer opportunity to fish – of course the beach and fishing location is separated everywhere.
Almost all lakes offer opportunity for some cooking, or cooking in a cauldron, and many places have established camping sites and other accommodation options, in case you plan to stay for a few days. I won’t waste anymore time, let’s see that list.
Lake Domonyvölgyi, a.k.a D-Beach
Address: H-2182, Domony, Akác u. 145
Domonyvölgy is pretty close to Budapest, it’s quickly approachable on the M3 or road 3 by car, but you can also take the train or the bus. Domonyvölgy is really close to Gödöllő / Aszód.
The D-Beach opened in 2005 – it’s very well mannered, clean and well built, but not too big. The creation of the beach is connected to well-known Hungarian people: Viktor Klausmann, Vilmos Lázár and Zoltán Lázár decided to create a quality leisure-park in the neglected, unoccupied area, and its 14,000 sq.m. area now awaits you with sand, volleyball and beach soccer fields and buffets.
There is plenty of shade on the beach, as there are many trees and parasols, which can be used for free. In the lake, buoys indicate how far you can swim, as the lake offers fishing opportunities as well. Building a stage is in their future plans, so they can host smaller summer concerts and festivals.
The D-Beach’s features extend with the services of the Lázár Lovaspark (Equestrian park), which as the country’s largest equestrian and carriage center provides various programs, as well as the former military practice track 5km from the beach, which is the ideal location for offroad and quad competitions.
So at the lake there is opportunity for fishing, quad driving or exploring, as all of Domogyvölgy is beautiful.
The prices of the Lake Domonyvölgyi in 2019:
- The beach isn’t free, the full day ticket is on a weekday is 1,500Ft, on the weekend it’s 2,000Ft.
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- The beach season lasts from May till September, between 9am and 8pm.
Lake Lupa – Lupa Beach / Lupa Bay beach
Address: H-2011, Budakalász, Tó utca
Lake Lupa is my personal favourite, as this is where I swam every summer – despite the fact that at times it was forbidden. When you’re young you don’t take that seriously, especially not in the summer heat and if the lake is very close.
There were times when the guard would tell us off, but most of the time no one cared that half of Szentendre, Budakalász and Békásmegyer bathed here. This is why I welcomed Mr. Gerendai’s effort (the founder of Sziget Festival) so much, to make these beautiful and clear lakes legally usable.
Opinions divide on whether he did it right or not, but this doesn’t change the fact, that there is a super lake near Budapest, where there is plenty of space and no massive crowd, like on other nearby beaches.
Lupa Beach is worthy of being called Budapest’s beach, as the founders really made something unique. Palm trees and white sandy beach everywhere, the lake’s water is crystal clear and refreshingly cool (thanks to its depth), which, let’s face it – it really feels great in the heat.
Besides the normal sunbeds, you can relax on baldachin sunbeds, if that’s what you want, but there are plenty of parasols as well – which really comes in handy as there aren’t many trees that provide natural shade (seen as it’s a mine lake).
There are great beach-sport fields on the sandy beach, which provide active relaxation and you can try many water sports in the lake. Besides swimming you can kayak, wake-board, paddle board, or even dive. At the beach’s Gastro Promenade every need is looked after, it awaits you with wide variety, from street food to gourmet.
The Lupa Beach is very well built, clean and comfortable. There are changing rooms, bathrooms, showers and lockers.
I absolutely recommend it to families, as they have plenty of family-friendly services, such as the Kid’s Beach specially made for children, which is fenced off and the water is shallow, or the playground, play house and other kid’s programs.
There is also a water adventure park, trambulin park, water dodgems at the area made for families, so the whole family can have fun. If you would like to relax and take it easy try the saunas, or the various massages.
This place is not only for swimming, but also for fun: various beach clubs with music take care of the mood and there are many Sunset parties too.
You can stay for the night – if the Sunset party went a bit too well – in one of the offered accommodations of Lupa Beach.
The Lupa Beach is really comfortable and can be quickly reached by car on road 11.
It’s about 2km from Békásmegyer towards Szentendre, but there is a specific beach bus as well from downtown (Deák square – Westend – Margit-bridge – Kolossi square – Flórián square – Heltai Jenő square), the price varies from 390-990 Ft, depending on where you get on.
On the other hand, the bus from Lupa to downtown has a fixed price of 500 HUF.
The prices of the Lake Lupa in 2019:
- Adult tickets to Lupa Beach are currently 2,900 – 3,999 HUF (weekday/weekend).
- Regarding prices, services and programs it’s worth to visit http://en.lupabeach.com/
- The beach season at Lupa lasts from May till September, between 9am and 8pm.
Lake Rukkel (Rukkel Water Park)
Address: H-2336, Dunavarsány, Rukkel-tó 1.
Another one of my favourite natural water park, I’ve been here many times and seen as the operators come up with something new every year, I can say, you can’t get bored of it.
Lake Rukkel is also close to Budapest, by car, it takes about 30 minutes on road 51, but you can get there by bus quickly too (the bus leaves from Népliget and stops directly at the bus stop of the lake).
Lake Rukkel has been effectively operating since 1991 and is constantly evolving, beautifying. I absolutely recommend it to everybody, – alone, with friends, or the whole family.
You can be sure, everybody will find the perfect activity for themselves. The water of the leak is very clean, it’s perfectly built with showers, toilets, parasols and different gastronomic units.
There is plenty of natural shade and green grassed area, but there is a sandy beach too of course. I really like the slides here – for me it’s always a special experience to jump in a natural lake over a man-made pool. They are more exciting and enjoyable.
The water of the lake is refreshingly cool, but not too cold – I like to swim in it.
I say to the lovers of slides, there are many slides at the lake: wavey, spiral, kamikaze, twin-kamikaze, black hole, slope and of course many children’s slides. Beside the slides, there is a wakeboard field, pedalo, kayak – boat and different height jumping towers (between 3-6 m).
What’s more, this year’s (2019) new feature is the 150 -person Aquaglide waterpark, which can be seen at more and more quality beaches. In this waterpark you can slide-and-climb, jump around and let out your inner child.
If you get hungry in the all day long sliding, visit the beach’s restaurant or grill bar – if you want a good beer, I recommend the beach’s brasserie, where they offer ice-cold beers.
Birthday people, attention: if you got to Lake Rukkel on your birthday, you can get in free of charge (this is only good for those who are born between May and September though).
If you want to hose a family or a business party, then a fenced off area of the lake, or even all of it can be rented for events.
The prices of Lake Rukkel in 2019:
- Tickets for Lake Rukkel is currently 2,000 HUF for an adult.
- The park is normally open from May until September, between 9am and 7.30pm.
Swimming lake of Veresegyház
Address: H-2112, Veresegyház, Találkozók utca
You must have heard about the Veresegyház Bear Farm, where you can meet not only bears, but wolves, foxes and newly saved lions as well.
It’s worth to combine the pleasant with the useful and dip into the nice water of Lake Malom at Veresegyház after visiting and supporting the Bear Farm.
This is an absolute retro beach -with shading trees, soft sand (the sand is refreshed every year), clear water lake and very friendly prices.
The season is shorter than at other lakes – normally from mid-June until the middle or end of August.
By the way, the beach has been in existence and provides refreshment to visitors in the summer months since 1928. The lake is multi-functioned: you can swim in a fenced off area, there is a volleyball field at another area, and the rest of the lake is for fishers and ducks of course.
Parking is free of course (not guarded), and the dressing rooms, showers and toilets are around the lake, but a buffet also functions. You can reach it by car on the M3 until Mogyoród (exit 23), then following the Szadai road, by train from Rákospalota-Újpest station to Ivacs with the G71 Vác train, from there it’s about 700m by feet.
It’s not only worth to come here to swim or fish, but to hike as well, as this is where – from Lake Malom – the Lakes of Veresegyház Study Trails begin, which is 4880 m long and its route takes you around the three lakes of Veresegyház.
Out of the 3 lakes, Lake Malom has been a protected area since 1985. The study trail has 11 stations, each station is marked on a numbered acacia stake, at halfway – above the lake – there is a resting area with benches and tables.
The prices of the swimming lake of Veresegyház in 2019:
- The adult ticket is 800 HUF, the child/student/retired ticket is 600 HUF.
- The beach is open during summer between 9am-8pm.
Lake Dorogi / Palatinus
Address: H-2500, Esztergom, Tópart utca
This lake holds a special place in my heart, as for one, I love the Danube Bend, and two, I spent half of my childhood in this area.
Back then the Lepence Beach was my favourite in this area, but unfortunately that has closed and demolished a long time ago, even though from its pools some of Hungary’s prettiest panoramas unfolded before us – the Danube Bend.
I can’t get enough of this area! On one side the spectacular Pilis and Visegrád mountains, on the other the thousand-faces of Börzsöny.
You can dip into the Danube at many locations (here the water is still mostly clean), like at Dunabogdány, Tahi, Kisoroszi, Horány and of course at Visegrád and Esztergom.
Out of these, I like the Kisoroszi peak, because there is a huge sand bench, so the stream of water slows down a bit and it’s shallows as well, and you can rest under pleasant, shadow-casting trees, cook or enjoy the sun.
It’s good to remember that the stream of Danube can be strong at many places, so be careful when you’re swimming – but this is true to every river.
Lake Palatinus is Esztergom’s and the Danube Bend’s little gem – it’s considered one of Hungary’s clearest lakes.
It’s easily accessible from Budapest by road 11 by car, or even with bus. It’s also not only worth to come for swimming here, as the nature surrounding the lake is wonderful. You can get a great hike, or mix swimming together with sight-seeing at Visegrád, or visiting the Basilica of Esztergom.
The water of the lake is crystal clear, pleasantly cooling and the area of the lake has perfect infrastructure. Shaded, sandy beach, parasols and sunbeds, built in showers, bathrooms and you can also dive here!
You can play volleyball, handball, beach soccer on the beach and the lake hosts many sport events as well, for example swimming competitions, sport camps, or the famous Palatinus Trial.
In 2018, great slides were added to the lake, growing its already high standard.
Lake Palatinus also has a constant Diving base, together with every equipment – that’s needed for diving. Of course, you can also fish in this lake, at a section separated from the beach.
Address: Aqua Island H-2500, Esztergom,Táncsics Mihály u.5
In case it’s raining, or the weather turns cold, it’s worth to move over to the neighbouring Aqua Island Adventure Bath, where open-air beach, indoor pools and wellness-world await you for perfect relaxation.
The prices of the lake Palatinus in 2019:
- The tickets’ prices are very friendly, adults can enjoy splashing around all day in this beautiful environment for only 550 HUF.
- The entrance for the Diving base is 2,000 HUF, but this contains the use of the lake as well.
- The season of Lake Palatinus is the usual May – September section, on weekdays from 9am – 7pm, on weekends from 9am – 8pm, but the cash register closes at 6pm every day.
Swimming lake of Gyömrő
Address: H-2230, Gyömrő, Munkás u. 18
The swimming lake of Gyömrő opened its gates again in 2004, after extensive renovation and landscaping works, but the renovation is still ongoing – the lake and it’s area gets prettier and better each year. The water of the lake also went through a thorough cleaning, so today it’s clean and on summer days it reaches 26-30 Celsius.
The beach is well built – a paved promenade surrounds the lake, with many shadow-casting trees and soft, green grass, showers, bathrooms and different gastronomical units got their spot around the lake, there’s also a cocktail bar. The specialty of the bar is that it’s in the middle of the lake, so it’s very cozy and unique.
The gastronomical offer is very diverse, as you can pick from all together 11 catering units. There is pecsenye, burger, hot-dog, pancake, lángos and everything that’s good. In addition, this is where the Caribbian style restaurant – the Negresco, that can take 200 people is.
During the summer season there is a huge party here every Friday and Saturday, a real lake beach disco.
It’s well worth taking a pleasant walk around the lake, as the lake is surrounded by 100 hectares of forest park, of which a section is covered by a paved walkway.
The bath is close to Budapest, taking road 31 by car will get you there within 20 minutes, or by bus from Rákoskeresztúr in 50 minutes.
If you feel like fishing, I definitely recommend the lake of Gyömrő, as the neighbouring Lake Tőzeges is real paradise! The water is nice and clear and many fishing-decks were created.
The prices of the lake of Gyömrő in 2019:
- An adult ticket for the full day is 1,200 HUF, kids’ and retired tickets are 800 HUF (it’s free under the age of 3).
- The season of the swimming lake is from May to the end of August (depending on the weather it can be until mid-September), in this period it’s open from 10am until 8pm.
Lake of Bánk
Address: H-2653, Bánk, Tóparti sétány
We circle back again to my favourite areas, the Börzsöny and the nearby Cserhát area – at the present moment Bánk, found in county Nógrád. As this is where the lake called the Palóc Balaton, the 7 hectare Lake Bánki.
This little gem is firstly a fishing paradise, but in the summer it’s the perfect choice for all day long bathing. It’s true that it isn’t that close to Budapest, but it’s definitely worth to drive here, as the scenery is beautiful.
We can get here by car through main road 2, app. 60km long. You have to go until Rétság and Bánk is another 4km after the roundabout. You can get there by bus as well, from Újpest-Városkapu to Rétság with bus 1010, and from there get on the bus to Bánk.
The water during summer is pleasantly cool, approximately matching the temperature of the Balaton. The water quality is perfect for swimming.
What I like about the Lake of Bánk is that on a really pleasant route you can walk around, or cycle, the whole lake. A part of the path is surrounded by the forest and you can find many decks here, where you can sit down for a bit of romance.
The predominant view of the lake is the beautiful Tó Wellness Hotel, where you can even stay the night. The hotel is really nice with modern rooms and interiors, and the restaurant is great as well. It’s worth to look around on the hotel’s website, as they offer really good deals, from a weekday getaway through a wellness-relaxation to special romantic stays (wedding, honeymoon).
The lake awaits you from the 1st of June until the 31st of August during summer, but you can only swim in the designated areas, but it’s a fact, that during hotter summer day, people tend to swim in other parts of the lake as well (which is forbidden).
It’s worth to be cautious, as even though the average depth of the lake of Bánk is 4m, at many places it reached 6-7m!
The lake is well built, well mannered and clean. There are many showers and bathrooms. The beach is pleasant, covered with green grass in many places, but at the beach section there is sand as well of course.
If you get hungry, I recommend the Tavi-fészek complexum next to the lake, where there is a village pub, strand-buffet, various snacks, a small shop and a fine dining inn.
Many people visit the lake – especially during the summer, thanks to the program series called the Summer of Bánk. Concert, theatrical performances, stand-up comedy, and open-air screenings – just to mention a few of their summer programmes. The most popular one is the Bánk Festival, which is organised every year.
Adventure enthusiasts can also find their activity here, as across the lake is a great leisure park, Lake Adventure Park. You can have fun at the adventure park, as there are many ziplines, but you can play tennis, badminton, soccer and of course the kids aren’t forgotten either, the playground and the sand box awaits them.
The prices of the lakes of Bánki in 2019:
- An adult ticket for the full day is 750 Ft, kids’ and retired tickets are 450 Ft (it’s free under the age of 6).
- The beach is open during summer between 9am-7pm.
The lakes of Délegyháza
Address: H-2337, Délegyháza, Nomád part 4.
I left one of the most versatile lakes last, which is also county Pest’s largest lake system.
It’s close to Budapest, app. half an hour to reach the lakes located 27km from there though road 51, but the bus comes and goes a few times a day as well.
The lake system is made up of 8 lakes and includes lakes suitable for swimming, water sports, fishing and relaxation. The area of the lakes is app. 300 hectare, and the water temperature is very pleasantly cool.
There is a slide park, quad-centrum, horse riding center, gym and billiard saloon as well, not even mentioning the many different restaurants.
If you are a believer of nudism, then I have good news for you, as this is where the nationally known Naturist Camping Oasis is, which includes a naturist camping that’s open all year around.
The lake system’s largest and best beach is at the fourth lake, on the Nomád beach (Nomád strand), where we can tan, or hide away in the pleasant shade of a tree.
An all satisfying structure was developed around the lakes, so it’s sure that the lakes of Délegyháza is a super choice!
By the way, this is where the Robinson eco-residential park was built and I’m not surprised, as the whole area around Délegyháza is filled with beautiful forests and meadows. If you like to go on a boat, then across the Nomád beach is plenty of uninhabited islands, where you can get with a boat (or by swimming).
If you like camping, then I recommend the Tavirózsa camping, where beside the well-built infrastructure, green grass and sandy section can be found. On the area of the camping there is a soccer and tennis field, basketball court and playground, as well as opportunity to cook in a cauldron or grill.
You can go camping with a tent, but you can also rent super little wooden houses, and in addition there is also a party house. Besides swimming, you can paddle boat, ride a rowing boat, go in an arcade and paddle board as well.
I would like to mention to the lovers of fishing, that a majority of the lakes are designated fishing lakes. This is where fishing lakes of the Fishing Associations of Délpest and Délegyháza can be found, and in addition the Bázis, Moby Dick, Karig, Villantó and Lake Némedi are all designated fishing lakes.
The prices of the lakes of Délegyháza in 2019:
- The adult ticket currently is 1,000 Ft. You can also buy a pass and there are plenty of offers.
- The beach is open during summer between 8am-8pm,
I hope that I managed to peak your interest regarding lakes close to Budapest with this little list, and you can all spend an awesome beach day at one of the lakes! Let’s go to nature, enjoy your break!