Let’s go to Lake Balaton. Great ideas and programs for cloudless fun around Lake Balaton. There are so many experiences waiting that one or two days will definitely not be enough!
Lake Balaton is one of the best places in Hungary, with lots of programs and sights
Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Hungary, which also saved the Hungarian people’s soul a little. If they can’t have their own sea, they have a kind of Hungarian coast: Lake Balaton.
Each section of this magical lake is unique and shows different faces in each season, be it the bustling summer, the blooming spring, the slightly frosty winter, or the swirling autumn.
It is worth visiting here at any time of the year, but obviously it really lives in the summer, especially for tourists. Of course, there are a couple of programs waiting for us which shouldn’t be missed if we get lost here.
Places at Lake Balaton that I recommend
Every year, thousands of people visit Hungary and Central Europe’s largest freshwater lake. It is no coincidence as we can experience nonesuch miracles if we choose the Hungarian Sea.
If you want to get to know Lake Balaton and its surroundings better, a day or two will not be enough. It is recommended to stay in one of the settlements around Lake Balaton and explore the many sights.
My favorite places around Lake Balaton:
I present the history and sights of each settlement in detail. I will illustrate them with plenty of pictures. Which one is your favorite?
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The best things to do around Lake Balaton in 2022
1. Wine tour in the Badacsony wine region
With which settlement you could start the best things to do around Lake Balaton like Badacsony. The picturesque settlement, where you can taste the best Hungarian wines.Many people think of the good wines of Lake Balaton on the slopes of Badacsony and it is not an accident.
So, the establishment of the Wine Route Association was almost a matter of course. They brought together the best wineries in the region, meeting all quality standards.
One of the outstanding members of the Wine Route Association is the Csendes Dűlő Vineyard. They do not use chemicals for grape production and traditionally harvest by hand. I can only recommend their outstanding wines which you can taste on their wine terrace. For more info check their website.
The Wine Roaming series of events shows the exemplary cooperation of winemakers in Badacsony. The point of this is that until the end of June, each winemaker and farmer will always open at different times for a wine tasting.
This is a great program where good wines, delicious food and a great atmosphere are basic. We have the opportunity to really map the deservedly famous Badacsony wine region and also the experienced and innovative young people who have made this place what it is: super cool!
2. Discover Tihany
The Tihany Peninsula is perhaps one of the most beautiful and exciting points of Lake Balaton which is a must-see. Perfect program in any season.
If we finished with the abbey, tested the famous echo of Tihany, ate a delicious lavender ice cream, and admired the breathtaking panorama, there is still a lot to do here.
Sporty tourists can also discover Tihany on land and water, thanks to the Active Point Tihany (link). It is possible to rent a bike to explore the peninsula this way, but we can also try sailing or rent a small boat.
For those who want to be in professional hands, I recommend guided walking and cycling tours.
Then they know all the known and hidden corners of Tihany, so they can introduce us interestingly to the culture and history of the area and to the life on the shores of Lake Balaton.
Whether it’s team-building or a big family get-together, they can make group programs even more exciting.
After a little theoretical training, we can already rock there in the middle of Lake Balaton with an 8-person sailboat, where we can even splash, but we can also compare our knowledge in a fast sailing competition.
On hiking and cycling tours, you can explore the area from the Watchtower Lookout to the original lavender.
3. Super program for the more athletic people – Swimming across Lake Balaton
I know, it is not everyone’s cup of tea to swim several kilometers in Lake Balaton, but it’s just a great experience for the participants to experience the support and cheer.
The Balaton crossing is held every year around July, and the participants have to complete the 5.2 km section of Révfülöp-Balatonboglár. You calmed down? Yes, it’s only 5.2 km. Fortunately, you don’t have to swim in length, which is 77 km. 🙂
According to the results so far, the distance can be completed in 3 hours on average, the fastest time so far was around 1 hour.
If you are looking for another sporty point on your bucket list, it is definitely worth choosing to swim across Lake Balaton. Get ready for the event with a workout plan on their website, who knows, maybe you’ll be the next top final.
4. Blue ribbon sailing competition
It is an amazing sight when the waters of Lake Balaton are covered with many small colored sailboats, circling in the distance like small dots on the big turquoise water.
This international sailing competition is held every year, going around the lake: results are announced in nearly thirty different boat classes. This is the real race: it is the most prestigious sailing race in Europe, which is also the oldest, longest race with the most registered tourists.
Just watching it is a great experience in a multi-day race, even better if you can experience it. Fight the elements, the weather, and stare at the stars on the waters of Lake Balaton at night.
If there is an opportunity to participate in it in any form, it shouldn’t be missed. A real-life experience after which you sure you won’t be who you were before.
5. Bathing on the best beaches
However, Lake Balaton is mostly about swimming, bathing and relaxing. And this is worth doing on the best beaches.
Fortunately, the time of dirty and unmaintained beaches are already over, and the towns on the shores of Lake Balaton are competing with each other for who will get the best quality bathing place.
If we wish for simplicity and few people, then there is the secluded bathing place of the Tihany Peninsula, the Sajkod beach. Next to it, small bakeries make sure we don’t starve to death. There are several excursion routes for this, so we can even plan a splash here as part of a tour.
Are we coming with a dog? No problem, the dog beach in Fonyód is the right choice to make both owners and puppies feel good.
One of the outstanding beaches is the Lido beach in Vonyarcvashegy, which is also one of the most sporty. There is also a football and volleyball court, water sports facilities, a water court, and SUP. You can also use the fitness park, but there is also regular water aerobics for sporty visitors. There are countless restaurants and relaxation opportunities for those who prefer these forms of recreation.
Of course, you can’t miss the big beaches of Siófok and Zamárdi, where life and people are always buzzing. In Siófok there is a 2,000 square meter beach area, a sunbathing area with palm trees, and comfortable sun loungers await you.
The free beach in Zamárdi is 3 km long and not only so popular during the festivals. In addition, while bathing here, the Tihany Peninsula unfolds in front of our eyes. Not a bad view isn’t it.
6. Balaton Sound
Zamárdi is also hosts to other festivals: such as Balaton Sound (link), which may not need to be presented to those who are into electronic music.
Almost all of the biggest names in this genre have already turned up at this festival, and some even more exciting big names are expected every year.
The festival is really grandiose, with all its accessories: not only amazing venues, but even bungee jumping, for example, awaits the braver ones.
The proximity of Lake Balaton makes the whole thing even more atmospheric, as you can refresh yourself better elsewhere than in the foams of Lake Balaton.
Finally, a festival where you can cool down during the day and not only under the shower, but in natural water, which we admit is irreplaceable.
7. Cruising in Lake Balaton
I think one of the coolest programs on Lake Balaton – besides swimming and bathing – is cruising.
There are many varied types to choose from for crossing the foams on the big lake, either to get from A to B or just for a little cruise. On this website, you can follow the exact timetables and departure locations so that you do not miss the expected route.
There are many more opportunities for us, either in groups or if we want to enjoy Lake Balaton in a romantic setting or with children.
If we like speed, there are fast boats, which we can use on the Siófok – Balatonfüred and Fonyód – Badacsony routes. Racing in the middle of Lake Balaton is definitely going to be an unforgettable experience.
How about a real Sunset Tour? You can choose from several cruises: whether you choose the one- or two-hour version, the romantic Badacsony tour, or the night star tour, an experience of a lifetime awaits you.
And for those who want an unusual and frantic party in the middle of Lake Balaton, the party boat is there for them. Lights, DJs with retro, and today’s hits: the mood is up to you.
8. Get to know Kisbalaton (Little Balaton)
One of the most special points of Hungary is located in Kisbalaton, at the southwestern tip of Keszthely Bay. This was once the bay of Lake Balaton, so for a long time, no distinction was made between the two lakes.
The river Zala deposited sediment here, so Kisbalaton served as a filter, but it slowly lost its role. Because of the bad decisions and carelessness of the long years, the place was close to the ecological disaster and it seemed that the lake would slowly disappear.
But with a water protection system which is unique in the world, they began to restore the conditions of 200 years ago quite slowly. So fortunately we can already enjoy this wonderful landscape, and its special wildlife.
You can explore Kányavári Island, bbq-ing on the lakeshore, or admire the landscape from the lookouts, but the area also offers many attractions.
There is the hunting castle of the Counts of Festetics, the Csillagvár (Star Castle), which with its star floor plan is truly unique even in the world.
Not so far away we can also visit the petting zoo, where buffaloes, ponies, donkeys, rabbits, and many other animals await us.
9. Pannonian constellation
It is the number one astronomical center in the country. Here we can learn about the history of astronomy and space exploration in an interactive exhibition.
Located in Bakonybél and at the same time scientifically demanding, this astronomy-based tourist attraction is also fun (link). We can also admire the wonders of the cosmos and the universe in a true Ultra HD digital planetarium with the help of movies projected.
Ever since we forced ourselves into huge, eternally illuminated cities, we have lost the opportunity to experience real starlit nights. This center helps in this.
The main elements of the 800 m2 visitor center of the Pannonian constellation are: astronomical telescope park, digital planetarium, and historical exhibitions of astronomical and space research.
If we have marveled at the possibilities offered by the planetarium and the infinity of the universe, then try binoculars of different strengths.
What could have been a more worthy gift for the Pannonian constellation than an asteroid of their own, named after them by an enthusiastic supporter? The planet Bakonybél is located 450 million kilometers from Earth.
This place is also a real educational center, where children can get to know the life of the forests and fields, thanks to the Directorate of the Balaton Uplands National Park and the world of the starry sky.
10. Harvest fun
What could be a sweeter farewell from the summer than a big harvest party on the shores of Lake Balaton?
Bunches of sun-ripened grapes make not only wine, but also many other delicacies that are worth tasting. Also, once in a lifetime, it is worth trying a real unadulterated Hungarian harvest, along with must, wine and cellar stew.
There is almost no corner of Lake Balaton where you can’t find some kind of harvest fun. In Zamárdi, for example, harvest festivities are held every September, the St. Christopher Harvest Festival, which is now traditionally complemented by a Gastropicnic.
If we wish something traditional, then the harvest fun in Balatonszárszó is for us: with wines from Szárszó, a parade, delicious food.
The Harvest of Egregy is also unavoidable in Hévíz: this part of the city, which has been engaged in viticulture and winemaking for hundreds of years, offers an unforgettable experience to all visitors.
They like to keep the folk customs in Balatonfenyves, so this is also the characteristic of the harvest procession there. The procession of harvesters travels through the streets in folk costumes, horse-drawn carriages, and carriages. On the carriage there is a seat for the chosen judge and judges and even an accordionist, to give the basic mood.
More programs on what to do around Lake Balaton
11. Kamon-stone tour
Szigliget, as small as it is, has an enormous natural and historical value. If you want to go on an adventurous route that explores the memories of volcanism, choose the Kamon Stone Study Trail.
Not only can we overcome the rocky route, but in the meantime, we can also get to know this wonderful lakeside settlement. The route starts from the church in Szigliget and goes to the church ruins of Avas.
It is better to prepare for the fact that it’s not such an easy hike, you have to overcome a 290-meter level difference, but the sight is all-worthy. The distance is 6 km, which can be completed in about 2-3 hours.
During our trip, we can get to know the folk architecture, the traditional vineyard, and reed about farming with the help of the information boards, but we can also read the formation of Lake Balaton when entering the forest.
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We can get to know the flora and fauna of the area and the more important stations of the geological past, such as the world of former volcanoes. These have greatly shaped the image of the countryside which is known today.
12. Excursion in the Balaton Uplands
Lake Balaton does not only consist of swimming, sunbathing and bathing mixed with a fried dough. There are also great and beautiful excursion places here, such as the Balaton Uplands (Balatonfelvidék).
This area is located on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, in a part with coves and mountains.
It is not in vain that it is so popular: there is also water, vineyards and historical monuments. One of the must-see attractions is the Bujdosók Stairs, which can be reached from Badacsonytördemic. I have to warn you in advance that we will have to get ourselves up on 464 basalt stairs, but the view that awaits us at the top will make up for everything.
Dry at the Lake Balaton: Tours at the Balaton Uplands
The cavities carved into the sand tuff by the hermits of Tihany are truly unique monuments in Central Europe. It was once inhabited by Byzantine monks. It is worth visiting this place just because of the road which leads us there. And if you are already here, turn to the Inner Lake of Tihany, which was created by volcanic activity, to the great delight of today’s fishermen. Here it is worth relaxing a bit, admiring the scenery, and even having a picnic.
The Folly Arboretum is favorable for lovers of the Mediterranean climate: the arboretum, which mostly consists of pines, is located in Badacsonyörs, on the southern side of Kisörsi Hill. The internationally listed collection also includes cypresses and cedars. There are still many countryside and sights waiting to be explored in the Balaton Uplands, so it is worth taking several days to do so.
13. Káli cove with bike
Do you like cycling? Mapping the inimitable Káli Cove on two wheels is a real experience that I guarantee you won’t forget for a long time.
You can cover up to 20 kilometers or more, but it is up to you and your physical condition to determine how far and how long you will cover.
In the meantime, you can stop at any time to relax, have an ice cream or splash in Lake Balaton. You can also discover the small tiny and hidden villages in the area that are more exciting than they seem at first glance. The best thing about this area is that you can’t go in the wrong direction, as wherever you show up, you’ll find something small to see everywhere.
But a pre-planned tour, perhaps a guided bike ride, can also be a great idea. We can cycle through such wonderful places like the Witness Mountains, the Stone Sea, and the Tombstone in Szentbékála, but if we get thirsty on the way, we can also drink from Theodora spring.
We can also head to a number of good restaurants and cafes to reload our energy. Whether the tour is several days or shorter, it is definitely worth traveling here and taking the Káli Cove tour.
14. Crazy Party in Siófok
If there is a party capital on the shores of Lake Balaton, then it is Siófok for sure.
Here, life is buzzing in every summer, and young people from all over the country flock here to let out the tired steam on the “golden shore”.
The famous or rather infamous Petőfi promenade has served as a venue for funny, lasting, or rather silent parties for several generations.
During the day, a quality beach awaits us (link), with all sorts of extras, and at night, a multitude of entertainment venues and discos opens up. Continuous concerts with the coolest bands, DJs, or the coolest discos.
You can relax after the party on Plázs Beach, where you can play sports, sunbathe or have fun and relax with many other programs.
15. Strand Fesztivál (Beach Festival)
What could be a better festival venue than the shores of Lake Balaton? Party at night, bathing during the day!
The Beach Festival (link), which is held every year in Zamárdi, aims to make people feel good day and night. It is a small festival, yet it soon became so popular not only in the country but also internationally, which can be seen in the list of performers also.
More and more big names are visiting here. The entry fee rates are friendly, but the event isn’t even low-cost, in fact.
The many entertainment options and the picturesque surroundings provide an unforgettable experience that is truly worth traveling to.
If you don’t like too much crowd, and you’d rather have a party at a manageable place, this is the festival for you in Lake Balaton.
16. Street Food Show in Keszthely
Many people think of the dried-out fried dough, oily hamburger and fries when they remember of Lake Balaton, even though there has been a real gastro-revolution in the area in recent years.
Not only super restaurants have opened up thanks to this, but great festivals have also taken place. One of these is the Street Food Show in Keszthely, where all restaurants and cafés dealing with street food in the area, or even further afield, are present.
During this time, the image of the main square changes completely, delicious and exciting food and drinks await the visitors everywhere.
But not only because of the delicacies, it is worth visiting here at such times, but also because of the programs. Musical and dance events are waiting for young ones and for the old ones.
As the dishes become more varied, so does the list of performers: we find all genres here be it rock, jazz, or folk music. Here, they finally collected a bunch of the best street food faces, which we can get to know better, even later, if we got into their products a lot.
It is a youthful and fast-paced festival, where you can run into something delicious, all on the shores of Lake Balaton.
17. Balaton Picnic
Not only in the capital you can meet world-class performers, but also at the Balaton Picnic Festival.
This event in Balatonboglár has become so popular in recent years that it has expanded to a two days event. Moreover, stars like Morcheeba, Róisín Murphy and José González have already performed here.
It is worth visiting here just because of the breathtaking location, the organizers couldn’t have found a few better places than the Balatonboglár Spherical Lookout.
This, the great musicians, and the many other varied programs give a whole magical feel to the whole thing. You don’t have to expect huge crowds here, you can safely bring kids, the whole thing is very familiar, yet professional.
18. Dödölle festival
As many houses as there are so many dödölles: as they say. But what is that dödölle?
It’s really nothing more than a flour-kneaded boiled potato fried in lard with onion, this is usually served with sour cream.
It was called the food of the poor for a long time, but if it were up to me to eat this, I would not hesitate for a minute. And if you want to eat a real dödölle, you should definitely travel around Lake Balaton, to the western part of the country.
One of the largest and best-known events is the Kanizsa Wine and Dödölle Festival. Not only can we taste the best wines and dödölle variations, but also we can try ourselves out.
Children will enjoy a playhouse and craft programs, while adults will be entertained by concerts. Here, then, we are sure that we can experience all forms of dödölle, and if we fall in love, we can also master the recipe.
19. Deer roaring tour in September
If you are looking for something really exciting for a night adventure, the Eplény deer roaring tour has been invented for you.
What awaits you here: professional lectures, a barefoot study trail, and in the meantime the wedding song of the deer, and the beautiful panorama of the Ámos Hill Lookout Tower with the starry sky.
All you have to do if you want to be a part of this unusual natural wonder is to register for the event. With the help of a chairlift, you can get to the top of the hill, from where you can even admire the sunset.
On the barefoot hiking section, without shoes, we can walk along several types of ground, which on the one hand is very fun and on the other hand has a very good effect on our body.
20. Valley of Arts and Paloznak Jazz Picnic
For true artists’ souls, both festivals are a must-see. The Valley of the Arts is located in the mystical and wonderful Kapolcs, where you are sure to explore the beautiful landscape, before and during the mapping of the possibilities.
It’s a real artistic meeting: music, dance, fine arts, theater, and much more all in one place. You can also buy goods from local farmers, thus supporting handmade and Hungarian quality brands.
In the evening, open-air concerts and a dance house for tradition lovers. This is the right place where you can really let things go, do whatever you like, you dress as you want, move, or just exist as you feel comfortable. And it’s really liberating.
The Paloznak Jazz Picnic, as its name suggests, can provide unforgettable entertainment for true jazz lovers. Paloznak is located on the northern shore of Lake Balaton and for the first time the Homola Winery saw fantasy in it.
Today, the festival has outgrown itself, and many people from the capital are already coming here just for this event. In addition to the music, the good wines of Lake Balaton also played a major role, so we have the opportunity to taste the finest wines of the area. It’s a real little hidden world that we can enjoy for three days.
The festival already hosts 20 concerts on 4 stages, and also a number of interesting programs await visitors during the day. It is also a really child-friendly event, the organizers thought of the little ones: playhouses, children’s programs await them.
Things to do around Lake Balaton – Summary
We can list it for hours, in this case, through pages about what to do around Lake Balaton. It would be a shame to miss its beautiful places and programs which are waiting to be discovered.
A few days and maybe a lifetime is not enough for it, as it is constantly evolving and changing every time. One thing is for sure, it is worth adding to our list: Lake Balaton.