Lake Balaton in west Hungary is a popular tourist location for Hungarians. Often overlooked by visitors from other countries, Balaton’s resorts have much to offer at reasonable prices.
The Balaton Lake is huge – the length of its shoreline is approximately 147 miles (236 km) – making it the largest lake in Central Europe.
Siofok, city and resort, on the southern shore of the lake is famous for its nightlife, and is known as the “capital” of the Balaton. Young people throng to Siofok‘s clubs. Zamárdi, on the southern shore, is also popular with the young as it is the home of Balaton Sound, the annual electronic music festival. Since it began in 2007, the festival has become increasingly international in flavour. Headliners at the sold-out Balaton Sound 2013 included Armin Van Buuren, The Prodigy and Calvin Harris.
Away from Siófok, most of the resorts on the shore of the lake are quieter and picturesque, catering for families. Opposite Zamárdi, on the north shore, is the quiet town of Csopak – a resort popular with families for its beaches (“strands”), swimming and sailing. Csopak offers boat rides to Tihany village, also on the northern shore.
Tihany’s sedate tourist attractions include its famed echo. Tourists stand on “Visszhang domb” (Echo Hill), opposite the village’s Benedictine Abbey, and shout at it – causing their voices to be bounced back at them. The echo has diminished in recent years due to the construction of villas near the church, although it can still be heard in the forested areas above the hill.
Luckily for Tihany it doesn’t just rely on its acoustics to attract visitors, its church is known for some of the best views of the lake and there’s also fishing, hiking and an entire shop dedicated to paprika.
Lake Balaton photo gallery
Frequently asked questions about Lake Balaton
Q) Lake Balaton, distance from Budapest?
A) 76.2 km, approx. 1 hour 22 mins by car, along route 71
Q) Map of Lake Balaton?
A) Google map here: Siofok, Lake Balaton, Hungary
Q) Lake Balaton self catering accommodation? Lake Balaton vacation rentals?
A) A popular, local, website for finding accommodation near Lake Balaton is: http://zimmerinfo.hu/. It’s easy to rent a home in Csopak for 7 days, with enough room for a family of 6, self catering – 5 mins walk from the beach – for approx. £500 ($768 / €582).