Lake Balaton is often mentioned as the "Hungarian Sea". This is a 50-mile long lake with silky green-yellow water and one of Hungary's most precious treasures and most frequented resorts. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe. The shallow water of southern shores is ideal for small children, but the north shore is recommended for good swimmers because the water soon deepens. The summer water temperature is around 80°F, which is warmer than the morning and evening average air temperature. The sleek mud and the water of the lake are excellent remedies for nervous complaints, anemia and nervous fatigue.
For a moment you can forget where you drive, because the picturesque vineyards make you think like you are in Provence or the Napa region. You can taste a lot of excellent wines here that go very well with the delicious local food, which you must try. Large numbers of inns and restaurants welcome you around the lake wether you are from home or abroad.
If you stay here in Hungary only for a few days here is a little route for you to drive with one of our economy or compact cars available in Budapest, or the Liszt Ferenc National Airport from the very favorable €27 per day price. As soon as your flight lands the reserved car is waiting for you by the exit of the airport and from there the joyride can start.
If you are interested in the great Budapest traffic you can also drive through the city, or choose the renewed M0 highway ring around the city till you reach the M7 highway. Remember, our colleague’s organize everything for you. You don’t have to bother with highway tickets or first fueling. Just sign the papers and drive.
On the M7 highway you can reach Siófok about in an hour, which is not a long time. But traffic can be very heavy around national holidays or summer weekends.
Once you reach Siófok, you have to spend a day there. Siófok is the largest town on the southern side of Lake Balaton, and it’s the most commonly recommended one. Siófok is known for being the party town of the lake. Its port also serves every boat route on the lake and you can cruise the lake by boat starting from here. If you would like to stay in the hotels of the Golden and Silver Beaches, you have to book in advance, because they are very much in demand. There are a lot of pleasant parks, which are ornamented with statues. Imre Kálmán, the composer of the internationally renowned operettas, was born here in 1882. If you take a trip to his museum you can see his piano and many personal belonging also. There is also a museum called Water Management Museum for people interested the history of shipping and fishery on Lake Balaton. If you are a mineral man, you can also visit the Museum of Minerals there.
The next day we recommend you to drive towards the ferry of Szántód, which takes you to Tihany peninsula. The most famous sightseeing is the twin-towered church, which is distinctly visible far and wide. This peninsula is inhabited almost a thousand years, is of volcanic origin, and has a profusion of rare plants and animals. You can see the crypt of King András I, founded in 1055. It’s rare, because it survived the turbulent past and still stands in its original form. The church you see now was built over the crypt in the 18th century in Baroque style and has many precious wood carvings. If you are interested in ancient times you must see the Museum of the Benedictine Abbey. Frequently you can see and hear organ concerts in the abbey church in the summertime.
After you saw the historic buildings and monuments of Tihany it’s time to continue your trip towards the western corner of the Lake driving through the historical vineyards.
When you reach Badacsony, this extinct casket-shaped volcano hill, you must stop for at least taste the local wine and food. The hill's slopes are covered with some very strange geological formations, fossilized lava columns called "basalt organs". This is the homeland of the wine of the Pauline monks called "Grey Friar". If you would like to try the local food, you can do it in one of the two hundred year old press houses, which is home to a very popular restaurant as well. From its terrace you can see an excellent panorama of the Lake.
After the day’s relaxation, beautiful wines and food, you can continue your trip towards Keszthely and Hévíz. Keszthely is not very far away from Badacsony and it is the oldest settlement of Lake Balaton. In Roman times it was also an important hub of commerce. Here you must visit the beautiful Festetics Mansion with its ornate wrought iron gate. The Mansion is surrounded by an English park, and it is the third largest chateau in the country. If you want to know more about Lake Balaton, all you have to do is visit Balaton Museum at Keszthely and you will be familiar with the Lake’s formation, flora and fauna, the history of bathing culture, waterborne traffic and archaeological and ethnographic memorabilia of 7,000 years.
You can also see the Safari Park and Africa Museum established by Endre von Nagy, the famous Hungarian hunter. So if you want to be amazed by camels, buffaloes and zebras in the heart of Europe, don’t hesitate to visit Safari Park and Africa Museum. You can also enjoy a rich collection of artifacts including trophies and African ethnographic objects at the museum.
After the long drive you can find a nice accommodation and enjoy the regions hospitality including, the wine and food.
Because our rental cars are made for driving, the next day you may go and have a beautiful bath at Hévíz Thermal Bath. It is a natural thermal lake, which is covered with water-lilies and extends over an area of approximately 30 square-miles, with a depth of 118 feet at the centre. With a temperature of 90°F open-air bathing it is the second largest hot-water lake in the world, and it is very pleasant even in winter. Several treatments are conducted there under the supervision of specialized doctors from the Hospital of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation.
After you enjoyed this recreation through route 71 - the one you’ve been following since the day you crossed Lake Balaton with a ferry at Szántód - you can easily join highway M7 towards Budapest and in a short period of time you can reach our Liszt Ferenc National Airport’s base.