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Episcopal Cathedral of Vác - Vác, Hungary
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Europe > Hungary > Balaton
 
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Balaton, Hungary

Lake Balaton and its surroundings are the most popular holiday area in Hungary. For many it means an obvious destination year by year; regardless of the season. This fact is easily understood, since the water temperature is 20-26 °C. The countless beaches and colourful cultural events attract crowds of people in the summer. During the winter season the ice-covered lake, the small villages of snow-capped mountains, hot water spas, historical castles and palaces provide entertainment and unforgettable experiences.

Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe; its coastline is 195 kilometres long, the average depth is 3 metres. The northern and the southern shores are different in character and atmosphere.

The geographic structure of the northern part is more varied, the mountains are higher here and they are situated closer to the lake. On the shores former fishing villages can be found; the mountains and cool woods with lovely streams are very popular with hikers.

The water on the southern side of the lake is shallower and deepens more slowly. There are several settlements which are capable of accommodating a large number of tourists. For instance Siófok, which is called the capital of Lake Balaton, has a huge beach and plenty of hotels. It also offers ample opportunities for those who are looking for entertainment at night.

Beaches are usually grass-covered, but sandy beaches have also been established in several places. Almost every beach has a specially developed part with safe shallow water for small children. It is possible to rent water-sports goods, for instance boats, surfboards, or pedal boats nearly everywhere.

Lake Balaton is the centre of Hungarian sailing tourism. Several sailing boat facilities and yacht clubs are available for the lovers of this sport; (other motor-driven boats e.g. motor boat or jet skis, are not allowed).

Several wine growing regions can be found around the lake, where wines of different character and flavour can be tasted – either under organized tours, or individually discovering the old cellars carved into the hillsides.

The area around Lake Balaton is famous for its tradition of horsemanship. Riding schools and equestrian guest houses offer tours and possibilities for riding. In particular the Balaton Uplands are popular among riders, where they can, on horseback, enjoy the woods and valleys with small villages hidden among the mountains. The atmosphere of the Balaton Uplands is different from that of the shores. The small settlements have preserved the traditional folk architecture; here you can even find thatched houses with white-washed walls.

Both by bicycle and on foot, it is really worth discovering the castles and castle ruins of the area. Some of them need to be literally discovered, since they are situated in tucked away places. They are difficult to reach in the depths of the woods, thus preserving their legends and mystery. But of course, there are castles where time has not stopped; they offer cultural events and tournaments which present the battles and costumes of the past.

Autumn is also busy around the lake. Grape harvest and wine festivals follow each other. With the arrival of cold weather, spas, museums and historical cities offer so many programmes that it takes the whole season to visit all of them.

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Type:

Tourist region

Location:

Europe (Continent)  >  Hungary (Country)

GPS coordinates: Latitude 46°49'48", Longitude 17°42'45" (N46 49.8 - E17 42.75) Map

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