The greatest lake of Hungary and of Central Europe extends in a length of 77 km in the middle of the country’s western part. The area of the “Hungarian sea” as well as the 195-kilometre long bank around the lake is shared by three regions. The shallow waters and sandy beaches of the southern bank are excellent for bathing: it can be specifically recommended for those arriving there with children. The cooler, deeper waters of the northern bank are excellent for water sports , above all for sailing.
The towns of the southern bank are excellent resort towns. Siófok, the “capital” of Lake Balaton, expects the visitors throughout the summer, with dozens of cultural programmes and with programmes of entertainment, including summer festivals, operetta-s and pop concerts, exhibitions. Starting from Zamárdi, we can visit the open air exhibition of ethnography in Szántó dpuszta. We can make a trip from Fonyód to the famous place of folk art: to Buzsák.Balatonboglár is the centre of the south-Balaton wine growing area offering excellent white wines.
The towns at the northern bank and the area around Badacsony offer some exceptionally interesting sights.
Keszthely is the greatest town at the bank of Lake Balaton. The wonderful Festetics castle gives home for Helicon Museum and Library formed from the collection of György Festetics. He established the first school of economy in Europe, the Georgikon, too. Its history is shown at the exhibition of the farm museum in Georgikon.
Some kilometres from Keszthely we can find Hévíz, with the world famous medicinal bath. The medicinal water originating from the springs of the world’s second largest hot-water lake is specifically useful for the treatment of rheumatism, locomotor diseases and problems of the nervous system.
In Tapolca, the cave-lake offers an interesting sight. The picturesque, little villages in Káli medence (Káli Basin) offer perfect relaxation for those preferring quietness and peace. The rocks formed by weathering near Szentbékkála, the “stone sea” offer a specific sight.
Badacsony, which dominates the sight of the northern bank, is the remnant of the cone of an extinguished volcano. There are wine gardens on its slopes: the most famous white wine of the Balaton region is produced there, like “Szürkebarát” named after the monks belonging to the Pálos religious order, wearing grey monks’ habits.
Nagyvázsony is a settlement having plenty of historic sights. That is where the castle of Kinizsi, who was King Matthias’s valiant solder of great strength, can be found. we can see some interesting requisites related to the life of medieval castles. There is a horse-riders’ hotel and riding school in the former Zichy castle, in the summers the Horse-Riders’ Festival of Nagyvázsony is held there.
The Abbey church with its two church towers looks upon the lake from the top of the small volcanic hill of Tihany. The church was established in 1055, and its crypt has been preserved, where there is the tomb of King András I. In the Open Air Museum of Folk Art a typical dwelling house and a pottery workshop can be seen.
The waters of the medicinal springs of Balatonfüred have been used for several centuries for curing people suffering from heart diseases. As an opening ceremony of the season, there are sailing competitions organised in its port, and this is the place where the famous Anna Balls are also organised.