Apartments, Houses and Chalets for Sale in the area around Lake Balaton, Hungary.
Lake Balaton area
Lake Balaton, about 80 km southwest of Budapest, it is central Europes largest lake.
It has an area of 598 square km (231 square miles) and extends for 77 km (48 miles) along the southern foothills of the Bakony Mountains of Hungary. At its widest point, Lake Balaton measures about 14 km (9 miles) across. It is relatively shallow, with a maximum depth of 11 meters (37 feet).
One of the main characteristic features of Vas County is its small villages. 127, that is 59%, of a total of 216 communities have fewer than 500 inhabitants.
The regions around the lake are inhabited by a rich and interesting variety of plant and animal life. There is a wildlife reserve in the Tihany Peninsula, and another one in the extensive reed beds near Keszthely, where rare water birds nest. The southern border of the lake is very fertile, and the volcanic soils to the northwest form the basis of a noted wine-growing region.
Lake Balaton - Info
Whether it's peace and quiet or a calendar full of things to see and do, Lake Balaton can satisfy those requirements and more. Smooth waters and fresh wines, sand and surf, fishing and frolicking, splashing and sailing, concerts and clubs, partying and paddle boating, beach volleyball and biking, elegant castles and sleepy villages, beautiful landscapes and crystal clear air, Lake Balaton has it all (and no sharks or jellyfish!).
Lake Balaton, Fishing at Sunset
Summer water temperatures range from about 16C to the low 30s; because the lake is shallow, yesterday's air temperature will be a good guide to the warmth of today's water.
Most beaches on the southern shore are free, though large sections of the shore are privately owned by hotels and campsites. The lake shelves slowly, so you can walk out for 500m or more before you are out of your depth, so it's very safe for children. Beaches on the north shore tend to have more facilities, but have an entrance fee.
In addition to the usual swim-bask-swim routine, there also is the Cross-Balaton Swim Contest held toward the end of July each year. The event starts from Révfülop on the north shore to Balatonboglár. If you're taking part you can get a free ride on the ferry back. The organisers transport your clothes across, so you can change when you arrive. The swim is 5.2km, with an average time of 2 hours 40 minutes. The youngest swimmers so far: 8 years old and the oldest 82.
- Hiking in the northern hills. The luscious greenery certainly is a sight for sore eyes and Badacsony Hill is home to several wine cellars (more about this later).
There is also a nice 4 km long circular hiking trail, accessible from the Kisfaludy-house on the southern side of Badacsony hill. The Path has bilingual signposts (Hungarian and English) giving information on the volcanic mountains geology, botany, zoology. An English and Hungarian guidebook introducing the natural history of the area is also available.
- Relaxing in thermal spas.
The two best known are at Héviz (more information about Héviz Spa on our Zala Couty page) and Csisztapuszta (just south of Fonyód).
In contrast to Héviz Spa Csisztapuszta is mostly unknown to the outside world, it is a very small settlement, and the Spa is located in the middle of a grassland.
- Sailing. There are several annual sailing races for those preferring competition. For boat rental Fonyod, Balatonlelle and Balatonfüred are the best places. An 8m yacht can be hiredfrom about HUF 70,000/day (about € 235 or £ 170 at time of writing).
- Kite surfing. On windy days this is an exciting sport, but it takes a few days to learn to stop falling off. Needs a reasonable level of fitness. Centers are Balatonboglár and Balatonfenyves.
Valley of Volcanoes, Balaton
Sailing on Balaton Lake
Note: Motorboats are prohibited on Lake Balaton, so you won’t find yourself swamped by wash.
Warning: Since the lake is shallow, summer storms can create very large waves, and people do drown in Lake Balaton.
A system of warning beacons around the lake alerts bathers to expected strong winds and storms:
30 flashes/minute, colour white/yellow means winds 40-60 km/h, and you should move close to the shore.
60 flashes/minute red/white means winds over 60 km/h. Time to get out quickly!
I the vicinity of a vast lake, fish is a good option:
- Fogas (Pike-perch or Zander) is a white fleshed fish with delicate flavour;
- Keszeg (Bream) is good roasted whole,
- Ponty (Carp) and sometimes Harcsa (catfish) is the base for halászlé (spicy fish soup),
- and you'll also find Sullo (young fogas) on the menu.
- pheasant (Fácán)
- venison (Szarvas)
on the menu
- One kind of local food is lángos, a bread-like pastry usually sold on beaches. It is offered with different toppings like cheese, sour cream, and ham, or often plain just with garlic-sauce on top.
Game is widely found in the Badacsony hills and the Nagyberek (near Balatonfenyves), so it's worth looking out for:
Other common "beach foods" are corn on the cob (főtt kukorica), grilled sausages (sült kolbász) and of course, ice cream (fagylalt, or more colloquially, fagyi).
The fine climate and the exquisite soil made the area around Lake Balaton one of the most significant pillars of Hungarian wine production with five wine regions.
- Almost exclusively white varieties are grown in the area known as Balatonfelvidék (Balaton Highland) from which fiery, full-bodied white wines are produced
- on the volcanic slopes of Badacsony Pinot Gris (szürkebarát), Olaszrizling (Italian riesling) and a local white variety Kéknyelű are produced
- the Balatonboglár-kőröshegy area is best known for its light fruity wines made from Irsai Olivér, Királyleányka, Chardonnay varieties
- Riesling and cabernet sauvignon are the most popular wines produced in the Csopak-Balatonfüredi Wine region, while Tihany is noted for its Merlot
- The Balatonmelléke is an uncontested white wine area that relies heavily on the olaszrizling as its primary grape. The main grape varieties are Chardonnay, Olaszrizling (Riesling), Rizlingszilváni (Muller-Thurgau), Zöld Veltelini (Grüner Veltliner) and Zweigelt.
Balaton Wine Cellar
Tip: If you want it all - and in one place - you can sample all the wine types produced around Lake Blaton, just visit the House of Balatonian Wines in Keszthely.
For those who understand that wine tasting is also a matter of ambiance and environment, we are including a map of the Badacsony Historical Wineregion Wine Route for you to download.
Balaton Wine Region, Hungary
Winter at Lake Balaton
Lake Balaton in winter
Ice-skating on Balaton in winter is an adventure not to be left out. There skate rinks in Alsóörs, Balatonföldvár, Balatonfüred, Balatongyörök, Fonyód, Révfülöp, Vonyarcvashegy, Siófok and Keszthely. (There are also skate renting services and buffets in most of the official rinks.)
For those with more courage and experience may want to try ice-sailing and ice wind-surfing.
Ice wind-surfing on Lake Balaton
- Balaton Upland National park lies north of the lake.
- The Káli basin (Káli-medence) is a treasure of marveollus geological formations and natural resources. Basalt columns stand as proof of volcanic activity in the distant past.
- The Kis (Small) Balaton National Park in the eastern corner of the lake is one the most precious wetlands in Europe. The serenity of the national park provides excellent opportunity for birdwatching and fishing.
- The Kápolnapuszta buffalo reserve between Zalakomár and Keszthely is the home to a herd of 200 buffalos.
Canoeing in the Kis Balaton National Park
A collection of Lake Balaton Nature Trails
Guardian article about Lake Balaton
Note: All prices are given in Hungarian forint (HUF) so the price may seem very high. At present (time of writing the template of this page):
HUF 1000 = UK£ 2.44 = € 3.37.
We provide an up-to-date currency conversion application on each individual property page.