Welcome to Lake Balaton, Europe's largest freshwater lake, known for its breathtaking beauty and diverse attractions. It is late autumn and once the summer holiday crowds have disappeared, we are embarking on a journey of discovery to visit the hidden treasures and unique landscapes that can be found around the shores of Europe's largest freshwater lake. It's the heart of Hungary, a country with a great history. The water tower of Siofok.
Table of contents
- The Magnificent Size and Geography of Lake Balaton
- Beach Bliss on the South Bank
- Exploring the Hungarian Riviera on the North Bank
- Unwind and Rejuvenate at Thermal Baths
- Capturing Memories through Photography
It's empty here, very empty. Lake Balaton, Europe's largest freshwater lake, goes into a long hibernation year in September every year. The countless hotels are emptying faster than an overturned bucket of water, the beaches, which are otherwise overpopulated, yawn in the dull autumn sun.
The restaurants and bars where you can hardly get a seat in high season are closing their doors. While the autumn leaves cast a lively carpet over the Flounderplatte landscape, we explore a place that in times past was a dream destination, especially for East Germans.The Ferris Wheel on the shore, but season is over.
Hungary, the most colorful barracks of socialism, attracted the inhabitants of the country behind the Berlin Wall with unheard of consumption opportunities. Here there was beer from the West, records and fashionable clothing that the state-owned GDR economy simply couldn't produce.
The Magnificent Size and Geography of Lake Balaton
Spanning approximately 600 square kilometers, Lake Balaton is an expansive water wonderland that captivates visitors with its sheer size and breathtaking geography. Stretching from southwest to northeast for a total of 75 kilometers, it offers a diverse range of landscapes to explore.Empty shores, a sundown for your own
The Tihany peninsula boasts the narrowest point of the lake, measuring only 1.5 kilometers wide. On the other hand, at its widest point, the north and south banks are about 14 kilometers apart. This vast expanse provides ample opportunities for both relaxation and adventure.No more traffic around the lake
With an average depth of just three meters, Lake Balaton offers surprisingly warm water temperatures in the summer months. In fact, it's not uncommon for temperatures to reach up to 27 degrees Celsius in August! The deepest point near the Tihany peninsula drops to around 11 meters - a fascinating place where even car ferries cross this body of water.One of the sea bridges
Without the crowds of holidaymakers, however, the lake appears even larger and upon closer inspection it is surprising that it still has such great appeal today. Many shores are rocky and steep, the beaches are short and narrow. Often you have to walk far into the water to at least get wet up to your stomach.
Beach Bliss on the South Bank
On the other hand, that is very goodWhen it comes to idyllic beach getaways along Lake Balaton's shores, look no further than its picturesque south bank. Here you'll find sun-drenched beaches with shallow waters that extend for hundreds of meters into the lake—an absolute paradise for children and families alike.Streets at night - in summertime all the buildiung ion the right are full of tourists
As you stroll along these sandy beaches or sunbathe on your towel under the golden rays, you'll be surrounded by a family-friendly atmosphere that permeates every resort on this side of the lake. Directly behind the beach balustrade there are now a hundred times more hotels than before. On the street behind it are the now closed stalls of the Somemrmarkt, which today no longer offers jeans and records, but all sorts of folk art and fake football jerseys.
But it's not just about sunbathing and swimming. The south bank of Lake Balaton offers an array of sports activities for the adventurous souls. From water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking to beach volleyball or even cycling along the scenic paths, there's no shortage of ways to keep active while enjoying the stunning lake views.
The lake lies like an egg yolk in a pan in the consistently flat Hungarian Puzsta. There are no mountains, no forests, just a cheerful steppe full of ancient wells. Peace reigns here and you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. By bike you can discover enchanting villages amidst rolling hills - a true respite for anyone seeking solace in nature.
Exploring the Hungarian Riviera on the North Bank
On the northern shore of Lake Balaton, called the Hungarian Riviera, things look a little more metropolitan. This region, which stretches from Balatonalmádi to Badacsonyörs, offers a unique charm that is said to be most enchanting in spring but seems a bit dreary in autumn.The liberal hungarians are on the way to handle it hard
But those who live here praise it: An old woman we meet tells us that she moved here from Germany. It's never really cold like at home, it's always easy to bear and the prices are so moderate that she can live well on her German pension. "I bought a small house here," she says, "it has 5,000 square meters of land all around and I have peace and quiet there." In any case, she never wants to go back to Germany. “Only in the coffin,” she smiles.
The hilly terrain of the north bank reveals its volcanic origins, shaped over millions of years. The majestic mountains of the dolomite highlands stand tall and can be admired from afar. For an even more breathtaking view, head back to the south bank in time for sunset—an experience that promises one of Europe's most stunning displays of golden hues melting into twilight.
Unwind and Rejuvenate at Thermal Baths
Lake Balaton not only offers natural beauty but also an opportunity for ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation at its numerous thermal baths. After days filled with exploration and adventure on old castles and forgotten light hosues, treat yourself to some well-deserved pampering.Tourists are coming sometimes for other attractions
The hilly terrain of the north bank reveals its volcanic origins, shaped over millions of years. The majestic mountains of the dolomite highlands stand tall and can be admired from afar. For an even more breathtaking view, head back to the south bank in time for sunset—an experience that promises one of Europe's most stunning displays of golden hues melting into twilight.The sky is sensational
Indulge in soothing thermal waters renowned for their healing properties while enjoying picturesque views across Lake Balaton. These thermal baths provide a serene oasis where you can unwind both body and mind. Immerse yourself in warm pools or indulge in therapeutic spa treatments.
Let go of any stress or tension as you soak up the tranquil atmosphere surrounding these blissful havens. Whether it's a dip in mineral-rich waters or indulging in revitalizing massages, these thermal baths offer a perfect escape from everyday life.
Capturing Memories through PhotographyThe hotel row along the beach
For photography enthusiasts or simply those who love capturing moments on camera, Lake Balaton presents endless opportunities for creating stunning visual memories. From its vast expanse of shimmering waters to the charming towns and villages that dot its shores, there's no shortage of subjects to photograph.
Capture the play of light on the lake's surface during sunrise or sunset, when colors dance across the water, creating a magical spectacle. Frame shots of quaint fishing boats bobbing gently in harbors or picturesque vineyards sprawling along hillsides.No one is in the water anymore
Don't forget to explore the unique architecture found in lakeside towns such as Tihany with its iconic abbey or Keszthely boasting an impressive castle. These architectural gems provide captivating backdrops for your photographs, adding depth and character to your visual storytelling.
With each click of your camera shutter, you'll be preserving cherished moments and creating a personal gallery that reflects the beauty and allure of Lake Balaton.Seeing from the other side
Now that you're armed with these insights into Lake Balaton, it's time for you to plan your own adventure! Whether you're seeking relaxation by the beach or yearning for outdoor exploration, this destination has something special in store for everyone, indeed in autumn too. Don't forget: At this time of year, the stay is cheap and Europe's largest lake is all yours.