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  • Aaron Holdt

The Hungarian Sea

Lake Balaton, also known as “The Hungarian Sea”, is the largest freshwater lake in central Europe. It is located 50 miles (80km) southwest of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. Lake Balton is about 48 miles (77 km) long and has a width between 2,5 miles (4 km) and 9 miles (14 km).

The mild sub-Mediterranean climate makes it an extremely popular tourist destination during the summer. The region has a remarkably high number of sunny days and the water temperature during the high season often exceeds 27 degrees Celsius. The conditions are ideal for swimming, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. The shallow water is convenient for families with small children. The region surrounding Lake Balaton has a high number of cycling and hiking routes. The Balaton bike ring is a popular cycling route surrounding the entire lake. A cycling race is hosted there once a year.

In addition to the beautiful nature, Lake Balaton has many historical attractions, including castles, churches and museums. There are traditional balls in Balaton Füred, wine festivals in the traditional city around the lake and many other things.

When I was there, I loved swimming, fishing, rowing and eating kürtöskalács (rolled barbecue cake with gloss nuts, sugar, or anything you could imagine) or Lángos (the classic is brushed with garlic, then topped with sour cream and cheese) during the day.

The most enjoyable experience there was the cycle tour I took part in with my father. We rented brand-new gravel bikes and did a tour to abbey Tihany. It was my first ever time on a racing bike which was an exciting experience. Abbey Tihany is on the top of a hill on the peninsula of Tihany. Getting there is not easy, as the route is steep and long, but the magnificent view makes all your effort worthwhile. Due to the challenging route, many tourists prefer taking the bus or driving in their cars, however my father and I did it on our bikes!

The best part of the tour was the route back. I felt like Bradley Wiggins, a pro tour cyclist, as we rode down the twisty road back to the bank, where we could finally jump into the lake and cool off. In the early evening we enjoyed ice cream next to the lake, watched over the beautiful surface of the lake and discussed what we could do tomorrow.

If you ever visit Hungary I would highly recommend Lake Balaton.

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