Down to the beach, off with the slippers, on with the sunscreen; towel on the ground, beer in the hand; money under the towel, get in the water; knee-deep, hip-deep, neck-deep; jump in from someone else’s back, get out, eat hake, dry up, then start it all over again. Are we sure this is the only schedule we can do at all the beaches of Balaton? No, not at all. We rounded up ten beaches that have something else in store.
Some people don’t leave the house without three different board games, or at least with a card game in their beach bags, because who knows when will the feared Boredom make an appearance. The beach of Diás is for these kind of people – you don’t have to be prepared with minigolf, petanque, outdoor chess, Nine Men's Morris, and many more entertaining elements at your disposal. It’s a great choice for those who have children: the parents can calmly sunbathe while the kids busy themselves with the many options the beach has.
If you’re crazy about sports, but kicking some promotional ball around in knee-deep water isn't your thing, then you might want to check out Lidó beach in Vonyarcvashegy. They have a surf school, a water ski track, a beach volleyball field, and you can even play handball. What could be better than working at that beach body right there on the beach? While the adults are getting active, the kids can spend time at the play house where the animators will make sure they’re having a lot of fun.
Biking around Lake Balaton (despite the varying quality of the trails) is almost like the El Camino of Hungary, a pilgrimage recommended for everyone to do at least once – you can spot many teams riding around the lake all summer long in their uniform spandex shorts even when the day is scorching hot. When it’s really very warm, it’s nice to splash in the cool water before (or after) starting on the south shore trails, and the beach of Balatonberény is ideal for this. It has great bike racks, left luggage facilities big enough for larger bags (which can come in handy during hikes), plus the entry fee includes a bottle of mineral water, which can be a life-saver after a tougher session.
We already wrote about how the beach of Sajkod isn’t just a simple beach, more like the home of a cult: the regulars all fell in love with the tranquility and the sight of the green Csúcs-hegy over the shore. Unfortunately, the teashop in the middle of the forest moved away, but it’s still worth to go for a walk on one of the hiking trails of Tihany before or after the time spent on the beach.
Siófok is the Hungarian Miami, and not only because half of the country comes here in summer to dive into the nightlife. There’s sunshine, parties, girls in bikinis, and even alligators, although these ones have to be inflated by us unlike the ones in Florida. And of course there’s a huge beach as well: Main Beach is not only Balaton’s, but also the country’s most visited beach – as many as 13,500 people can sunbathe here at the same time, not to mention that the ferris wheel is also here during summers. There’s a sandy section of shore here: although the former Beach Club in now called PLÁZS, the white sand and the palm trees are still the same. Plus you can try teqball here.
Atom bomb, jet engine, Penrose triangle – what do these have in common? According to a certain theory, numerous inventions and conceptions are developed independently by different scientists and inventors at the same time, often half a world away from each other. Then it’s debatable who did it first. We would like to avoid this, that’s why the ‘gastro’ label is shared between Fövenyes and Zánka. Kalóz in the former, and Neked Főztem in the latter are leading the gastro-revolution to replace the ruling beach foods, lángos and hake with quality alternatives. They are there, and it’s worth visiting these beaches for them (too). (As of this year, we can visit the beaches of Fövenyes and Badacsonytomaj with a so called ‘gastro-ticket’, so we don’t have to pay the full price if we just want to eat on the beach.)
Many people say that the only good thing about the south shore is that you can see the north shore from there. We don’t agree with that, but still, it’s true that you can admire the entire Badacsony from there. Fonyód has a first-class view of the hill, plus you can see all the other buttes while swimming around. The beach also has a sandy section now, and what’s more, it has three smaller sunbathing islands as well: lounging on these feels like we’re in Hawaii, watching the volcano of one island from the other – however, here they have weeping willows instead of palm trees.
Lake Balaton’s first dog-friendly beach opened in Fonyód last summer, on 300 square meters just behind the water police station. It has a pier, toilets, trash cans, and a large enough area to run around. It’s hard to miss it as there’re signs everywhere in the area pointing us in the right direction.
The south shore has some beaches that still don’t have an entry fee, although the quality of these varies. The huge Platán of Balatonboglár stands out of the free ones – it’s more than 9 hectares large, and is shaded by the canopy of plane trees (the beach was also named after these). Everyone can find something to do on such a huge beach: there are playgrounds, buffets, and sport fields as well, and you don’t have to fight that much for a shady spot here.
It’s natural now with digital nomads and the spreading of freelancers to work outside of one’s home – in a café, or at the beach for example. However, this requires proper infrastructure. Fortunately, Csopak is very 21st century in this regard as well, so sweating social media managers, translators, and journalists can rejoice at the free WiFi, the laptop and phone storage, and the charging stations this beach has.
Translated by Emma Póli