We are prone to thinking of fall and its windy and cool weather as a curse, especially when it could potentially ruin a long weekend at Balaton. But despite what most people think, fall doesn’t have to put an end to fun around Balaton, so we’re here to give you a few tips on what to do at the lake when the temperature drops: you can try an escape game, gaze at the stars or get friendly with animals, and that’s just the beginning of our list.
It only takes a short, 20-minute drive from Balaton, and you can find yourself at Pannon Observatory in Bakonybél, a venue severely lacking in cell phone service, but super rich in astronomical attractions. Even though lots of tourists arriving here will want to head straight to the top of the building to explore the mysteries of the sky with the observatory’s extremely modern solar telescope, we think that the interactive exhibition housed on the lower floors is also worth your time. You can pet a meteor, experience what the lunar landing must have felt like and take pictures of your family and friends in front of an artificial moon. By looking at a gigantic screen, you can even calculate your distance from a particular star. Missing the film screenings at the planetarium would be a big shame: you can stare at the starry ceiling in a half-lying position and watch exciting movies like the one we saw when we visited: an inspiring video about the life of Galileo Galilei.
Escape games have been a huge hit in Budapest for a long time, and recently they’ve also become available at Balaton. In Keszthely you can choose between a 1848 story or a plot with a secret agent, while in the next village called Gyenesdiás you’ll have to discover the secret of an uncle to get out of the locked room in the attic. The manager of the latter room operated by Balaton ESCAPE says finding your way out is not as easy as you’d think; only about 40-50% of their guests can slove the riddles that open the door in under 60 minutes. Luckily, those staying on the south shore won’t have to travel around the lake to get locked up: at Balatonlelle’s Cseles Kelepce, you’ll have to step in the shoes of a burglar trying to get out safely of a millionaire’s house, or if you opt for the other room, you’ll be confined in the chambers of a mad scientist.
If up until now the unpostponeable duties of going to the beach and lying in the sun have distracted you from checking out the exhibitions you’ve planned to see for months, now’s the time to add some culture-related fun into the mix. Not too long ago, we posted a round-up of all the museums you should visit this fall, but in reality the number of options is virtually endless, so we need to mention a few more. Those who want to stare at some Balaton fish up close need not go further than the end of Tagore Promenade, to Bodorka Visitor Center. For an exotic experience on the north shore, go for the Africa Museum in Balatonederics where you can learn about the exciting adventures of a fanatical Africa explorer and passionate collector of things from the dark continent. Once you reach Keszthely, you really have nothing to worry about because the prestigious Balaton town has an abundance of museums, including a memorial room for Júlia Szendrey, a Cadillac Musuem and a Radio and Television Museum. We recommended that you stop in Fonyód to see the Balaton Screw Steamer and educate yourself about all the famous steamers of Lake Balaton. Siófok’s worth a visit too: drop by Imre Kálmán’s memorial house if you are in the area.
Last fall, we told you about all the places you can go to meet lovely or less lovely, but definitely harmless animals in the Balaton region, and at the beginning of summer we went to Veszprém to see what the zoo has in store for the upcoming season. All these spots are great for fall as well, regardless of whether it’s a sunny day or a windy one with a sky full of clouds.
It’s best to find some kind of shelter when it’s raining, and nothing could be more perfect for this purpose than a cave. We’ve already wrote about the new visitor center of Tapolca Cave Lake with its ten rooms, tactile stone exhibition and crawling cave, but we think boating in the cave system is by far the biggest attraction of all. The only direction you’ll come into contact with water is from down below. Tapolca is a ten-minute car ride away; here you can descend into the depths of Csodabogyós Cave with the help of professional tour guides – be aware that it’s not the easiest of trips, as this is Hungary’s tenth longest cave where thrill-seekers can creep and crawl on a 5-km trail.
It is with good reason that a year ago we made a list of the most intriguing study trails on the north shore, and our recent tips on what not to miss when you’re in the Balaton Uplands National Park can come in quite handy too. When fall’s here, it’s finally time to head out into nature: there’s plenty to do this time of year from biking around Balaton and going on a canoe trip to finding the most solitary nooks of the region. If you find this last one particularly interesting, give Tomi Balogh and his adventure-filled hikes a go. Anything he hasn’t heard of in the Káli Basin probably doesn’t exist.
When sunshine gets replaced by more lively winds, beachgoers usually hang their heads in despair, but surfers immediately start polishing their boards and yachtsmen raise their sails as soon as they can. In the water, September is absolutely part of the season, and the marina restaurants of the lake couldn’t agree more. If koponyeg.hu is right, Sunday will bring 26°C weather and considerably forceful winds at Lake Balaton. What more do you need for conquering the Hungarian sea?