There are a few things we wouldn’t want to miss this summer: do you know what SUP is? Have you ever biked through a ski track? Do you know where can you bring your dog to the beach at Lake Balaton? If you answered one of these questions with a ‘no’, this list is here to help you.
Eating at the beaches of Lake Balaton is not a “necessary evil” anymore, as there old ruling trio of lángos, hake, and grilled sausages warmed under an infra-lamp is long gone. There’s an abundance of options to explore, whether it’s the current menu of Neked Főztem, the pork-chops filled burgers of Kalóz, or the flavors of Zala and Zemplén delivered by Vitorlás Bistro.
No, it’s not ‘what’ up”, it means Stand Up Paddle. SUP board is like a surf board and a canoe put together, and once you have enough practice, you can even do yoga on it. Besides the traditional ones, SUP Center Balaton in Tihany even has boards for four and ten people, so it can even be turned into a teambuilding event.
Everything is fresh and delicious in summer, so it’s always good to replace a trip to the supermarket with a trip to a farmers' market and see what the local producers have to offer. Besides the very popular market of Káptalantóti, Pancs Gasztroplacc in Badacsony, the markets of Badacsonylábdihegy, Köveskál, or Vászoly are all great options.
A couple of hundred years ago the weather used to be a bit colder, and in these high temperatures, that sounds pretty desirable. Sieges also regularly happened back then, and other things happened too, things that we can’t really observe now – evoking these is best when watched from afar, and we can do that on a daily basis at the Castle of Szigliget. Plus, archaeological excavations at the Zádorvár in Pécsely will start at the end of this summer and it will be open for the public.
Of you need some activity and would like to enjoy the view of the lake from afar, then a hike to one of the highest lookout towers of Lake Balaton early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and maybe do a picnic there as well. We recently rounded up the highest lookout towers of Balaton – some of them are barely known even by the locals, while others are perfect for watching sailing competitions.
With the countless vendors selling lavender filled pillows, lavender incense, lavender flavored ice cream, cordials, and everything else with lavender, it might feel like everyone is trying to get rich by selling lavender products around Balaton these days. However, it’s a whole different experience to just stop and pick your own from a field. Although the official harvest season is over, you might still catch some of the purple goodness around Balaton.
Well, cheese for breakfast is quite normal… but champagne?! Although it’s not a common thing in Hungary, there are countries where it’s part of everyday life. And with Kreinbacher Winery here, we can also enjoy lazy Balaton mornings. Traditionally, such a breakfast includes oysters or caviar, but the cheeses of local producers are also a great addition.
The name NPG (New Power Generation) may not ring a bell at first for many of us, but they were the ones who, for more than two decades, were playing with Prince, so it’s safe to say that they are one of the most successful backing bands of the world. Naturally, their show at VeszprémFest will also be a celebration of Prince. Tom Jones, the man with the world’s most robust voice will also play at the festival.
Downtown Balatonfüred (especially on a not too busy workday) evokes the peaceful, bourgeois milieu of the 19th century, and Vaszary Gallery’s Top hat and ringlet exhibition is a nice addition to this atmosphere – the Austrian Biedermeier works will be on display all summer long. After the seeing the paintings, you can enjoy a glass of wine on the ground floor of the Villa.
Surprisingly enough, limnology doesn’t studies linoleum as its name would suggest; instead, it studies fresh waters. If you visit them, you can learn many new things about the fish, algae, and other creatures, you can see how they examine the quality of water, and you can even learn how long have been swans living at Lake Balaton. You can also get to know the fauna of Lake Balaton’s water here, with 17 fresh water aquariums showcasing all the fish species that can be found in the lake.
A summer night spent on the beach is already pretty relaxing, but it’s even better when it’s combined with classical music. Cimbora Foundation and Óbuda Danubia Orchestra organize Klassz a pARTon once again: visitors can see The Magic Flute, listen to brass, piano, and chamber concerts as well, from one end to the north shore to the other. Besides the founder Tamás Érdi, János Balázs, Félix Lajkó, Ingrid Kertesi, and many young talents, like Róza Radnóti and Fülöp Ránki, will also be among the performers.
“Who’ll drive” is a question that pops up sooner or later during every Balaton-adventure, and it usually ends up in one part of the party tasting wine or enjoying beers with a calm heart, and the designated driver stuck with mineral water. Fortunately, Balaton has become a cordial-empire, which means that you can try countless flavors of homemade syrups and squashes in the summer heat at multiple locations from Levendula Porta and Kapolcsikum to Csupaszörp.
The World Aquatics Championships will not only take place in Budapest, but also in Balatonfüred, where the open water competitions will be held during the third week of July. Those who are interested in swimming will probably find this exciting, as besides competing with each other, swimmers also have to conquer the underwater streams, waves, and the constant sunshine.
"Celebration" and "Jungle Boogie" are only the beginning, Kool and the Gang also created some memorable pieces of rhythm and blues and jazz besides funk and disco during the past decades – well, that’s probably not that surprising from a band with founders who were raised with Thelonius Monk, and sometimes even a certain Miles Davis popped up to play some music at the home of the Bell brothers. You can see them at the sixth Paloznak Jazz Picnic. Get Down On It!
The popular ski resort of Eplény doesn’t rest during summer; instead, it turns into a BikeArena, where you can transport your bike with the cable cars so that then you can roll down the hill’s top. You don’t even have to take your own bike as you can rent your own. More experienced riders can try the downhill-course while the cross country round path (XCO) is great for practice, but children and families will also find a suitable track.
Sometimes the beaches are so full that the only place we could spread our towel is on someone else’s back. These are the times to look beyond the mainstream beaches. The quarry lake of Salföld is only about 15 minutes away from Lake Balaton by car, and although in theory it’s forbidden to bathe in it (it usually is in quarry lakes), many people take the risk. You can take your dog with you, and you have more chance to find a peaceful spot for sunbathing or playing beach volleyball here. By the way, Salföld Conservationist Manor, where you can see some horses and other native Hungarian animals, is pretty close to the lake, and you can also find the ruins of a Pauline monastery nearby.
A concert in the middle of Lake Balaton? Sure! MOL Nagyon Balaton will bring Stereo MC’s to the first ferry concert of the summer – they are part of the British electronic scene among such names as Prodigy and Faithless. You can find a bar, restrooms, and a parking lot at Tihany Piac PLACC before the concert, and then the ferry will moor on both shores of Lake Balaton, so that everybody can get home easily.
Translated by Emma Póli