True, the autumn Balaton is most beautiful on sunny days, but you don't have to sit around dejected on the shore if its raining. There are plenty of indoor spas, museums and restaurants and wineries open in the autumn for you to visit. This time, we looked around from Szárszó to Balatonlelle, with a bit of detour to Polány and Igal.
Places you definitely won't get soaked - the museums of the area
Attila Jószef Memorial House - Balatonszárszó
In Balatonszárszó, you keep bumping into traces of the poet of tragic fate, Attila József. The railroad tracks, where he dies; the former pension (now a memorial house), where he spent his last days. A massive, freight car shaped memorial on the shore with his lines on the side; the statue of the poet in the park. Allot a good two hours to the exhibition of the Attila József Memorial House, which was renewed a few years ago. The most memorable lines from the remembrances of relatives and friends are displayed on the walls, along the photos from different eras of the poet. Amidst the biographical information and the quotes, there are also objects of special significance, like the bloody shirt that the poet wore when he died, his handwritten farewell note to his psychiatrist, and the results of the Rorschach test he completed upon the insistence of his last love, a psychologist. There are headphones that allow you to listen to his best known poems in English and German. The Hungarian versions were recorded with legendary actors like Zoltán Latinovits and Zoltán Várkonyi. The museum is open all-year-round, with the exception of Mondays.
Zoltán Latinovits Memorial Exhibition - Balatonszemes
Two settlements and a good few decades away, the great actor, Zoltán Latinovits died among circumstances eerily similar to Attila József's death. It is still unclear whether it was a suicide or an accident when he stepped in front of a train during a summer evening walk. His stormy love with the actress Éva Ruttkai was in part connected to the summer house in Balatonszemes. It was here that he wrote one of his best known letters in 1975 to the actress who was on a working trip in America:„..Szemes is unchanged. There's no holiday. Because of the memories that now cover and overwhelm me, of the passing that I measure and acknowledge down to the minute. We pass and don't have fun. Time has its way with us .."
The exhibited material of Latinovits career, illustrated with documents and photos, is courtesy of the Theatre Institute. The exhibition is open every day from April until the end of October; outside season, they are open to guests upon advance registration.
Africa Museum – Balatonlelle
Odd as it may seem, the Balaton has two Africa Museums, one in Ederics on the north shore, and one in Balatonlelle on the south shore. The latter is the Africa collection of Count Pongrácz Somssich and István Soltész consisting of photos of the African wildlife, ethnographic materials and trophies. Globetrotters and Africa fans are welcome all-year-long.
All your eyes' and mouth's desire
Kistücsök Restaurant - Balatonszemes
It would be a pity to miss a lunch in the top restaurant of the south shore, Kistücsök. A delicious course from the menu here is a true gastronomical pleasure to both eye and tongue. The permanent menu lists more classical dishes, but there are also season's specials and blackboard specials to choose from. We recently interviewed Balázs Csapody as a sum-up to the high season, and he told us about the planned autumn menu. He disclosed that mushrooms, game, beetroot and winter squash will star the season's menu. Knowing the creative kitchen of Kistücsök, the daredevil, experimenting trend will also continue in the autumn as well.
Rádpuszta Csárda and Leisure Centre – Balatonlelle, Rádpuszta
All the Rádpuszta offers is summed up in the pharse Gasztro- és élménybirtok (gastronomy and pleasure estate) on the billboards along main road 67. Faithful to the spirit of the plains, you'll find a csárda and a riding centre here, but you can also pet animals and explore a church ruin. Rádpuszta earned a spot on the map of our favourite Balaton csárdas with its stove-cooked homely dishes, the pork and goose roasts, the ludaskása (a kind of risotto with goose) and the bogrács dishes. You can wash down the authentic and heavy Hungarian specialities with the wines of the 180-year-old Balaton Wine Cellar. You can also stroll over to the IKON Winery next door.
Kishegy is an irreplaceable gem of the south shore. Life isn't really hard after hall when you find a bunch of excellent wineries such as the Konyári, the Garamvári, or the Pócz about 3 km from Balatonlelle. You can also visit the Majthényi Press House, which is in turn a restaurant. The one thing that surpasses even in the panorama is the food, but this also goes for the Hegyi Csárda. Neither hungry, nor thirsty? You can still check out the Szent Donát chapel. If you plan to dine out, be sure to check the autumn opening times beforehand!
Ax&Ax Winery - Kéthely
Just like Rádpuszta, Kéthely is also a tiny settlement noted by most for a complex raised there. The Ax&Ax is not only a winery: the modern building is also home to a movie room, a tapas bar and a black box room for exclusive parties. The winery in Austrian ownership produces its own wine from the grapes it grows in the Balaton region, but they also sell the products of other Balaton winemakers.
Crocodiles at Lake Balaton?!
Krokodil Zoo – Balatonszárszó
Well, you might find escaped sliders in the Lake, but you can only admire crocodiles in a properly enclosed area in Balatonszárszón. At this miniature Jurassic Park, you can study 12 kinds of dangerous beasts from behind a 5-cm thick glass panel. This way, the Nile crocodile, the spectacled caiman, and the extremely dangerous Cuban crocodile can swim by at just an arms' length. The Zoo also has less dangerous reptiles, namely 8 kinds of turtles from different parts of the world.
Take a break
Babérliget - Polány
Lavender bushes, a fruit orchard, and a pool with turquoise water. A 25-minute drive takes you from Balatonlelle to Provence behind the hills of Somogy. The manor of the noble Békeffy family, built in the 1800ies, functions as an imposing guesthouse today. The Provence-style kitchen is freely accessible to guests. Anyone can join the cook of the house, Reni in preparing the meals, an the kitchen garden is also at your disposal. The robust furniture of the rooms (many of which might be protected art objects) radiate an antique feel. The upper storey holds a great community space and a light yoga room overlooking the garden. This accommodation is ideal for people seeking tranquillity, but groups of friends also frequent the place.
Igal Health Spa
A mere 10-minute ride from Babérliget gives you the opportunity for autumn dipping in indoor and outdoor pleasure baths. In the summer, the Igal Spa also runs a giant slide and an additional pool for swimmers.igali gyógyvízThanks to the high temperature and mineral content of the Igal thermal waters, many people suffering from insomnia, from complaints of the locomotor system or circulatory disorders frequent the place. Even if nothing ails you, a hot bath will surely do you good in the cold. There are also sauna seances and various massage options, as well as a Parajd salt bathing cabin. If you are hungry, just pop into one of the Hungarian-style restaurants or buffets by the pools.