Summer is long gone, and we can feel it on our skins. However, that doesn’t mean that we should forget about Lake Balaton until the season arrives again – that’s not the case, not at all. With plenty of exciting things to do in the region around this time of the year, we rounded up the best of them.
1. Have one of Móni’s cakes and a hot coffee
Móni and her desserts are Balaton-essentials, and her amazing homemade cakes can be bought at many spots around Lake Balaton. Pair them with a hot coffee and you’ll get the very best way to warm your soul in the cold weather.
2. Visit violin-maker Elemér Sümegi at the Salesianum
Elemér Sümegi makes and fixes delicate instruments in his workshop that smells of wood chips just like a craftsman from another century would do. Stop by the Salesianum in the castle of Veszprém when the weather is bitter and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing experience.
3. Climb the highest monadnock
The colder weather is perfect for hiking – and let’s be real, who cares about Mont Blanc when we can climb Badacsony, the highest monadnock of Balaton. Not to mention that, unlike at Mont Blanc, here we can quickly jump over to Szent György-hegy as well.
4. Stay at a stylish guesthouse
The fact that there are more and more quality guesthouses around Lake Balaton is a definitive proof that the region’s tourism is improving. To sit in a room heated by a fireplace with a glass of wine in hand while it’s cold and moody outside is something we can only do around this time of the year.
5. Explore restaurants that you couldn’t fit in during summer
Although many restaurants close down after the season ends and don’t open again until the first swallows of spring arrive, there are a few places that stay open all year round – most of them are the ones that attract people during summer as well. We rounded up all the spots that are worth organizing a gastro-trip around Lake Balaton.
6. Go hiking and caving in Keszthelyi-hegység
Keszthely Mountains have many interesting things in store: there are rarely any other places in Hungary where the number of lookout towers per square-meters is this high. We can also go caving around here.
7. Get groceries at the market of Káptalantóti and have a picnic at Káli Basin
There's a reason why the market of Káptalantóti is one of the most popular of its kind: we can get everything that we need for a good picnic here – especially if we’re looking for delicious cheeses. Once we got our shopping done, we only need a few sunny hours and some blankets before we head to Káli Basin.
8. Ride a bike and stop at a few cellars
Riding around the lake is always a good idea, and we can always spice it up with a little cellar-crawl. Time goes slower in the cold weather, and if it starts to rain outside, we can stay and talk with the winemakers for a while.
9. Enjoy a concert at Expresszó Club
Music doesn’t die with the season at Lake Balaton; once the outdoor gigs are done, we can enjoy live music at the basement of Hangvilla in Veszprém, where Expresszó is located. Look for parties here that will bring back the atmosphere of summer festivals, even if only for a night.
10. Check out the Wine Cinema
“And do you know what they drink in the cinema?” “No, what?” “Wine, properly, from wine glasses!” – these could have been the opening lines of Pulp Fiction’s script, in which our leads talk about how much more cultured European hospitality is than its American counterpart. Of course, there wasn’t a wine cinema at Kristinus when the movie was written, but now there is: here we can try what it’s like to watch a good movie with exquisite wines and breadsticks instead of popcorn and coke.
11. Climb up to Rezi Castle
Although Rezi Castle has been a ruin since the 16th century, it’s still a great spot with gorgeous views. Climbing up here is tiring enough to make us feel warm on an otherwise cold day.
12. See Folly Arboretum
The Badacsonyörs arboretum of the Folly-family shows a different face in fall and winter. Tranquility and a nice view are given here, and we can even enjoy their homemade cordials and wines – this sounds like quite a good program.
13. Taste the best Welschrieslings
Fall is for Welschrieslings. This is the variety that feels especially good at Lake Balaton, so it’s a good idea to try as many as we can to see how different the same variety tastes according to the terroir and the methods that were used when it was turned into wine.
14. See the basalt organs of Szent György-hegy
One can never go on too many hikes. Szent György-hegy not only has great vineyards, winemakers, and brilliant bakers, but it also has nice trails. Those who aren’t familiar with the area should start getting to know it with the basalt organs.
15. Explore hidden villages
The fact that we can find a ruin-pub in MIndszentkálla or a quality restaurant with traditional Hungarian cuisine at Vászoly isn’t surprising anymore, but there are even more local values that we can easily miss if we don’t keep an eye out. For example, it’s not everyday that we stumble upon a round church, or an authentic British tearoom in Zalaszántó.
Translated by Emma Póli