Spring brings reopenings of every kind all around Lake Balaton. Here are 22 great suggestions for things to do as the region emerges from hibernation.
1. Stay at a hiker-friendly spot
Spring is a great time for hiking and if you are planning on a healthy jaunt, it’s best to find lodging that’s close to the best trails. There are great guesthouses along the Blue Trail, while the south shore also has cool places to stay at if you want to explore Somogy County.
2. Find the most floral guesthouse
It’s always lovely to wake up in a place where you can look out of the window and see spring taking over the scenery – for this, look for a guesthouse where they pay special attention to floral details. Our round-ups of Lake Balaton’s best guesthouses can help with finding the ones with lush gardens.
3. Greet the season with white wine
Welcome spring with amazing Balaton white wines suggested by this recent round-up. From Chardonnays to Furmints, all have potency without being heavy, making them the perfect companion as the seasons change.
4. Discover the wines of Somogy
The hill called Somló is a great spot for a light hike and tasting great wines. The two go well together, but passing up the castle for the wines is also understandable. The hill is home to award-winning and small wineries, too.
5. Find fresh produce at local markets
Most of Balaton’s markets open when spring arrives, providing shoppers with fresh, locally produced goods. Whether it's fruit, vegetables, dairy products, cheese, meat or spices you're after, you should find them at Balaton's best markets.
6. Taste spring flavours at restaurants
Many restaurants at Lake Balaton offer dishes made with fresh, local ingredients, including salads, spinach and ramsons, the latter a big springtime favourite in Hungary. Meat is also especially fresh at this time of the year.
7. Be the first at a beach buffet
Probably only at weekends, some beach buffets are sure to open in April. This means you can enjoy new-wave and classic beach food dishes without having to queue up.
8. Explore Gasztrohegy
Gasztrohegy is a themed event series running from autumn to spring, highlighting Balaton’s best features during the off season. Focusing mostly on the culinary side of Badacsony, Gasztrohegy has two more events for the season: a barbecue on March 22 and another on April 12, concerning the hill’s volcanic origins.
9. Try protected rock climbing
You can enjoy the exciting Italian sport called via ferrata in Csesznek: there’s nothing better than seeing the forests of Bakony from the protected climbing route on a warm spring day.
10. Sail into the spring wind
Going on a cruise on a sailboat is always a good idea, especially in spring, when the lake isn’t yet that crowded.
11. Go for a SUP ride
SUP, or standup paddleboarding, is another one of those sports that are enjoyable every season. If you haven’t done it before, the SUP Center in Tihany and SUPport in Zamárdi are both good options to try it, just make sure they are open before heading there.
12. Swim once Balaton is warm enough
You might have to wait until the end of spring for this one, but the lake will probably be warm enough for a swim by May. Beaches are almost empty that early in the year, making a splash into the cool waters a special treat.
13. Walk among water birds
14. Explore the hills
Although Badacsony, Szent György-hegy and Somló are the best known hills around Lake Balaton, there are plenty of others to explore, in Tapolcai-medence, for example. These are great for hikes, where the reward will be the view from the top. Try Tóti-hegy for a challenging climb and a breath-taking view, or Haláp, a hill that has been mined away almost completely, or Hegyesd, with its castle ruins on the summit.
15. Enjoy spring on two wheels
Riding around Lake Balaton is easy along the bicycle paths, and it’s a great idea to try them in spring, when they are a lot less crowded than in the coming summer months.
16. Admire the almond blossom
March can be pretty bleak and the first real sign of spring is that the trees start to blossom. Almond trees are especially beautiful when in bloom – Balatonakali, Alsóörs and Szent György-hegy are the best spots to admire them.
17. Have a picnic at Gömbkilátó
Várdomb in Balatonboglár, where the futuristic Gömbkilátó lookout can be found, is the perfect spot for a spring picnic thanks to its large meadow surrounded by pine trees.
18. Sunbathe on empty beaches
The shores of Lake Balaton are less crowded in spring, meaning that there’s plenty of place to lie down and enjoy the warm rays without being disturbed.
19. See a Hungarian band
Pécs act 30Y are a popular alternative rock band, and you can see them live at Veszprém’s cult spot Expresszó on April 12. Tickets are already available for this gig as well as for several others taking place.
20. Go to a concert on a ferry
Another band from Pécs, Punnany Massif, will play on the Tihany ferry on May 24. The boat leaves at 7pm to meet the ferry from the other shore – the two together will stage the concert in the middle of Lake Balaton. It’s not the first time a band has opted for this unusual venue, and it probably won’t be the last.
21. Experience the avant-garde of 1968
Veszprém Castle always hosts interesting temporary exhibitions, on top of its permanent one. Running until April 27, the current show at the Művészetek Háza pays tribute to an exhibition that was on display in 1968, showing the works of avant-garde and progressive artists from that era. It’s closed on Sundays.
22. See classic cars at Balatonfüred
The Concours d’Elegance takes place on Balatonfüred’s Tagore Promenade. Expect to see an abundance of classic cars here, as well as a fashion show by Katti Zoób. The event runs from May 3 to 5.