We’ve compiled a list of lesser-known ways to reach and get around Lake Balaton. Marvelling at the sunset from a limo with champagne in hand, racing on the water in a water taxi or landing right in the garden of a Badacsony winery? The possibilities are aplenty: you can have all kinds of adventures depending on the contents of your wallet.
This is no way to travel if you’re in a hurry, or if you’re trying to get to a specific location – the destination depends very much on the direction of the wind. With the balloons of Balaton Ballooning, you can go on hour-long trips over the Tapolca Basin or Lake Balaton, depending on where the current winds take you.
The colourful balloons take to the air three to four times a week from early April to the end of October. This is not the cheapest kind of fun, as one journey costs 40,000 HUF per person, but in return you can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Balaton and the silhouette of the Tapolca Basin. The baskets can accommodate 18 thrill-seekers at a time.
Hand on heart: who hasn’t daydreamed at least once about being in Cannes, stepping out of a white limo as camera flashes are going off everywhere around you? Since we have a party district, and for years the ratio of per capita stag and hen parties has been comparable only to the per capita ratio of artisan breweries, the demand has unsurprisingly emerged for the experience of stepping into Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s shoes at the same time for just one night.
VIP Limuzin offers 9-metre long Lincoln Super Stretches for 19,000 HUF per hour, but keep in mind that venturing outside the capital means an extra 150 HUF/km call-out fee. All in all, sipping on champagne on the leather seat of a convertible limo is not at all more costly than drinking and dancing the night away at bachelor and bachelorette parties in Budapest bars.
If your budget is a bit tighter, scenic flights over Balaton can be a great alternative to hot-air ballooning. The 15-minute circular trip costs 22,000 HUF/person. During the short journey you can see Siófok and Balaton’s south shore sprawled out beneath you, as if on a map. If you’re willing to reach a bit deeper into your pocket for a special occasion, you can fly from Budaörs straight to Badacsony’s Istvándy Wine Workshop for a gourmet dinner and wine tasting.
You are guaranteed to avoid traffic jams on the 45-minute flight, and you’ll see Balaton from a more beautiful angle than from anywhere on M7. The four- and five-seater helicopters reach Balaton somewhere in the region of Balatonakarattya, and pass over the north shore before landing near the Istvándy Wine Workshop of Badacsony. Celebrate the safe touchdown with Istvándy wines and a gourmet feast for dinner. The minimum price of such an adventure is 450,000 HUF/four people, which does not include the wine tasting or the dinner that is put together based on personal request. A two-hour standby is part of the package, every hour after that costs 25,000 HUF.
Tapolca Flea Market
It only takes 10 minutes to cover the distance between Fonyód and Badacsony on board the super fast speedboats of Bahart, and the Siófok–Füred or Siófok–Tihany journey is also faster this way than if you were to take a ferry ride. What is more, a ticket for the speedboat is actually not even that much more expensive than a ferry ticket: adults can travel the Fonyód–Badacsony distance for 3,000 HUF. Another advantage is that you don’t have to worry about timetables, as the boats leave about every 20 minutes between 11am and 8pm. Rest assured: it’s going to be one hell of a ride! We’ve tried the Fonyód–Badacsony route not once, but twice. Sitting at the nose of the boat, speeding at 50 km/h gave us an adrenalin rush we’ve never really experienced before. Believe us when we say that going at 150 km/h on a motorway is nothing like this!