Magyar Magyar

Culinary Adventures Around Lake Balaton in Winter


As the temperature starts dropping after the summer has gone, life around the Balaton transforms, and the lakeside quiets down. The bright summer scene gives way to vibrant autumn colours and then the peaceful beauty of winter. This is prime time to explore the region’s culinary treasures in a much more subdued atmosphere.

The gastro‑revolution that had started in the capital reached Lake Balaton years ago. And the culinary buzz here won’t stop even after the beach season is over. Lake Balaton has now made it onto the Michelin Guide map, with numerous local restaurants and bistros earning recommendations. It is no wonder that the lively and colourful culinary palette will draw gastronomy enthusiasts even in winter. 

Spoilt for choice

Around Lake Balaton, the majority of restaurants that stay open in winter update their menu offerings, adapting to the colder months and focusing on seasonally available ingredients. On colder days heavier dishes are particularly delicious – satisfaction guaranteed for the lovers of meat dishes! The eateries that stay open in the winter will offer the guests smoked sausage, ham and various savoury meat dishes among other options. 


Beyond the traditional goulash and fish soup you will find on the menus of these places any day of the year; each city and region has its own signature dish. Examples include the cheese in Vászoly, the sturgeon in Keszthely, the game dishes and lavender jelly in the Zselic region – each with their own dedicated fan base. 


The distinctive composition of fish species of Balaton lends the local fish soup a truly unique flavour. In winter, a hearty, hot soup is particularly welcome, as it will quickly warm you up in the cold weather. However, the Balaton fish soup is unlike any other, as it is made from carp, pike‑perch, pike or catfish, with the addition of small fish — but a third of the fish must strictly be predatory. The recipe also contains potatoes and a glass of Balaton wine. 

Time to Hit the Market

Ever so popular, the farmers' markets around Lake Balaton do not take a break in winter. Perhaps the most famous of these, the Liliomkert market in Káptalantót, is open on Sundays, welcoming lovers of quality local foods and goods even beyond the main season. But many other markets around Lake Balaton will stay open well into the autumn. On the northern shore, the Balatonalmádi town market, as well as the farmers’ markets in Gyenesdiás, Révfülöp, Vászoly, and Dörgicse are all popular this time of the year. The major farmers' markets on the southern shore include those in Balatonmáriafürdő, Balatonboglár, Balatonföldvár and Fonyód. 


The excellent local Balaton wines should not be overlooked even in the winter. They pair perfectly with winter dishes and are also great for mulled wine. And what better way to round off a gastronomic adventure than at a Balaton confectionery with a new-wave coffee specialty or a heartwarming tea and a delicious pastry?


Széchenyi 2020 logo