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On two wheels around Lake Balaton: hop on and see the wonders for yourself



Balaton

204.44 kilometres of cycling, combined with all the beauty Lake Balaton has to offer – guaranteed for those willing to ride around the biggest lake in Hungary. No matter whether you want to test your performance and speed or you think of it as a casual holiday activity, you won’t be disappointed.

The bike route circling the lake, officially known as the Balaton Cycling Route, is a system of cycle paths enabling active holidaymakers to bike around Hungary’s largest lake. Construction of the system of cycle paths started in 1993. Today, it has various additional routes and only a part of the route is actual cycle paths: the rest are low-traffic public roads suitable for cycling, running close to or, at times, a bit farther away from the lake itself. But don’t worry, each section is full of attractions.

For those on vacation and for sports fans

Only your stamina and the length of the breaks between two cycling sessions determine how many days you should allow for cycling around the lake. The distance – with uphill parts found mostly along the northern coast – can either be seen as a performance tour of two to three days or, if you’d also like to rest in-between, you can complete it in one or two weeks with lots of rest, slipping in a few beach days or other activities as well. Most people complete the tour in four to five days. This allows you to ride 40-70 kilometres a day and you can rest during the hottest period of the day, around noon.

 

The Zero Kilometre Stone, which is the beginning and the end of the route, is situated in Balatonalmádi. Since this is a round trip, you can join anywhere. You can even decide to start the adventure at a different location each year so that you can visit different sights each time. There is such a vast amount of sights and attractions during this 200-kilometre trip that you surely won’t have enough time and energy to see them all. On the bright side, you can return and repeat the tour for years without getting bored of Balaton.

 

Lake Balaton

Unmissable sights

The southern coast awaits with classic pastime activities, including going to the beach and enjoying lángos, hake and ice cream. In the evenings, the Fonyód pier, the centre of Balatonlelle and the lakeshore promenade of Siófok offer a huge variety of entertainment. The Globe Observatory in Balatonboglár, the view from the Kishegy next to Balatonlelle, the József Attila Memorial Museum, the Shipping History of Balaton and Lookout Tower Visitor Centre and the updated centre of Siófok are all worth a visit.

The more spectacular but steeper paths of the northern lakeshore await with stunning attractions, including Szigliget Castle, the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany, the lavender fields, the Inner Lake and the hermitage, Szent György Hill’s Basalt Organs, Hegyestű, the Africa Museum of Balatonederics, the Szentbékkálla Sea of Stones or the magnificent view from the high shore of Balatonakarattya. It goes without saying that the delicious wines of Badacsony and the characteristic food of Balaton are also available to enjoy.

 

How to prepare for the trip?

The lakeshore is packed with accommodation and dining options. Wherever hunger or thirst hit you, you’ll easily find a place to dine. As regards accommodation, you have plenty of options to choose from. If you like to prepare in advance, you can book your accommodation weeks or even months before the trip, but in this case you need to stick to the previously set plan. If you want to spice things up with a pinch of spontaneity, you can opt for the less secure option during the peak season, by starting to search for a place to spend the night in local hotels or with individual accommodation providers. The best solution is to bring a tent and try your luck at the lakeshore camping sites.

 

All you’ll need is a bicycle in decent working order, which you can transport to the lakeshore by train or by car. It’s worth searching the internet for the contact details of accommodation that is specifically recommended for cyclists. Also, in case something doesn’t go as planned, you should have the contact information of the local bicycle services, stores and rentals. The rest is up to you.

 

MOVE AROUND LIKE A HUNGARIAN