Magyar Magyar

Balaton for Explorers - 3 days

How long it takes?
3 days
Best vehicle choice for this plan:
public transport
This region is famous for:
Castles, Forts, Palaces
Culture and monuments
Religious sites
Natural values
Day 1
Walks through relics of the history of Balatonfüred and Veszprém, medieval castles and paddling under the ground: a three-day trip can include all the excitement you want.

Sümeg Castle

The largest and most intact castle in Hungary, a popular tourist destination not only because of its sheer scale, but also its various events, activities and services. The path to the gate is up a steep slope, so we recommend you wear comfortable walking shoes. The exhibitions on the castle’s history, together with the castle games and the exciting horse shows, give you an idea of what life was like in the fortress, which was built at the end of the 13th century. Every generation will find the castle chapel, the prison exhibition and the smithy interesting, and the visit to the castle will be like an interactive history lesson for children. Visit the medieval adventure park at the foot of the castle for even more fun.


Festetics Palace

The Baroque-style building in the centre of Keszthely is one of the most beautiful palaces in the country. Construction began in the 18th century, with the palace reaching its current size by the 1880s. Its colourful park is the most significant feat of landscaping in Central Europe, so be sure to take a walk either before or after visiting the inside of the building. The Helikon Palace Museum is an exhibition that gives visitors a picture of what life was like for aristocrats and the luxurious life of the Festetics family. The palace is home to the only intact aristocratic private library remaining in Hungary, which escaped the ravages of World War II in an astonishing turn of events worthy of the silver screen. Certain scenes of the movie Kincsem were also filmed in the palace.


Walk around Hévíz

The pleasantly warm thermal water of Lake Hévíz is unique and it has a well-earned reputation for aiding those suffering from rheumatic and musculoskeletal ailments. The promenade starting at the end of the pedestrianised street was named after Dr Vilmos Schulhof, a former doctor at the baths, and is flanked by sycamore trees and Lake Hévíz on one side and the beautiful buildings of the Szent András Rheumatism Hospital, which have stood here since the 1870s, on the other. As you walk around the lake, the road back to the entrance to the baths takes you by the Festetics Bath House and through a park where trees protect you from the hot sun.

Day 2

Walk around Veszprém

The Castle District in Veszprém towers above the medieval, crooked little streets of the town, with a profusion of museums, palaces, galleries and churches. The most important sights include the Fire Tower at the castle gate, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Dubniczay Palace and the Szent Michael Cathedral, as well as old and beautiful houses built in the 18th century. The Salesianum is located on Szentháromság tér in the recently renovated Bíró-Giczey House. It is definitely worth a visit for its halls decorated with Baroque wall paintings, a liturgical exhibition and a violin maker’s demonstration workshop. Stand between the statues of Saint Stephen and Blessed Gisela at the north peak of the castle to get a wonderful view of the town.


Church and Museum of the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany

The abbey, founded almost 1,000 years ago, is the world-famous symbol of the Tihany Peninsula. There are invaluable works of art made by famous artists in the church of the monastery founded by (Saint) Andrew I of Hungary, including wall paintings by Lajos Deák-Ébner, Károly Lotz and Bertalan Székely; the beautiful wooden statues and the wooden altars were made by Sebestyén Stulhoff. The founding king was buried in the undercroft, making this the only Hungarian royal burial place from the era of the Árpád Dynasty that is still intact.


A walk in Balatonfüred

Your visit to the centre of the town will take you back in time, with its Classicist buildings from the Reform Era, beautiful parks and cobblestoned streets. Almost every building here has a story tell and many of them have something to do with people who were stars of their time: actress Lujza Blaha and writer Mór Jókai, for example, both bought villas in Balatonfüred. After you have visited the Vaszary Villa, the Jókai Mór Memorial House and the Round Church, why not take a stroll on the Tagore Promenade and allow the many statues and plaques to tell you the history of the town? Lake Balaton’s best-known promenade is named after the famed Indian poet and Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. Many celebrities have followed the example of planting trees here set by the great artist. The latest sights added to the promenade are the Bodorka Visitor Centre and the beautifully renovated Vitorlás tér, with its statue of actor István Bujtor.


Day 3

Tapolca Lake Cave Visitor Centre

The Lake Cave was discovered in 1903 and since then it has been revealed that it is only a short section of a long cave system that sprawls beneath the town. Visitors to the centre first learn about caves in and around Tapolca in an interactive exhibition, and can then ride boats for 180 metres under the ground in crystal-clear water. You do not need strong muscles to row, as it can be steered by hand in most places as you go through the narrow passages. You can also take a short walk in the dry halls of the limestone cave. When you get to the surface, you should visit the nearby Malom Lake, which has a Mediterranean atmosphere to it.

Szigliget Castle

You have to climb a steep slope to get to one of the most beautiful castles in the Balaton Uplands, but the panorama from the top will certainly repay the effort. The 750-year-old fortress resisted all attempts at invasion by the Ottoman army, but was burnt down due to lightning and then destroyed by the Habsburgs. The renovation of the castle was completed in 2020: the stone wall is now taller and has more interactive elements, an exhibition and a covered space as well. The exhibitions are open all year round and show what the daily life of a medieval castle was like, from the smithy through the prison tower and the armoury.


During your visit


The Somló Juhfark (literally ‘Sheep’s Tail’) is one of the oldest Hungarian grape varieties. A ‘fiery’ wine with a strong acidic bite, it got its name from the volcanic hill called Somló, which is located 50 km from Lake Balaton, as well as the distinctive shape of its grape clusters. It takes about three to four years for the wine to peak and for its acids to lose their roughness. It is also called the ‘wine of wedding nights’: it is said that drinking it increases the chance of conceiving a boy.


Fish soup is made in many different ways in Hungary. Along with the recipes associated with Baja and Szeged, the variety made at Lake Balaton is also well known. This latter is distinct from the fish soups of other regions in that it is made from carp, perch, pike or catfish, with the addition of other, smaller fish: the key distinction is that overall, a third of the fish used to make it must be predators. The soup also includes potatoes, and a glass of Balaton wine. There is no one standard recipe: it is made differently on the north and south shores of Lake Balaton. Careful, though: it can be spicy.

Move around like a hungarian