Lake Balaton, Hungary

Lake Balaton, often called the ‘Hungarian Sea’, is the country’s substitute for a coastline, a place where many locals escape Europe’s summer heat. At 78km long, 15km across at its widest point and covering 600 sq km, it’s Europe’s largest body of fresh water and an aqua-playground big enough to cater to most holiday-makers.


  • The Kelle residence (inherited from the Kelle family) is located in Siófok on the beautiful tree lined Batthyany street just a couple of blocks from the lake
  • The first architect I worked for, Imre Makovecz, designed the Lutheran church in the town. He is one of the most well-known architects in Hungary
  • The lake – windsurfing, sailing, swimming, wedding planning in the middle of the lake on mattresses…
  • Siófok is considered the party city during the summers, and the town’s population doubles easily. Though end of May is still early, so most likely none of the bars and clubs will be open yet. Sorry!
  • Tihany Benedictine Abbey sits on top of the peninsula with a beautiful view of the lake
  • Tihany also has many souvenir shops located in old style peasant houses. I recommend visiting the potter that is near the Abbey
  • There is an inner lake in Tihany that sits inside an old volcanic crater. My favorite little hike is up the side of the crater onto old rocks, where you have a great view of the inner lake, the Abbey, and Balaton


  • My favorite ice cream place in Siófok is on Sió utca and Szucs Menyhért utca – it’s a small town and we tend to stick to the center, so it’s easy to walk to
  • During the summer, lángos is a popular meal along the beach and a gyros at night
  • Calypso is a nice restaurant/cafe on the lake, though a bit out of Siófok
  • In Tihany, we’ll be going to our favorite restaurant there, Oazis, which overlooks the inner lake. We usually order foie gras and fish



  • From Siófok, a nice ferry ride to Tihany is worth the trip (and small hike upward) for the view and some traditional crafts. Tihany is the peninsula that sticks out in the map below. It is also where they hold the annual “Swim Across the Balaton,” as it is the shortest distance between shores


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