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Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
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This Is Trouble Offline
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Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
I write this post more for guys who are looking for an off-the-grid, potential place to take a girl, and maybe a place that could have some potential if you got the timing with the seasons just right. I believe there are some music festivals in the summer, but they were long gone when I arrived.

In any case, I spent a week there at the beginning of this month. I was told it was still "prime season" during that week. Of course, the AirBNB I wanted to book, whom denied me because there was only 2 of us and it houses 9, was completely shut down (it was above a restaurant and the whole thing was boarded up).

This isn't really much of a traditional datasheet, as there isn't a ton to share. But I figured I'd write some general thoughts up for anyone who is interested in seeing this place in the coming summers.

First off, it's a stunning place. Hard to imagine this Europe:

[Image: balaton.jpeg]


Quick notes and random facts that are important:

1. There are trains everywhere around the lake, but the public transit when you get there is limited to buses that don't seem to come that often.

I'd highly recommend renting a car. I had one and it made things much easier and quicker. If you DON'T get a car, plan to have a more relaxing trip without much exploring...at all.

And yes, the lake is massive. It'll take you several hours to drive around the whole thing.

2. Most of the food consists of "Pizzeria and Kebab" type of places.

The markets are modern and local. Just be prepared for the grease pit of food if you go out. That's not to say there aren't good places, but you do have to find them.

The great thing is that many of the apartments to rent have grills so you can have a BBQ, which is typically pretty damn hard to do in your average European apartment.

3. There is really only one traditional sandy beach, at least on the South side.

The majority of the beaches are grass and rocks, followed by 5-10 steps that take you into the lake.

So that's kind of a bummer, but the sand in the lake is some of the nicest I've ever felt. Very soft, no rocks or kelp on the bottom. It's also very shallow - you can walk for 100+ yards and the water never goes past your knees.

Beginning of September, the water was *supposedly* 75 degrees. It felt more like 65. I did go drunk night swimming once, and went in most days, but it wasn't for more than 10 minutes or so.

There is a place to rent wakeboarding on a pulley system (more on that below).

Finally, I did do a short podcast on the place that has some more details: https://datingabroad.net/episode012/


Pricing

I paid ~$75/night for a nice AirBNB.

It was a 3-bedroom cottage about 30 seconds away from the water, in the city of Balatonelle. It could have very easily fit 6 adults in that place, which would actually be a ton of fun. It's that kind of place where a big group of friends could have a blast.

Average meal out for 2 people with drinks was about $17-$25. Hungary is still pretty cheap. The town of Siofok is definitely the most expensive.


Where to Stay

There are so many damn towns along the lake, your best bet is just to pick the one that's relatively central and has the amenities you want.

Generally speaking the North side is quieter, water is colder - but many of the wineries are on that side. The south side has warmer water and a more lively scene.

Here's a few:

Balatonelle: Where I stayed. One of the bigger places, plenty of modern supermarkets and has the sandy beach. Has a reasonably large "boardwalk" area and overall is pretty central to the South side of the lake.

Siofok: The "party" city...but it was totally dead. Apparently this is where the nightlife is during the peak season. The lake as a whole though I have a hard time imagining to get really popping. It seems far more like a retirement community than an Ibiza.

Heviz: Thermal spa area, so if you really just want to lounge around a hotel this is an option. Don't stay there otherwise.

Tihany: This is the Old Town of the Lake. It's actually a really charming place, but the beaches would be more difficult to get to if you stayed in the town itself. The picture above was taken in Tihany looking out to the South side of the lake.


Things To Do

...well, there's really not much besides lie around and get some R&R.

As mentioned, there is a wakeboarding pulley system in Siofok. You pay about $15 for 30 minutes, unfortunately it was shut down and I didn't partake in it. I think they have water skis as well.

Lake Heviz is a thermal lake, 38m deep. It's a volcanic spring and is worth a trip for the day:

[Image: 2017-09-03-PHOTO-00016577.jpg]

Closing thoughts and recommendation:

If you go during any time that is not PEAK, PEAK season, best to bring a girl. I seriously don't think I saw a single girl walking around by herself the entire time (mine was with me).

If music festivals are your thing, you can probably have some fun rolling solo. Even if not, you could probably find something to do for a few days by yourself.

Not more than 3 though.

I might go back next summer when it's busier. It's a great place and quite affordable.

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09-13-2017 09:37 AM
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zatara Offline
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
I've heard good reports about Balaton Sound, which is obviously packed with people and pretty much the opposite of your experience. I'd be curious to hear what its like in the normal/not festival peak season though, if its nicely in-between in terms of busy.
09-13-2017 11:59 AM
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This Is Trouble Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
(09-13-2017 11:59 AM)zatara Wrote:  I've heard good reports about Balaton Sound, which is obviously packed with people and pretty much the opposite of your experience. I'd be curious to hear what its like in the normal/not festival peak season though, if its nicely in-between in terms of busy.

I could see it being fun, but it's so spread out - I suspect it would never feel as busy as a place like say...Odessa in peak season.

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09-13-2017 12:02 PM
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
(09-13-2017 11:59 AM)zatara Wrote:  I've heard good reports about Balaton Sound, which is obviously packed with people and pretty much the opposite of your experience. I'd be curious to hear what its like in the normal/not festival peak season though, if its nicely in-between in terms of busy.

Went a couple of years ago for Balaton Sound and would love to go back, perhaps next year. A good mix of girls from mostly Europe but American/Canadian/Australian on a Eurotrip aswell. Got the lake to relax by and chat up girls during the day to capitalize at night. Great for this as it is a camping/RV festival with very few staying in hotels/apartments.
09-13-2017 02:00 PM
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Rod Offline
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
Great report .

My girlfriend is Hungarian . I was there in August .
We stayed on the south side of the lake in Fonyod. Quieter little town but still had a 'beach ' etc.
It's right on a train station . In the evenings there were definitely people out in the bars but it's more of a family vibe there. Mosquitos at night are a killer .

We went too siofok for a wander one night and it was rammed . I was pleasantly surprised . It gave me the impression of a slightly classier malia or Ibiza . Endless bars and shops etc.
Beach football was on when we went and that had a big crowd .
We left just as it was starting too kick off but from what I saw there was a lot of girls heading out. Quality was all over the place but being Hungary , you'd have to try pretty hard to bag a fatty .
I would recommend it for those players that can tolerate the 'party ' scene . Important to remember that most Hungarian girls do party but dont take it to the levels of filth we are accustomed too seeing here in the west .. ie. girls pissing their pants in the streets etc.
My missus said she went too balaton once too party in her younger days and her friend met her future husband there so it's definitely THE place too go for Hungarians .
There were a few high end bars with face control etc. So maybe baller game could be worth a try if that's your thing. I'd have liked to spend a bit more time there personally but was being good / towing the line . I think the Hungarian girls grow out of that scene fairly quickly .
Bit of a ramble sorry but just thought I'd share what I thought as it's not the most common choice of destination !
09-13-2017 02:19 PM
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Rod Offline
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
Great report .

My girlfriend is Hungarian . I was there in August .
We stayed on the south side of the lake in Fonyod. Quieter little town but still had a 'beach ' etc.
It's right on a train station . In the evenings there were definitely people out in the bars but it's more of a family vibe there. Mosquitos at night are a killer .

We went too siofok for a wander one night and it was rammed . I was pleasantly surprised . It gave me the impression of a slightly classier malia or Ibiza . Endless bars and shops etc.
Beach football was on when we went and that had a big crowd .
We left just as it was starting too kick off but from what I saw there was a lot of girls heading out. Quality was all over the place but being Hungary , you'd have to try pretty hard to bag a fatty .
I would recommend it for those players that can tolerate the 'party ' scene . Important to remember that most Hungarian girls do party but dont take it to the levels of filth we are accustomed too seeing here in the west .. ie. girls pissing their pants in the streets etc.
My missus said she went too balaton once too party in her younger days and her friend met her future husband there so it's definitely THE place too go for Hungarians .
There were a few high end bars with face control etc. So maybe baller game could be worth a try if that's your thing. I'd have liked to spend a bit more time there personally but was being good / towing the line . I think the Hungarian girls grow out of that scene fairly quickly .
Bit of a ramble sorry but just thought I'd share what I thought as it's not the most common choice of destination !
09-13-2017 02:29 PM
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Robert High Hawk Offline
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
I will definitely have to give this place a look! I love European lakes, and this sounds pretty affordable.

You mentioned meals costing $17-$25, was this just at no name grease pits or nicer places? That sounds a bit expensive for Hungary outside Budapest,even for 2 people
09-20-2017 09:00 AM
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Nowak Offline
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
IDK about game but compared to Neusiedler see I was not impressed. Prices in Hungary,not just Budapest are increasing especially since 2 years ago. Maybe its a good idea if you're based in Budapest to go to Balaton but otherwise there are nicer lakes elsewhere in Europe that are a bit pricer with less plebs.

You get what you pay for ,lolz
09-20-2017 06:43 PM
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Jura Online
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
I was on the North side of the lake a couple of years ago. If you enjoy laid back vacation in a small town with good wineries on the slope of a mountain, then give Badacsony a go. Highly recommended for a couple of days.
09-20-2017 08:18 PM
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Rod Offline
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RE: Lake Balaton, Hungary Mini-Datasheet
Agreed .
Prices are on the up . Balaton especially is on the more expensive side for Hungarians definielty . If you're coming from the uk , beer is a lot cheaper , a decent nice meal out is still very reasonable by 'western price standards' in a touristy resort .

Case study ;
I went to an excellent restaurant on the north side of balaton in a lovely location .
3 courses each + Beers.. I paid for all four of us and it came in at around £45+tip.

Her family would only go there for a special treat . back home in the U.K. You could spend that on two people having a curry
09-21-2017 03:35 PM
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