Local people call Lake Balaton, central Europe's largest fresh water lake, the Hungarian sea. The lake became Hungarians' number one vacation resort after the Trianon Treaty following World War I when large areas of Hungary including some seashore along the Adriatic sea were taken away. All members of the family will find something to do at Lake Balaton whether it's bathing, sailing, horseriding, playing golf or wine tasting.
The water is the deepest between the Siófok and Szemes basins at the so-called Tihany well with 11.5 m depth. Length 77 km between Keszthely and Balatonakarattya its width varies between 3 and 14 km, the nearest is between Tihany and Szántód where the only ferry service on the lake operates during summer.
Once volcanic hills of the Badacsony reflect in the smooth water surface on the northern shore while on the south side of the lake you'll find sandy beaches between Balatonaliga and Balatongyörök perfect for bathing and sunbathing. The shallow water along the southern shore warms rather quickly during summer reaching around 26-28 °C. In the evening the water feels warmer than the air and the last beams of the setting sun create a romantic, colourful setting to an evening dip in the velvety water.
In summer the major towns (Keszthely, Siófok, Zamárdi, Balatonboglár, Balatonfüred) around the lake come alive with colourful programs including a buzzing nightlife. Should you get bored by lieing on the sun or soaking in the silky water you surely will find a concert, a cooking festival or a sport event that will jazz you up.
You can explore the lake-side settlements on one of the best cycle paths in the country, with total length of approx. 200 km. Whether you want to learn windsurfing, go for sailing, or just admiring the picturesque scenery at sunset from a boat you'l find an opportunity to do so at Lake Balaton.More than 200 vehicles travel on the lake in the summer season including sightseeing boats or ships designed for night enetertainment with music. For some andrenaline boost try bunge jumping in Siófok or in Balatonfüred.In these two towns you'll also find water ski courses. Sightseeing flights depart from the airport between Zalakaros and Zalakomár so you can get a bird's eye view of the lake and its surroundings.
Hungary is one of those countries where you can still ride for pleasure at superb horse riding clubs and farms where you can learn the basics of horse riding form experienced trainers. The neighbourhood of lake Balaton is no exception numerous riding clubs offer riding lessons, organize summer camps and tours of varying length. In winter when temperature falls well below zero for for many days the frozen lake attract ice skaters and a new winter sport craze, ice sailing is also becoming more and more popular.
The fine climate and the exquisite soil made the area around Lake Balaton one of the most significant pillars of Hungarian wine production with four wine regions.
Almost exclusively white varieties are grown in the area known as Balatonfelvidék (Balaton Highland) from which fiery, full-bodied white wines are produced.
On the volcanic slopes of Badacsony Pinot Gris (szürkebarát), Olaszrizling (Italian riesling) and a local white variety Kéknyelű are produced.
The Balatonboglár-Kőröshegy area is best known for its light fruity wines made from Irsai Olivér, Királyleányka, Chardonnay varieties.
Riesling and cabernet sauvignon are the most popular wines produced in the Csopak-Balatonfüredi Wine region, while Tihany is noted about its Merlot.
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