Beautiful Lake Balaton on the Way to Slovenia

After staying a couple of extra days in Budapest after the games, it was time for me to move on. My plan ahead is to continue to Slovenia next. The lake Balaton region just happened to be on my route so I decided to give it a couple of days too. No regrets! It has been pretty!

Lake Balaton – the biggest lake in Central Europe

As the heading above states, Balaton is a big one here in Central Europe. But to give it some perspective for my Finnish readers, it would only be the eight largest lake in Finland. Of course the Finnish lakes mainly look very different than the open and basically islandless Balaton.

The lake was formed just 15-17 thousand years ago, which is rather recently geologically speaking. There is a chance that the whole lake may disappear in the next 40 years if the climate change has its way. The heat waves and droughts in the last years have already made the lake lose a lot of it’s water.

Balaton from the eastern end.
The Balaton region: Balatonfüred, Tapolca and Hevíz

The northern side of Balaton is a big wine area that mainly produces white wine. I stayed in Balatonfüred on the north side for the first night and went exploring with my Brompton. The road up the hill to one small winery was a tough climb, but well worth it. I had a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc and enjoyed the scenery. It would have been nice to try another one of their wines too, but since five kilometers of biking downhill was waiting for me I didn’t feel comfortable having more.

The view from down to Balaton from the Homola winery (seriously, that is the real name).

I stopped in Tapolca a little north of the lake for another night. The main attraction there is the partly water filled cave under the town. Only a part of it can be visited and you can take a boat and paddle around a narrow path. The cave itself continues in many directions and there are more than five kilometers of caves underneath the town, some of which still unexplored. Above the cave there was a karst museum that had some interesting geological facts to tell.

Tapolca cave boat trip.

The town of Tapolca was pretty above the ground as well. I enjoyed a nice double espresso (or Eszpresszó as the Hungarians like to spell it) this morning on the terrace on the left in the picture below.

Pretty Tapolca.

I had one more stop left before saying my goodbyes to the lake region. Since I forgot to visit the baths in Budapest, Elina suggested that I should go for a swim in a thermal lake in the town Hevíz. It was pretty much on my way so I decided to give it a go.

I paid an entrance fee of4500 HUF (about 12€) for three hours and then I had to walk a bit until the lake appeared. It was bigger than I imagined and there was plenty of room even in the showers and dressing rooms. The water had a little bit of sulfuric smell, but you got used to it quite soon. The water was 35 degrees warm which somehow felt a bit wrong in the beginning. I took two long swim sessions and then walked around the place. I noticed that the lake area has several entrances and also a separate wellness and sauna area. It wasn’t included in the price so I skipped that.

The Hevíz thermal lake park area.
The blue mineral water of the thermal lake.
Heading to Slovenia tomorrow

I’m now in Nagykanizsa just a few kilometers from the border to Croatia and Slovenia. I’m parked next to a narrow lake and this is where I’ll sleep tonight. I might go for a run around the lake tomorrow morning, because there seems to be a nice path for running all the way around.

I have already looked up a couple of spots in Slovenia that seem interesting and I’m really looking forward to some mountains! It has been a long time since I saw some real mountains up close.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *