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Anyone been to Lake Balaton or Hungary in general??

4 replies [Last post]
Visitor
Off with the kids to Lake Balaton in August and looking for any advice at all. Food, language, mosqitos, money etc etc Thanks in anticipation
bilboburgler
bilboburgler's picture
Hungary

Lovely place, many spas in the North in particular, Balaton has loads along the ridge to the north, but the same ridge goes all the way to the East edge of the country.  Everyone goes to these spas, not just for adults and often 38C and above

Visitor
Anyone been to Lake Balaton or Hungary in general??

Lake Balaton is good for watersports, and it's also good for spas - lots of hot mud to sit in! The language is fiendish, and as above, it's useful to know a bit of German to help you, and middle aged Hungarians will have learnt Russian in school as their second language from the years of occupation. Obviously English is now a more popular foreign language. If you like music or stately homes, the vast Esterhaz palace where Haydn was court musician to the fabullously wealthy Prince Esterhaz, is nearby (ie, a drive), and the old city of Szekesvervar with the historic centre, is worth seeing too. One thing to be sure of - don't call the Hungarians Slavs! They're not, and they will resent it! There will probably be a lot of Germans and possibly Czecks there as well. Obviously it's also a prime 'seaside' destination for the Hungarians themselves. The tourist agencies may well have set up things like trips to see Hungarian cowboys, who are very skilful, and that would be memorable for children too. There's probably a depressing number of Communist concrete hotels/blocks around still, but hopefully these are gradually disappearing?? Summer will be HOT. Wine is fantastic, food can be spicy (paprika!). If you get to Budapest, and are pressed for time, the best part is the old Buda on the hill, highly restored, but very maedival, and the beautiful Matyastemplom (St Matthew's Cathedral) and the 'fisherman's bastion' which is a series of white marbled walks and terraces below the cathedral. Unlike Vienna, the Danube flows right through the city. Watchout for pickpockets! Have a wonderful holiday.

Visitor
Anyone been to Lake Balaton or Hungary in general??

I've been. I took 2 small kids with me. We had a great time, stayed on a campsite in a bungalow which was clean and modern and fairly roomy. The lake is interesting - a bit green and slimy more for water sports than swimming I thought. Eating out is great, good food and wine and all just SO cheap. We hired a small car and drove up to Budapest for the day. This was a lovely city but needs much longer to be explored properly. There are loads of things to do, wineries to visit, tourist attractions, thermal lakes (bizarre), stunning forests, great walks, bike hire and some half decent shopping. It is an unusual place to visit, you really know you are abroad which I loved - the language is very different, we had great fun trying to learn it. If you like a bit of safe exploring, this is a great option, fly with Ryan Air and book directly with the campsites on the internet.

Lucy
Lucy's picture
Anyone been to Lake Balaton or Hungary in general??

Hi Richard. Lake Balaton, also known as 'Hungary's playground', is Europe's largest lake [77km x 6km!] and is only 3m [10ft] deep, has no currents, and should be lovely and warm (ish) during August [21C]; Perfect for Sailing, Swimming or Windsurfing and a host of other leisure activities, both water based and shore based. You could also try horse riding, cycling lakeside or why not pamper yourselves in the thermal spa waters at nearby H?v?z or Zalakaros? The southern shore of the lake is mostly high rise hotels and beaches; Si?fok is the largest resort. The north side is much less built up and has historic towns, museums and mountain trails. Balantonf?red on the north shore is the oldest, most sophisticated resort on the lake, and Tihany village is said to be the cultural star of Balaton. To the east, the Badacsony is a region of striking scenery, hiking trails and extinct volcanoes. Also during August are some Hungarian festivals, that you may like to get involved in: August: Folk Arts Festival - a fascinating collection of folk arts, in Nagykallo. August 20 : St Stephens Day - a nationwide celebration, especially lively in Budapest, with parades, folk singing, fairs and fireworks. August 20 : Flower Carnival - a huge and kaleidoscopic event, in Debrecen. On the language side, German is the Hungarian second language, English third, so it's worthwhile learning some basics even if it takes three weeks to learn three words, though on the plus side 'hello' can be the same as 'goodbye'! Some phrases that may come in useful are:- Do you speak English? - Besz?l angolul?, Please - K?rem, Thankyou - K?sz?n?m, Yes - Igen, No - Nem Currency: Hungary uses the Forint, and currently ?1 = 399.376 Hungarian Forint. Tipping in Hungary: Use 10% to taxi drivers and waiters as a guide. Do note that if you say thank you when you pay the bill you may not get any change! It may also be useful to know that electric sockets are 230v and take 2 round pin plugs. And yes, as well as many other visitors, Lake Balaton also has many visiting mosquitoes particularly in late summer - So remember to take some insect repellent! We have no doubt that you and your family will have a great holiday in Hungary, and wish you all a happy and fun family break. Regards - The Take the Family Team

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