In case you like cycling and you’re fortunate enough to come to Hungary bringing your bike with you, or you’re willing to rent one, Lake Balaton is the ultimate destination. The bike track around the biggest lake in Central Europe is a captivating sight and a manly adventure at the same time. Taking the full distance can be a challenging performance, considering that you need to ride more than 200 kilometres to do so. There are many whose primary goal is to complete the full circle within the possible fastest time – some even in only one day. For them, the landscape is, obviously, not the main motivator for the tour. But still, there are much more people who start off to see all the beauties Lake Balaton can offer. The rhythm is all up to you, so pedal around Lake Balaton to your own beat and discover everything en route.
The track officially begins in Balatonalmádi, at the northeast heel of the lake, since the start was marked there. However, you don't have to start your own cycling route here, as the path continuously surrounds the entire Balaton. You can leave from any of the 203 milestones; it doesn’t matter - the essence is going to be the route itself. Be careful though, in case you haven’t undertaken such a long cycling trip yet, make sure you wisely choose a bike with a comfy saddle. Along the way, next to the Lake you will find dozens of hire shop, where you can clinch your bike, so no need to worry. Let’s see some of the stops that are strongly recommended to include along the way.
Let’s assume you start in Balatonalmádi, at the very first milestone of the bicycle path, which is one of the closest points of Balaton, if you approach the Lake from the capital city, Budapest. My very first suggestion, in this case, would be Saint Donát Estate in Csopak, a brilliant example for Hungary’s less known, but superb wineries. Right after Csopak, you will arrive at Balatonfüred, the lake’s iconic city, where even Tagore Promenade, the greenest street at Lake Balaton can be found. Again, your next stop should be in the neighbouring town of Tihany. Tihany is a peninsula, where the famous Tihany Abbey guards the founding charter of the Hungarian State. The city is also a real realm of lavenders and owns the most beautiful bay at Balaton.
Going forward you will pass Szent György-mountain in Badacsony, where further magnificent wineries await you for a glass or two of a fine wine. Beyond the mountain, there is Szigliget, where you can visit a lovely history-maker castle, on the top of a 240-meter-high hill. After this minor hiking, you are soon going to bump into Balaton’s unofficial capital city, Keszthely. Here, you will have a chance to visit the gorgeous Festetics Palace, which is an imposing monument and a cultural sanctuary. As for the southern coast of the lake, there are many great beaches – and most of them are either free or quite cheap. If you decide to pedal around Lake Balaton to your own beat, you will undoubtedly spend some extra time in Zamárdi and Siófok, the Hungarian Ibiza. In Zamárdi, you will be able to test your car racing talent at Forgó Ring. Additionally, you can take part in a few less known music festivals, or a big and popular one - Balaton Sound, a true music paradise.
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