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Lake Balaton: Map


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Location of Lake Balaton within Hungary

Lake Balaton, in the Transdanubian region of Hungarymarker, is the largest lake in Central Europe, and one of its foremost tourist destinations. As Hungary is landlocked, it is often affectionately called the "Hungarian Sea". The Zala River provides the largest inflow of water to the lake, and the canalized Siómarker is the only outflow.


In Hungarian, the lake is known as Balaton (nicknamed Balcsi). This name derives from the South-Slavic blato, mud (from earlier Pan-Slavic boltьno), and has no meaning in Hungarian. The Romans called the lake Lacus Pelso ("Lake Pelso"). Pelso derives from a local name for the lake, perhaps from the Illyrian language, as the Illyrians once populated the region. Paleolinguists surmise that "Pelso" meant "shallow" in Illyrian; this deduction is based on a surmised Proto-Indo-European root *pels-, and on examples such as the German name Plattensee ("shallow sea"), a name given to the lake by the Germanic people in the area through the centuries.


Map of Balaton in ancient times
Lake Balaton affects the local area precipitation per annum. The area receives approximately two to three inches (5-7 cm) more precipitation than most of Hungarymarker, resulting in more cloudy days, and less extreme temperatures. The lake's surface freezes during colder winters. The climate around Lake Balaton has also made the region ideal for viniculture. Secondary radiation is reflected from the lake, doubling the amount of sunlight that the grapevines of the region receive. The Mediterraneanmarker climate combined with the soil (containing volcanic rock) has made the region notable for its production of wines since the Roman period two thousand years ago.[2677]

Tourist information

The major resorts around the lake are Siófokmarker, Keszthelymarker and Balatonfüredmarker. Siófok is known often as the "Party Capital of Hungary", which attracts many young party goers in summer due to its numerous large discos. Keszthely is the site of the famous Festetics Palace and Balatonfüred is a historical bathing town home to the annual Anna Ball.

The high tourist season extends from June until the end of August. The average water temperature during the summer is 25°C, which makes bathing and swimming possible. Most of the beaches consist of either grass, rocks or the silty sand that also makes up most of the bottom of the lake. Many resorts have artificial sandy beaches and all beaches have step access to the water. Other tourist attractions include sailing, fishing and other water sports, as well as visiting the countryside and hills; wineries on the north coast and night life on the south shore. The Tihanymarker Peninsula is an historical district. Badacsonymarker is a famous volcanic mountain and wine growing region as well as a lakeside resort.

Although the peak season at the lake is the summer, lovers of Balaton think that it is also worth visiting the lake in winter, when you can go fishing through ice-holes, or, if the ice is thick enough, brave visitors can even skate, sledge or ice-sail on the lake.

Balaton is served by Sármellék International Airportmarker. (Closed since autumn 2009)

Chief resorts include:

Badacsonymarker - Balatonalmádimarker - Balatonboglármarker - Balatonfüredmarker - Balatonlellemarker - Fonyódmarker - Keszthelymarker - Siófokmarker - Tihanymarker - Vonyarcvashegymarker


  • The Hungarian government has started a campaign of promoting Balaton as a holiday place for young people. There is a slightly controversial promotional cartoon on the official Balaton tourist page depicting a man who meets a young blonde girl and makes love to her on a boat while hiding his wedding ring.

Towns and villages

Towns and villages alongside Lake Balaton.

North shore

From east to west:

Balatonfőkajármarker - Balatonakarattya - Balatonkenesemarker - Balatonfűzfőmarker - Balatonalmádimarker - Alsóörsmarker - Paloznakmarker - Csopakmarker - Balatonarács - Balatonfüredmarker - Tihanymarker - Aszófőmarker - Örvényesmarker - Balatonudvarimarker - Fövenyes - Balatonakalimarker - Zánkamarker - Balatonszepezdmarker - Szepezdfürdő - Révfülöpmarker - Pálköve - Ábrahámhegymarker - Balatonrendesmarker - Badacsonytomajmarker - Badacsonymarker - Badacsonytördemicmarker - Szigligetmarker - Balatonedericsmarker - Balatongyörökmarker - Vonyarcvashegymarker - Gyenesdiásmarker - Keszthelymarker

South shore

From east to west:

Balatonakarattya - Balatonaligamarker - Balatonvilágosmarker - Sóstó - Szabadifürdo - Siófokmarker - Széplak - Zamárdimarker - Szántód - Balatonföldvármarker - Balatonszárszómarker - Balatonszemesmarker - Balatonlellemarker - Balatonboglármarker - Fonyódmarker - Bélatelep - Balatonfenyvesmarker - Balatonmáriafürdőmarker - Balatonkeresztúrmarker - Balatonberénymarker - Fenékpuszta

See also


  1. Balaton Hungarian Tourist Website


Image:Lake Balaton at Keszthely.jpg|Lake Balaton at KeszthelymarkerImage:Balaton.jpeg|Satellite image of the lakeImage:Balaton400.jpgImage:Balaton4.jpgImage:Balaton winter.jpg|Lake Balaton in winterImage:Plattensee in Ungarn S3000086.jpg|Sunset over BalatonImage:BalatonSunset.JPG|Sunset at BalatonImage:Balaton Hungary 2005 028.jpg

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