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LIFE IN THE OFF-SEASON – FIFTY SHADES OF LAKE BALATON

OUR FAVORITE PLACES TO STAY IN BUDAPEST
March 2018
Explore Lake Balaton – the BADACSONY wine region
April 2018

Budapest is getting more and more famous among tourists lately. It’s not a surprise: historical buildings and sights, noted thermal baths, stirring nightlife, and savory cousin accompanied with affordable prices await the visitors here. This article aims to introduce the countryside of Hungary, more precisely the area of Lake Balaton. During summer many foreigners come to dip in the tepid water and to eat some lángos (a traditional Hungarian flatbread), but they might not know winter can be as well magical here.

 

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Despite that summer is far from now, we packed our things and took our way to Lake Balaton. Our camera gear was not as heavy as it is usually, we only took few objectives, the Mavic pro, and the compact Fuji X-T2 with us. Nothing more needed anyway. 

 

Exploring the northern coast

After the one and a half hour long ride in the extremely spacious & comfy VW T6 Bulli, we arrived in Csopak. This place is a great stop if you want to taste traditional dishes in not ordinary form and quality. We had lunch at Víg Molnár Csárda. I like this place even from the outside, the mill-wheel next to the entrance recalls authentic rural vibes. The interior fits the concept, there are jars and handmade crockeries on the walls and a beehive oven sheds the warmth. I snugged right next to it with a glass of wine and had no intention to leave until our orders were out and ready to eat. The dishes were excellent both in look and taste, and so does the service! I suggest tasting one of the Fisherman’s soup, and the corn-coated cottage cheese dumplings is definitely a must try! :)

 

 

Our next stop was Köveskál, which is a little village in the heart of the Káli-medence. We put up at Káli Art Inn which is a lovely property including a sauna and a bio-lake, an outdoor pool, a shed with a fireplace and comfy armchairs in it, plus several differently designed apartments. My favorite is the white room, right above the shed. There are lace and flower decorations, knitted rugs and pillows everywhere. But the best is a huge bathtub in the corner separated with a flimsy purdah. When an engaged couple comes, this one is for the bride, and the blue room — which is right in front of it just about few steps away — is for the groom. And after the wedding ceremony, they can figure out which room they want to share… :)

 

 

The surrounding territory is worth to explore. For example, you can climb up the Black-mountain top, discover the lakes and ruins around, or the stone-sea where you can find prints of long-extinct animals on the rocks. We took our way to lake Korny where horses and donkeys were grazing afield. On the top of a little mound, four stone men were standing still. These sculptures are the guardians of this land.

 

 

The next destination was Szigliget, where there is a huge castle standing on a hill for 750 years. We were roaming around, then just stopped to amaze the panoramic view.

Where to go on the southern shore

In the evening we got to Siófok which might sound familiar to some of you. This place is crowded during summer  people from everywhere around the world come to have fun or to chill a bit. Now this time of the year this place was so tranquil. I enjoyed walking on the coast, watching the seagulls and ducks on the lake without any disturbing noise in the background. Only the sounds of nature surrounded us. 

 

 

We spent the night at Mala Garden Hotel, which is famous for its unique far-eastern design. Statues of Buddha, mandalas on the walls, authentic Thai massage and eastern specialties on the menu await the guests here. These exotic vibes truly make you believe that you are far away from home. Even if you are aware, that instead of the Indian Ocean, only lake Balaton is waving in front of your balcony.

 

 

The next day we headed to Balatonlelle to visit the BL Yacht club where we got on board and sailed out from the harbor. Though the weather was chilly, we still enjoyed our voyage on the lake. There was no other boat near and far, except ours. I don’t know how you feel about sailing, but for me personally, it’s like letting go all of my current problems set aside on the shore.

 

 

The last stop is on our list was at BalatonvilágosLavender Terrace is a place where a man can eat exceptional steak from 100% Hungarian beef. If you are fond of such things, it’s a place you should visit. If you may not, no worries. There are several options to choose among, including different types of pizzas with Italian ingredients, and sugar/gluten free cakes besides that.

 

Final thoughts

I didn’t know what to expect from Lake Balaton during the off-season. In the end, it was a nice surprise. Compared to the teeming summer period, this time of the year it is refreshingly calm. Irrespectively of the season, the surroundings are beautiful, more and more restaurants are open all year round, not to mention the hotels which can guarantee a tranquil relaxation and rest. A sunny wintery day is perfect for long walks along the shore, or for hiking the ambient hills. The snow-covered scenery by the lake couldn’t be more magical.

 

A piece of Balaton in the capital

Even though we arrived home, our little road trip didn’t come to an end. In Budapest, there is a place called Paletta, which recalls the atmosphere and vibes of the Balaton. The interior design and the dishes are inspired by that region, and the wine comes right from the owner’s vinery at Balatonboglár. I would suggest trying the bio-grape spritzer out and if you like pork, this place has specialties using every part of the animal. So if you have no time to visit the countryside, no worries, you can still taste the feeling. :)

 

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19 Comments

  1. Liliane Fawzy says:

    Looks like such a great time to visit. It’s almost like you had the place to yourself. I’m a huge fan of off-season visits because it’s such a different vibe!

    • travelised says:

      Yes, it was wonderful – to be without the usual crowd and noise – we could explore a totally new face of the lake and the surroundings. I agree it is calmer and cozier, which I prefer over the bustle when I am on holiday 🙂

  2. eli says:

    I love your photography style! Really captured this place beautifully.

  3. LOOOOVVVEEE you Blog! And love the pictures andI the video. Love how the video song goes perfect with the video 🙂 I haven’t heard of this place but it looks so lovely.

    • travelised says:

      Thanks, Michelle, happy to hear that! 🙂 yeah, it’s in the countryside of Hungary – from the surrounding countries many people come for a summer chill out though

  4. Raul A Pino says:

    Wow, such captivating photos! I especially loved the one with all the items you took – very creative and well-done. Hungary is one of the few countries in Europe I have not visited and most of what I ever read or think about is just about Budapest. This may be one of the first writeups I come across about “what else” in Hungary and it certainly grabbed my imagination. When I do get to visit, I will make sure my visit is not just about Budapest!

    • travelised says:

      Thank you Raul! 🙂 that was our camera gear for this trip. I think most of the foreigners are in the same situation – only heard about Budapest. It’s good to keep in mind, that we have many beautiful places in the countryside as well! Happy to hear that we made you curious about the rest! 😀

  5. daniele says:

    Your post is so cool. Love the way it’s composed and the photos are so beautiful 🙂 All your tips are helpful in planning a trip there

    • travelised says:

      Thank you Daniele 🙂 happy to hear that it is helpful, hope you will have a chance to visit Lake Balaton someday 🙂

  6. MartaMalMmm says:

    Ohmigoodness- this looks amazing! That bathtub, the food, the sailing… this looks like the place for me! 🙂

    • travelised says:

      Thanks a lot Marta! 🙂 yeah, everything was perfect ^^ so serene and cozy, close to the nature 🙂

  7. umiko says:

    This is what we like. Visiting during off season when people are somewhere else at the crowded places for their winter weekend getaway. You have the place for your own and no rushed to go here and there. If I live somewhere near, I would like to visit Lake Balaton at this time of year, too.

    • travelised says:

      We feel exactly the same! 🙂 It’s so chill and peaceful, you can just wander around calmly on the coast..

  8. Wow, Anna, loved it just. Just as you liked my idea of ‘flying fox riding’ I literally feel in love with your photographic presentation and how magnificent bird eye view was that where the yachts are parked one after another. Kudos, pal! You deserve an award for juxtaposing passion, creativity and photography, by blending it with perfection. Love to be a guest blogger for your blog, in future if you give any thought like this.

    Best of Luck Anna! Loved the style of writing.

    • travelised says:

      Thanks so much, Prithu! yeah, a drone comes in handy when you want to take such pictures from above 🙂 I love the idea of guest blogging, we can cooperate in the near future!
      Thanks again for your kind words 🙂

  9. Teresa says:

    This place looks amazing! And I love your photography! Adding it to my list 🙂

    • travelised says:

      Thank You Teresa, Balaton is a great choice for a visit any time of the year 🙂 Happy you liked our pictures

  10. eli says:

    Your pictures are so beautiful. I love the way they capture this place! I’ve never heard of it but would love to go

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