a spa with natural spring thermal water is a perfect holiday choice.
(The largest thermal lake in the world that is suitable for bathing is located at Hévíz, Hungary)
The Romans, no strangers to the good life, were the first to take advantage of this naturally occurring phenomenon, but Budapest also offers some of the finest examples of the "Turkish Bath" found anywhere. Today, a couple of contemplative hours in the local baths are part of the daily routine for many Hungarians - particularly those with arthritis, breathing difficulties and muscle pains.
They knew of salus per aquam (“healing by water”) and made maximum use of this natural treasure.
More than two millennia have passed, but the thermal water is showing no sign of running dry.
The word, massage, originally came from the French masser. It is the act of kneading, rubbing, stroking or tapping the body in a planned and controlled way. Massage has a relaxing and at the same time activating effect on the tissues and muscles. It invigorates the blood supply, restores the skin and lymphatic functions. Breathing deepens. It is advisable to have infrared thermo-therapy prior to taking a massage.
The word, spa, derives from the abbreviation of the Latin ‘sanus per aquam’ (health through water). In fact the term holds particular significance in Hungary, famed as the land of thermal and medicinal waters. Today medicinal baths, wellness centers, clinics and health hotels use the beneficial effects of water in a whole variety of ways, from the pearl bath through Kneipp treatments all the way to health-oriented spa regions. The word spa has become an international term in the area of whirlpool- and sauna baths, swimming pools, steam baths, beauty farms and wellness centers.
Some of the Turkish baths they built during their occupation – including those in Eger, and the Rác and Rudas in Budapest – are still functioning today.
The water temperature never drop below 79°F/26°C – even in the depths of winter – and the lake is surrounded by hotels and sanatoria.
Smooth waters and fresh wines, sand and surf, fishing and frolicking, splashing and sailing, concerts and clubs, partying and paddle boating, beach volleyball and biking, elegant castles and sleepy villages, beautiful landscapes and crystal clear air, Lake Balaton has it all.
Just a few million years ago geysers spouted hot water into the air on the Tihany peninsula.
Take a hike on the lunar landscape near the Inner Lake to see the evidence. Just a short ride from here to the west, between Balatonudvari and Örvényes, you'll find one of the most spectacular golf courses of Hungary, Royal Balaton Golf & Yacht Club.
Badacsony is a perfect spot for hiking, but a local myth makes it even more worthwhile for couples.
If you and your loved one sit on the Rose Stone with your backs to the lake (it's hard to turn away from the view, we know), legend has it you'll be married within a year.
Now that deserves a toast, right?
Explore the many wine cellars and their fabulous wines
and mouth watering dishes until you find your favourite one.
Behind the basalt mountain of Badacsony you can find the fairytale valley called the Káli Basin. Visit its lovely quiet villages and move on to the mineral waters at Kékkút, source of Theodora Quelle waters.
If you like great contrasts, after the grandeur and elegance of the palace, don't miss out on the area's tiny jungle, the Little Balaton. It's paradise for endangered plants and for birds, with tens of thousands arriving as if for an annual convention at migration time. Patient birdwatchers have counted 250 species, of which 100 nest here and 27 are protected.
The Socialist government installed in Hungary after World War Two went to great lengths to develop social tourism for the workers. This led to nationalization of the existing facilities, expropriation of lands and villas, and the establishment of holiday camps.
During the Communist Era after the Iron Curtain descended on Eastern Europe, Lake Balaton was the main locale where German families from the East could meet with their relatives from the West without complications.
Small towns oozing character, showcase living traditions of arts and crafts, spas and wineries,; exquisite castle hotels and the largest walnut plantation in Europe.
But your trip to Lake Balaton won't be complete without visiting the party capital of the area, Siófok.
For those who like crowds, Siófok is the holiday resort par excellence.
The lakeside beaches are overlooked by villas, hotels, campsites, restaurants, discotheques, and shops for clothes, jewelry, bags, and souvenirs.
Development in Siófok really exploded in the 19th Century after the construction of a railroad line. It became more readily accessible to the residents of Budapest looking for cool relief from the crowded city. The city boundaries expanded several times along Lake Balaton to accommodate the steadily increasing numbers of visitors.
The landscape on this side of Lake Balaton provides a wealth of treats for visitors.
There are thermal baths, beaches, vineyards, wines and folklore to satisfy every taste. There is also the abundance of natural landscapes with the flora and fauna of a Garden of Eden.
This region has played a major role in the development of tourism in Hungary and it is still one of the major drawing attractions.
After Budapest this is the most heavily visited area in Hungary. The vast majority of the tourists are German. And German is the most widely spoken foreign language in the Lake Balaton area.
After chilling out on one of the many lidos or practicing your wakeboarding moves on the silky smooth water during the day,
this small town caters for all your partying needs with club complexes and beachside pubs where dancing on the tables is the norm,
and everything in between.