Thanks to its beautiful natural treasures and entertainment opportunities, Lake Balaton is one of the most popular destinations in Hungary. Accordingly, thousands of people visit the Hungarian Sea every summer for an unforgettable holiday. Now, discover Lake Balaton with us and get to know 10 interesting facts that might surprise you. 😉

The largest lake in Central Europe
Lake Balaton from space

Few may know that the 77-km-long Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe, with a territory of 594 km2. Its narrowest point can be found at Tihany where its width is only 1.5 km, while the distance from shore to shore can rise up to 13 km between Balatonvilágos and Balatonalmádi. Its average depth is 3-4 metres, but there are also parts of the lake where the water depth reaches up to 11 metres.

The Hungarian Sea
Tihany, Hungary. Photo: MTI

A long time ago, the extent of the Hungarian Sea was much larger than it is today. The Carpathian Basin was almost completely under water, with only the mid-mountains forming islands in the ancient Pannonian Sea. Meanwhile, the vast body of water lost its connection with the world’s sea and was filled with sediments by the inflowing rivers.

Mediterranean climate

As Csodalatos Balaton reports, thanks to the Mediterranean climate that dominates in the region, Lake Balaton is one of the favourite tourist destinations in Hungary. Accordingly, the annual average sunshine duration per year is around 2,000 hours, which is the same as on the French Riviera.

The cleanest area in Hungary
Balaton felvidék, wine, region, Hungary

Besides its wonderful weather and cozy environment, the Hungarian Sea is also popular due to its clean air.

Thanks to the proximity of the Bakony and the Alps, the area around Lake Balaton is one of the cleanest areas in the country.

Roman emperors at Lake Balaton

The region of Lake Balaton used to be very popular among Roman emperors as well, who used the region for well-developed agricultural activities. Written records prove that Emperor Galerius drained the marshy shores of the lake so that the area could then be cultivated.

Healing water

According to Magyarorszagom, Lake Balaton used to be a popular spa tourist destination in the 19th century thanks to its water and muddy soil that have a mild healing effect.

Besides these beneficial features, numerous healing springs can be discovered in the region.

Small Balaton
Small Balaton, Hungary, Lake Balaton, nature
Read also‘Small Balaton’ – One of Hungary’s most miraculous places

When visiting Lake Balaton, it is worth exploring Small Balaton as well, which used to be part of the Hungarian Sea; however, due to regulatory work in the 19th century, its water level decreased significantly, as a result of which the small lake lost its useful filter function. As reports, in the 1970s, the area covered by water was increased as part of a restoration program. As a result, Small Balaton has become a highly protected natural value that can only be visited by tourists with limited access.

Tihany Peninsula
Tihany Peninsula

One of the most famous sights of Lake Balaton are the Tihany Peninsula and the abbey built in the 18th century. The peninsula has gained great popularity due to the echo of Tihany reflected from the walls of the abbey that could be heard at a distance of 700 metres; however, it is barely audible today due to the trees and houses.


As reports, when talking about Lake Balaton, we cannot leave out Hungary’s greatest sailing competition called Kékszalag either, which has been held since 1934.

Every second year, almost 1,500 sailing fanatics compete for the best places, covering about 160 kilometres in the waters of the Hungarian Sea.

Cross-Balaton Swimming

The Cross-Balaton Swimming competition has been a tradition since 1987, with the participation of thousands of people swimming across the lake at a distance of 5.2 kilometres.

Cross-Balaton swim
Read alsoOn this weekend: Cross-Balaton Swimming 2019!

Unfortunately, this year’s race has been cancelled due to the recent circumstances; nevertheless, Lake Balaton is looking forward to your visit this summer as well. 😉


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