Lake Balaton is not only the most popular summer destination among Hungarians but also among many foreign visitors. However, the “Hungarian sea” is becoming more and more expensive as the prices of accommodation, real estate and food have been continuously rising. On top of it all, you have to pay an entrance fee of 2-3-4 EUR on most of the beaches. Fortunately, some of them remained free. One of the Hungarian media outlets collated the remaining free beaches around Lake Balaton. You can find their list below.
Pénzcentrum asked all local municipalities on the lake to operate free public beaches and compiled a list of such beaches in their article. It appears that, compared to 2022, the number of free beaches did not decrease.
The number of free beaches currently stands at 57.
When asked, the local municipalities stated that they did not plan to impose entrance fees on these beaches. The media outlet suggested there should be an official register of such beaches, but the Hungarian Tourism Agency did not answer their request.
Interestingly, there are only two free public beaches left on the more popular northern coast of the lake. Tihany and Örvényes will remain free for all visitors even in 2022. Both mayors confirmed that to Pénzcentrum.
In many cases, imposing an entrance fee is neither easy nor worth it. Additional obligations can reduce the revenue. Furthermore, in some cases, the small size of the beach precludes that option, Árpád Győrffy, chief editor of Balatontipp, asserted.
Győrffy added that the reasons for the increasing entrance fees are the rising food and drink prices. Compared to 2021,
we have to pay 30-40 per cent more in many restaurants around Lake Balaton.
Therefore, more and more visitors arrive with a cooler to the beach.
In Siófok, for example, thousands of people swarm the Nagystrand and the Sóstói beach even though the entrance ticket costs 700 HUF (EUR 1.77). Meanwhile, there is a sweeping free beach near the famous Hungarian city. Apparently, a free beach does not guarantee large flocks of tourists.
In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, many local municipalities increased the entrance fees by 60 per cent for they feared decreased traffic and higher service costs. Pénzcentrum said some settlements demanded a second rise last year, but the government opposed to that. However, from 1 July, the coronavirus emergency state will end. As a result,
the following local municipalities plan to increase entrance ticket prices:
To end our article on a positive note, Kornélné Németh, the mayor of Balatonszemes, declared that their beaches would remain free this year and be renewed with government support. In Tihany, the Somos and Gödrös beaches will remain free. However, visitors must pay for using the parking lots, Imre Tósoik, the mayor of the beautiful Hungarian town, said. Zamárdi awaits tourists with a 3 kilometres long free beach which the local municipality plans to develop in the future, mayor Gyula Csákovics stated.
Here is a map of the free beaches around Lake Balaton:
Source: Pénzcentrum, Balatontipp