We can still swim in the Hungarian sea for free in several villages on the shores of Lake Balaton. However, the number of these places is decreasing rapidly as more and more towns are introducing tickets for those who want to bathe in the lake there.
Out of the 40 beaches at Lake Balaton, 20 are now only accessible for a fee. As 168.hu reported, eight Balaton beaches introduced an entrance fee last year, but there is still no information on these plans for this year. However, one thing is for sure, and it is that in many places, the entrance fees will be more expensive.
25% increase in entrance fees
In the last 2 years, due to the epidemiological emergency, local authorities and operators were not able to raise the entrance fees. Now, several places have indicated that they can no longer keep the same prices,
some of them will have to charge people 25% more during the season.
There are ~50 open beaches around Lake Balaton this year, with around 80% of them on the southern shore. The Democratic Coalition party (Demokratikus Koalíció) would like all municipalities to have free beaches due to the fact that many people can hardly afford a holiday at Balaton.
As we can read in the article of 168.hu, the president of the Balaton Association said that it is not feasible to have a free beach in every town on the shore of Lake Balaton. One of the reasons for this is that many villages and towns are struggling with a lack of space.
What is more, making paid beaches free of charge would be a financial burden for the municipalities.
Dániel Balassa, the mayor of Szigliget, said that the beach in Szigliget can accommodate 100,000 people a year, which generates a significant income for the municipality and is also an extremely important revenue for infrastructure and operation.
Balaton during the pandemic and price increase now
According to Pénzcentrum, in 2020, the first year of the epidemic, there were some municipalities that increased the price of adult tickets by 60% because the municipalities or municipal enterprises that ran the beaches based their prices on the fact that the restrictions related to the epidemic alone will reduce the expected traffic at all beaches. Meanwhile, the additional tasks will significantly increase the workload and associated costs.
Since the state of emergency was introduced, beaches have not been allowed to increase entrance fees. However, this year, we can expect higher ticket prices at many beaches. According to ATV, one beach is raising its prices by 25%, but there are also reports of a Balaton coastal municipality that would raise ticket prices by 50%.