While Lake Balaton might not draw in the crowds of the Italian coast, it is the closest thing to a seaside resort that Hungary has and as such has built up quite a infrastructure for tourism around its numerous lakeside destinations. There are plenty of things to do here, so if you’re looking to visit Hungary and would like to get away from the city, then you can’t go wrong with these hotels in Lake Balaton…
Janus Boutique Hotel & Spa
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One of the rooms at Janus Boutique Hotel in Siófok, Hungary | Courtesy of Janus Boutique Hotel & SPA
Located in Siófok, Lake Balaton’s most popular tourist town, the seasonal Janus Boutique Hotel is a top pick for a long list of reasons. It’s built into an former Lutheran church and its interior is equally as grand as its exterior, with each room as varied and as ornate as the last. They each have their own themes, in fact, covering as broad a range as styles from Paris, Japan and Morocco to conceptual rooms built around Gothic design, love and even Madame de Pompadour. There’s an on-site spa, too, meaning two pools, a sauna, a gym and massage services.
There are few hotels at Lake Balaton that can compete with Anna Grand. It’s an opulent building inside and out, with impeccably kept rooms, gorgeous architecture and perfectly prim gardens. The fact that it’s a stone’s throw away from Balatonfüred’s lakeside and central Tagore promenade only heightens the luxury of the place – which even has its own bowling lanes.
Set in the capital city of the county, Veszprém, this spa hotel within an old villa offers all of the amenities you could hope for and then some. It’s only a short 10-minute walk to the famous Veszprém Castle, is embedded within a gorgeous valley and even has its own wine cellar. But the real selling point is its sense of the gastronomy, with its own restaurant, a Wellington Pub for more classic meals, and the so-called Nostalgia Garden where all the herbs and vegetables are grown.
Hotel Gabriella sits beside the lake in Tapolca | Courtesy of Hotel Gabriella
Tapolca may be a fair distance from the shores of Lake Balaton itself, but it’s a quaint and serene town that is well worth a visit – especially thanks to the beautiful Lake Cave. Hotel Gabriella may not have the fanciest accommodation or the most up-to-date rooms, but its prime location beside the town’s peaceful Malom lake makes it an easy choice.
Bali-inspired Mala Garden Hotel in Siófok, Hungary | Courtesy of Mala Garden Hotel
By borrowing just a little bit from Bali, this modern hotel with views of the lake makes for a very special place for those who prefer a more upscale place to stay. The Balinese decor runs throughout the hotel, while an Asian-inspired restaurant brings some of the flavours to the Hungarian lakeside, too.
The thermal lake of Hévíz is certainly one of the must-see attractions around Lake Balaton, and if you’re heading that way why not maximise your wellness with a stay at the Danubius Health Spa Resort. Not only is it just a short walk from the thermal lake itself – which is the second largest in the world – but it includes its own swimming pools, all-inclusive restaurant, and spa treatments. The water and mud for the latter, in fact, are all supplied by the Hévíz lake.
The leafy garden of Jókai Villa in Siófok, Hungary | Courtesy of Jókai Villa
A quaint villa surrounded by trees is the setting for this place, so named because the famous Hungarian writer of the same name was said to have spent a lot of time in Siófok. The baroque aesthetic inside and out makes for a particularly grand experience, while the leafy gardens keep it secluded from the rest of the world. The perfect place to finish that novel, perhaps?
Sir David Castle at Hungary's Lake Balaton | Courtesy of Sir David Castle
It’s not hard to spot Sir David Castle, the bright yellow walls of the building are visible from the road and the interior is equally brash and beautiful. While rest and relaxation is certainly on the cards when staying here – it is only 200 meters from the shores of Lake Balaton, after all – there is plenty of opportunities to enjoy tours and activities on the water itself, all arranged from within the hotel itself.
Enjoy wine and relaxation at Liszkay Vineyard Estate | Courtesy of Liszkay Vineyard Estate
If wine is your thing, then Lake Balaton is just one of the regions you should already have on your list when visiting Hungary. The Liszkay Vineyard Estate is perhaps one of the best places to combine wine tasting with a relaxing stay at the ‘Hungarian sea’, blending the delicious results of the Liszkay winery and their fine food with soaking up the sun, swimming in the pool surrounded by grapevines or heading out on an excursion into the surround nature.
This place may not look like much from the outside, but the option to stay in individual apartments on the hill of Tihany – where you’ll find one of Lake Balaton’s most famous tourist attractions, Tihany Abbey – is what makes it particularly special. The apartments themselves are rustic renditions of traditional folk-style homes that Hungarians of yesteryear would have lived in; you won’t quite have to live in the Dark Ages though, there are all the modcons you’ve come to expect, all without jeopardising the sense of nostalgia about the place.