Lake Balaton means as much to Hungarians as the Riviera does to westerners. Central Europe’s biggest freshwater lake has a 197-kilometer shoreline with public and private beaches, underwater caves, volcanic hills, ancient fortresses and so much more.
Lake Balaton is becoming so popular that the Hungarian government recently allocated EUR 18 million for the modernization of the lake and its surrounding areas. The nearby Hévíz--Balaton Airport is currently in development to handle international flights with government support of HUF 6.6 billion (EUR 19.02 million), and new roads and railways are also being introduced. By the end of 2020, a total of 18 EU developments in the region will be implemented from funding of HUF 20 billion.
Development has become an even greater priority, as a survey has shown that Hungarians are more likely to spend their summer vacation at a domestic destination rather than in a foreign country due to the coronavirus. The Hungarian government is also doing its utmost to help the tourism sector during these difficult times; besides offering direct financial support, it has reduced various taxes to help the industry grow and prosper.
But the ultimate goal is to make Lake Balaton a place where tourists can enjoy their free time all year round, as Balaton is much more than water, sunshine and lángos (typical Hungarian beach food).
Along the northern shores, settlements offer gastro, cultural, sport and musical events in every season. Thematic gastro picnics, wine tastings and music nights are organized from time to time in Badacsony as well as in the surrounding wine regions. Hotels and resorts offer rooms 365 days a year so people can admire the beauty of Balaton during the winter as well.
Four times a year, anyone who loves hiking can walk around the lake during the Balaton Camino. And even those in the startup field can find a cozy place to work and innovate in Balaton’s first coworking office in Balatonfüred.
But quality is as important as quantity. So Hungary, along with eight other countries, is participating in the seven-year DESTI-SMART project, launched in 2018 to address the challenges to providing efficient, sustainable tourism and promote a low-carbon economy.