Visiting with friends
Lake Balaton was made to have fun at with the shallow water calling for sports on boards and wild rounds of frisbee, while the shores are well-equipped with volleyball, basketball and soccer fields.
First, let us take a look at the extreme sporting possibilities on the lake. At the eastern end of the legendary Golden Shore of party-capital Siófok, you'll find Surfbeach (www.surfbeach.hu) with all the equipment that kite and windsurfers crave for. Shallow water, soft sandy beach and a smoothly blowing wind are theperfect conditions to head out onto the open water. Better get your training started – in the wintertime you'll have the opportunity to try equally fabulous ice-kiting and ice-surfing.
No pain, no gain – true, but not when it comes to Beach Blob. No training, no sweat, no sore muscles needed here to get the fun flowing. It works really simple, a giant pillow-like construction is floated, you take a seat at one end of it, while another (preferably really heavy) person leaps from a high spot onto the other end of the blob.. Head to the Császtay beach in Révfülöp for the adrenalin kick.
If you're looking for simpler pleasures such as heading out onto the open water with your pals on board, head to Keszthely and rent an electrical boat – all you need is your ID. What's more fun than jumping into the deep-blue water from a rocking boat or just pushing your mates in?
The fun doesn't end when you get out of the water as the mainland around Balaton offers a huge number of sporting events and festivals. Dangerous somersaults, mad downhill races, a crazy rush on the highway – Balaton Bike Fest (www.balatonbikefest.com) organised every summer promises to be a true adrenalin rush. Several days of shows and competitions will make your pulse rise, whether you're a contestant or just a spectator. Road biking, off-road adventures, trials and freerides are all part of the program, usually accompanied by a Bike Expo and the opportunity to wind down by clinking glasses in the evenings with the pros.
Ok, so you prefer to be powered by petrol? Get off the road and into the dirt at Europe's biggest international Off-Road Festival in Somogybabod! More than 1000 4×4 vehicles meet for three days of racing at Pentecost, just 16 km south of Balaton. An exciting mix of trucks, bumper cars, dust clouds, hillside tracks, cool beers, strongman contests and spicy parties at night, among others.
As the sun sets, it's time for the heroes of the day to let loose a bit – after biking, driving, surfing and blobbing you surely need a beer. The best party near and far has to be Balaton Sound (www.sziget.hu/balatonsound), Central Europe's biggest lake-side festival mainly focusing on electronic music, while adding some bright spots of pop as well. For those who like it a bit more quiet and intimate, Babel Sound (www.babelsound.hu) provides a great alternative. This place is not about the headliners, rather it's a spot where fresh talents from the world music scene meet. There are three stages, but numerous installations and thematic sites await open-minded visitors for some joint jamming and dancing.
If you are a true party-animal, Siófok is the place to go to at the Petőfi promenade clubs and shops follow one another in a seemingly endless row. Lose yourself in the latest hits, laser lights, and possibly even a massive amount of foam at Palace Dance Club (www.palace.hu), a classic among the lake-side party spots. Fun of a slightly different kind, but not any less authentic is offered at the Retro Disco Ship (www.balatonihajozas.hu) – move your hips to the melodies of the ‘70s and the ‘80s.
Another party centre at the lake is Sun City at Balatonfüred. Techno, retro, funky and R'n'B – how could you possibly choose? Good news is you don't have to as all the clubs are next to each other.. Club Honey is said to attract the party-hungry like pollen attracts the bees. Hot funky and R'n'B tunes will make you stick around till the morning hours. Club Lipstick is said to be a real temptress, too – it's the most popular venue of the little party city. Moloko is a real time machine – head back to the glittery world of the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Options galore, as you can see... You won't go home short of memories, that's for sure.