The Amazing banks of Lake Balaton

Can you imagine a sea where the water does not seem infinite, yet the sunsets are still breathtaking? Where you have no jellyfish or dangerous cliffs, and the water is gently caressing and ideal for every generation? This is what Lake Balaton, Central Europe's largest lake, happens to be like.

The ‘Hungarian Sea', as the locals call Lake Balaton, is located in the western part of the country. On the southern bank, the water is shallow and ideal for bathing, while on the northern side, where ridges, hills and valleys dot the scenery, the water is deeper and better for sailing.

Among the annual sailing events is the ‘Blue Ribbon International Sailing Competition', which is one of the most prestigious events of Lake Balaton and Europe's largest  lake circumnavigation competition. If bigger boats are what you prefer, visit the harbour of Balatonfüred on the northern banks and take a break under the hundred-year-old plane trees lining Tagore Promenade. Drink fine wines and admire the lines of the classic sailing boats  or the futuristic looking carbon fibre catamarans.

Another reason to visit the Hungarian sea is that the traditions of the twothousand-year-old Roman viticulture are still alive in this region, meaning that impeccable local wines are made here. The wines from the royal and baronial estates of Balaton were so popular in the Middle Ages that they were shipped to many European cites too. Due to the microclimate created by Lake Balaton, the Mediterranean atmosphere of Káli Basin is an ideal place to grow grapes. The flavours and aromas of the wines produced here, the most popular being the light, flavoursome local varieties, such as Olaszrizling, Kéknyelű, Juhfark and Furmint, are heavily influenced by the volcanic rock and red soil. It is worth visiting local winemakers and producers, many of whom have their own wine terraces or restaurants, where they not only give their maximum attention to their wines and their dishes made from Balaton fish and other local ingredients, but to the guests too. The locals are always willing to give good advice to those who seek it and to regale visitors with their tales. (Yes, they generally love to talk as much as they love to eat!).