As spring is knocking hard on our door (actually we’ve already let it in), we are itching to get out to nature more than ever. Probably with this in mind, I caught myself looking at photos of lakes the other day. Not a particular lake but all kind of lakes. Then memories were flooding back all of a sudden of last summer’s family vacation.
Pre-season lake holiday
Damn, it was so special. I hadn’t been on a trip with my family for a long time before this particular occasion so I cherished every little moment of the journey. So we spent five days near Lake Balaton in Hungary and it truly felt like my childhood, doing all sorts of family things. I was thinking, how pity is that the villages around the lake are all shut down off-season, the cities are almost empty and the place wakes up only in summer to attract visitors until the weather turns grey and wet. Or am I led by some old stereotypes? I quickly realized that I actually am. Partly. Finally trends started to change and the country’s biggest lake is ‘opening its gates’ to pre-season travelers also. Probably you won’t be able to dip in the water that early but you would definitely avoid some nerve-racking crowd. If you are about to explore the splendid north coast, here’s what you should go for.
The place to stay
Finding the PLACE is always a hard call. I am very picky on accommodation, not about the star rating but about cleanliness, staff’s attitude and services on spot. So let’s just say that I found what I was looking for. Reaching Villa Fiore in the village of Lesencetomaj you might get confused first where on earth actually you are. The Tuscan style building is the reinterpretation of an old watermill. The surrounding environment and the eight custom-designed rooms make sure your stay will be a quiet one. What I really like about the place is that despite its size, it features a mini spa with an indoor and outdoor pool, a Jacuzzi and sauna for total indulgence. The ingredients of the meals are purchased from local farmers = always fresh and tasty.
Private dining – Villa Fiore
The things to do
Biking! The Kal basin feels like it was specifically created for biking enthusiasts. Cycle towards Kekkut to make a refreshing stopover there for fresh mineral water. Not the one purchased from the corner shop though. Find the natural mineral water source right next to the road where you can freely refill your bottle. They really did think of bikers and trekkers! When your water resources are replenished hop back on your bike and cycle towards Koveskal. You will definitely enjoy the fresh breeze and the stunning nature surrounds your way. When you reach the village just look for the bicycle hanging from the tree. That’s where you find an old, restored building, the meeting spot of fellow cyclers. There’s a charming lady in Kerekbar busy cooking mouthwatering soups, preparing delicious sandwiches and desserts inside. She knows exactly what the weary traveler needs. Quench your thirst with her home-made refreshments made of fresh, local ingredients. Having filled your stomach, lay down in one of the deck chairs in the garden and enjoy the sunshine before heading back to your departure point.
Tired? Thirsty? Hungry? – Kerekbar
The cellar to wine and dine
This family-run wine cellar secretly hides in the middle of a vineyard. Ok, probably not that secretly if we managed to find it. What on offer in Rozsako wine cellar are hearty meals with amazing wine pairing at affordable prices. The wine-tasting sessions walk you through the cellar’s best liquids while you can have a glimpse into the story of the place. Expect genuine hospitality and a fun night out right on the hills of Badacsony.
Cellar hopping by mountain taxi
There’s one more thing I fell in love with in the area. And that’s a captivating, tiny farmer’s market. But more about it later…
Hungary off the beaten track:
- Go through design, vintage, art and wine in Budapest
- Sample some of the greatest wines in Etyek
- Discover the secrets of a Western fairy tale region
- Walk the empty village roads in Tiszainoka