Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Postby Gillsman123 » 13 Feb 2013, 11:15pm


I will be cycling to Danube river cycle trail from its source in Germany, finishing in Budapest. I will have 2-3 days spare in Hungary and am thinking of throwing my bike on a train and going to Balaton.

My original plan was to cycle round the entire lake. However, having done some research on this, it appears as though a lot of the route is either hampered by tiny bike paths, poor surfacing, and a lot of the time you cannot actually see the lake!

If anyone has been in this region on their bike, can you suggest the best area in which to relax - and cycle a bit! It would be nice to perhaps do 10-20 miles a day (nothing too strenuous), chill out by the lake etc.


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Re: Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Postby Reigncloud » 13 Feb 2013, 11:28pm

The path around the lake is actually not too bad generally. Yes there's plenty of it that coincides with ambling walkers and their children but these are fairly easily avoided. From memory the surface was fine and where it wasn't you could quite easily take the road. There are certainly many places you canyt see the lake as the path tends to run on the non-shore side of private residences and caravan parks most of the time. I didn't think that was so bad as the cycling was generally still quite nice.

While we only did the northern shore I can attest that there's a wealth of campsites, though the quality is nothing to write home about. Overall I would recommend it as long as you're outside the school holidays. Can't really recommend the best places to hangout as we went through on the way to Croatia so just stayed wherever along the lake we ended up at the end of the day and we only spent the one night there.

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Re: Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Postby wdsfy » 14 Feb 2013, 1:56pm

I can't speak for the cycle path but have cycled the road along the south side of the lake, no.7. At 50 miles long it took us the best part of a day to cycle its length and IIRC we glimpsed the lake a total of 3 times during this period, for no more than 10 mins at a time. I wouldn't recommend the road at all as it simply passes through multiple identical resort villages interspersed with campsites, not very scenic at all. As an aside, look out for the "working ladies" on the same road to the east of the lake, a rather unexpected sight this close to such a family friendly holiday destination...

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Re: Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Postby Galloper » 14 Feb 2013, 1:57pm

I've skirted Balaton and didn't find it particularly pleasant. The area around Eger is much more pretty.

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Re: Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Postby Barrenfluffit » 14 Feb 2013, 6:38pm

The danube bend area is pleasant. I'd suggest spending extra days along it and maybe visit Danube-Ipoly National Park.

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Re: Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Postby vernon » 14 Feb 2013, 10:43pm

I'd spend the time in Budapest sampling the museums, galleries, restaurants and thermal baths. The Museum of Horror, the steam railway museum and the Central Market filled best part of a leisurely day. A circular tour of Buda and Pest took up a chunk of a morning. Watching the world go by along the Danube is worth doing and generally relaxing in a decent thermal spa baths is half a day gone. I was most reluctant to leave the place at the end of my Danube tour last year. I will return in the not too distant future.

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Re: Lake Balaton - Best area for short cycle rides

Postby Gillsman123 » 14 Feb 2013, 10:58pm

Thanks to all who have replied so far.

I think I will give Balaton a miss. I'm quite well versed in Budapest and its thermal spas - I have been going on average two times a year since 2005 simply to visit the baths!

Galloper - You mention Eger as a possible option for cycling. Have you actually been there for cycling (I visited Eger a few years back and thought it was a lovely town). I tried to do some research on cycling in this region but struggling at the moment. Can you help?

Also, any other suggestions from other for a good spot to spend a few days in Hungary with the bike (granted, I will be cycling the Danube from Slovakia to Budapest so will obviously want to visit a non-Danube place!).