Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton

lake_name = Lake Balaton
image_lake = Balaton_Hungary_Landscape.jpg
caption_lake =
image_bathymetry =
caption_bathymetry =
location= Hungary
coords = coord|46|50|N|17|44|E|type:waterbody_region:HU|display=inline,title
type = Rift lake
inflow = Zala River
outflow = Sió
catchment = 5,181 km²
basin_countries = Hungary
length = 77 km
width = 14 km
area = 592 km²
depth = 3.2 m
max-depth = 12.2 m
volume = 1.9 km³
residence_time = 2 years
shore = 236 km
elevation = 104.8 m
islands =
cities = Keszthely, Siófok, Balatonfüred ("see list)")
frozen =

Lake Balaton, located in Hungary, is the largest lake in Central Europe [cite web|title=Lake Balaton|publisher="Encyclopædia Britannica"|url=|accessdate=2008-03-20] , and one of the foremost regional tourist destinations. Due to Hungary being landlocked, it is often affectionately called the "Hungarian Sea". The Zala River provides the largest inflow of water to the lake, and the canalized Sió is the only outflow.With a surface area of 592 km² has a length of 77 km and a width ranging from 4 to 14 km. The lake's surface is 104 m above sea level, and its depth varies up to 12.2 m (mean depth is 3.2 m).


In Hungarian, the lake is known as "Balaton" (nicknamed "Balcsi", and sometimes "The Hungarian Sea"); in Latin as "Lacus Pelso", in German as "Plattensee", in Slovak as "Blatenské jazero" and in Croatian and Serbian as "Blatno Jezero".

Its name means approximately "muddy lake" in Slavic ("blato" means "mud" in South-Slavic from earlier Pan-Slavic "bolto"). The Hungarian name "Balaton", is also derived from the original Slavic name (Slavic neutrum adjective "boltьno(-je ezero)" = "muddy (lake)"), but it has no concrete meaning today in Hungarian.

The Romans called the lake "Lacus Pelso", that is to say "shallow lake" in the Latin language. Germanic peoples that have been living in the area through the centuries called it "Plattensee", with the same meaning as in Latin.


Lake Balaton affects the local area precipitation per annum. The area receives approximately two to three inches (5-7 cm) more precipitation than most of Hungary, resulting in more cloudy days, and less extreme temperatures. The lake's surface freezes during colder winters. Lake Balaton region's climate has also made it ideal for growing grapes to make wine. Secondary radiation is emitted from the lake doubling the amount of sunlight that the grapes vines of the region receive. The Mediterranean climate combined with the soil (containing volcanic rock) has made the region notable for its production of wines since the Roman period two thousand years ago. []

Tourist information

The major resorts around the lake are Siófok, Keszthely and Balatonfüred. Siófok is known often as the "Party Capital of Hungary", which attracts many young party goers in summer due to its numerous large discos. Keszthely is the site of the famous Festetics Palace and Balatonfüred is a historical bathing town home to the annual Anna Ball.

The high tourist season extends from June until the end of August. The average water temperature during the summer is 25°C, which makes bathing and swimming possible. Most of the beaches consist of either grass, rocks or the silty sand that also makes up most of the bottom of the lake. Many resorts have artificial sandy beaches and all beaches have step access to the water. Other tourist attractions include sailing, fishing and other water sports, as well as visiting the countryside and hills; wineries on the north coast and night life on the south shore. The Tihany Peninsula is an historical district. Badacsony is a famous volcanic mountain and wine growing region as well as a lakeside resort.

Although the peak season at the lake is the summer, lovers of Balaton think that it is also worth visiting the lake in winter, when you can go fishing through ice-holes, or, if the ice is thick enough, brave visitors can even skate, sledge or ice-sail on the lake.

Balaton is served by Sármellék International Airport [] . There are scheduled flights from Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Copenhagen, Zürich and London Stansted. The lake is also accessible via charter flights from Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Billund and Moscow.

Chief resorts include:

Badacsony - Balatonalmádi - Balatonboglár - Balatonfüred - Balatonlelle - Fonyód - Keszthely - Siófok - Tihany - Vonyarcvashegy


* The Hungarian government has started a campaign of promoting Balaton as a holiday place for young people. There is a slightly controversial promotional cartoon on the official Balaton tourist page depicting a man who meets a young blonde girl and makes love to her on a boat while hiding his wedding ring. [ [ Balaton Hungarian Tourist Website] ]

* Operation Frühlingserwachen was conducted in the region of Lake Balaton in March 1945, being referred to as "the Lake Balaton Offensive" in many British histories of the Second World War. The battle was a German counterattack by Sepp Dietrich's 6.SS-Panzerarmee between March 6, 1945 and March 16, 1945 and resulted in a Red Army victory.

* Several Ilyushin Il-2 wrecks have been pulled out of the lake, remnants of the Soviet Air Force.

Towns and villages

North shore

From east to west:

Balatonfőkajár - Balatonakarattya - Balatonkenese - Balatonfűzfő - Balatonalmádi - Alsóörs - Paloznak - Csopak - Arács - Balatonfüred - Tihany - Aszófő - Örvényes - Balatonudvari - Fövenyes - Balatonakali - Zánka - Balatonszepezd - Szepezdfürdő - Révfülöp - Pálköve - Ábrahámhegy - Balatonrendes - Badacsonytomaj - Badacsony - Badacsonytördemic - Szigliget - Balatonederics - Balatongyörök - Vonyarcvashegy - Gyenesdiás - Keszthely

South shore

From east to west:

Balatonakarattya - Balatonaliga - Balatonvilágos - Sóstó - Szabadifürdo - Siófok - Széplak - Zamárdi - Szántód - Balatonföldvár - Balatonszárszó - Balatonszemes - Balatonlelle - Balatonboglár - Fonyód - Bélatelep - Balatonfenyves - Balatonmáriafürdő - Balatonkeresztúr - Balatonberény - Fenékpuszta

See also

* Geography of Hungary



External links

* [ A picture gallery]
* [ Balaton - World Lake Database] (English)
* [ Pictures of Balatongyörök] - Pictures of Balatongyörök
* [ Lake Balaton on]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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