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Around Lake Balaton by Bike  The Natural Adventure Company 43

Cycling around Lake Balaton

Overview

Stretching to almost 80 km in length, Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and Hungary’s top travel destination. With its quiet bicycle lanes, vineyards, cosy resort towns and numerous cultural sites, cycling around Lake Balaton is the perfect trip for an active family vacation or a soft adventure for beginner cyclists wanting to explore the natural and cultural riches of the area. Besides the enjoyable cycling around the lake, this tour will also reveal you all the must-see highlights such as the historic waterside towns such as Keszthely and Balatonfüred, as well as Tihany, a protected peninsula jutting 4 km into the lake, home to a stunning abbey church.

Highlights

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Budapest

Arrival in Budapest on your own, and have the rest of the day for exploring the numerous cultural riches of one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals.

Day 2: Budapest to Csopak  | 10 to 35 km

You take a train to Csopak (included), at the Northern shore of Lake Balaton, where you will meet our local representative for a welcome meeting and bike handling (in case you have rented one). Once you settle in your hotel, you can start your cycling adventure. The bike trail will take you to Balatonfüred or the Tihany peninsula.

  • Cycling for the day: 10 or 35 km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Comfort or similar
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Csopak circular route | 35 to 50 km

Today you can choose between exploring the Tihany peninsula with its Abbey Church, Echo Hill, Inner Lake, Lavender House, or the eastern basin of the lake and return to Tihany by ferry.

  • Cycling for the day: 35 or 50 km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Comfort or similar
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Day 4: Csopak to Badacsony | 50 km

Today you ride along the north shore heading to Badacsony. Volcanic mountains with vineyards, pretty villages, charming holiday homes and lush vegetation will accompany you from the right, while on your left the lake will be inviting you for a rest…or swim. Don’t miss to taste the famous Badacsony wines in the local restaurants, where you can also stop for lunch. In case you find the cycling distance too long, it is possible to shorten the route with a train ride.

  • Cycling for the day: 50 km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Halászkert or similar
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Badacsony (rest day)

The location is perfect for a rest day. You can choose between a pleasant excursion inland across romantic villages, lavender fields and idyllic countryside, or just relaxing, going for a swim and enjoying the excellent Badacsony wines and local cuisine.

Day 6: Badacsony to Keszthely | 40 km

A ferry ride will take you and your bike across the lake to Fonyód, from where you will ride to the resort city of Keszthely. Along the way, you will enjoy a splendid view of the mountains around Badacsony.

  • Cycling for the day: 40 km
  • Accommodation: Erika Pension or similar
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: Keszthely circular route | 15 to 40 km

Depending on your route choice for the day, you can explore Keszthely and the magnificent Festetics Palace, the Spa town of Hévíz, known for its thermal lake and baths, or the moorlands of Kis-Balaton.

  • Cycling for the day: 15 or 40 km
  • Accommodation: Erika Pension or similar
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Day 8: Keszthely to Csopak | up to 70 km

The section to Csopak today is long, but it is possible to reduce it by taking a train ride for the whole distance or just part of it. In any case, the more you cycle, the more you will see, passing through great viewpoints, the picturesque Szigliget and many vineyards. From Badacsony you’ll ride on ‘familiar’ roads, just in the opposite direction.

  • Cycling for the day: up to 70 km
  • Accommodation: Hotel Comfort or similar
  • Included meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Day 9: Departure to Budapest

After returning the bikes in Csopak, you take your train back to Budapest. We highly recommend staying some additional nights in Budapest, but if you are flying on the same day, make sure you book a flight in the afternoon as the train ride takes approx. 3 hours.

  • Included meals: Breakfast

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in nice 3-star hotels and cosy B&Bs. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view our default hotels for this trip

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Accommodation is on a bed & breakfast basis. The package also includes 4 lunch packs on days 3, 5, 7 and 8, and 3 dinners on days 2, 4 and 6. When meals are not included you will have good restaurant options to try the local cuisine.

Difficulty & terrain

We grade this tour as easy/easy to moderate, with daily distances ranging between 10 and 50 km, as in most days it is possible to choose a shorter route. On the last day, the route is 70 km long, but it can be shortened with a train ride (read more about difficulty grades). The cycling goes on quiet secondary country roads and designated bike lanes, so the trip is suitable for children as well. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack, which will be handed to you by our local representative on Day 2.

When to go

This trip is available from May to September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

The climate in the region is continental. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but, in the May-September period, the daily averages are 20 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options and route planner

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Budapest.

By train or bus

Inclusions

Included

  • 8 overnights with breakfast as detailed in the itinerary
  • Meal plan as listed in the itinerary: 4 lunch packs and 3 dinners
  • Luggage transfer when changing hotels (days 4, 6 and 8; one piece of luggage per person, max 20 kg)
  • Train tickets from and to Budapest (days 2, 9)
  • Detailed tour documentation (cycling map, route notes, and travel documents)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Cash deposit for bike rental (refundable)
  • Bike repair in case of need
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Pannier and helmet (available for hire)
  • Train/bus/ship rides at Lake Balaton (e.g. when shortening a stage)
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Entry fees and personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • Bike rental
  • Extra nights before, after and during the tour

Bike Rental

In case you would like to rent a bike from us, we provide standard trekking bikes with 21 gears, equipped with front and backlights, reflective marks, bell, pannier rack, mudguards, lock, Allen key and basic repair set. Mind that you will have to deposit 100£ per bike to our local representative, which will be refunded to you at the end of the trip.

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