Lake Balaton, the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, is Hungary’s second most popular tourist destination and is becoming more and more popular as a year-round attraction. The Hungarian government wants to further this trend.
Back in 2017, the Hungarian Tourism Agency initiated its largest tourism development to date: the Kisfaludy Tourism Development Program. The program will help promote the Lake Balaton area as a year-round holiday paradise, with 30,000 commercial accommodations set to possibly be renovated by 2030.
Non-refundable grants of more than HUF 1.8 billion have been received by 55 municipal beaches in 38 settlements for infrastructure improvements or seasonal extension developments, such as winterization, saunas, pools, and event space.
Other developments include family-friendly services and recreational sports; amusement parks have been targeted for development funding as the best way to get off-season visitors. In addition, the expansion of ports has also been made a priority via a grant of HUF 4 billion for some five to eight projects to be completed by November 30, 2023. The new ports should support year-round accessibility as well as the opportunity to use electric boats.
“Balaton all year round” has become the region’s new slogan. Various entities have jumped on board to help support attracting tourists throughout all four seasons. The Balaton Circle has been working with entrepreneurs to leverage the area’s rich variety of offerings, including the area’s famous vineyards, to help keep people coming all year. BalatonBor aims to promote Balaton’s wine producers via a regional brand; the wine is a joint product of the Balaton Circle and the Rizling Generation, but anyone who meets the set criteria can use the name. Aside from wine, there are endless possibilities: gastronomy/food specialties, sailing, medicinal waters at the Hévíz spa, hiking trails, museums, music festivals, adventure parks, the 210-km-long Balaton Bike Circle, and the region’s general cultural heritage and beautiful landscape.