Although the summer season is over and the water is too cold for a beach holiday, Lake Balaton can still be an attractive destination for tourists. This is the message of the new programme “Ősszel is Balaton!”
(“Balaton in autumn as well”) from 22 October to 2 November.
One hundred and seventy accommodations and 93 restaurants and wine-cellars have joined to welcome tourists seeking some extended relaxation time around Hungary’s greatest lake.
The program mostly focuses on gastronomy and wine. In 16 wine-cellars there are free tastings in exchange for coupons downloaded from the “Ősszel is Balaton!” website. Those travelling by car need not worry about drink-driving because organised bus tours are available between the cellars.
For those who prefer family activities, the program offers various destinations such as the Zander Festival of Szigliget, the Chocolate Festival of Balatonszárszó and the Potato and Chestnut Festival of Keszthely. Many museums are also open with interesting exhibitions, such as the Museum of Balaton in Keszthely, which offers nature films in connection with the lake.
Tamás Fekete, vice-president of Regional TDM Association of Balaton, said it is not difficult to convince the owners of hotels and restaurants to stay open after summer. More than 100,000 people would be enticed to Lake Balaton in autumn if the programs are attractive enough, he believes. It is a vicious circle if restaurant owners will only stay open if they are guaranteed customers, and people are only willing to go if they are sure to find places open.
The website nyitottbalaton.hu offers a large number of wine-cellars to visit. Fekete says it is hard to mention just one because the area hides many top-quality cellars. However, he cites Lovas, where they play Mozart symphonies to help the wine go down, and Gyenesdiás, one of the oldest wine-cellars of the Carpathian Basin, built in 1644.
“Ősszel is Balaton!” wants greater exposure for these treasures.