Irány a Balaton!

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Nincs ember hazánkban, aki ne szeretne nyaranta legalább egy pár napot eltölteni a Balatonnál, de vajon angolul is tudunk beszélni róla? 

Lake Balaton is the largest freshwater lake of Central Europe. Hungarians lovingly call it “the Hungarian sea” as Hungary is a landlocked country and has no seas. The lake is one of Hungary's most precious gems and most frequented holiday resorts. The region has a lot to offer even for those who are not so keen on swimming and water sports.

The two shores of the lake are quite different. The northern shore is a mountainous region famous for its historical sights and wine, while the southern shore is ratherflat and is known about its holiday resorts like Siófok or Zamárdi. Balaton is not only the largest but also the deepest lake of Hungary. The average depth is 3-4 metres and it’s 13 metres deep near the Tihany Peninsula. The water is the deepest between the Siófok and Szemes basins. The water along the southern shore is shallower than along the northern shore. The shallow water along the southern shore warms rather quickly during summer reaching around 26-28 °C. In the evening the water feels warmer than the air providing an unforgettable experience for late night swimmers.The southern shores are ideal for small children because of the shallow water, but on the north shore the water gets deeper instantaneously.

The length of the lake is 77 kilometres between Keszthely and Balatonakarattya. Its width varies between 3 and 14 km, the nearest is between Tihany and Szántód where the only ferry service on the lake operates during summer.

On the northern shore, the volcanic mountain of Badacsony is one of the most famous wine-growing regions of Hungary. Fiery white wines are produced from the white varieties of grapes grown in the Balaton Highland like the Badacsony Pinot Gris which is called Szürkebarát (grey monk) by the locals, Italian riesling (olaszrizling) and a local white variety, Kéknyelű. Badacsony is also a perfect spot for hiking. You can enjoy the beautiful view from the slopes of the mountain. According to a local myth if you and your loved one sit on the Rose Stone with your backs to the lake you'll be married within a year.

The Tihany Peninsula is a historical district. The two-towered Abbey can be seen from far away. It is a Benedictine Abbey, founded in 1055 AD by Andrew I, who is buried here in the crypt. Thefounding charter of the abbey is the first existing record of the Hungarian language, preserved in Pannonhalma Benedictine Archabbey. The abbey has the best view of Lake Balaton.

Tihany is famous for the echo, which unfortunately has abated due to changes in the landscape since the 18th century. Another famous legend is about the "goats' nails", washed ashore from Balaton. They actually are corners of prehistoric clams but the legend has it otherwise. According to the story, there was a princess with golden-haired goats, but she was too proud and hard of heart and was cursed by the king of the lake for it: her goats were lost in Balaton, only their nails remained, and she was obliged to answer every passers-by. A stone, in memory of the Shouting Girl, can still be seen near the village.

On the south side of the lake there are sandy beaches, which are perfect for bathing, swimming and sunbathing. The largest tourist attraction is Siófok, known as the "party capital of Hungary", which attracts many partygoers in the summer. Most of the beaches are grassy and have playgrounds, showers, sun beds and lockers for rent. Many offer water activities ranging from kayaking and paddle boating to surfing.

Cross-Balaton Swim Contestis organized every year for those who feel fit enough to swim across the lake. The length is 5.2 km and the race goes from Révfülöp on the north shore to Balatonboglár on the south shore. You can get a free ride on the ferry back. The organisers transport your clothes across, so you can change when you arrive.

The peak tourist season usually starts in June and lasts until the end of August. Although it’s summertime when the lake and its surroundings swarm with tourists, winter isn’t a dead season either.

When the temperature falls below zero for a longer period of time and the lake is frozen, ice skaters use the enormous surface of ice, and a new winter sport, ice sailing has become more and more popular.

You can explore the lake-side towns and villages on one of the best cycle paths in the country, with a total length of approximately 200 km. The route is punctuated by several beauty spots and winds past reed banks that attract large numbers of water birds such as herons and swans. If you want to see something extraordinary go and see buffalos in the Kápolnapuszta buffalo reserve, which gives home to a herd of 200 buffalos, or you can even ride a camel in the Africa Museum and Safari Park at Balatonederics.

If you are interested you can also get a bird's eye view of the lake and its surroundings.Sightseeing flights depart from the airport between Zalakaros and Zalakomár.

Lake Balaton is a spectacular sight from the air and also from the ground. It’s a must-see not only for tourists but also for Hungarians. Enjoy its beauties this summer, too.

Vocabulary

landlocked

tenger nélküli

gem

ékkő

mountainous

hegyes

flat

lapos, sík

average

átlagos

depth

mélység

basin

medence

shallow

sekély

unforgettable

felejthetetlen

instantaneously

nyomban, rögtön

width

szélesség

ferry

komp

fiery

tüzes

highland

felföld

monk

barát, szerzetes

slope

lanka

abbey

apátság

to found

alapítani

founding charter

alapító okirat

echo

visszhang

to abate

gyengülni, halkulni

goats' nails

kecskekörmök

clam

kagyló

hard of heart

keményszívű

to curse

megátkozni

to be obliged to

kénytelen tenni valamit

sun bed

napozóágy

paddle boat

vízibicikli

Cross-Balaton Swim

Balaton átúszás

peak

to swarm with

nyüzsögnek valamitől

dead season

holtszezon

enormous

hatalmas

to punctuate

meg-megszakít

to wind

kanyarog

reed

nád

heron

gém

swan

hattyú

buffalo

bivaly, bölény

herd

csorda

camel

teve

bird's eye view

madártávlat

must-see

kihagyhatatlan látnivaló

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