Considering its immense size, Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe, boasts several cycling trails. The first bike path that comes to your mind is probably the one running around the lake, which takes 3-5 days to accomplish, but now let us turn your attention to two adventures shorter in distance.
Semi-Circle (76 kilometres in 2 days)
Starting and ending in Zamárdi, Semi-Circle takes only a day (and 76 km) of cycling, but it’s worth staying overnight half way if you want to enjoy the landscape while bathing or sightseeing.
Both Zamárdi and Siófok offers bathing facilities as they boast public beaches, but you have to leave the cycling route that brings you back to the lake only at Sóstó. Get prepared that you’ll bump into steep slopes in Balatonakarattya and Balatonvilágos.
Leaving Balatonalmádi, get off the track at Káptalanfüred and follow a busier and hillier route (Lovas – Paloznak – Kövesd – Balatonarács – Balatonfüred – Aszófő), also called old Roman road, straight to Tihany peninsula. If you prefer the beaten track, take a break at Guruljon az Élet! located between Csopak and Balatonfüred.
With its several monuments, fine restaurants and exciting nightclubs, Balatonfüred is the capital of the northern shore, a bustling city compared to the neighbouring towns. Approach Tihany from Aszófő and Sajkod, as continuing your way next to the shore would take a very steep slope to get to the city. In Tihany, you’ll only need to wait for the ferry to get back to Szántód, then Zamárdi.
Káli Basin – Badacsony – Hévíz (110 kilometres in 2-3 days)
Although this cycling route seems to be a only a slightly longer than the first one, it’s easy to spend a whole week on this gastro-focused cycling trail: besides the most beautiful natural and cultural treasures of the Balaton Uplands region, Káli Basin is famous for its great wines.
If you leave from Balatonfüred, you’ll pedal on the bike path alongside road number 71 for a while, but don’t forget to turn off the path before reaching Zánka, and turn right to road 7313 towards Tapolca. In the loveliest villages of Káli Basin (Köveskál, Szentbékkálla, Mindszentkálla, Kővágóörs, Kékkút and Salföld), you’ll find excellent hotels, restaurants and wineries. When in Kékkút, fill your bottle with mineral water from the Theodóra well. Then head back to the shore at Ábrahámhegy and keep pedalling towards Badacsony and Szigliget Castle. Before reaching Keszthely, taste the frozen flavours of Bringatanya, the best artisan ice cream parlour of the northern shore. From Keszthely, you’ll only need to go six kilometres more to reach Hévíz, where water lilies float on the surface of the thermal water.