Siofok Hungary is set on the southern shore of Lake
Balaton and boasts a beach more than ten miles long. It’s the largest town
on Hungary’s largest lake and has the greatest beach area. As such, it is one
of the most fashionable resorts in the
country, drawing tourists from nearby Budapest
and all over Hungary. The lake is quite shallow with an average depth only ten
feet so a Siofok holiday is quite attractive to families with young children.
Such shallow water also means invitingly warm water temperatures (about 80 degrees
Fahrenheit) in the summer. Foreign visitors also travel to Siofok from the rest
of Europe, the U.K., and increasingly from the United States.
Siofok Hungary has been a popular destination since the Romans arrived here in the first century and used the abundant natural resources to supply their legions while defending the route from their Pecs (called Sopianea) stronghold. Turks and the Ottoman Empire arrived in the sixteenth century and built a naval port. Regulation of waterways became important during the time of the Habsburgs, and a steamboat company was founded, making transportation easier. Ferries still ply the waters and cruises on the lake are a popular form of recreation.
The popularity of a Siofok holiday began in 1866 when the town and its great beaches were first advertised as a resort. A bathing house was erected in 1878. The landlord, the church, began selling off plots to private owners who built holiday villas. Artists and intelligentsia discovered its charms, began to travel to Siofok, and took their vacations here. The lakeshore is still dotted with some elegant old villas that were vacation getaways for famous Hungarian writers, actors, musicians, and artists. Some large hotels were built, thermal spas were constructed, and a theater that is still in existence now was established.
As befits a resort on the “Hungarian Sea,” warm weather water sports, swimming, and sunbathing are popular activities. Horseback riding and hiking are available in the outlying countryside. Even in the winter, there is ice fishing, ice sailing, and skating, but year-round Siofok tourism is thriving. If you’re deciding when to go you can be assured there’s plenty to do on vacations to Siofok regardless of the season.
There’s more than just lake and water activities here. The town is quite charming, with several appealing features. People travel to Siofok for the attractions in town as well as for the scenery and natural beauty of the area. The huge lush Millennium Park is in the center of town near the railway station, and a venue for summer concerts. The railway station is both an important transportation facility and a historic landmark. Built in 1863, it is a beautifully restored Victorian building.
Many visitors use the town’s water tower, built in 1912, as an orientation point when walking around town admiring the other architectural gems, especially those on Batthyány Street. This is the older part of town, and boasts many lovely villas and stately old mansions. Look also for the old Town Hall, the fanciful design of the Lutheran Church, and the “Birth of Venus” fountain in the town center. The lakefront offers wonderful wide promenades.
For other things to do on your Siofok holiday you might check out the Imre Kálmán Museum, dedicated to the famous Hungarian composer and Siofok native son. Do some shopping for the area’s lacework and ceramics in the Kálmán Quadrangle Yard. Since the town is popular with students and young people, nightlife is abundant—try out the famous Coca Cola Beach club or Palace Disco.
And you’ll enjoy plenty of good dining venues. There are quite a number of reasonably priced restaurants and cafés, since many students and young people travel to Siofok for vacations. Many of the best restaurants can be found in hotels, and traditional tasty Hungarian cuisine is available all over town. Two of the most popular restaurants in town are the Csárdás (traditional Hungarian cuisine and gypsy music) and the Fogas with typical fish specialties. As one might expect of resorts on Lake Balaton, fish caught locally is a specialty.
As you can see, Siofok Hungary has much to offer to the visitor. Be sure to include this in your itinerary, or come for a shorter stay while in nearby Budapest.