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Lake Balaton

One morning during my ReConnect Hungary trip, we woke up bright and early and drove to Lake Balaton, Hungary’s (and Central Europe’s) largest lake with a gorgeous Mediterranean landscape.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Everywhere I looked there was lavender growing wild on the hillsides. There were fields and fields of purple, it was so pretty!

You can pick the flowers and buy lavender products in the small towns and shops around the lake. We even tried lavender honey and it was delicious!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

In Tihany, a town right on the water, there’s a Benedictine Abbey.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

It’s not worth visiting except for this random figurine. All of the other statues around the pulpit are fully clothed and regal. But the figure on the bottom right of this picture features a shirtless man wearing a large hat and holding a skull. He looks slightly out of place to say the least!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

If you stand at this location, apparently you can yell a word towards the abbey and hear it echoed back to you. I say “apparently” because we could never make it work, and still aren’t sure if the guides were messing with us! We tried yelling “lángos” a few times, but the only response we got was a confused man across the field yelling “lángos” right back at us! It was hilarious, and we laughed so hard, joking that it finally worked!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The views of the water from the abbey are magnificent.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

And it wasn’t long before we headed down to the lake!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Before it was time to swim, the guides bought us all lángos for lunch. We thought it was so weird eating fried food before hanging out in a bikini, but apparently lángos is typical summer beach food in Hungary.

I’m not complaining! As I said before, lángos is always a good idea!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

After lunch, some jumped right into the lake.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

While we just… jumped!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

It was so relaxing swimming and hanging out in such a beautiful location.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

After a few hours at the beach, we drove to Pécsely, checked into a B&B, showered, and walked across gorgeous fields to a winery.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We arrived and were immediately given shots of pálinka. The visit was off to a good start!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We were then loaded into the back of trucks for a tour of the area.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Our first stop involved walking through a field…

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Right up to a herd of native Hungarian cattle. We stopped walking, but they kept coming closer and closer…

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

It was at this point that we realized that the cattle weren’t behind any sort of fence. Is this safe?!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We were told that as long as we stayed still, the cattle wouldn’t bother us. It was very reassuring…

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We then headed back to our trucks (with no casualties, thank goodness) and continued the adventure.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Now these trucks weren’t just rambling along. They were going fast!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We arrived at a forest (again, surprisingly without casualties) and prepared to hike. But first, because this was a winery tour, we were given fröccs. And because Hungarian etiquette mandates that you poor wine until someone says köszönöm elég (no thank you) we had a lot of fröccs.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

And the drinking didn’t stop with the hike! I can honestly say that it was the first time I’ve ever gone hiking with a wine glass in my hand!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We hiked to a spring and to castle ruins. It was such a beautiful hike!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Then it was time to head back to the vineyard. Riding on the back of this truck was like an extreme sport. After an afternoon of wine, we were all standing, holding on for dear life as the truck went over 50 mph on tight turns and bumpy paths. Then, to make it even more intense, we went through the forest, and had to keep yelling at each other to duck every time a tree branch smacked into the truck. But, due to the wine, people kept forgetting to warn the others, or waiting until it was too late!

It was one of the best, most fun moments of the trip, if not my entire life!

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Back at the winery, we had a wine tasting and were served gulyás cooked over an open fire.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

Poppy seed pastries are big in Hungary, and the winery made them for our dessert.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

We then relaxed by the fire while a full moon rose over the vineyard. It was another one of those wonderful, memorable moments of the trip that I didn’t expect.

Lake Balaton - Hungary travel tips - Wanderlust in the City

The night ended with us walking through dark fields back to the B&B with the sound of laughter echoing across the hills.

It was easily one of the best days and nights of an already incredible trip.

~A

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