1. Lake Balaton
The largest lake in Central Europe, Lake Balaton stretches nearly 50 miles across the western part of Hungary. Owing to its size and dazzling shade, it’s known as the Hungarian Sea – and it really is the closest thing to an ocean this landlocked nation has. There are nearly 180 towns to explore along its shores, as well as several national parks and protected areas. Weather-dependent, the water is lovely for a dip, with the high season lasting from mid-June to the end of August. Summer, of course, is the best (albeit busiest) time to relax on the lake’s natural beaches, or to hop on board a boat and enjoy the sunset. It’s also well worth visiting the surrounding Balaton wine region and tasting some Hungarian wines, such as the local specialty, Olaszrizling.
How far? 60 miles
Get there… One hour 45 minutes by train from Budapest Déli station to Balatonkenese, the first town by the lake. Once you reach this stop, the train continues to many of the other small villages.