Lake Balaton is one of the most popular summer destinations in Hungary. Many people visit this freshwater lake because it is the closest they can get to the sea. With a 197-kilometer shoreline, it is the largest body of water in landlocked Central Europe. So you really do get the feeling of being by a shoreline and experiencing waves.
We ourselves arrived in Lake Balaton ready for relaxation and rejuvenation. We wanted to experience the healing waters of nearby Lake Heviz, which is the largest thermal lake in the world.
Lake Heviz is about 20 minutes away from Lake Balaton by car. So many vacationers who visit Lake Balaton also visit Lake Heviz. Apparently it’s especially nice in the winter when you can swim in the warm waters while enjoying bracing temperatures. The contrast between the hot and cold is said to be invigorating.
“I swim here once a month perhaps, just to relax,” confessed Anna, who works at the local tourism office. “And in the winter, I visit almost every week because it’s so nice for the skin.”
Back in time in Hungary
Walking towards the famous lake for the first time, I was struck by how picturesque it actually was. I remembered the painting by Georges Seurat called Bathers at Asnieres. He painted this in France in 1884 but it may as well have been Heviz in 2019.
Swimmers stretched out on the grass or else bobbed up and down in the muddy waters amidst ferns, water lilies and ducks. Then like a giant docking station, a series of red-and- white wooden buildings from the 19th century stood as an anchor to allow bathers into the lake via old- fashioned staircases.
For centuries, wellness enthusiasts have been singing praises about Lake Heviz. Many Hungarian families come here as part of their summer ritual; so this was on my bucket list for the longest time.
Wellness & Healing at Lake Heviz
It was all very picturesque, and healthy too, as the waters of Hevis reportedly contain carbonic acid, calcium, magnesium, hydrogen carbonate and a host of bacteria. The bacteria supposedly heal everything from diseases of the nerves to rheumatic disorders.
Meanwhile, we were quite healthy so we there mainly for relaxation and rejuvenation. However I was hoping to come out of the lake with glowing skin, too, if possible.
For centuries, wellness enthusiasts have been singing praises about Lake Heviz many Hungarian families come here as part of their summer ritual; so this was on my bucket list for the longest time.
Of course, as soon as possible we changed into bathing suits and took the nearest staircase down to the waters outside. There are also bathing areas inside the buildings, but we wanted the complete feeling of swimming in a lake. What a wonderful experience this truly was.
Plunging into the waters, we found that our feet barely touched the muddy bottom. Fish darted in and out and ducks floated around, unmindful of the happy swimmers. Everyone smiled at each other as they swam past each other. It was as if we all knew how lucky we were to be in this very special place where the healing of bodies, minds and hearts effortlessly takes place.