Heviz in western Hungary is one of Europe’s most famous thermal spa towns, as it is built around Europe’s largest naturally thermal lake. The word Heviz actually means hot bath in Hungarian and the main spa on the lake was established over a hundred years ago. It has undergone major development and refurbishments over the years, the latest of which is should be completed in summer 2009, but if you look at photo archives you will see that aesthetically at least, it hasn’t changed much in the last century. Swimming in the lake is quite an experience as the water is comfortably warm, though not hot, and if you take a float you can lie back and enjoy the views of the surrounding woodlands and historic buildings. The lake is known in Hungary for its medicinal qualities and contains minerals including sulphur and radon, though you will have to decide yourself whether there are really any significant health benefits.
The thermal lake is certainly the focal point and highlight of Heviz but there is more to it as a spa holiday destination. Within the town of Heviz itself, there are a number of cocktails with their own thermal baths complex this, which provide a refreshing contrast to the deep waters of the lake. The main thermal hotels at the 5-star Rogner Hotel and Spa Lotus Therme, 4-star Naturmed Carbona Hotel and the 4-star Danubius Heviz thermal Hotel, but there are also plenty of more affordable hotels in town.
If you are not staying at thermal Hotel and want to spend some time in a modern thermal baths complex, or if you want somewhere more child friendly then you can visit the nearby Kehida thermal or the thermal furdo Zaelerszeg, which is particularly good in summer when the neighbouring aqua city water park is open.
Other Activities in Heviz
There is plenty to do in Heviz, especially as it has some of the best weather in Europe in spring and summer. The town is just a few miles away from Lake Balaton, where you can paid on the southern shores, try a variety of watersports including sailing and windsurfing, or just relaxing in one of the lake view cafes. The lake is also popular fishing destination and there are miles of good-quality cycle paths and quiet lanes through the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Where to stay in Heviz
If you want the full thermal spa expedients then one of the luxury thermal hotels such as the 5-star Rogner Hotel and Spa Lotus Therme, 4-star Naturmed Carbona Hotel and the 4-star Danubius Heviz thermal Hotel is perfect.
If you want something a bit more affordable then check out Hotel Erszebet or OrEL Apartments.
View our full list of Heviz Hotels.
Where to Eat and Drink
For excellent authentic Hungarian food you should try the restaurant at the far end of the car park in the town centre. They also serve good home-made pizzas. For drinks there are many cafes and bars in town, including the very stylish cafe hanga on Szechenyi Utca.
How to get there
By car: Heviz can be easily reached by car within a few was from Budapest by driving straight down the M7 motorway. It is also relatively easy to drive from Austria and cities of Graz and Vienna.
By train: Regular trains run from the capital city Budapest to Kezthely, at the end of the lake Balaton.
From there you will need to take a bus or taxi the last few miles into Heviz. Check www.mav.hu for train details.
By aeroplane: Heviz itself does have a small airport with regular Lufthansa flights from Germany. If you are travelling from father afield though it’s probably best to fly into Budapest or Vienna and then rent a car.