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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Hévíz: Why Western Hungary is always worth your while. Even, or especially, before Christmas.


Gourmet Travel, Travel With Locals, Europe, Hungary, Travel Blog , 0

Table of Contents

While I’m still catching my breath, my soul has already arrived. Janett and I run across the wooden bridge from the parking lot, trying to catch the last bit of an immensely beautiful sunset. The flaring red, and rather huge disk of the sun, is just dipping beyond the horizon to the West. A feeling of stillness floods through us, much like the little waves gently lapping against the lake shore in front of us. I take a look at Janett. My dear friend is just the same: After both of us have taken the last photographs, there is nothing left but to enjoy the peace of the moment. …

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Talking about Hévíz is like talking about the mighty stage of nature that surrounds it. A place where the water buffalo roams. Where the famous, nearby Balaton lake has closed for winter, pulling another lake centre stage: The steaming hot lake of Hévíz.

Yes, steam rises as we approach the spa town of Hévíz. “So where exactly are you headed to in Hungary?”, my friend Gaby asks me ahead of my trip. “Oh, Hévíz”, she sighs, visibly pleased: “What a beautiful spot. Ursula and I have been there many times … You will like it for sure!”

Travelling to Hévíz from Vienna, about a three hour trip southeast of the Austrian capital all the way into Western Hungary, already exudes a feeling of relaxation. There are no fast lanes or highways in this part of the country, so all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the landscape around you. “You are lucky”, our German driver Volker smiles: “I go to Hévíz at least once a year. So glad we all decided to go on the same dates!” Janett and I have found Volker through a rideshare platform called “BlaBlaCars”, popular in Germany as a perfect alternative to trains, buses or taking your own car. Nice.

Hévíz, then. As we arrive by the lake, the setting sun paints the rising pearls of steam with the last bits of colours for the day. “But what the … is this!?”, I gasp, suddenly torn from my slumber in the backseat of Volker’s car.

In front of me, dozens of people are swimming in a natural lake obviously pleasant to bath in, despite the outside temperature being close to zero degrees. Mother Nature herself provides the energy for heating the healing sulphur waters.

Schon einzigartig: Der heiße See von Hévíz mit seinen natürlich warmen Mineralwasservorkommen, das tief aus dem Edenreich (bei ca. 900 Metern unter der Erdoberfläche) kommt ...

Quite the story: Lake Hévíz, a pleasant 26°C warm, is filled with healing source waters that lie buried about 900 metres below the Earth’s surface  …

 

... und beim Anblick dieser Farben ringsum macht sich bei mir gleich wieder "Indian Summer"-Stimmung breit ...

… framed by flaring fall colours such as these trees, an image that has me travel right back to the beautiful “Indian Summer” in Canada ..!

 

Hévíz ist ein Kurort mit jahrhundertelanger Tradition ...

Hévíz is a spa town rich in tradition …

 

... dessen natürliche Heilwasservorkommen heute in zahlreichen Bädern, Kuranstalten und Wellness-Hotels, wie hier dem NaturMed Hotel Carbona, Anwendung finden ...

… their healing mineral and sulphur waters used throughout various spa & health institutions, and wellness hotels such as the prestigious NaturMed Hotel Carbona here …

 

... dazu passend gibt es Wellness-Angebote wie das der "Kryo-Sauna", bei der meine tapfere Freundin Janett in ein -170°C kaltes "Becken" getaucht wird : Soll den Kreislauf beleben. Mehr dazu lest Ihr auf ihrem Reiseblog!

… a hotel that also offers exciting treatments such as the “Cryo-Sauna”: Janett volunteers to being exposed to -170°C for a very short time, said to stimulate your circulation and give you a boost of energy! Janett … We are waiting for your verdict on your travel blog!

 

Ich behalt' meine Kleidung mal lieber an - und mache erst mal vor dem See eine gute Figur fürs Gruppenfoto!

That day, I decide to keep my clothes on and only pose for a funny photograph in front of Lake Hévíz!

 

Hévíz, what a discovery. In my memory, I can still feel the healing waters giving my entire skin a healthy, nutritious hug …

… every evening, Janett and I are off for an hour or two of spa-stillness at the Kolping family hotel in Hévíz, perfect for both the kids and families as well as the odd “tired-crashing travel blogger” looking to unwind. The entire accommodation area is made up of single bungalows with reed roofs, adding to a familiar feeling of comfort from across the border, in the Austrian Burgenland province. And everyone out here speaks German! For a multi linguist like myself, it is almost a shame I speak no Hungarian whatsoever in return, but hey: Hospitality, appreciation of nature, and the good food & drinks we find here with our new Hungarian friends also speak a language of their own. Check this out.

Wenn wir schon von Ähnlichkeiten in der Genusskultur reden: Paprikagulasch muss in Ungarn schließlich sein ...

Talking about similarities between Western Hungary and Eastern Austria, one cannot fail to notice the food : Paprika goulash time it is – an all-time favourite on both sides of the border …

 

... die Verdauungs-Verschnaufpause legt man am besten im weitläufigen Garten-Areal des Kolping Familienhotels ein ...

… where the surrounding park beckons for a stroll (or a sit) …

 

... hierzu laden auch die entzückenden Ferienhäuschen ein ...

… modern holiday bungalows await …

 

... sowie natürlich der Wellnessbereich der Hotel- und Ferienhausanlage selbst: Genuss & Erholung pur.

… as well as a chance to dive into the area’s hot mineral water pools each night.

 

Around Hévíz, you will find prairie buffalos next to imperial castles and bustling farmers’ markets. Quite the Hungarian heritage & charm!

I love visiting (farmers’) markets. All around the world, they always teach you about an important aspect of the local cultural history. What do people eat? What do they sell? Which “language do they speak”? How is the atmosphere? What is being offered? Who strikes up a bargain? And how? Janett and I decide to take on a feast of rather delicious “Kürtöskálacs”; a kind of sugar-bread-roll that goes perfectly with two glasses of hot, mulled wine. Beautiful second breakfast at Hévíz market.

Just a little later, our local insider Krisztina drives us over into neighbouring Keszthely, famous for its imperial palace as well as being right by the shore line of Lake Balaton. Both places are worth returning to in the spring or summer, as we imagine all the green spaces full of flowers, happy vacationists in T-Shirts and us in summer dresses ..! At the same time, it is rather nice walking around without the crowds now ..

The following is a list of travel tips on where to go once you are here:

Marktbesuch in Hévíz: Ein definitives Stück regionaler Kulturgeschichte ...

Hévíz market: Definitely worth your while …

 

... dessen Besuch uns noch heute "auf der Zunge liegt" ...

… where we recommend you to try delicious Hungarian sweet bread, and hot wine if you wish.

 

Keine 20 Minuten mit dem Auto entfernt, finden wir auch schon das Ufer des Balaton-Sees vor ...

Just about a twenty minutes drive and you will find yourself in front of Lake Balaton, Western Hungary’s famous steppe lake …

 

... an dem sich zu dieser Jahreszeit fast keine Menschenseele tummelt ...

… the advantage being only few visitors during low season …

 

... und wir auch den Kulturgenuss des Schlosses von Keszthely ...

… same here at Keszthely Palace …

 

... nahezu komplett für uns genießen können.

… which we are able to visit almost exclusively on our own.

 

Mein Tipp lautet dabei: Die berühmte Bibliothek des Schlosses. Sagenhaft, was hier für jahrhundertealte Bücher und Kulturschätze von unfassbarem Wert liegen ..!

Do visit the palace library: A magical spot filled with old books some of which are many centuries old ..!

 

Wem darauf (wie uns) der Sinne nach Erholung & Erfrischung steht ...

And if you, like us that day, wish to freshen up a little …

 

... dem sei das Restaurant Télikert ans Herz gelegt: Gute Küche, modernes Lokal, urbanes Flair hier am Balaton.

… consider heading to Télikert Restaurant: Great food, friendly staff & a generous, urban flair here at Lake Balaton.

 

Ganz in die Natur geht ...

If pure nature is what you prefer …

 

... wer lieber ungestörte Romantik schätzt ...

… nature, horses, and romance …

 

... und dabei "Rindviecher" der besonderen Art kennen lernen möchte: Die ungarischen "buffalos" grasen hier nämlich schon seit ein kleiner Ewigkeit ihr Dasein ab!

… then go visit the local buffalo farm, where you can learn a thing or two about the noble prairie dwellers and appreciate the local landscape around you!

 

Vielen Dank auch Dir, meine liebe Janett, für die Einladung Dich bei dieser Reise zu begleiten und für die tolle Organisation unserer #BloggerWellness-Tage in Hévíz !

Thank you so much, my dear Janett, for helping to organise our #BloggerWellness days in Hévíz !

 

Hévíz & Umgebung: Wir kommen wieder!

Hévíz & around : We’ll be back one day for sure!

 

Will you? 🙂

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by the city of Hévíz in order to enjoy their natural surroundings, cultural treasures and spa offers. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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1 Comment

  1. Zoltan Nemeth

    Great article.

    Reply

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