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Balaton Dreamin’: 13 Lake Balaton festivals of summer 2016

As the sun casts myriad sparkles on the water’s surface, Lake Balaton’s undulating northern shores and rustic southern plains fill up with freedom-seeking crowds that conquer Hungary’s sprawling lakeside to seize the summertime spirit. From sweet-scented lavender celebrations on purple-hued terrain to intoxicating festivals honoring local wines to rowdy outdoor revelry featuring music, arts, and refreshing splash zones, Balaton’s major cities and villages host fascinating fiestas all around the coastline during the next two months – we present the best summer events, in chronological order.



For comprehensive English-language info about events, accommodations, and travel tips for the entire Lake Balaton region, check out our sister website, – updated daily and including in-depth recommendations for everything from renowned restaurants to hidden lookout points, We Love Balaton is the world's best resource for Lake Balaton travel info.


Lavender Weeks and Festival: June 20-July 1

Soothe your soul with aromatic blooms and feast your eyes on endless purple fields during the Lavender Weeks and Festival, happening in the region of the Tihany peninsula, one of Lake Balaton’s most scenic locations on the northern coastline. From geobotanical tours to lavender picking to musical performances to devouring flower-scented specialties, several sweet programs await visitors throughout this blossoming extravaganza.

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Everness Festival: June 28-July 3

Channel your inner yogi and awaken your spirituality with international and local authors, lecturers, and other spiritual performers that arrive to Balatonakarattya at the eastern end of Lake Balaton to bring focus through the joy of music and artistic forms of dance and yoga at the Everness Festival. The event’s remarkable lineup features acclaimed thinkers, like the author of mystical novel The Shack, WM. Paul Young, and guitar virtuoso Estas Tonne from Ukraine. During the event, festivalgoers can savor healthy treats and immerse in various relaxation practices.

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Swimming across Lake Balaton: July 2

Thousands of swimmers plunge into Balaton every year to glide across the lake in freestyle form during this challenging competition that kicks off in Révfülöp on the north coast, from where participants cover a 5,200-meter distance towards the southern shores at Balatonboglár. The contest begins at 8am, but competitors can start swimming any time during the day until 2pm. Registration costs 8,000 forints per person, and after the contest, colorful cultural programs await participants and the cheering crowd at the end point of the race.

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Balaton Sound: July 6-10

Happening on the sprawling lawns of a lakefront recreation area in Zamárdi on the south shore of Lake Balaton, this sun-splashed celebration is one of the most popular electronic-music festivals in Central Europe, attracting herds of swimsuit-clad party people from all around the world. Every year an ever-increasing number of festivalgoers wade in the water and buzz around open-air bars on the festival grounds to dance the days and nights away to pounding tunes. This summer’s headliners include Chris Brown, Tyga, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis from the USA, Armin van Buuren from the Netherlands, and Robin Schulz from Germany, among many other crowd-pulling names.

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VeszprémFest: July 13-17

This premium music festival in Veszprém – a city located northeast of Lake Balaton – hosts a diverse range of international and local performers that appear to stage memorable gigs in a variety of genres, including pop, jazz, classical, and world music. This year, the festival lineup features names like Lisa Stansfield, Jamie Cullum, or Omara Portuondo & Diego El Cigala, who perform high-spirited concerts surrounded by the Veszprém Castle’s magical settings.

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Kékszalag Sailing Competition: July 14-16

Beginning on July 14th, hundreds of sailboats line up at Balatonfüred to steer around the lake in 48 hours during one of Europe’s biggest sailing competitions. More than a thousand sailors race the clock to cross the finish line on July 16th in hopes of earning the blue ribbon that stands as a historic symbol of the Kékszalag competition. While covering a considerable distance of 155 kilometers, the revered regatta sails alongside several cities, including Balatonkenese, Siófok, and Keszthely.

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VinCE Balaton: July 14-17

Those who visit Balatonfüred during the Kékszalag Sailing Competition can cheer from the coast for the contestants with a glass of white, rosé, or red in their hands (or all of these one after the other), with the aromatic libations proffered by wineries that set up stalls along the city’s elegant Tagore Promenade. During this intoxicating event, oenophiles can set sail towards the center of the lake and enjoy the high life aboard a yacht, where wine experts present glassfuls for sampling, while wine connoisseurs can also board boats for thematic rides that offer sampling sessions with rosé wines or sparkling champagnes.

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Hello Wood 2016: July 14-22

During the middle of summertime, dozens of cutting-edge architects settle in Csórompuszta – a small community located just north of Balaton – to create an idealistic village of spectacular timber installations. This year the festival’s international innovators test the process of settling, while the project village is set to explore the relationship between communities and their environment, using the rural terrain as its canvas. At the end of this outdoor workshop (which is only open to registered Hello Wood participants), the installations won’t be dismantled, but they will be on view to the public during the Valley of the Arts Festival (see below) until July 31st.

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ArtPlacc: July 21-24

The tree-shaded parkland near the ferry port in Tihany turns into an alfresco cultural hotspot with various forms of contemporary arts, including designer installations, interactive crafts workshops, theatrical performances, movie screenings, and concerts. Besides the aesthetic attractions, guests can recharge body and mind across the area’s various chill zones, and visitors can devour assorted delights.

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Valley of Arts: July 22-31

Magical gardens, charming valleys, adorable streets, and cozy cottages create an exceptional atmosphere around the vast area surrounded by Kapolcs and two other villages north of Balaton during the Valley of Arts Festival. Visitors to the festival can enjoy diverse attractions for ten days, including concerts, dance shows, theatrical acts, crafts workshops, and outdoor cooking, among several other events happening at dozens of venues.

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Wine weeks in Balatonfüred: August 6-28

Balatonfüred’s tree-lined Tagore Promenade becomes a harbinger of the upcoming harvest season, with numerous stalls offering fine libations to visitors from the surrounding wine region. The three-week-long festival (6-28 August) brings about 250 different wines to the water’s edge for sampling, while live pop and folk-music tunes entertain guests. It’s a great spot for just strolling around with a glass while immersing in the picturesque views of graceful swans that swim by the shores.

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13/14 August 24-27

Sweeping Lake Balaton views serve as the backdrop for nearly 100 DJs playing epic electronica amid sprawling lawns at the Festival in Zamárdi, where revelers lounge between refreshing dips in the “Hungarian Sea”. This late-summer extravaganza brings renowned music masters ashore, like Carl Cox, Dubfire, Nicole Moudaber, and Richie Hawtin, all performing amid unique visual and sound effects.

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Strand Festival: August 24-27

Happening at the same time as, alternative music lovers can let loose amid rock tunes at the adjacent STRAND Festival, where numerous international headliners hit the stage, including Tom Odell, Hurts, Chase & Status, or Asking Alexandria, alongside several local performers that represent this genre. Besides the musical performances, revelers can challenge themselves with adventurous activities, or chill out across numerous spots ideal for lounging and sending off the summer season amid laid-back settings.

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