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Lake Balaton

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Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe at 48 miles (77 km) by seven miles (11 km) at its widest. Lying in the Transdanubia region of landlocked Hungary, it is the summer playground for all Budapest, a great freshwater expanse in the foothills of the Bakony Mountains about an hour’s drive outside the city.

The north and south shores of Lake Balaton are entirely different in character; the southern side is well developed, with a series of modern resorts strung beadlike along the beaches, while the north is wilder and volcanic, with fewer resorts. Chief among these are Keszthely, home of the ornate Baroque Festetics Castle, and the historic spa town of Balatonfüred. The distinctive, twin-spired church at Tihany stands high on its rocky peninsula, surrounded by reed lands, and there are wineries scattered along the northern hills, some dating from the 14th century and many open for sampling the wares.

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