Relax in the therapeutic water of this ancient lake, which has been revered for its healing properties since Roman times.
Immerse yourself in the warm, medicinal waters of Lake Hévíz (Hévízi Gyógytó). This is one of the world’s biggest thermal lakes and a natural landmark enveloped by a stunning landscape of thick forests. Swim or float in Lake Hévíz or simply view the lily pads decorating the water. Enjoy vistas from the open-air terraces of numerous bathhouses.
Gold coins were once found in the lake, which indicates that it was used thousands of years ago by the Romans. Earl György Festetics discovered the lake’s qualities in the 18th century and set about developing Hévíz as a spa town. Festetics commissioned the building of the central bathhouse. Additional houses were added in the 1900s. The waterlilies, which help to sustain the environment, were introduced to Hungary in the late 1800s.
Bring your bathing suit and enter the water via steps leading from the terraces of the bathhouses. The mineral water reaches the lake after traveling from a depth of 0.6 mile (1 kilometer) underground. Its temperature varies from about 73 F (23 C) to 97 F (36 C), thus making it comfortable year-round. Rich in calcium, magnesium and sulfur, among other minerals, the water is believed to aid those suffering from rheumatic ailments such as arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Out of the water, sit on the terraces in the center of the lake and around its perimeter. Most of the bathhouses have cafés where you can order light meals, snacks and drinks. There are also opportunities to indulge in massages, mud-pack treatments and physiotherapy sessions.
Find the lake in the southwest corner of Hévíz, a short walk from the town’s center. Use the parking, for a fee, close to the lake’s southern entrance. The town is well equipped with hotels and guesthouses if you plan to stay overnight. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Budapest.
Lake Hévíz is open daily and you can bathe until 30 minutes before closing. Admission is charged for periods of 3 and 4 hours or the entire day, week and year. Rent inflatable rings and towels if you desire.