Hévíz in Hungary: ultimate travel guide & things to do

Lake Heviz Sunset

On my recent visit to Hungary, I was determined to explore outside of Budapest. As much as I adore the city, I wanted to experience what Hungary’s countryside had to offer. What I found was a hidden gem of total relaxation and rejuvenation in the inviting Hévíz.

At the centre of Hévíz’s allure is its world-famous thermal lake, the largest of its kind in Europe. Bathing in its warm, mineral-rich waters is the primary pull of this spa town, attracting both locals and tourists to experience the healing properties of the lake. 

Said to offer relief for various ailments and a sanctuary for relaxation, a visit to the thermal lake is not only therapeutic but also deeply rooted in tradition. It’s a testament to the town’s long standing wellness culture.

As well as the lake, Hévíz’s proximity to the breathtaking Lake Balaton undoubtedly adds to its appeal. Just a short drive away, this iconic lake offers a plethora of activities, from sailing to wine tasting in the surrounding vineyards. 

So if you’re visiting the area then I’d really recommend carving out some time to explore beyond Hévíz.

If you prefer a video over an article then I’d recommend watching my Hévíz vlog on YouTube (and please do like and subscribe if you enjoy it!):

But in the meantime, here I share my guide to visiting Hévíz, including the best things to do and my top tips for planning a trip.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Best time to visit Hévíz

Summer is undoubtedly the peak season to visit Hévíz, drawing crowds with its sunny days and vibrant atmosphere. However, my visit during the winter unveiled a quieter, more serene side of Hévíz, which I found equally enchanting.

Summer in Hévíz is a time of lively energy. The warm weather makes it ideal for enjoying the thermal lake to its fullest. Imagine swimming in the naturally warm waters under the clear blue sky.

Heviz Thermal Bath

The summer months also bring an array of outdoor activities in and around the town, including hiking, cycling, and exploring the nearby Lake Balaton.

The town buzzes with outdoor cafes, markets, and festivals, offering a glimpse into the local culture and traditions.

This is the time to experience Hévíz in its most vibrant form, bustling with tourists and teeming with activities.

Winter, on the other hand, transforms Hévíz into a tranquil haven. The town, less crowded, had a peaceful ambiance. While the thermal lake, amidst the crisp winter air, was a surreal and comforting experience.

Of course visiting during the off season has its practical advantages. Hotels are generally more affordable, and the town’s attractions, including its spas, restaurants, and cultural sites, are more accessible without the summer crowds.

Heviz Park

I have no doubt that visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn would offer an equally magical experience. Also with the added benefit of less crowds and cheaper accommodation. 

How to get to Heviz

I personally travelled to Hévíz from Budapest by train. The journey itself was a delight, with beautiful countryside vistas along the way.

For those starting from Budapest, there are several convenient options to reach this charming town:

By car

Driving from Budapest to Hévíz is perhaps the most flexible and scenic option. The journey covers approximately 193 kilometres and takes around 2 to 2.5 hours.

The route is straightforward, primarily following the M7 motorway, which is well maintained and offers gorgeous views of the Hungarian countryside.

Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace, and you can make stops along the way, perhaps visiting Lake Balaton or other picturesque towns.

By bus

For those preferring public transport, direct buses are available from Budapest to Hévíz. The journey takes around 3 to 4 hours, depending on the service chosen.

Buses depart from Népliget Bus Station in Budapest, which is easily accessible by metro. This is the most cost effective option.

Heviz Hungary

By train

While there is no direct train to Hévíz, you can take a train to Keszthely, which is about six kilometres from Hévíz.

Trains from Budapest Déli Railway Station to Keszthely run frequently, and the journey takes about three hours. From Keszthely, you can take a short bus or taxi ride to Hévíz. 

Insider tip: The buses from Keszthely only accept payment by cash (in Hungarian Forint) and I could not find a cashpoint at the station. I learnt the hard way, and had to get my hotel to order me a taxi as I was otherwise stuck!

Private transfer or taxi

For a more convenient but expensive option, you can book a private transfer or take a taxi directly from Budapest to Hévíz.

This may be a good option if you’re travelling in a group or with lots of luggage, or if you prefer a door-to-door service without the need to navigate public transportation.

Guide to visiting Hévíz Lake

As one of Hungary’s most treasured natural wonders, Hévíz thermal lake offers a unique blend of relaxation, wellness, and scenic beauty.

Here are my top tips for making the most of your visit:

Before you go

Pack appropriately: Bring swimwear, a towel, and flip-flops. Consider a robe or a warm cover-up for cooler days, especially if visiting in winter.

Bring a float: My hotel offered to lend me a float and I’d definitely recommend that you bring one if you can (your hotel will probably have some for you to borrow). Even if you’re an Olympic swimmer, I think the best way to enjoy the lake is by simply floating around.

Health considerations: The lake is famous for its therapeutic properties. However, if you have any health concerns, consult a doctor before planning a swim.

Jessie at Heviz Lake

Timing your visit: The lake is open year-round, with varying hours. Check the current opening hours before your visit. Early mornings or late afternoons are usually less crowded.

Getting there: The lake is centrally located in Hévíz and is easily accessible by foot from most parts of the town. Parking is available nearby for those driving.

At the lake

Entrance fees: There’s an entrance fee to access the lake. Various ticket options are available, including single-entry, multiple-day passes, and family tickets.

Changing facilities and lockers: The site is well-equipped with changing rooms, lockers, and showers. Note that most changing rooms are unisex, so it’s good to be prepared for this! There are private cubicles though, which I made use of to get changed. 

Thermal lake experience: The lake’s warm waters are rich in minerals, offering health benefits for various conditions. Take time to soak and relax in the water. You’ll probably spot some water lilies too, for the most tranquil natural setting.

Heviz Thermal Spa

Spa treatments: Besides the thermal lake, there are additional spa and wellness services available, such as mud therapy and massages. These services often require an appointment, so consider booking in advance.

Stay hydrated: Remember to stay hydrated, especially after spending time in the thermal waters.

Other things to do in Hévíz

Beyond the enchanting allure of the Hévíz Thermal Lake, the town of Hévíz offers a variety of activities and attractions that cater to diverse interests.

Whether you’re a lover of history, nature, or gastronomy, Heviz has something special to offer.

Here’s a guide to some other things to do in this charming Hungarian town:

1. Stroll around the town centre

Hévíz’s town centre is a delightful place to explore on foot. Admire the quaint architecture, visit local shops for souvenirs, and enjoy the relaxed pace of life.

Heviz town centre

The town square often hosts markets and events, offering a glimpse into local culture and traditions.

2. Visit the Festetics Palace in Keszthely

Just a short drive from Hévíz, the Festetics Palace in Keszthely is a stunning example of Baroque architecture.

The palace, set in beautifully landscaped gardens, also houses a museum showcasing Hungarian aristocracy’s history and lifestyle.

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3. Explore the Hévíz Museum

For history enthusiasts, the Hévíz Museum offers insights into the town’s past, including its spa culture and the development of its famous lake.

The museum houses a collection of local artefacts, photographs, and exhibitions on the region’s history.

4. Enjoy local gastronomy

Hungarian cuisine is rich and flavourful, and Hévíz provides plenty of opportunities to indulge.

Egregy restaurant

I’d recommend visiting the local restaurants and cafes to try traditional dishes like goulash, langos, and strudels.

Don’t forget to sample some local wines, particularly from the nearby Balaton wine region.

5. Walk in the Hévíz Forest Park

Surrounding the thermal lake, the Hévíz Forest Park is a peaceful area perfect for nature walks and relaxation.

Heviz forest

The park has several trails that offer beautiful views and a chance to enjoy the local flora and fauna.

6. Take a wine tasting tour

The region around Hévíz is known for its excellent wines.

I’d advise joining a wine tasting tour to visit local vineyards, learn about the wine-making process, and, of course, sample various Hungarian wines.

7. Experience local festivals

Depending on the time of your visit, you might catch one of Hévíz’s many festivals.

These events are lively and colourful, featuring traditional music, dance, food, and crafts.

8. Day trips to nearby attractions

Hévíz’s location makes it an excellent base for exploring the surrounding region.

Lake Balaton

I’d highly recommend day trips to Lake Balaton, the Tapolca Lake Cave, or the small traditional villages in the area.

9. Wander Egregy

Egregy, a quaint village near Hévíz, is a delightful detour that immerses you in Hungarian tradition and viticulture. 

Egregy Church

Here you can enjoy wine tasting sessions in the local cellars, visit the 13th-century Romanesque church, visit the restaurants serving traditional Hungarian dishes, or opt for a scenic walking trail.

10. Cycling tours

With so much scenic countryside, I’d suggest renting a bike and exploring the region.

The area around Hévíz is wonderfully picturesque and offers a variety of cycling paths suitable for all skill levels.

Where to stay in Hévíz

As you might expect, hotels in Hévíz focus on wellness and relaxation. After a lot of research before my visit, here is my pick of the best hotels in Hévíz: 

1. Bonvital Hotel Hévíz

I personally stayed at Bonvital Hotel Hévíz, conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from the famed thermal lake.

It’s an adults-only wellness hotel, making it an ideal retreat for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

I loved the wellness centre, which includes saunas, a hot tub, and an array of spa treatments designed to rejuvenate and relax.

Book here

2. NaturMed Hotel Carbona

NaturMed Hotel Carbona, a 4-star establishment in a Mediterranean-style building, provides a comprehensive wellness experience.

With a large thermal pool, various saunas, and a spacious garden area, it’s perfect for guests looking for a rejuvenating retreat.

The hotel also offers a range of health and beauty treatments, alongside a fitness centre and a restaurant serving healthy, gourmet meals.

Book here

3. Hotel Európa Fit

A popular 4-star option, Hotel Európa Fit offers a blend of comfort and wellness.

With its own spa facilities, indoor and outdoor pools, and a variety of therapeutic treatments, it’s ideal for guests looking to relax and unwind.

The hotel also provides family-friendly amenities and is conveniently located, ensuring easy access to the town’s attractions, including the thermal lake.

Book here

4. Lotus Therme Hotel & Spa

This is a luxurious 5-star hotel, renowned for its elegance and high-end amenities.

It’s perfect for those seeking a lavish retreat, with features like an on-site thermal spa, golf course, and gourmet dining options.

The Lotus Therme Hotel & Spa is known for its beautiful surroundings and proximity to the Heviz Thermal Lake, making it a top choice for comfort and convenience.

Book here

5. Ensana Thermal Hévíz

Ensana Thermal Hévíz, also situated close to the thermal lake, is a great option for comprehensive medical and wellness services.

This hotel is particularly suited for guests looking for therapeutic treatments in addition to a relaxing stay.

It features its own thermal spa, complemented by both indoor and outdoor pools, and a health centre dedicated to guests’ wellbeing. 

Book here

Do you have any questions or tips for visiting Hévíz? Let me know in the comments!

For more Hungary travel inspiration, you may also like:

Or watch my Hévíz vlog over on YouTube.

Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.

Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.