Most holiday-makers visit Lake Balaton to have a swim, but the weather will not always be suitable for that. It is worth having a plan B for rainy days, so we have collected a few destinations for you to explore, each promising a fulfilling and instructive experience. Do not despair, Siófok and its neighbouring area have a wealth of cultural activities on offer.
On a rainy day, explore the cultural offer of the Siófok area
Emmerich Kálmán Memorial Home
Emmerich Kálmán, the ‘King of Operettas’ was born in Siófok. The house of his birth is now a museum. It is located on the promenade named after him, and has a selection of his personal items on display. The collection includes some very valuable pieces, such as the composer’s own piano. A visit to the museum is an excellent option on a rainy day.
Calling all operetta lovers
The town commemorates the 140th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2022 with a colourful range of programmes to delight visitors. The Emmerich Kálmán Cultural Centre has a whole year’s worth of themed events, including panel discussions with operetta stars such as Marika Oszvald, Bori Kállay, Trixi Teremi, Andrea Zsadon and Tibor Szolnoki. The discussions are accompanied by a culinary show, which involves the preparation of one of Emmerich Kálmán’s favourite dishes that attendees also get to try for themselves. In the autumn, a week-log festival called Emmerich Kálmán Memorial Days is a must-see for those who want to hear the composer’s most popular works.
In search of cultural attractions
If you are hungry for yet more culture, pop over to Balatonszemes, only a 30-minute drive from Siófok, and visit the Latinovits Memorial House. The permanent exhibition is based on the collection of the National Theatre Historical Museum and Institute, and introduces Zoltán Latinovits, one of the greatest Hungarian actors of the second half of the 20th century. The exhibition provides a glimpse into his creed as a human being and as an actor and into his career, cut painfully short, through a selection of his writings, photos and professional documents. Visits are by prior arrangement.
Balatonszemes also hosts the annual István Bujtor Film Festival every August.
“My heart was tortured as the train pulled out”
This is a line from a poem written by Attila József a year before his death, while he was staying in Balatonszárszó. There are a number of venues in the town that commemorate the time the poet spent there, as well as his death. During a rainy day, why not visit the Attila József Guest House, which is located in the building of the former Horváth Guest House. It is from here that Attila József set off on what was to be his last walk on 3 December 1937. The museum welcomes visitors with an exciting, interactive exhibition, which provides an in-depth introduction to the personality of this outstanding poet.
While you are here, it is well worth taking a 2-minute detour by car to visit the Attila József Memorial right by the railway tracks where he died.
Jókai Memorial House
On the other side of Lake Balaton, right across Siófok, lies Balatonfüred, which is the home of the Mór Jókai Memorial House. Any literature-lover should definitely visit. Jókai was the greatest Hungarian author of the 19th century and, along with his wife Róza Laborfalvy, often visited Balatonfüred before buying a plot of land and a holiday home here, which is now open to the public. The easiest way to reach Balatonfüred from Siófok is to take the ferry. During the summer, the ferry leaves Szántód for Tihany every 40 minutes. Then just turn northwards, Balatonfüred is only a 10-minute drive away.
Tihany is unmissable
Although Tihany has less to offer in terms of a rich literary history, it is nevertheless one of the most important destinations in the region for its wealth of cultural, historical and aesthetic attractions. The Benedictine Abbey of Tihany is open to visitors all year round, and provides an unforgettable experience. The abbey’s museum hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as a range of exciting programmes. Visit their website to stay up to date on what is on. The abbey boasts a Baroque church, and a wide range of wines and culinary delicacies are also on offer.
Day trip on a rainy day: the Csapody Mansion
Perhaps not the most obvious suggestion for a rainy day, but visiting the Csapody Mansion in Ádánd is an absolute treat to those who delight in taking a stroll amongst the relics of bygone days. The Baroque building, which also displays Neoclassical features, is currently vacant, but visit its park for the majestic trees that are 100 to 150 years old.
If you absolutely want to go for a swim on a rainy day
If you are visiting Lake Balaton, the lake is far from the only place where you can go for a swim. There are countless thermal and experience spas in the vicinity, so you can enjoy the water even when the weather is rainy or slightly cooler. Galerius Experience Centre in Siófok is one such venue, which offers fun activities as well as relaxation and a range of wellness services to young and older visitors. The spa is currently closed for refurbishment, so make sure to check opening hours before setting off to avoid disappointment.