Why visit: thermal lake, spa, sightseeing, Lake Balaton
Things to Do and See at Lake Hévíz
Ancient coins found in Lake Hévíz proved that the Romans were probably the first to take advantage of the lake's healing qualities. Nevertheless, it was not until the 18th century that Hévíz became a spa resort under Earl György Festetics. A wooden bathing house was built, and soon the bath looked more or less as it does today. Hévíz became famous all over the country. At the beginning of the 20th century, hotels and restaurants were built. Treatments based on the healing waters were conducted under the supervision of specialized doctors. The first doctor to sign a contract to come here permanently, Dr. Vilmos Schulhof, founded a hospital in 1911 to meet the need for modern physiotherapy. Today, the St. Andrew's Hospital for Rheumatology and Rehabilitation is a renowned institution.
The water temperature of Lake Hévíz is 30°C (90°F), making open-air bathing very pleasant even in the winter. The hot springs, rich in minerals, feeding the lake emerge from 0.6 miles (1km) beneath the ground. The healing water contains sulfur, radium and minerals. Due to the high water output of the springs feeding the lake, the water completely changes within 85 hours. The healing water and therapeutic mud originates from what was, millions of years ago, the Pannonian Sea. It is effective in complex physiotherapy, as well as the treatment of all forms of rheumatic and locomotive disorders. Bathing is the main activity, but mud packing and a variety of massages are also available. Trained instructors offer physiotherapy and a series of balneal therapies. The thermal lake is open daily; however, opening hours vary according the season. Indoor bathing is available year-round. There are 9 indoor thermal pools, each with a water temperature of 96°F.
Getting to Hévíz from Budapest: Hévíz is about a two-hour drive from Budapest. Highway M7 to Balatonújlak followed by Routes 76 and 71 is the quickest to get there. Trains run from Budapest's Déli Station. Buses leave from the Népliget bus terminal.
The nearby city of Keszthely, one of the most charming towns by Lake Balaton, is great for sightseeing and entertainment. Keszthely is the site of a Baroque-style castle, which was the former residence of a Hungarian aristocrat, Earl György Festetics. The wine-producing Badacsony Hill is also in the neighborhood. Hike to the top for the best views of Lake Balaton and be sure to taste the Pinot Gris.