Hungary Winter Drive – From Siofok to Simontornya

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Jokai Park in the morning sun

The next morning, we wanted to take a last look at Lake Balaton before we checked out of our hotel. The beach was a short 5 minute walk from our hotel through a little park.

We were rewarded with a lovely view of the lake in the morning sun along the Siofok shoreline. The previous night was bitterly cold and there was frost covering the grass on the ground adding to the mystic feel. The lake was so still and serene, save for a raft of ducks swimming in the cold waters.

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The sweet serenity of Lake Balaton

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Frosted grass at the lakeside

After spending a fair bit of time admiring the beautiful waters, our daughter started to freeze up and so we headed back to our hotel to check-out. Our next destination was the little village of Simontornya, about an hour’s drive from Siofok.

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We chose the slightly longer route, passing by Iregszemcse and Tamasi, for no particular reason, except that we wanted to enjoy the countryside drive. The only issue was that the sun was shining almost directly into my face, which made it difficult for me to keep my eyes on the road.

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Countryside roads glistening in the morning sun!

Besides that little inconvenience, the drive itself was enjoyable indeed, passing by gorgeous fields and little villages along the way!

 

 

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Kisboldogasszony Templom at Iregszemsce

In no time, we found ourselves pulling into the Fried Castle Hotel at Simontornya. If you were looking for somewhere to have a relaxing retreat in the Hungarian countryside, then this is definitely the place to be.


This is part 11 of my Hungary Winter Drive blog series,  look out for part 12 where I share about our wonderful time at the Fried Castle Hotel at Simontornya, a steal at only US$300 for three people for three nights with meals provided and a wonderful Palinka party!

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship over a nice home-cooked meal. If you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


2017 Hokkaido Winter Drive Blog Series

2016 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series

2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series

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Hungary Winter Drive – Tihany, Completing the Balaton Loop

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Sunset at Tihany

After a wonderful morning at the Helikon Kastelymuzeum, we set off for Siofok using the longer north shore route along Route 71 as we wanted to complete the loop around Lake Balaton.

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This was a nice afternoon drive amidst hilly terrain and the nice little villages that dot the north Balaton shore.

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Route 71

Along the way, out of curiosity, we decided to make a short detour to check out the historical Tihany district, where the village, amazingly, boasts the most expensive housing prices in the whole of Hungary. When we arrived, we realised why. Set in the hilly Tihany peninsula which extends into the middle of Lake Balaton,  this village arguably has the most picturesque panoramic view of the lake.

The beautiful Tihany abbey stands proudly at the top of Echo Hill, aptly named for its famous echo which attracts visitors from all over the country.

It was a real pity we did not have time to fully explore the abbey and the lovely little village alleys which were littered with restaurants and shops.

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Tihany Abbey

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Wonderful view of Lake Balaton from the top of Echo Hill

With the sun rapidly setting in the horizon, we quickly continued on our journey, making our way around the lake and arriving in Siofok at dusk. Siofok, the biggest city on the shores of Balaton, is a commercial and tourist hub which boasts some lovely beaches and nightlife. In winter it is a bit quieter, but we still managed to find a nice pasta restaurant for dinner at the town centre. The Siofok water tower marks the town centre, but we were a little tired from our journey and didn’t make the trip up the tower, opting instead to retire early to our hotel room at Bella Apartments.

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Siofok Water Tower


This is part 10 of my Hungary Winter Drive blog series,  click HERE for part 11 where I share about our morning at the Siofok shoreline and our drive to sunny Simontornya!

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship over a nice home-cooked meal. If you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


2017 Hokkaido Winter Drive Blog Series

2016 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series

2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series

2017 Hungary Winter Drive Blog Series

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Frolicking in a Simontornya Wine Cellar

The last time I was in Europe was 16 years ago when I was just a wee boy. Okay, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration – that was when I completed my higher education at the University of Birmingham, UK. It was an incredibly memorable 4 years then, living in Europe, experiencing the 4 seasons for the first time in my life, and exploring the rich cultures of the different peoples and lands which make up this great continent.

After those 4 years, I felt that it was time to explore Asia, and that I did for the last 16 years. It was now time to go back.

My wife had never been to Europe. Neither have my kids. Before this trip, my wife did not even know any thing about Hungary. My daughter only knows what it means to be hungry, but nothing about Hungary. She kept asking, “is Hungary in Europe, or is Europe in Hungary?” It was time for their eyes to be opened.

Okay I admit, I had an ulterior motive. The first time I visited Hungary in the days of my youth, I fell in love with the beautiful Budapest, so steeped in history, so rich in culture. Above all, I fell in love with the Beef Goulash soup, and I wanted to bring my wife there to taste the real thing, and learn how to cook it for me back home in Singapore. This was my grand evil plan. 😛

The other great thing about Hungary is that the cost of living is very reasonable compared to some of the other countries in Europe. We managed to get great deals for our travel itinerary:

  • 4 day 3 night Dream Trip package from Rovia / World Ventures at a 5 star hotel in the Hungarian countryside with 3 breakfasts and dinners provided, for less than US$100 per person. Look out for an upcoming blog post where I will share about the wonderful time we had on this package tour.
  • 10 day car rental for an incredible price of S$250 from Rentalcars.com. We booked a Citroen C3 hatchback, but were extremely blessed to get a free upgrade to a Toyota RAV4 SUV.
  • Our other hotels were booked from Agoda and Accor at less than S$100 / night on average. Yes, where travel is concerned, I spread my nets wide and grab only the best deals haha.
  • Oh, did I mention, extremely competitively priced air tickets from British Airways, which were made even cheaper because of the Rovia Price Pledge Promise!

So do join me as I detail the various aspects of our trip in my upcoming blog posts. Thank you for taking the time to read!

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The Beautiful Lake Balaton

 

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The Crucifixion Scene Depicted at Tihany Abbey


This is part 1 of my Hungary Winter Drive blog series,  click HERE for part 2 where I share about my unfortunate injury just the night before we fly for Hungary.

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship over a nice home-cooked meal. If you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


2017 Hokkaido Winter Drive Blog Series

2016 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series

2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series