Just 2 hours away from the Hungarian capital of Budapest, the spa resort town of Hévíz is one of the country’s most romantic getaway destinations. Home to the second largest thermal lake in the world, the city boasts impressive museums, vibrant markets, historical old town, variety of restaurants and cafes. Planning a short trip out of Budapest, but aren’t sure what to do? To help you decide, we’ve put together an itinerary to help you make the most of your overnight trip. Remember, this is just one of the few ways to enjoy Hévíz so feel free to fine tune this itinerary based on your interests.
Things to know before traveling to Hévíz, Hungary:
Language – Hungarian (Magyar) is the official language of the Republic of Hungary. It is said to be a difficult language to learn, mostly because none of the surrounding countries can speak their language. Speaking at least some Hungarian phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals. Some helpful phrases are as follows:
Good morning! = Jó reggelt!
Good afternoon! = Jó napot!
Good evening! = Jó estét!
Good night! = Jó éjt!
Goodbye! = Viszlát!
Do you speak English? = Beszélsz angolul?
Thank you! = Köszönöm
You are welcome! = Szívesen!
To learn how to pronounce the words, enter any Hungarian word in Google translate and press the loudspeaker symbol to hear it.
Currency exchange – The official currency of Hungary is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). Though bigger shops and restaurants in Hévíz accept US dollars and Euros, it is recommended to pay in the local currency so you will not end up paying more. Prior to your travel date, you can buy some forints (enough for one day or whatever your preference) and then exchange your money in the banks to get the best rates. You can also use the ATMs, which can be found at the airport, major railways stations and in other tourist areas.
Etiquette – Greetings in Hungary for both men and women is a simple hand shake, although a man should usually wait for the woman to extend her hand. If you are in for a thermal bath experience, remember to bring a swimsuit for co-ed pools. Traditional baths with separate pools for men and women prohibit wearing of swimsuits.
Getting there – Although there is no direct railway connection between Budapest and Hévíz, traveling between these cities is easy. The nearest railway station in the spa resort town is Keszthely Rail Station (Keszthelyi vasútállomás). From there, you can take a bus at Keszthelyi vasútállomás to get to Hévíz Bus Station. Total travel time is 4-5 hours. Alternatively, you can take Volánbusz coach service directly from Budapest to Hévíz.
Getting Around – The center of Hévíz can be easily explored on foot or on a bicycle. You can either bike on your own or you can join one of the guided biking tours offered in the city. Also, traveling using public transportation in the city is relatively easy as all roads are well-maintained and the public transport system is one of Europe’s finest.
Accommodation – Hévíz has some of the best youth hostels and luxury hotels ideally nestled in the heart of the city. The most frequently asked question from first time travelers is, “What’s the best area to stay in when visiting Hévíz?” If you are going to follow our suggested itinerary, we recommend a hotel/hostel in Rákóczi Street since all of the main sights are so close to each other and can be easily reached on foot.
Hotels to consider in Hévíz:
Day by day itinerary: Weekend adventure in Hévíz, Hungary
Start your tour at the cobbled Rákóczi Street, a great way to get acquainted with the city. Make sure to drop by the Hévíz Tourinform Office at the beginning of the street to get printed tourist maps, bus schedule and tour recommendations. Connecting the town’s main street, Széchenyi Street, to Dr. Schulhof Vilmos Promenade, this street has many protected buildings with classical and neoclassical architecture.
Once you reached the end of the street towards Dr. Schulhof Vilmos Promenade, let yourself be pampered and treated at the Thermal Bath of Hévíz. Here, you can take advantage of various spa facilities for natural healing and health promotion. You may also experience the healing elements of the medicinal Lake of Hévíz, the second largest thermal lake in the world.
Some of the recreational and wellness services include:
Therapy Centre – Indoor bath
Complete Diagnostics (laboratory, x-ray machine, ECG etc.)
Once done with your spa treatments, you explore the other side of the promenade. You may check out the historical buildings of Szent András Reumakórház (St. Andreas Rheumatology Hospital). Then, make your way back to Rákóczi Street for a delicious Hungarian dinner, which is best enjoyed al fresco.
Locals stock up on fruit and vegetables from the nearby Farmers’ Market of Hévíz open on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays. Lots of things you can buy here from fresh bread and home-made cakes, sausages, honey pickles, organic vegetables and fruits to pottery. It’s also the best place to grab a hot meal for breakfast.
Delve deeper into the local culture by visiting one or two of the most loved churches in the city like the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the largest church of Hévíz, and the Calvinist Church. Then, stroll through Hévíz Museum Collection and visit the galleries that chronicle the centuries past of the spa resort town.
Have you been to Hévíz or anywhere else in Hungary? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Aerial shot from a drone over Hévíz, Hungary (By Gabor Tokodi / Shutterstock)