Lake Como made a splash in 2022 becoming one of the popular hotspots for British tourists – but with hotels costing hundreds for a night it’s not a destination for those watching their wallets.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, have holidayed there, while the Kardashians renewed interest in the Italian haven for holidaymakers after their lavish holidays – but for most of us the price places it out of reach.
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Luckily for Brits, there’s another large and beautiful lake in Europe where you can stay and enjoy resort life as well as watersports and boating.
Plus, it can cost you from as little as £7 a night to stay!
Lake Balaton, in Hungary, is a massive freshwater lake in the west of the country that boasts everything you want from a lakeside trip away.
While Lake Como might attract the celebs, Lake Balaton has views worthy of any A-lister's Instagram feed.
Those looking to impress can head to Soos Hill Lookout to get panoramic snaps of the glossy lake and surrounding charming towns that rival Como's villas.
According to Hungary Today the food is cheap too with pancakes costing just 250HUF (55p) and a pint priced at 1,000 HUF (£2.21).
While in Lake Como you could shell out a fortune on pizza, for just £1.77 at Lake Balaton you can tuck into Langos – a local specialty made from fried dough and tasty toppings.
Plus, there are many restaurants where you can enjoy tasty seafood that's just as high quality as that in Italy.
Try local dishes like Fisherman’s soup, breaded carp and stuffed sirloin for the luxury experience.
It’s already a popular holiday hotspot for those in the surrounding nations thanks to its vineyards, resort town, beaches and volcanic hills.
The nearby town of Veszprem has a walled castle district and also boasts stunning 13th century frescoes perfect for history lovers to explore.
Heviz is another popular city with plenty of stunning churches, a thermal lake and even a roman ruin garden.
Meanwhile if you head to Balatonfured you can enjoy a wine tour of the lake stroll down the promenade, and enjoy Loczy Cave.
If you’re lucky, you may arrive during an evening concert thrown at Szliget Castle.
As one of the largest lakes in Europe there are plenty of forts, parks, hot springs and cycling paths around the water.
Where to stay
Airbnbs in the area are incredibly cheap.
You can rent a five bedroom apartment with tennis courts and a swimming pool from a tiny £33 a night in March – that’s just £6.60 per person.
Alternatively, stay right on the lake in a private room for two from £21 a night – meaning you’ll pay £10.50 per person per night.
If you want to stay in the warmer months, head to Lake Balaton in July or August when temperatures hit a hight of 27C.
Couples can rent a private room walking distance from the lake for just £22 – that’s £134 for six nights plus service fee.
Those wanting a luxury experience can opt to stay at art Spa Residence Carbona Mona Lila – a five-star hotel on the lake with stunning rooms, a terrace, restaurant and bar as well as a kitchenette in each room.
The hotel also has an indoor pool, sauna and hot spring bath.
Six nights in the luxury apartment in July will set you back £790 – between two that’s £65pp per night.
How to get there
Getting to Lake Balaton may take more than one flight.
The simplest way is to head to Budapest from the UK – flights can be as cheap as £42 according to Skyscanner*.
Then it’s just a 90 minute car journey to Lake Balaton – you can drive, take a taxi or get a bus.
The train or bus will take around three to four hours but only cost from £6 to £9.
All prices for flights and accommodation were correct at the time of publication but are subject to change at any time.
Where's your hidden gem holiday destination? Tell us in the comments…
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