Heviz is a small thermal resort in Hungary renowned for being home to the world’s largest thermal lake, also named Heviz. This town, doubling as a spa and a wine region, is particularly popular among Austrians and Germans. Visitors come here for a week or two to improve their health, enjoy local wines, and rejuvenate both body and soul.

Heviz: General Information

Here’s a brief overview of the town to give you a sense of its scale and what to expect:

  • Coordinates and Map: 46.79034810589519, 17.18670859743909
  • Hévíz is located 185 km from Budapest and about 5-6 km from the city of Keszthely. The latter will be referenced later.
  • The town was founded in the 14th century.

Important to note:

Despite its venerable age, Hévíz is a tiny town with modern buildings, many private residences, and few multi-story hotels. Unlike Budapest, it lacks the architectural gems that are centuries old. If you’ve been to the Lithuanian resort town of Druskininkai, imagining Hévíz is easier; they are like twin brothers.
pedestrian street in Hévíz
Hévíz has pedestrian streets, a market, a supermarket, and numerous eateries.

Interesting fact: Hévíz gained city status only in 1996; before that, it was just a village.

  • The current population is around 5000, but during the high tourist season, it triples.

Construction of a large bus station began in 2023.

Important:

You can visit Hévíz for thermal baths year-round, and winter is even considered better. Hungary experiences a mild winter, with temperatures around 3-5 degrees Celsius in January. All about the weather and seasons in Hungary.

Many tourists ask about prices in Hévíz, including accommodation and food. Generally, Hévíz is slightly more expensive than other regions, especially regarding accommodation. Prices for other things are average, akin to Budapest. About prices in Hungary.

Getting to Hévíz: by Bus, Train, Car

The easiest way is by car: a 2-hour drive on good roads. Renting a car in Hungary is pleasant, safe, and allows you to explore more than public transport.

Hévíz has good transportation options:

  • Direct buses from Budapest take about 2.5 hours, with 5-10 daily routes depending on the day and season. One-way ticket costs about 10 euros.
    • Check bus tickets, prices, and schedules on the Volanbusz website.
Bus schedule Budapest Heviz
For example, in December, there are eight daily buses from Budapest. In summer, there are more than ten.
  • I won’t go into detail about trains as they are not the most convenient option. Hévíz doesn’t have a train station, but nearby Keszthely does. From Budapest, you can take a train to Keszthely for around 10-12 euros and then catch a bus/minibus to Hévíz (6 km away, every 20 minutes). The bus and train stations in Keszthely are across the road from each other.

Important to know:

Keszthely is a beautiful and large city (20,000 people) on Lake Balaton, with medieval architecture, palaces, and a historic feel. It’s worth a day trip from Hévíz to swim in Lake Balaton, visit the Festetics Palace, and stroll through the city.
What to see in Heviz attractions
Festetics Palace in Keszthely is open year-round, just 6 km from Hévíz.

Overview of Keszthely: Where to Eat, What to Visit, Beaches.

Where to Stay: Prices, Hotels, Booking Options

The most popular accommodations in Hévíz are small hotels with 5-20 rooms. The choice of where to stay doesn’t matter much as everything is close. There are also many options for apartments in private houses. In some houses, owners live in one part while renting out the other with a separate entrance.

heviz hungary
Apartments in Hévíz can easily be in a house like this, where the hosts also have a restaurant with delicious cuisine.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you stay in a hotel, there won’t be a kitchen; at most, there might be a kettle in the room. Look for options that provide breakfast; it’s convenient since eateries in Hévíz aren’t open in the morning.
  • If you need a kitchen, specifically look for apartments.
  • Hotellook has the largest database of hotels, guesthouses, and apartments in Hévíz. You can find accommodation even in houses with private wineries and cellars where the owners make their own wine.
hungary heviz prices
The most popular hotels in Hévíz are usually 2-3 stories high with 5-10 rooms. Kitchens are usually absent in rooms in such hotels.

Also, consider SPA HEVIZ (link to their official website). It’s the only hotel in the Tófürdő complex whose guests have unlimited and free access to the Hévíz thermal lake. It’s located just 2 minutes from the main entrance. It’s an older hotel, and prices aren’t the lowest, but the information is provided for you to decide. Essentially, this hotel serves the function of the main sanatorium in Hévíz.

Where to Eat in Hévíz: Restaurants and Fast Food

There’s no shortage of dining options in Hévíz, and you can confidently enjoy a meal at any of them. European cuisine predominates, with options like pasta, pizza, and Austrian sausages. Hungarian cuisine is also available. Here are a few recommendations for places I enjoy eating:

  • On the main square (also the main parking area), you’ll find a cluster of Hungarian restaurants serving homemade wine, goulash, and pörkölt. There are about 6 or 7 establishments in a row. One of the coolest ones is Kocsi Csárda.
  • Additionally, there are a few places in the city where you can buy Lángos. Lángos is a Hungarian fast food – fried flatbread with cheese and sauce. It’s delicious.
Hungary Heviz treatment
This place makes delicious lángos and more. They have draft beer and several tables behind me.

Overview of Hungarian cuisine, portion sizes, and what a tourist should try.

Hévíz Thermal Lake: Comprehensive Spa Review

Now let’s move on to Hévíz’s main attraction.

Important to know:

Hévíz doesn’t boast any landmarks or medieval architecture; you’ll find that in Keszthely. People come here for the Hévíz Thermal Lake. Hévíz is a very small and cozy town with pedestrian streets, a wine quarter, and you can stroll through the entire center in 2 hours. Life in Hévíz doesn’t rush; time flows slowly, typical of a small town.
  • The Hévíz Lake is located almost in the center of the town.
  • It is the world’s largest thermal lake, almost circular with a diameter of 450 meters.
  • The water in the lake comes entirely from a thermal underground spring, completely renewing every 48 hours.

On the lake is the Tófürdő thermal complex, a therapeutic and recreational facility.

hungary lake treatment and sanatorium
Hévíz Lake is entirely thermal. You can see the building in the center; I’ll tell you more about it below and show photos from inside.

Prices, Operating Hours of Thermal Baths

And now for the most practical and essential information:

  • Coordinates of the main entrance to the thermal complex: 46.7863437339786, 17.190884428215817
  • Official website (always check here for current prices and operating hours): https://www.spaheviz.hu/en
  • Operating hours: year-round, in the high season from 8:30 to 19, in winter until 17:30.
  • Tickets:
    • Full-day ticket: about 20 euros (writing in euros for a sense of prices; payment on-site is in forints or by card)
    • 3-hour ticket: 12 euros
    • 2 hours before closing: 10 euros
    • There are also passes for 10 and 20 hours, for 35 and 60 euros, respectively. The system calculates your time minute by minute for each visit and stay. It’s convenient for those staying a week, for whom 1-2 hours a day is sufficient.
Tofurdo heviz hungary
Entrance to the lake spa. Once you’ve paid, changed, you walk through a long corridor in your bathing suit to the center of the lake in a large square building; the photo was above.

About the water: composition, temperature

I’ll say right away; I’m not a doctor, so I don’t give any recommendations.

The waters of the Hévíz Lake contain a lot of sulfur and chlorides, resulting in a strong smell of hydrogen sulfide. However, you quickly get used to it. This thermal lake is popular among people with arthritis and joint diseases. That’s probably why there are many elderly Europeans here. About 80% of all visitors are people aged 55+.

  • In the center of the lake is a thermal well, from which water flows into the lake. A spa was built on piles above the well, a large square building visible in all photos. In the photo below, you’ll see how this building looks from the inside.
lake heviz hungary
Here’s the inside. Many loungers and places to relax, as well as access points to the water everywhere. Note that all people swim on yellow or blue foam tubes; I’ll write more about them later.

The hottest water is in the center, directly under the complex on piles (shown in the above photo). There, it’s always 30+ degrees Celsius. In some places, it’s 36 degrees. The further away from the building, the colder the water. But they say that even in winter, the water temperature doesn’t drop below 24 degrees.

Important:

You can swim anywhere. You can enter the water via steps inside the main building. On each side of the building, there are gates through which you can swim out into the lake. Sometimes the gates are half-closed so that the cooler lake water doesn’t mix with the hot water inside the building. In that case, swimming out can be inconvenient. To get into the lake, you need to go out to the external terraces and enter the water there.
Healing waters of Lake Heviz
Here, we swam out from the building. The water is cooler here, but a comfortable 27 degrees for sure. The photo is from early November.

There are also many relaxation areas, loungers, and other attributes of a health resort. There’s a cafe where you can have coffee, tea, beer. There’s not much food, but there are some snacks. By the way, you can bring your own food and drinks here; there are no restrictions.

Tips and Life Hacks for Visiting Lake Hévíz

I hope these tips will finally clear everything up:

  • Your locker number is already recorded on your bracelet. To find it, just touch your bracelet to the tablet in the dressing room. Don’t occupy any free lockers; you’ll end up moving your stuff later anyway.
  • The changing room is shared, but with cabins.
  • The ticket price includes only the bracelet itself; nothing else is included. Bring your own flip-flops, towel, and shampoo – they don’t provide them here.
health resort Heviz Hungary
First, touch your bracelet to the tablet; then, look for your locker.
  • If you want to buy something at the cafe, you need to go to the locker for cash or a card. The bracelet doesn’t work for these purposes.
  • If you have a bathrobe, especially in the fall or winter, bring it. It can get quite chilly outside without one.
  • The lake is very deep; you won’t reach the bottom anywhere. Everyone floats on these foam tubes (see photo below). You can rent one on-site for about 2 euros and a deposit of 5 euros or buy one in any store in Hévíz for 4-5 euros – they sell them everywhere. If you’re in Hévíz for 1-2 days, it’s easier to rent; if you plan to stay a week, buy your own.
hungary lake heviz treatment
Everyone swim with foam tubes; in November, few people swim outside. Most hang out under the building on piles and stay in the water for hours. This is where the depth is 38 meters – the center of the lake.

Even if you’re a confident swimmer, it’s not quite the same without one of those foamy tubes. With it, you can just float in the water without a care. It’s not a must-have, but you’ll quickly realize how much easier it makes things. Inside the building, around the pool perimeters, there are plenty of handrails to hold onto.

  • Children are welcome to enter, but truthfully, it’s not the most kid-friendly place; they might find it uninteresting and dull. There aren’t any specific activities for children; it’s not a water park. And don’t forget, the lake is deep, so parents need to keep an eye on their little ones.

Wine Hill or Private Wineries in Hévíz

Now, what else is Hévíz known for? It’s renowned for its vineyards, private wineries, and wine. Hévíz is situated on the border of two wine regions with PDO status, the highest classification where wine is protected by its region of origin.

On the outskirts of the city, about 2 kilometers from the center, there’s a street called “Wine Hill” or Borhegy Weinberg. The official name of the street is Dombföldi. Coordinates for the starting point of the street are 46.8028299919544, 17.188876310651015

Heviz hotels hungary
Navigate using these coordinates, and you’ll find signs throughout the city directing you to the “Wine Hill.”

In the morning and during the day, it’s just an ordinary street on the outskirts of a small town. However, as evening approaches, families open their gates, set up menus, light their fireplaces, and open home restaurants with homemade wine. Each house here is a private winery with its cellar.

Come here after 3-4 pm; there’s not much to do before that. Enjoy the food, taste the wines – the prices are reasonable, perhaps slightly above average. But it’s delicious and full of character. This is genuine Hungarian cuisine and wine that you won’t find in a store.

resort heviz hungary wine street
During the day, it’s just an ordinary street in the village with not much going on.

At the end of the Wine Hill, you’ll find a beautiful ancient church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Some houses have tables with a breathtaking panoramic view of the surroundings. Take a stroll, take in the sights, and resist indulging too much in the first courtyard. Some places are just wine shops, while others are full-fledged restaurants serving Hungarian cuisine.

hungary thermal heviz
My wife and I usually go for two soups (like the goulash in the photo) and wine. The soup portions are always generous and served in bowls.

It’s better to bring cash; not all places accept cards. And if you’re good at connecting with people and know a thing or two about wine, and if you’re lucky enough to meet the owner, who knows, they might show you their wine cellars beneath the house and the wine-making process in Hévíz.

A tip for wine and sausage enthusiasts:

In Hévíz, there’s still a small farmer’s market and a small flea market:: 46.79102886156215, 17.192533480561693. Three times a week, on Tuesday and Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm, and on Thursday from 12 pm to 5 pm. Farmers and winemakers from the surrounding areas come here. You can buy Hungarian bacon, sausages, and local wines. Artisans display their works and souvenirs.
heviz hungary official
A couple of photos from the Hévíz market for a better understanding. The market isn’t large, but don’t just pass by.

Not far from Hévíz (20-30 km), there’s another wine village with private wineries called Hegymagas. If you have a car, you can easily get there and, on the way, visit caves with an underground lake in the village of Tapolca and take a boat trip on it. You can read about this in the article on alcoholic beverages and wine in Hungary.

In conclusion: Hévíz, a resort town with the world’s largest thermal lake, is one of Hungary’s postcards. Yes, it’s not the grandeur of Budapest. It’s a different kind of relaxation, but many find it appealing. During the day, you can soak in the thermal baths, and in the evening, you can enjoy wine and try Hungarian cuisine. And if it gets boring, just 7 km from Hévíz, there’s the splendid Keszthely and Lake Balaton.

Wishing you a fantastic time at Hungary’s premier thermal resort!


IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel