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Keszthely and Heviz in Hungary, anyone been?

Keszthely and Heviz in Hungary, anyone been?

Old Mar 7, 07, 9:40 pm
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Keszthely and Heviz in Hungary, anyone been?

I travelling from Zagreb to Budapest and thought it would be nice to break up the journey by staying in the Lake Balaton area for two nights. I have been to Budapest before, but never to the Lake Balaton region of Hungary. From what I've read in travel books and on travel related websites, it looks like Keszthely is a good place to stop if I want to experience the spas near Lake Balaton. From what I gather, the spas in that part of Lake Balaton are actually in Heviz, which is a 20 minute bus ride from Keszthely. I don't know if it makes more sense to stay in Heviz or in Keszthely. If I stay in Heviz, I'm staying right at the spa which is quite convenient, but I've read that the hotel there is only a 3 star, and others have mentioned that they recommended staying in Keszthely (a larger town/city) because there are more choices of accommodations and the quality is better. I'm hoping for a 4 star hotel. I don't need the Ritz, but I do enjoy hotels that are on a par with a Hilton (I know there are great Hilton's and some lousy ones, but I just used that brand as an example of the type of quality I'm looking for). Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? Any thing I must see or do while in this area for a limited time? My plan is to arrive in the area on day one, spend a night, go to the spa the next day, then maybe sightsee a very little bit that late afternoon/evening, go back to the hotel, then off to Budapest on day 3.

Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.

Does anyone know if it is better to get to Keszthely from Zagreb by bus or by train? I've read that the bus and train stations are not in the center of the city, but that busses will often take passengers into the city center after first stopping at the main bus station. That would seem to make a bus the better way to go, but I can't find any bus schedules or information on the web.
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Old Mar 16, 07, 12:19 pm
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bump.
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Old Mar 16, 07, 3:04 pm
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Heviz is much nicer than Keszthely, despite being a smaller town (or because of it). These are both small towns, Heviz used to be 2 blocks long but has grown a lot since the end of communism, and there is nothing there except tourism (and accompanying shops, restaurants, etc.). It is rather charming and you can walk around, also there are some excellent farmhouses making their own wine surrounding the town. Very scenic.

Keszthely is a regional country town, with lots of businesses not associated with tourism. It is on Lake Balaton, of course (while Heviz is a few miles away, and just has the thermal water lake -- the world's largest warm water lake, btw).

One point about the water at Heviz, it is medicinal and good for a lot of ailments. But a few people (1%) react to it, and it can make you quite sore. There is a medical spa there, if you want to be checked out.

As for hotels, really none are Hilton quality but most are OK and enjoyable. I've stayed at the Helios and would recommend it; it is close to Hilton quality, has a great medical and spa annex and nice grounds (it was originally built not as a hotel but as a worker sanitaurium, sort of a vacation place for communist party big-wigs). See http://hungary.hevizhotels.com/hunguesthotelhelios.php

Actually there are no luxury or even 4 star hotels anywhere in Balaton (the business is too seasonal, it is dead in winter). You have to go to Budapest for hotels, but Heviz has a charm that has been lost in the bigger cities.
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Old Mar 17, 07, 3:53 pm
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Thank you very much for the reply. That's exactly the type of insight and advice I was looking for.

You wouldn't happen to know how I could find any bus schedules or information about bus lines from Zagreb to Kesztheley or Heviz on the internet?
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