During the 1960s and 70s, Lake Balaton, the biggest lake in Central Europe, was a major tourist destination for working-class Hungarians and people from the Eastern Bloc. It also served as a meeting point for Eastern and Western Germans, who were separated by the Berlin Wall until 1989, but could still travel and meet here.

After the collapse of Communism, the region became less popular and slowly dilapidated. Soon, it was visited only by Hungarians. As a result, the Central European flavor slowly faded away, year by year, because of slow cultural changes. Lately, however, a new renaissance can be felt: foreign tourists are appearing again and the old charm has found new life.

At first glance, the scenery of Lake Balaton evokes a coastal resort with an endless horizon. But in fact, the water is very shallow, reaching only ten feet on average. The illusion unfolds and Balaton remains only a lake—although, among the local people in Hungary, it is still said to be the Hungarian Sea.

—Zsófia Pályi