Zalakaros, with its 1900 inhabitants, is located southwest from Lake Balaton, at a 40-kilometers distance. The region offers a wide variety of pretty landscapes, from flatland to foothills, with forests and flowery meadows, conservation areas, rare and protected animal-species, as well as vegetation. The peaceful atmosphere, the healing thermal water of the spa, as well as the surrounding tourist- and holiday resort draws close to a million visitors each year. The Sarmellek airport is 20 kilometres away, while Keszthely, the so-called capital of the Lake is 35 kilometres, and the city of Nagykanizsa is 18 kilometres away - both abounding in museums and sights to visit.
The settlement is first mentioned in 13th century written documents, residents were mostly farmers. The 1960-s brought substantial change, when paraffin-search led to the discovery of a 96 °C thermal water, rich in a good variety of minerals. A spa was quickly built, and the town gained a central position in the region.
With thermal water of the highest temperature in Hungary, the healing effect is especially good for rheumatic-, and locomotor disease treatment, as well as post accident care. The spa is open all year round, offering various (22-36 °C) thermal pools, as well as an adventure bath with water attractions. A newly built indoor section includes a sport swimming pool, a children's adventure pool with huge and fun slopes, along with four types of saunas.
The neighbourhood of Zalakaros offers never-ending excursion possibilities. Kapolnapuszta is located in between Zalakomar and Balatonmagyarod, with a buffalo reservation of 80 species. Guest comfort is served by paved roads, parking facilities, pedestrian roads, and a lookout. Right by Galambok, the picturesque forest hides a fishpond. Another pond is found at a 5-kilometer distance from the town centre, with a lookout, offering a nice panorama on the surroundings. Kis Balaton, a special region of the Lake, which used to be an open gulf, is now moorland, where many rare birds nest and live. The first Hungarian King, Stephan, established an abbey in this area - a memorial chapel now stands in Zalavar. At the time, it was heavily populated by Slavic people, who were converted to Christianity by Cirill and Metod, now honoured by a monument displaying Slavic apostles.
Zalakaros and the neighbourhood can be conveniently visited with bicycle tours, some of which are recommended below:
- Around the Kis-Balaton (30 km)
- Zalakaros - Zalakomar - Bivalyreservation - Balatonmagyarod - Kanyavári Island - Zalavar - Zalaszabar - Nagyrada - Garabonc - Zalakaros
- Towards Nagykanizsa:
Zalakaros - Galambok - Nagyrecse - Nagykanizsa - Gelse - Kilimán - Orosztony - Zalaszabar - Nagyrada - Garabonc - Zalakaros
- Towards the Somogyi Hills:
Zalakaros - Galambok - Zalaszentjakab - Mihald - Pat - Inke - Iharosbereny - Nagykanizsa - Nagyrecse - Galambok - Zalakaros
The town offers a wide variety of sport facilities, such as a sled- and ski slope, a sport centre with tennis courts, soccer fields, handball- and basketball courts, and an athletic field. A horse riding school offers a good range of possibilities, both for beginners and for professionals. Fishing, as well as hunting possibilities are offered for those who are fond of these sports as well.
Hotels in Zalakaros - hotel list