Though travel abroad was severely limited, Hungarians enjoyed weekend trips within the country's borders. In communist Hungary, Lake Balaton was the most important destination for a number of reasons...
Lake Balaton was definitely the place to have a second home and to spend your holidays during the communist era. Dubbed Hungary's 'sea' it was the nearest most people would get to a beach holiday. Many Hungarians had very modest houses or flats near the lake where they, their friends and families would spend not only their summers, but weekends during the good weather.
For those not lucky enough to have such a "weekend house" there were innumerable holiday homes belonging to all the major trade unions and communist organisations. Every branch of working life was represented, from the various academic institutes to miners and railway workers. Those who worked for these organisations could have holidays here for only minimal payment.
The long summer holidays presented little problem to working parents: The Pioneers and KISZ provided summer camps with sports facilities which every family could easily afford. At Zánka, a whole village was built for the pioneer children.
And finally, Lake Balaton offered the only possibility for German families separated by the iron curtain to reunite. West Germans flocked to the lake to spend some weeks with their relatives from East Germany who were permitted to travel to communist Hungary.