The Lake Szelidi is a popular Danube backwater mostly used for bathing. It is can be found near to Dunapataj in the middle part of the country.
It is located in the Kiskunsag area (between Hungary’s two biggest rivers, the Danube and the Tisza up the Northern hills) which is flat land covered with mostly sand. It is known about many horse riding farms, spas, salty lakes, sand dunes, wine making among others. Huge parts of the area are part of the Natural reserve, mostly the salty lakes and the surrounding. Some parts of the area is quite abandoned, which makes it interesting to visit. The Lake Szelidi is the fifth biggest lake in Hungary, after the Lake Balaton (app. 600 km2), Lake Ferto (315 km2), Lake Tisza (127km2) Lake Velencei (26 km2). For the record there are app. 3805 lakes in Hungary.
The Lake Szelidi is app 4km long, approximately 150-200m wide, 3-4m deep, the total surface area is app 75-80 hectare. The Lake has a nice sandy beach. At the time of our
visit, there was basic facilities next to the shore like toilets and restaurants, which makes the stay quite pleasant.
There is a stage nearby as well. We visited the lake in 2009. The Lake is a natural protection area as well. Mostly there is no covering on the shore, cutted grass and sand, as it is usual in many places in Hungary. No big cities nearby, the biggest is Kalocsa with 16,000 inhabitants. As I see the Lake is not a “mainstream”
holiday place like the Lake Balaton, I think many Hungarians never visit the Lake. It is part of the huge competition inside the country (other lakes, spas, etc).
We found our holiday quite enjoyable, part of it we were with our friends, who knew the area very well. We participated in a Grape harvest as well. When we visited
the Lake there was many people there, but was not overly crowded, in August. I guess when the weather is not nice, not many people are there.
The water of the lake has a “velvety” feel, partly because of the salt content of the water. The lake is a salty lake with 1,5-2g salt/litre. The salt concentration can change in case of addition water supplies. The water is strongly alkaline.
Fishing is possible as well, but when we visit in the main bathing season the whole lake was occupied by bathing people. Interestingly there are some huge fish is
caught in the Lake (carps and catfishes). For fishing daily ticket is needed, which can be bought at Dunapataj, Ordasi street in the renovated community house weekdays between 17-18h, saturday between 9-12 h. Sometimes there are fishing competitions in the Lake. Fishing shop is also can be found in Dunapataj, the Csukás fishing shop, Dunapataj, Vasut str 1, near the roundabout, in the center, from Budapest direction at the left side of the road.
There are some hotels and apartmans in Dunapataj and Kalocsa. Quiet village life this is how they advertise themself, which I found true. This place is not as popular as the Balaton or Lake Velence, which can be seen from the number of apartmans as well. We liked it very well. We stayed our friends, so I don’t know how hard or easy to find an accomodation in the main season(July-August). (Other times of the year I guess quite easy)
Things to do in Dunapataj and by the Lake
There is a Potter house in Dunapataj, which can be visited after setting an appointment.
There is a 2,4km Nature trail next to the Lake, which shows the formation of the Lake, the flora and fauna of the surrounding areas. The trail starts at the Szittyó
square at the Resort village area.
Things to do and see nearby
I would list what we saw and done, and mention some curiosities further.
The Danube is not far which is beautiful, and there are several ranches in the neighborhood, where we can saw some horses and interesting farm buildings.
The nearby city, Kalocsa also worth to visit. There is a nice garden there.
Little bit further in South, Hajos is an interesting cellar village, which is formed on the Danube breakline. There are 1200 cellars there.
In Kecel, there is a huge outdoor Military museum. It is located in 3 hectare, there you can see almost any pistol, rifle, machine gun used in Hungary, and airplanes
(SZU22, MiG 15,17,19,21,23) and helicopters as well. It is located in Kecel, Rákóczi u industrial area