Marcali is at the edge of the Lake Balaton area of, Hungary (Somogy County).
Most of the people you will encounter in this area of Hungary will speak Hungarian and little else. There are some people who understand German (traditionally the second language of the country). Few will understand English.
However, most people will try to be helpful to a foreign-speaker. And of course understanding one or two words in Hungarian will help break the ice, and may even invoke a smile or two.
By driving, from Budapest, take exit 170 on the M7 motorway, and head south on Highway 71.
By bus, there are daily runs from Budapest. There are also several bus runs that go south from Balatonmáriafürdő, the nearest train station.
Before December 2009, there was train service to the town, but the line between Balatonszentgyörgy and Somogyszob has since been discontinued.
Mostly this will be by private vehicle or foot.
There are several Kapos Volan bus runs that go up and down the main highway (71 to the north, 68 to the south) from the main bus station.
A free shuttle operates between the city center and the Tesco Hypermarket on the north end. However, if the driver believes you aren't going to or from the Tesco store, you may not be let aboard.
At Hősök tere, or Heroes' Square, in front of the town's main church, a memorial stands not only to the usual war dead, but also to the Jewish citizens, many of whom were removed from the country between May and July 1944 under the direction of SS Colonel Adolph Eichmann. (Most of these died in Polish concentration camps before the end of the war.)
Parks and fountains in the town are generally peaceful places to pass the time.
The main reason people go to Marcali is the City Spa and Leisure Center, located on the north end of town. Opened in 2003, the thermal baths were eventually developed into an indoor pool in 2008, and then finally into a full water park by June 2010. A Thermal Hotel was also planned for the site, but failed to open at the time that the water park opened, and remains an unfinished landmark behind the Spa and Leisure Center.
Besides the swimming facilities, the center boasts also courts for tennis, handball, basketball, and beach volleyball. Although summer is the main time of year to visit the place, the facility is open all year around.
Indeed, several events are hosted throughout the year at the Spa, including the annual Marcali Eurofolk Festival.
Costs in 2012 were 1400 HUF for an adult dayticket, and 950 HUF for a dayticket for children under age 16.
The Marcali Kulturális Korzó (Múzeum köz 5) has exhibits related to Somogy county, and every other Friday hosts a film showing. On Thursdays, entrance to the museum is free. Wifi point.
Mester Cukrászda, Kávézó és Étterem (Rákóczi utca 2-4): Very popular ice cream parlor and restaurant in the city center across the street from the city hall.
Robinson Pizzéria (next door to Mester Cukrászda at Rákóczi utca 2-4): Apparently has Döner kebab on the menu.
Luti Pékség (next door to Robinson Pizzeria): Plenty of baked goods. Open until about 9PM in evenings.
Pannonia Grill (Petőfi utca, near the intersection with Rákóczi utca): Fast food menu.
Marcello Pizzéria (Posta köz 8): Not far from the Penny Market. Pizza and other options.
Hotel Kek Hold (Múzeum köz 1) has a coffee bar with wifi.
Kulturális Korzó (Múzeum köz 5) has a coffee bar with wifi as well.
Hotel Canada is the splurge option. It is rated as a three star.
Hotel Kek Hold is the mid-range option. It is rated as a two star hotel (7000 HUF per person per night).
(Both hotels are across the street from the Kulturális Korzó, the Cultural Museum on Múzeum köz, well situated in the city center.)
Two other hotel options exist in the city (will post when that information is collected).
A camping option exists at Gadany (about 10 kilometers south of Marcali), at the Naturferienranch (Fö utca 3-5). The price to stay is generally under 3000 HUF. The town also hosts a guesthouse (Pannónia Panzió, Fö utca 44), which costs 3300 HUF in summer, 2300 in other seasons.
Main wifi access points are at the Kulturális Korzó (Múzeum köz 5), and the coffee bar at Hotel Kek Hold (Múzeum köz 1). Both are essentially next door to each other.
An eMagyarorszag Pont exists near the City Hall.
To the south is Kaposvár, a major city within Somogy county. To the north is Balatonmáriafürdő, the closest railway station and ferryboat port on Lake Balaton.