Lake Balaton has a capital since 2000, which is Keszthely, the town of the Festetics family, a university town with the most beautiful civic downtown of the western part of the lake, a mall, 3 beaches, a conference center, a theatre, more than 15 museums and with 21.000 residents.
We await everybody until the age of 100 with many sights, recreational facilities, high-level accomodations and restaurants not only in the town, but in the surroundings as well!
The town was founded by the Festetics fin the 18th century. The most famous sight of the town, the Festetics Castle, the building of which was started by Kristóf Festetics in 1745, was attached to the name of the Festetics family and their quality of life of high standard. The present-day form of the building, which had 34 rooms at an early stage, has been developed by generations until the 19th century and now the castle has 101 rooms. The grandchild of the founder, György Festetics did the most for the culture, he founded the chapel, the library, which was later operated as a town library and contains approximately 86.000 books. During the Second World War it was used as a barrack, later as a student hostel or a conservatoire, but the most important thing is that this is the 4th largest and after the Houses of Parliament the second most visited ancient monument of the country renovated according to the highest standard. Nowadays wedding ceremonies and parties take place in the famous Mirror Saloon of the castle and once a year during carnival time we can experience how the Festetics family had fun in a ball, as the ball room is the scene of a costume ball, in which there is still a great interest. In the outbuilding of the castle, which was used as a shed of the dynasty, a chaise museum was later developed. Entering the ornated front-door we can admire the old trees, amongst which we can find some that are already 400 years old. In the front garden we can meet the brazen-statue of György Festetics, so that we know, who we can thank for all this beauty. There is a new museum building next to the castle, in which a constant hunting exhibition takes place, mainly with the trophies of Festetics family and in the mansard of the new museum you can find one of the largest historical railway model exhibition of Europe. Under the castle there is a 500 year-old cellar system, which also used to play an important part. In 2005 the Wine House of Balaton were opened here, where we can taste quality wines and may take part in a guided tour in the cellar in 4 languages. The Kastély street starts at the ornated main entrance. Employees of the manor used to live here, therefore we find rustic buildings and a Parisian court here. The other symbol of the town is the Island Bath that we can find by the landing stage of Keszthely. It was built in 1864 and for now it was renovated according to its original form. This was the first bath built on the water, where the aristocrats of Keszthely possessed locker rooms. These locker rooms are so important for the residents that they still come down through generations. If we roam along in the town, cannot miss the main square, where the mall, which is full of restaurants leads us. On the promenade, under the present Kossuth street 22. you can find the Goldmark House, where a famous composer of the 19th century was born (in 1830) and lived. The community centre and the theatre of the town were named after him. In the middle of the main square we can admire the Trinity statue made in 1770. You cannot be bored in the town, because there are lot of cultural monuments here and in case of bad weather you can visit one of the 15 museums of Keszthely. Don’t forget that Keszthely is a town at the Lake Balaton, so it offers 3 beaches of high standard for the tourists: The alpha and omega of the active summer holiday is the Municipal Beach , which is the largest and oldest beach of Keszthely and provide the most services. The road takes you via pavilions to the beach with a pool of the same shape as the lake itself, an EU-conform playground for children and deck chairs. The guests have the possibility to play volleyball on 3 courts, basketball or badminton and there are a football field and paddle boats as well. The entrance fee includes the unlimited use of them, therefore you do not have to use your wallet every time as in other places. The area of the beach is used as a promenade of entertainment in the evening hours You may enjoy the summer evenings in several pleasure-grounds directly on the beach of Lake Balaton. The next beach is situated at the other part of the town. The youngest beach of Keszthely, the Libás Beach can be found directly by the yacht port and used to be as a free beach earlier, where gooses used to swam. Nowadays sailboats get back here after finishing the so-called Kékszalag (Blue ribbon) Yacht Competition. It is a shady, verdant, children friendly beach with favourable rates. On the brink of the town you can find the Helikon Beach – for the memories of past times we can sunbathe on 19.000 m2 and enjoy the feeling of the seventies, a nostalgic, funny place, the volleyball, badminton and of course chess on the beach, scone, paddle boats and so on.. What else would you need?