Keszthely (pronounced Kest-hey) is the oldest town in the Balaton region of Hungary.


It is located at the southern tip of lake Balaton and boasts a history of more than 750 years. As such the town is endowed with a wide range of architectural gems displaying Gothic, baroque, Transylvanian and eclectic styles. The town is compact and may be easily explored on foot. A small tourist train also circulates the town which is a convenient and cheap way to familiarise oneself with its layout.

Festetics Palace

The Festetics Palace, now the Helikon Castle Museum, must rank as the town’s major attraction. It’s construction was started at the beginning of the 18th century, by Kristof Festetics, on the site of the former Petho castle. It obtained it’s final neo-baroque form in 1887. With some 111 halls and rooms, this is one of the largest palaces in Hungary and is maintained in wonderful condition by the Hungarian government. One of the most beautiful rooms and one of the greatest assets of the castle is a magnificent historic two level library housing over 100,000 volumes, which were miraculously saved from destruction during the 2nd world war. The library was started in the 1700s and its collection includes copies of the earliest printed books, unique prints, scientific and art books together with its music collection of manuscripts by Haydn, Pleyel and Goldmark. The ground floor houses an exhibition of the of the beautiful and precious military arms of Hungary, a loan from the Hungarian National Museum.

The reception wing of the palace is now used as a conference centre and a meeting place for scientific and international conferences. Participants may be accommodated in the 15 quest rooms and 4 suites within the palace. During summer, concerts are held weekly in the grounds

The Festetics were one of the richest aristocratic families in Hungary and had a considerable influence on the development and culture of Keszthely and the surrounding areas. Family members founded pharmacies, hospitals, Grammar schools and in 1779 Count Gyorgy Festetics founded “The Georgikon”, which was Europe’s first Independent Institution of agricultural higher education. It was established with an 11-hectare dendrological garden. Its successor “The Georgikon Faculty of Agronomy”, now functions within the local university on the corner of Deak Ferenc and Szechenyl streets.

A nice feature within the town is the Helikon environmental park, which sits between the town and the lake foreshores. It is prevented from reaching the lake by the railway to Topolca. Across the railway beside Csik Ferenc setany are to be found a large number of outdoor cafes and restaurants much frequented by students from the nearby university. A popular snack served at these cafes is the famous Hungarian Langos, a deep fried potato pancake topped with either garlic dressing or cheese or both. On summer evenings the area is alive with people eating Langos and drinking beer.

The centre of Keszthely is a large square alongside Kossuth Lajos Utica. This square contains two major buildings. The Gothic parish church, built on the site of a former 12th-13th century church by Palatine Istevan Lackfi. Renovations at the end of the 19th century gave the church its neo-gothic tower and rose windows. In 1974 a number of sensational 15th century frescoes were discovered in the sacristy. At the southern end of this square stands the Gymnasium built at the turn of the last century and now housing the successor to the grammar school founded by Count Pal Festetics in 1772. The section of Kossuth Lajos Utica leading from the square to the palace of the Festetics is now a pedestrian mall were one can find a number of fine restaurants which, in season, serve large numbers of alfresco diners.

To the west of the central square is the marketplace set around Piac square. On Saturdays and Wednesdays the square and some surrounding streets fill with market vendor stalls selling a wide variety of wares. Flowers, fruit, vegetables, and of course paprika are available in abundance together with tools, clothes and other paraphernalia. In the spring Cherries and Walnuts are a great buy.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is at Sarmellek approximately 10 km south of the city and is served by regional airlines. From the airport Keszthely is easily accessed via route 75.

By bus

Train Station

Also in summer the [Mutsch Ungarn Reisen] departs bus to Hévíz from different cities of South Germany. - If your next destination is northwestern Europe catch Eurolines bus in Győr: #760 to Vienna to Heidelberg via München, #784 to Hamburg via Berlin, #790 to Dortmund via Mannheim, #791 to Rotterdam via Frankfurt, #792 London via Brüsszel, #794 Amszterdam via Mannheim, #795 Paris via Strasbourg

By train

The region can be reached almost from all European big cities. The nearest points are Nagykanizsa and Zalaegerszeg toward Vienna, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Koper

Within Hungary there are direct trains from Budapest Keleti and Déli station. In the main season there are direct lines on the route between Miskolc and Keszthely.

By boat

Steamer, Keszthely Port

By car

From Western Europe:

From Southern Europe:

From Eastern Europe:

From inland:

If you are willing to take a little more time to reach your destination you will be rewarded with a more scenic route using highway 71 along the north shore of lake Balaton. This route will take you first a couple km away Gyenesdiás further going through Balatonfured and passes the Tihany peninsula, which is well worth a detour.

Get around

Keszthely is the regional centre for an efficient and cheap bus system, although not always as frequent as one would wish. The main bus terminal is directly outside the railway station. Buses are available from here for Heviz, Fonyod, Tapolca, Badacsony, Nagykanizsa, and Balatonfured.


In the downtown parking charges.

Local Rail services are also available to towns along the north shore of lake Balaton, and during the summer months lake ferries also service the lakeside towns.



Keszthely Synagogue



Port and mole at the Balaton
János Vajda High School, monument building

Further afield

Rezi Castle
Castle ruin of Tatika
Kis-Balaton, Buffalo reserve


Paddle boats on Lake Balaton in Keszthely




Swedish Massage in Keszthely 40 minutes €10., phone=+36 30 313 72 83


Walking tours

Walk in the Keszthely Mountains and the Small-Balaton National Park. - The 'Countrywide Blue Tour in Hungary' passes through the town. You can take long walks around the lake in the beautiful protected green woodland area surrounding the thermal waters (Hévíz).

  1. Keszthely-Felgyenes-Naturpark Visitor Center (Nagymező)-Náradfő-Vállus-Kő orra-Lesenceistvánd-Tapolca: National Blue Trail (Time: 7 hours, Distance: 25 km, Ascent: 349 m)
  2. Keszthely-Vadaskert-Hévíz-Gyöngyösi csárda (Restaurant)-Rezi Castle-Zalaszántó-Tátika-Sarvaly-Sümegprága-Sümeg: National Blue Trail ( Time: 5 hours, Distance: 16,5 km, Ascent: 308 m. )
  3. Hévíz Thermal Lake-Wine cellars of Bükk-Savanyós Springs-Felsőpáhok (Time: 2.5 hours, Distance: 9 km, Ascent: 95 m )
  4. 4 Keszthely-Semely Hill-Cserszegtomaj-Rezi-Ilona Valley-Falumalmi Erdészház (Forest House)-Zerna creek-Zalaszántó ( Time: 4 hours, Distance: 15 km, Ascent: 236 m.)
  5. Keszthely-Várvölgyi road-Sátormagas alja-Sátormagas-Csetényi meadow (rét)-Várvölgy village ( Time: 4 hours, Distance 14.5 km, Ascent: 223 m.)
  6. Keszthely-Sömögye Dülő-Felgyenes-Büdöskúti Valley-Vadvízárok-Büdöskút puszta-Székmány-Balatonederics Vasútállomás (Railway Station) (Time: 4.5 hours, Distance: 16 km, Ascent: 285 m.)
  7. Gyenesdiás Vasúti Megálló (Railway Station)-Vadlánlik-Tüskéslap-Naturpark Visitor Centre (Nagymező )-Petőhegy (Berzsenyi-kilátó)-Büdöskútpuszta-Padkő-Szobakú Cave-Bélap Valley-Balatongyörök (Railway station) (Time: 3.5-4 hours, Distance: 13 km, Ascent: 270 m.)
  8. 8 Bélap Völgy-Bisekü-Márványkőfejtő-Sárkányerdői Vadászház-Balatonederics ( Time: 1 hour, Distance: 3.75 km, Ascent: 324 m.)
  9. Vonyarcvashegy Vasútállomás (Railway station) – Kitaibel-Kilátó-Cseri kapu-Berzsenyi-Kilátó-Büdöskútpuszta-Szent Miklós forrás-Hegyes tű-Nemesvita (Time: 2-2.5 hours, Distance: 7 km, Ascent: 272 m.)
  10. Gyenesdiás Nagymező Natúrpark-Berzsenyi Outlook tower-Büdöskútpuszta-Szent Mikós forrás-Szent Miklós völgy-Vállus-Jáger houses (Csettegő Spring) (Time: 2.5 hours, Distance: 9 km, Ascent: 112 m.)

Water Sports



Kayaking / canoeing


Winter Sports

Cross-country skiing

Ice hockey

Skating on Balaton (Be careful)


Other outdoor activities

Wind-gliding or air-ballooning are possible in the area. Also who would like could fishing or hunting. About details ask around in your accommodation and in tourist office (see above). Parasailing, football.





Other stores


Keszthely town centre


At the Lakeside Bars and cafes


Keszthely town centre
Keszthely town centre
Keszthely town centre

Keszthely has a variety of places to stay, ranging from rentable apartments to the 5 star 224 room 8 suite:

Stay Healthy


Phone The local area code is 83. The country code for Hungary is +36.

Keszthely postal code is: H-8360

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