Perched on the western shore of Lake Balaton, Keszthely is a Hungarian cultural and economic hub that has been inhabited since Roman times. It’s surrounded by forested hills and the bird-filled swamps of the Zala River Delta while it’s also a stone’s throw from the famous spa town of Heviz.
Things to do in Keszthely
One of Keszthely’s most magnificent buildings is the Festetics Palace, an 18th-century masterpiece that houses the Helikon Palace Museum. Experience life for the Hungarian aristocracy as you wander through its lavishly decorated rooms and marvel at the rare books preserved within the Helikon Library. Horse-drawn carriages dating from the 18th century are also on display while the palace’s palmery is planted with tropical and Mediterranean species.
The history of Lake Balaton is explored at the Balaton Museum, which occupies a Neo-Baroque building designed by Györgyi Denes. Its exhibits showcase the people, plants and wildlife of what is affectionately known as the “Hungarian Sea”, with interactive games and a play corner that will appeal to kids.
Keszthely is a convenient base for enjoying the thermal waters of Lake Heviz, which is the largest swimmable thermal lake in the world. It has long been renowned for its therapeutic properties and is home to the indigenous European white water lily. In addition to its outdoor swimming pools, Lake Heviz’s wellness complex includes a medicinal mud pool, a steam bath and a salt cave, as well as several indulgent spas.
Getting around Keszthely
Keszthely is just under two hours’ drive from Budapest and 2.5 hours from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, which has flights to destinations around the globe. Regular trains connect from the Hungarian capital to the Keszthely railway station and buses travel throughout the city.