Historic sites around Lake Balaton
The area around Lake Balaton has been occupied for thousands of years because of the fertile land, the clean drinking water and the plentiful supply of fish. The area is full of history, as illustrated by the recent discovery of the remains of a Celtic village near Balatonboglár. The Celtic relics are displayed at the tourist office in Balatonboglár. Many of the other towns and villages around the lake have their own local history museums and historical sites. The main historic buildings in the area are at Kesthely, Sümeg and Tihany.
Festetics Palace at Keszthely
Keszthely is the oldest town by Lake Balaton. Prehistoric remains have been found in the area. The Romans stayed there and it has been occupied ever since.
Central Keszthely is the site of a 14th century Gothic church and the beautiful Festetics Palace, built by the wealthy Festetics family in 1745. The library wing of the palace houses 86,000 books including rare volumes.
The first agricultural college in Europe was founded here in 1797 by the Festetics family. The Balaton Museum in Keszthely houses exhibits that illustrate the formation and history of Lake Balaton as well as rare paintings from the area.
The castle at Sümeg, built in the 14th century, is one of the best preserved in Hungary and houses a little museum, depicting the castle's history, relics, torture chamber and waxwork gallery.
During the summer months, medieval battles are re-enacted and there are displays of jousting. Click here to view photo gallery of Sümeg Castle
Tihany is a beautiful village situated on a hilly peninsula on the Northern shore of Lake Balaton. The 18th century Baroque abbey perched on a hill can be seen from miles away. It was built around one of the most precious monuments of Hungarian architecture, the crypt of a former Benedictine church, founded in 1055, which survives in its original form today.
Tihany is dotted with very old and beautifully preserved buildings that include little museums depicting rural life by Lake Balaton in ancient times.
Fonyód, Szántódpuszta, Zamárdi, Buzsak and Balatonendred
Fonyód commemorates Hungarian history with a medieval drama festival in Early August.
Szántódpuszta, a few kilometres from Balatonboglár, has fine examples of peasant architecture, dwelling houses and farm buildings that can be seen in their original state.
Zamárdi has a museum house with original furnishings. Buzsak has a thatched museum house.
Balatonendred has been associated with lace making for over a century and examples can be bought in shops and markets around the area.