Lake Balaton has many charming towns along its shores. Keszthely is the second-largest town on Lake Balaton, and it’s steeped in Hungarian history and brimming with culture. Wine shops, antique stores, a stunning castle, biking trails, and a dog beach compound- complete with fencing to secure the dogs safely are all reasons we took our early summer trip to Keszthely. Read more for planning your Lake Balaton trip.
Founded in the Middle Ages, Keszthely is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and is widely regarded as the Lake Balaton region’s cultural, economic, and educational headquarters. Keszthely’s majestic Festetics Palace, a Baroque-style manor house dating back to the 18th century, is a testament to the city’s historical grandeur. Its impeccably preserved architecture, library, and museum provide a fascinating glimpse into the Hungarian nobility’s lifestyle in bygone eras.
Things to do
Your journey through Keszthely should begin at the Festetics Palace, then if you like museums, the Balaton Museum. The museum offers engaging exhibits that detail the region’s geological, archaeological, and ethnographic history. And be sure to set aside time to explore the Doll Museum, which keeps a vast collection of dolls and toys from different eras and cultures – interesting for both kids and adults. If you have space for some souvenirs, then check out some of the antique stores, there are several, but I like Rònai Antik & Lavendula, which has some homemade lavender products too. Antikbolt Bt is a big old house filled with all sorts of antiques and great for art.
Nature and Outdoor Activities
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Keszthely won’t disappoint. Lake Balaton, often called the Hungarian Sea, is a paradise for water sports aficionados. Take a dip in its calm, clear waters, rent a sailboat or stroll along the lake’s edge. Beyond the lake, Keszthely’s surrounding countryside is crisscrossed with biking and hiking trails.
If you like to bike ride, then you will love the trails along the lake, which are also fantastic for running. Kayaking is excellent too.
Traditional Hungarian cuisine here is influenced by the lake’s bounty, with fish-based dishes such as the famous Halászlé (fisherman’s soup) taking center stage. Grilled and fried carp, trout, and the nonnative Hake are also found in restaurants. Hungary buys large quantities of Hake from Argentina; it’s really good. We usually order a fish plate with several options to share. For an authentic taste of the region, pair your meal with a glass of Balaton wine. We had lunch at Sailing Bistro, almost on the water and just a lovely place. The fish platter was delicious! Pajti is excellent for coffee and brunch.
We stayed at Bacchus Hotel, and it was perfect, easy parking inside their garage or street parking for larger cars, dog friendly, and the cutest restaurant for a fantastic breakfast.
We came for the dog beach and were pleasantly surprised by a town-wide festival with live music and fantastic food. It was a great time, but the dog beach is impressive. Over a hundred dogs played peacefully together in and out of the water, running and swimming. There are sitting areas, a bar, and a café to take breaks from the puppy fun. It’s a great time for dogs. Keszthely is a lovely town with plenty to do for a two or three-night stay. Its proximity to spa town Hévís even makes it a great day trip. The pedestrian center, shops, beautiful castle, and paths along the lake make this a must-visit town.
If you have been or plan to go to Keszthely, please send me a message on Instagram, I would love to hear from you. Subscribe for more travel posts and have a lovely day.