Keszthely is a beautiful town at the shore of lake Balaton. It's nice and cosy but totally full of tourists, so it has lost part of its "essence." It's a good place to stay for a few days, though. I really liked it!
Keszthely is a quaint, family-friendly town on the western shore of beautiful Lake Balaton, central Europe's largest lake, and a popular tourist destination for Hungarians and German-speaking vacationers. Although public transport in town is sparse, everything is within easy walking distance. The town centre is only a few blocks from the lake and main bus/train stations, and features a large, open square with fountains, baroque-era buildings, and a pedestrian street shaded by lovely trees and bounded by small shops featuring souvenirs, jewelery, clothing, luggage, and food.
Although Keszthely isn't very large (it has a population of about twenty-one thousand), it is the largest city on the lake and well worth visiting. It has a number of tourist attractions -- lovely Festetics palace and gardens, old Franciscan church and cemetery, many museums, several parks, an open-air market (which usually closes around 1-2 p.m.), plenty of restaurants and cafes, a tourist info centre (where you can get a West Balaton discount card), and, of course, an abundant lakeshore. The lake area offers opportunities for enjoying various water sports. The lake has a variety of restaurants and small shops along its shore, as well as a lovely lakeside park with a variety of free, daily outdoor entertainment in the evenings. It is also home to Helikon wellness center, which hosted the European Women's Boxing Championships in 2010 and 2013.
Nearby is the forested Balaton Uplands National Park, featuring plenty of hiking and biking trails with spectacular views of the lake. This area is also the heart of wine country, so opportunities for wine-tasting are plentiful. Also nearby is the famous mineral-rich Heviz thermal lake and medicinal spas, along with Little Balaton, a wetlands area which is a good spot for birding and nature walks.
The town of Keszthely is connected to other towns on the lake by the Balaton Bike Ring path, which circles the entire lake. Bikes can be rented from at least two places in town, not far from the town centre, which also offer guided bicycle tours of various lengths. The bike path can be used by pedestrians, bikers, scooters, and in-line skaters to reach nearby beaches and towns quite easily. The town's bus/train station is on the lakeshore, about a fifteen-minute walk from the town centre. Train tickets can be bought in advance at the train station, while bus tickets can only be purchased from the driver on the day of travel.
There are plenty of places to stay in Keszthely and the standard is good for central Europe. Besides Keszthely hostels, there are also guesthouses, hotels, and camping. Keszthely hostels near the lake benefit from cool lake breezes during hot summer days, especially as air-conditioning is not usually available. Since Keszthely is a popular Hungarian tourist destination it is advisable to book ahead during the high season (late June through August).
Hi, I'm Zondu,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Keszthely hostels. Welcome.