Keszthely is a gentler counterpart to brash Siófok, with a pleasant waterfront with two bays (one for swimming, the other for ferries). There are stretches of grass and small paying beaches (June–Aug 8am–7pm; Városi Strand 1000Ft; Helikon Strand and Libás Strand 500Ft) that give peaceful views over the seemingly never-ending lake.

Walking up from the train station along Martírok útja, you’ll pass the Balaton Museum on your left at Muzeum utca 2 (Jan–April & Oct–Dec Tues–Sat 9am–4pm; May & Sept Tues–Sat 9am–5pm; June–Aug daily 9am–6pm; t83 312 351), hosting exhibits on the region’s history and wildlife. Kossuth utca, swarming with cafés and shops, leads up towards the beige, Baroque Festetics Palace, which also houses hunting, coach and model railway museums (July–Aug daily 9am–6pm; May, June & Sept daily 10am–5pm; Oct–April Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; palace & coach museum 2500Ft, all museums 4200Ft; t83 314 194). The third-largest palace in Hungary, it was built in 1745 by Count György Festetics, who attracted the leading lights of the eighteenth-century literary and high society scenes. Highlights include the mirrored ballroom, but, given the entry fee, those on a budget may prefer to admire the exterior and pretty surrounding gardens. The palace stages regular summer concerts, and in its cellars you can find the Wines of Balaton museum exhibiting 1500 wines (Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; entrance 600Ft or 1500Ft including three tastings; 2500Ft including five tastings).

 

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