PALACES IN WESTERN HUNGARY

The Festetics PalaceKeszthelyBalaton

 

 

 

Dég, the Festetics Palace

You can find this Neo-classical palace close to the south-eastern tip of Lake Balaton. It is surrounded by the largest and most impressive English garden in the country, where visitors can walk for several hours.


One of the earliest Neo-classical palaces in Hungary, it was built between 1802 and 1815 by Antal Festetics based on plans of Mihály Pollack. It is surrounded by the largest English garden in Hungary, which was a curiosity even at the beginning of the 19th century. It’s as big as Central Park in New York! The famous red-brick Dutch house stands on the central island of its two-kilometre lake system, and you can even go fishing on the lake with a permit, which is a special experience in the beautiful palace park. This historic setting also includes a tennis court, which has retained its function to this day and offers players a unique historical experience. The one-storey, U-shaped palace with a basement is a popular filming location, and after its reconstruction, it will function as a community cultural space with interactive exhibitions.


You might recognise the Festetics Palace in Dég from the big screen: several scenes from the American thriller Red Sparrow and the film Kincsem, based on the story of the legendary Hungarian racehorse, were shot here.



Designer: Mihály Pollack
Date of construction: 1810–1815
Style: Neo-classical
Opening date: The park has been open to visitors since mid-2021

 


Attractions in the area:

 

  • Experience the atmosphere of Renaissance courtyards at the Pipo Castle Palace in Ozora.
  • Get to know the old town and the winding streets of Székesfehérvár, one of the Hungarian cities with the richest past.
  • Discover Hungary's most important zoo outside of Budapest in Veszprém. 

Fertőd-Eszterháza, the Esterházy Palace

The largest and the most beautiful Baroque palace in Hungary is also known as the "Hungarian Versailles". One of the most popular attractions in the north-west part of the country is the 126-room Baroque complex and its 300-hectare park.



The 126 Rococo-style rooms, the Esterházy Gallery with 650 paintings, the imposing wrought-iron gate, the chapel, the Puppet Theatre, the ornamental courtyard with the fountain, and the 300-hectare French garden all illustrate how truly luxurious the Esterházy Palace in Eszterháza was, making it a residence worthy of kings. Joseph Haydn also spent almost two decades there in the service of Miklós Esterházy, who was a patron of the arts. The cultural role of the palace is still significant today. It continues musical traditions as a venue for exciting classical music concerts and events. The palace’s French garden was designed in the time of Miklós “the Magnificent” Esterházy, according to the tastes of the period.


Composer Joseph Haydn spent more than half of his active career at the palace.

 


Attractions in the area:

 

  • Discover the old town of Sopron.
  • Splash in the spa complexes of Bükfürdő and Sárvár in winter and summer.
  • Ride a bike and check out all the sights around Lake Fertő.


    Designer: Anton Erhard Martinelli, Nicolaus Jacoby, Ferdinand Mödlhammer, Melchior Hefele
    Date of construction: 18th century
    Style: Baroque, Rococo, Zopf 

Keszthely, the Festetics Palace, Helikon Palace Museum

The Festetics Palace is the third largest and most visited palace in Hungary. Its magnificent halls offer authentic furnishings, exhibitions, cultural events and concerts to visitors.



Its construction was started by Kristóf Festetics in 1745, although the one-storey Baroque palace was rebuilt and expanded several times in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it serves as a museum and an event centre with 101 rooms, and is home to the largest intact aristocratic library in Europe with a collection of 86,000 volumes, which thankfully survived looting during World War II. In the palace park there is a palm house and the former carriage house with the carriage exhibition. And opposite the back exit of the park there is a new building that houses the hunting exhibition and the historical model railway exhibition. The magnificent 42-hectare garden is a nature reserve with trees that are hundreds of years old, colourful flower beds, a garden pond, a lion well, fountains and sculptures.


 In the palace garden you can see a Chinese fern planted in the time of György Festetics and a 400-year-old oak tree.

 


Attractions in the area:

 

  • Taste the outstanding wines at the cellars in the Badacsony wine region.
  • Go boating in the unique Tapolca Lake Cave.
  • Take a dip in Lake Hévíz, Europe's largest thermal lake.


    Designer: -Kristóf Hoffstedter, Victor Rumpelmayer, Gustav Haas, Maximilian Paschkis
    Date of construction: 1745–1750/1883–1887
    Style: Baroque, neo-Baroque 

Majk (Oroszlány–Majk), the Camaldolese monastery

In times of yore the tranquillity of the Camaldolese hermits, who took vows of silence, dominated the building complex. You can still experience this by visiting the monastery and its intimate inner courtyard.



The building complex, which is unlike any other still standing in Europe, can be found in the middle of a forest near a lake. In 1727, Count Miklós Esterházy invited the silent hermits of the Camaldolese order to the building of the later Esterházy Palace. Their presence is preserved in the form of seventeen Puritan cell houses around the church tower and the former monastery. The place exudes a special kind of tranquillity and as you wander around you can experience the peace of the silent monks: you can learn about the life and the customs of the monks in the rooms, the ornate dining room and the cells furnished in an authentic manner as well as the general and the Hungarian history of the Camaldolese order at the exhibition in the main wing of the monastery building.


You can also learn about the general and the Hungarian history of the Camaldolese order at the monastery.

 


Attractions in the area:

 

  • Get to know the history of the Esterházy family in the Esterházy Palace overlooking the Tata Lake.
  • Admire the Turul Monument and the Szelim Cave, which is a few minutes’ walk away.
  • Discover Central Europe’s largest modern fortress in Komárom.


    Designer: Franz Anton Pilgram 
    Date of construction: 1733–1771
    Style: Baroque 

Nádasdladány, the Nádasdy Palace

It is one of the country’s most beautiful Revivalist buildings, a rarity in Hungary with its neo-Gothic Tudor style. The Hall of Ancestors is one of the most lavish Revivalist palace interiors in Hungary.



The romantic, multi-towered neo-Gothic palace is a worthy reminder of the unshakable love of Count Ferenc Nádasdy and Countess Ilona Zichy. And the Hall of Ancestors, which displays portraits of the great Nádasdys, is the most beautiful ancient gallery in Hungary. The fairytale palace was decorated with wrought-iron chandeliers, carved wooden furniture and stained glass windows, and comfort was provided by modern equipment. Visitors can learn about the history of the building and experience the everyday life of the palace with the help of digital technology and through the interiors that are similar to their original versions. In the garden, which is free to visit, interactive nature trails introduce you to the history of the park and to the world of local plants and animals.



According to local reports, the iron gate of the palace park, which is still in use, was made for the Underworld film franchise, which was filmed there, while the upholstery of the palace’s chairs and the curtains in the large salon were renewed when filming the series Borgias.



Attractions in the area:

 

  • Get to know the old town and the winding streets of Székesfehérvár, one of the Hungarian cities with the richest past.
  • Discover Hungary's most important zoo outside of Budapest in Veszprém.
  • Discover the Bird Sanctuary at Lake Velence.


    Designer: István Linzbauer, Alajos Hauszmann
    Date of construction: 1873–1880
    Style: Revivalist, neo-Gothic
    Opening date: Second half of 2021 

Ozora, the Pipo Castle Palace

The old castle palace of Pipo in Ozora transports you back to the age of knights with exceptional exhibitions. But you can do more than just enjoy the atmosphere of the renaissance courtyards as a museum visitor and as a hotel guest.



Filippo Scolari of Florence, the famous knight of King Sigismund who foiled the Ottoman siege, fell in love with the daughter of the owner of Ozora, and this is when he was named Pipo of Ozora. He converted his Italian-style, late Gothic castle into a Renaissance style palace before the Turkish occupation. Today, visitors can travel straight back to the age of knights by visiting the inner courtyard, which is covered with wild grapes, the collection of weapons and the historic halls upstairs. Another special feature is the exhibition presenting the five-century history of the castle palace, with rich finds from archaeological excavations and monument research. The palace has five guest rooms for visitors to Ozora, from where it is also worth exploring the area.


Stay overnight in one of the five guest rooms and experience the atmosphere of the age of knights in the palace.

 


Attractions in the area:

 

  • Learn about the history of our King St. Ladislaus, the founder of the abbey, with the help of the St. Ladislaus National Memorial Visitor Centre.
  • Discover the Neo-classical Festetics Palace in Dég and stroll through the largest English garden in the country.
  • Discover Hungary's most important zoo outside of Budapest in Veszprém.



    Date of construction: 1416–1426
    Style: Renaissance 

Siklós, the Siklós Castle

The Siklós Castle is one of the best-preserved parts of Hungary’s historical heritage. Its foundations were laid in the Middle Ages, but several architectural styles have left their mark on the building. Its reputation was further enhanced by the TV series The Captain of Tenkes.



One of the best-preserved palaces in Hungary, it was built after the Tatar invasion, and had many owners over the centuries from the 14th century onwards. A famous resident was the palatine Dorottya Kanizsai, who went from here to bury the dead after the battle of Mohács. Today it offers a complex historical experience to visitors: in addition to the castle and military history exhibition, its attractions include a wine museum, a prison exhibition – with devices that you can try – a Gothic bay window, which is a masterpiece of stonemasonry, the unique prayer niche of Dorottya Kanizsai, a rose garden and the castle chapel. The terrace offers wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, and the east wing is home to temporary exhibitions.


The Captain of Tenkes takes place during the Rákóczi War of Independence. In the popular TV series, the palace of Siklós was used as a citadel of the Austrian (labanc) soldiers.


Attractions in the area:

 

  • Discover the monuments of different ages and the diverse culture of Pécs.
  • Relax and recharge your batteries in one of Hungary’s oldest traditional baths, in Harkány.
  • Taste the elegant red wines of the Villány wine region.



    Date of construction: 1260–1294
    Style: Gothic 

Sümeg, the Episcopal Palace

Built in the middle of the 18th century, the Episcopal Palace is an outstanding example of Hungarian Baroque architecture and a significant memento of the heyday of Sümeg with its priceless architectural values and paintings.



When Márton Padányi Biro became bishop of Veszprém, he chose Sümeg as his new seat. He built his palace on the side of the Castle Hill in a style reminiscent of Baroque architecture, and commissioned artists to decorate it. The Revivalist decorative paintings made in the first decades of the 20th century can still be seen in many places today. There are permanent and temporary art exhibitions in the halls of the palace, and the attractions include the private episcopal chapel dedicated to St. Martin.



Its chapel and upstairs rooms are decorated with stucco, and several interiors are decorated with woodwork.



Designer: Paul Mojser 
Date of construction: 1748–1753
Style: Baroque
Opening date: Second half of 2021 

Sümeg, the Sümeg Castle

Sümeg Castle is one of the most beautiful medieval fortresses in the country. Defying the ups and downs of history, it still provides an imposing sight as it dominates its surroundings from the hilltop.


Sümeg Castle is one of the largest, most intact and best located medieval palaces in the country. Although the city was repeatedly taken over by the Turks, they were never able to occupy the fort that was built on the hill. It is one of the most popular excursion sites in the Balaton Uplands, and in summer colourful castle games are organised to commemorate its important role in the Middle Ages. At its permanent exhibitions you can learn about the world of medieval prisons, the episcopal dwelling and council chamber, the castle chapel, the cartwright and blacksmith workshops and the herb and rose gardens, as well as the cannons and other weapons. Renovations and reconstructions are always happening, but it is remains open to the public.


The Historical Equestrian Games outside the castle, complete with a Tatar horse stunt show, have a great reputation.

 


Attractions and activities in the area:

 

  • Adventure in the Baroque Festetics Palace in Keszthely.
  • Taste the outstanding wines at the cellars in the Badacsony wine region.
  • Go boating in the unique Tapolca Lake Cave.


    Date of construction: The second half of the 13th century
     

Szigliget, Szigliget Castle

The only castle on the shores of Lake Balaton can be found in Szigliget, which is why it is also known as the “Castle of Lake Balaton". The more than 750-year-old ruins offer stunning views of the blue water and the Tapolca Basin.


Szigliget Castle is a must for holidaymakers at Lake Balaton, where they can also see a Baroque kitchen, an armoury and a chapel. The exhibitions present the adventurous history of the castle: In 1260, King Béla V first donated Szigliget to the Benedictines of Pannonhalma, then took it back for another estate. The fate of the building, which resisted Turkish sieges, was marked by a lightning strike at the end of the 17th century: much of it was burnt down and its stones were taken away by the villagers as building material. Archaeologists have been gradually rebuilding the castle walls for almost 30 years, mostly from ruined old houses in the village, so the original building materials have been put back in place! The castle also offers many modern attractions, including chronoscopes, which include a Turkish battle and the tragic lightning strike that destroyed the castle.



The castle’s bastions offer stunning views over the blue water and the Tapolca Basin.

 


Attractions in the area:

 

  • Adventure in the Baroque Festetics Palace in Keszthely.
  • Go boating in the unique Tapolca Lake Cave.
  • Take a dip in Lake Hévíz, Europe's largest thermal lake.


    Date of construction: 14th-17th centuries 

Tata, the Esterházy Palace

The Esterházy Palace overlooking the Old Lake in Tata is a special treasure of Hungary’s architectural heritage. Famous rulers visited here and national events took place within its walls.



The late Baroque-style palace overlooking the Tata Lake has undergone a complete monumental reconstruction and you can see the magnificent suites again in their old glory and learn about the history, the diplomatic relations and the aristocratic lifestyle of the Esterházy family at the interactive exhibitions. A special exhibition has been dedicated to diplomatic events. Its famous palace theatre was designed by the Fellner and Helmer company, which also designed Vígszínház (Comedy Theatre) and the Vienna Konzerthaus. King Francis I and Queen Maria Ludovika, Joseph Francis I, and Emperor William II also visited. The treaty of Schönbrunn with Napoleon was signed here, but the room where it happened would later become a tiled mental hospital room: the palace functioned as a psychiatric institution until 1996. Today the main building, the courtyard and the park serve as a venue for high-quality events.


Gustav Klimt made the auditorium of the palace theatre the subject of one of his paintings.

 



Attractions in the area:

 

  • Learn the story of the Camaldolese order in Majk.
  • Admire the Turul Monument and the Szelim Cave, which is a few minutes’ walk away.
  • Discover Central Europe’s largest modern fortress in Komárom.



    Designer: Jakab Fellner
    Date of construction: 1765–1777
    Style: Baroque 

Tata, Tata Castle

Tata Castle, the number one symbol of Tata, bears the architectural features of six centuries. It was a popular holiday destination for kings, and with its red roof it is an eye-catching sight on the shores of the Old Lake.



In the 14th century, palatine István Lackfi built a small castle here. Later he was beheaded due to a conspiracy against the king and Tata was confiscated by Sigismund of Luxembourg. The king set out to build a castle palace and enjoyed spending time here. The castle functioned as a resting place due to the excellent hunting opportunities in the area. King Matthias turned it into a Renaissance palace. One of the magnificent green and mixed-glaze stoves was reconstructed on the basis of finds made here, and it now recalls the beauty of Tata Castle’s heyday. Today, the Domokos Kuny Museum is located in the castle with permanent local history and thematic exhibitions.


Tata Castle and its surroundings appear several times in the 2019 fantasy-drama series The Witcher with the Old Lake also visible on screen in the fifth episode.




Date of construction: 1397–1409 
Style: Renaissance
 

MOVE AROUND LIKE A HUNGARIAN