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Szigliget Castle

Szigliget CastleSzigliget Balaton

Where do you take the perfect selfie? The answer is simple: at Szigliget Castle, where your photos will not just be good, but amazing. No wonder this is one of the most visited castles in Hungary. 

A few million years ago, this region was covered by the Pannonian Sea with small volcanoes lying beneath the surface and erupting from time to time. Then, as the sea slowly retreated and dried out and deposits were gradually eroded, what was left behind was the strong and resistant basalt mountains that today are called monadnocks. The village of Szigliget and the castle itself were built on volcanic hills of this kind. These steep monadnocks contribute to the amazing beauty of the region and are also home to excellent hiking trails, wine cellars and smaller castles. Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Hungary and in Central Europe, is the other most important and beautiful component of the Szigliget panorama.


No matter which direction you arrive in Szigliget from, the castle – often called the castle of Lake Balaton – will draw your eyes and you’ll immediately feel the urge to climb up to it. Visitors arriving by car will find a parking area near the castle, so they only have to walk a few hundred metres to get up to it. The basalt mountain here is only 230 metres high, with fortunately only a few steeper upward slopes, but there is bound to be a short queue waiting to enter the castle.

The castle that has never fallen

The castle was originally built by the Benedictines from Pannonhalma in 1260, and over the centuries it changed hands several times. Szigliget Castle is one of the very few in Hungary that were never conquered by the Ottomans. Hungary and Turkey, or more precisely, the Hungarian Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire, were constantly at war with each other for more than 150 years, from 1526 until 1699. The country became a permanent venue for war operations, and occasional invasions and looting were frequent, even during peacetime. The Ottoman army managed to take control of most of the country, but the brave soldiers of Szigliget persevered for 150 years. In the end, the fate of the castle was sealed by a lightning strike, which blew up the gunpowder stored in one of the towers. The fort was considered obsolete by the 16th or 17th century, the most important warpaths avoided it, and after the fatal explosion it was never rebuilt.


Visit the little village at the foot of the hill to try some excellent ice cream or bream, or even taste some superb wine. You should time your visit to the castle so that you can listen to one of the evening musical events performed on the open-air stage. If we can just give you two tips, they are these: come back at sunset, and save your energy so that you can scale the highest castle wall as well.