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Last updated : Nov 2009
West Hungary and Lake Balaton
West Hungary and Lake Balaton - TravelPuppy.com
Sopron, close to the Austrian frontier, is built on old Roman foundations, and reminders of the region’s history are still very much in evidence in the town’s many listed buildings. Among the sights here are the Firewatch Tower, Storno House showing Roman, Celtic and Avar relics as well as mementos of Franz Liszt, the Gothic Goat Church and the gargoyled Church of St Michael.

Elsewhere

The Baroque Esterházy Palace is located 27km (17 miles) away at Fertöd, designed to rival Versailles, Josef Haydn was music master here at the end of the 18th century. Nearby is the spa town of Balf and the walled town of Köszeg and the riverside town of Györ, on the main Budapest–Vienna highway, Szombathely, which claims to be the oldest town in Hungary and has some excellent Romanesque stonework, and Zalaegerszeg are also attractive towns to visit.

Located between Budapest and Lake Balaton, Székesfehérvár boasts a Baroque Town Hall, as well as the Zichy Palace and the Garden of Ruins – an open-air museum.

Fertõ-Hanság National Park, the main areas of which are Lake Fertõ, the westernmost steppe lake in Eurasia, and the Hanság, an area of wetlands, adjoins the Austrian National Park Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel. Birdwatching, cycling and hiking are popular, and there is a permanent wildlife and ethnographic museum at Öntésmajor.

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton is a popular holiday region because of its sandy beaches and shallow waters. The surrounding countryside consists mainly of fertile plains dotted with some old villages. Siófok, on the south shore of the lake, has some of the sandiest beaches and best facilities for visitors.

Keszthely is a pleasant old town, including the Festetics Palace with its Helicon Library, and the Balaton Museum. Hévíz, Europe’s largest thermal lake, is a short bus ride away. Balatonfüred is a well-known health resort with 11 medicinal springs.

Tihany’s Benedictine Abbey was founded during 1055, Belsô-tó Lake and the Aranyház geyser cones are nearby. Veszprém, 10km (6 miles) north of Lake Balaton, is a pretty town with cobbled streets, built on 5 hills. It is the home of the Var Museum, an Episcopal Palace and the 13th-century Gizella Chapel.