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.
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 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.
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.