Top ChoiceSights in KeszthelyFestetics Palace
The glimmering white, 100-room Festetics Palace was begun in 1745, and the two wings were extended out from the original building 150 years later. Some 18 splendid rooms in the baroque south wing are now part of the Helikon Palace Museum, as is the palace’s greatest treasure, the Helikon Library, with its 90,000 volumes and splendid carved furniture. Many of the decorative arts in the gilt salons were imported from England in the mid-1800s. The museum’s rooms, each in a different colour scheme, are full of portraits, bric-a-brac and furniture, much of it brought from England by Mary Hamilton, a duchess who married one of the Festetics men in the 1860s. The library is known for its enormous collection of books, but just as impressive is the golden oak shelving and furniture carved in 1801 by local craftsman János Kerbl. Also worth noting are the Louis XIV Salon with stunning marquetry, the mirrored dining hall, the Long Gallery with paintings, the oaken staircase and the private chapel with oratory (1804). Tastings of three to five wines are held in the Balaton Wine House (Balatoni Borok Háza) in the cellars of the palace.