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Home » The opposite ends of Lake Balaton #1: Keszthely

The opposite ends of Lake Balaton #1: Keszthely

Lake Balaton with swans in Keszthely - Pubtourist

After the eventful聽discovery of Si贸fok, I stopped by聽two more times聽last summer and had a closer look at the pub life of two other towns at Lake Balaton, the largest lake of Central Europe. Keszthely聽in the northeastern corner and Balatonvil谩gos in the southwestern corner were two very different experience. Lets see the first one!

Lake Balaton was always a popular tourist destination, especially in the communist era but in the last years it started to shine in聽a new 2010’s glory for Hungarian and foreign visitors too. Keszthely with ca. 21.000 inhabitants is the second largest town on both shores of Lake Balaton after Si贸fok. Besides the beautiful Balaton shore it聽has a tidy city center, recently renovated one and a famous castle with a big spectacular visitor park. For me, this place is聽special because it was the closest city by Lake Balaton to my hometown when I was a child. I had so many experience for the first time here: the first bee sting, my first hot-dog with ketchup and I felt here for the first time how burping after drinking coke can hurt my nose. This is also the place where I made my first gastronomical observations. I realized German and Hungarian tourists very much prefer to eat Debreceni sausages with pickles, mustard and a big hunk of white bread.

The former row of pavilions is still standing. It has changed a lot but it still brings back old memories.

The row of pavilions in Keszthely - Pubtourist

I can’t get bored of the Balaton shore either with the many swans, willow trees and the unique look of the municipal beach, it is a mixture of all ages.

Lake Balaton with swans in Keszthely - Pubtourist

The outer look of the municipal beach of Keszthely - Pubtourist

I had the luck to arrive to Keszthely when a beer festival was in the town. I headed to its direction. On my way I realized some of the new fountains and statues of the city.

The new fountain with old hotels in the Backgrond in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

In the background yous see legendary old hotels, the “Balaton” and the “Wave”

The statue of Ferenc Cs铆k, a former swimming champion in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

The statue of Ferenc Cs铆k a former swimming champion

The festival wasn’t as lively as one in Budapest would be this time the year and this time the week but it is very good to have one at Lake Balaton too.

Beerfestival in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

There was a very interesting presentation about the history of the beer in the performance of Hungary’s favorite beer historian, Csaba Katona. He speaks about beer like a stand-up comedian. And you can learn a lot while having a great time. I am a big fan of his work. It is too bad that he doesn’t have an english counterpart.

The presentation of Csaba Katona, beer historian

After this I went on to track down the most recommended local place, Club 512. It was formerly in downtown. Now it took聽root in the territory of the beach. This is how it looked in a聽sleepier moment on Firday afternoon.

512 in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

There was no problem with it at all but most probably it didn’t get legendary after the current form. For the first sight it looked like any other beach buffet, but for me it was a nice experience. The girls in the bar were very kind, they kept an eye on my phone while I went into the water and I had a gyros with remarkable fresh tzatziki next to my spritzer.

pubtourist_keszthely_512_gyros_with_tzatziki

The origin of the pub name is interesting too. Imagine a hand sign to every digit:

5 = hi

1 = one beer please

2 = peace

At Sunday night I tried to hunt down the second most recommended pub, 脕nizs (means anise) in downtown.

The downtown of Keszthely at night - Pubtourist

It was currently closed. I’ve found a real local pub instead, called the Matr贸z (means sailor) Brasserie.

The Matr贸z pub in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

It is operating for 18 years now. Riki in the bar told me that this is one of the 8 last glorious pubs of the town. Rumor has is that once Keszthely was full of small, traditional pubs but many of them fell victim to the refurbishments and the tourist profil – the聽guests said. Unfortunately I couldn’t see the聽closed ones anymore but for my next visit I added to my bucket list to see the remaining 7 pieces.

Matr贸z seemed to be a regular-headquarter聽that even represent itself as “Keszthely Zoo” on the wall.

The Matr贸z pub inside in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

The Matr贸z Pub calls itself the Keszthely Zoo by Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

The guests were聽receptive to聽me, they even took me along with them to the next pub on the row of pavilions close to the beach. We had to go forth and back through the dark Helikon park. Csaba Boroz贸 was a popular retro wine bar with a quite attractive atmosphere for tourist and local people at the same time.

Csaba boroz贸 in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

Sitting in the night with a glass of spritzer on the scene of my childhood Lake Balaton afternoon made my day night too.

The row of Pavilions at night in Keszthely, Lake Balaton - Pubtourist

I continue the story with Balatonvil谩gos

 

 

 

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