The Festetics Castle in Keszthely from the mid-18th century for 200 years was the home of one of the most significant noble families in Hungary, the Festetics family. Today it operates as a museum under the name Helikon Castle.
The Festetics family changed, modified and built to the castle in Baroque, Neo-Baroque and Rococo styles until it achieved its admirable look today.
The building of the castle, its interior design and furnishing were partially preserved during the Second World War, unlike most Hungarian castles. After the Festetics family left in September 1944, part of the collection was looted by German and Hungarian soldiers and the local population, however, the original furnishing items that can still be seen in the exhibition today were saved.
After the nationalization in 1948, only the library wing and the rooms that were walled up during the war were open to the public under the name Helikon Library, which was under the management of the National Széchényi Library.
Establishment of Castle Museum
The idea of establishing a “castle museum” was already conceived in the 1950s, however, the full external and internal reconstruction of the castle only advanced to the 1970s, so that the museum founded in 1974 as the Helikon Castle Museum could open. The official name of the institution has been Helikon Castle since 2012, its mission is to preserve, scientifically process and present the Festetics heritage. The Helikon Castle welcomes visitors with five buildings and six permanent exhibitions.
Noble Lifestyle and Helikon Library – Interior Exhibition
The original or historically reconstructed interior spaces of the Noble Lifestyle and Helikon Library interior exhibition visible in the castle show the noble lifestyle of the 18th-19th centuries. The greatest value of the castle is Hungary’s only intact private library with more than 80 thousand volumes.
A carriage exhibition opened in the former coach house building in 2002. Its main material is a collection of more than 60 18-19th century carriages, carriages and horse-drawn sleigh related to the noble lifestyle, as well as other material memories and works of art related to horse riding.
“Very rich and rare collection. Today’s viewer can enjoy these great pieces thanks to the precise, careful and professional restoration work. It is worth seeing for the younger generation as well, luckily there is one in the country. ”Csaba CsúcsLocal Guide
The Hunting Exhibition has been visible since 2008 in a building rebuilt after the Second World War by the army. The exhibition gives space to the trophies of game animals hunted in five continents. Visitors can get to know the majority of the animals by walking in their “natural habitat”. The experience is completed by a collection of ethnographic and fine arts related to the topic.
Historical Model Railway Exhibition
The historical model railway exhibition is one of the largest in Europe. The giant model depicting the railways of Hungary, Austria and Germany from the 19th to the 21st century is an authentic replica of the original station buildings, railway tracks, locomotives and carriages.
Noble Journeys. Travel Adventures – Exhibition
At the Amazon House Visitor Center – the former manor house of the Festetics family – the exhibition entitled “Noble Journeys, Travel Adventures” opened in 2016, which presents the travel culture of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and the customs related to the travels with the help of several try-out tools.
Built in the 1880s, the Palm House with its exotic plants recalls the tradition of orangeries and tropical greenhouses that were part of the aristocratic lifestyle since 2012. The Palm House building is surrounded by a rock garden, an aquarium, a garden pond and a bird park.
The Castle Park, a nature conservation area, after a recently completed reconstruction, offers again the view designed by Henry Ernest Milner, the English garden designer in the 1880s, with the renovated lake, the Lion’s Well and the fountains, as well as the Princess Chamber Garden.
The 3D photography took place in the framework of Veszprém-Balaton 2023
InformationsShow on Map
- Whole year
- ClosedOpens tomorrow: 10:00
- Monday (today) closed
- Tuesday 10:00-17:00
- Wednesday 10:00-17:00
- Thursday 10:00-17:00
- Friday 10:00-17:00
- Saturday 10:00-17:00
- Sunday 10:00-17:00