Szigligeti Vár, the Balaton Castle, as many locals and tourists call it, is an impressive medieval fortress with awesome lake views. Actually, it is the only castle of its type visitable on the shore of Lake Balaton. Click here for more information about Lake Balaton and discover one of its most hidden secrets!
The castle dates back to the 13th century. Under the Ottomans the castle became neglected, with no funds for its maintenance. It has suffered natural calamities and multiple attacks in its history but fortunately the walls were reinforced during the 20th century and the recent reconstruction made able to show one of the best faces for a medieval fortress.
Ready again for visitors
The first time I spotted Szigliget Vár, the Balaton Castle was under renovation. It looked to me as one more of the interesting fortresses you can spot on the top of a hill in Europe. I clearly underestimated it.
That was before the pandemic and I couldn’t come again till this late August of 2021. Anna is from Balaton and she strongly wanted me to visit the castle now that the renovation had finished last April 2021. Obviously, she was right and was fully worth it!
How to get to the Szigligeti Vár, the Balaton Castle
You have to reach Szigliget town at Lake Balaton. Fortunately, it is possible to arrive by bus, train or car directly from Budapest. The cheapest and more convenient option is by bus since it is around 8 euros and the trip is 3 hours long. By train it is around 10 euros but it takes 4 hours to arrive.
Probably by car is the most comfortable option and the fastest, since you can arrive in 2 hours and 15 minutes from Budapest but you may need to rent a car. Once you are there, think that is probably better to park the car down in town than to deal in season with the crowd and the road to get up to the hill.
For a small group, you can order a direct transfer from Budapest city or directy from or to the airport.
What to expect from the Szigligeti Vár?
The castle itself is a historical gem. It is possible to discover the different rooms inside, such as the kitchen or the guards room. On the program of the castle you may find nice exhibits and interactive elements.
It is not mandatory to wear the mask inside as it is not mandatory in the entire Hungary. The atmosphere inside is quite calm even though it is a very visited spot, especially in season. Nevertheless don’t expect crowds inside. The toilets and everything are extremely clean. In addition, there is at the bottom a quality food-court by the entrance and they schedule evening concerts at the Castle.
Certainly, the most appreciated asset of the castle is the unique views from the top. You can go up through the stairs to the different levels of the castle and admire the lake, or the fields and the hills around it.
How much it cost to visit the Szigligeti Vár?
Unfortunately after the renovation the price increased to 1000 HUF (3,3 euros) for adults and 500 HUF for kids. Dogs are welcome and they don’t pay an entrance fee.
Where to stay around the Szigligeti Vár?
Hungary is not an expensive country for accommodations, especially if you think about good value for your money. Around Szigliget there are options for all the budgets. Take a look at Booking!
With a bit of extra time, you will be able to visit Sümeg castle, the medieval icon of Hungury. Szigliget and Sümeg are less than half an hour far from each other.
Why to visit the Szigligeti Vár, the Balaton Castle
- The views from the top to Lake Balaton are simply stunning
- To enjoy nice drinks and food in a nice court close to the history
- It is possible to learn a lot about Balaton area in Hungary
- It is a perfect family plan, excellent for kids
- Dogs are welcome
- You will be able to admire the scenary of many navy battles on Balaton againts the Ottomans.
- It is a cheap plan to fulfill a morning or an afternoon