About the city
Balatonfüred, more than just a resort town.
Füred is the oldest resort on the shores of Lake Balaton, but there is much more to this charming little town, nestled among the rolling hills. It is a popular destination primarily because of its proximity to Lake Balaton and its climate, which resembles the climate of the Mediterranean, and many people also come to Füred for the thermal springs and the engaging cultural life.
The small town, which has roughly 13,000 permanent residents, is located on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, 130 kilometers from Budapest. Highway 71 and the single-track railway from Budapest to Tapolca pass through the town.
The area was already inhabited in Roman times, but its name was first mentioned in 1211, in the list of the estates of Tihany Abbey. Tourism has always played a significant role in the lives of the inhabitants of Füred. After the acidic waters of Füred were declared medicinal waters, the town became a spa resort.
Balatonfüred started to thrive in the 1800s, during what is known in Hungary as the Reform Era, when major political changes were underway. It was a popular meeting place for liberal politicians and artists, and it came to play a major historical and cultural role. The town has many monuments, important buildings, and traditions from this period. There are many sumptuous villas and manor houses in Füred the owners of which made important contributions to shaping the image of Balatonfüred and spreading its fame far and wide.
In 1831, with donations from the abbey and the people, poet and dramatist Sándor Kisfaludy opened the first permanent theater in Balatonfüred, which functioned as a kind of home for the Hungarian language at a time when German was the official language. The historic lower part of the town has a Reform Era atmosphere, one of the gems of which is the neoclassical Blaha Lujza villa, where the famous turn-of-the-century Hungarian actress Lujza Blaha spent her summers for 23 years. In his book of anecdotal narratives entitled Journey Around Lake Balaton, Károly Eötvös devotes a whole chapter to Balatonfüred, which was inspired by the time he spent in the town. Balatonfüred is also the setting for a short story by internationally famous Hungarian writer István Örkény entitled Satan. But the town had perhaps the greatest impact on the oeuvre of nineteenth-century novelist Mór Jókai, who spent a great deal of time in his villa in Balatonfüred. It was here that he wrote his famous novel The Man with the Golden Touch, part of which is set on Lake Balaton. The building is now a museum, where visitors s can see Jókai’s furniture and personal belongings.