Helikon Castle Museum
Helikon Castle Museum
4.5
Castles • History Museums
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
101 reviews
Excellent
62
Very good
24
Average
10
Poor
1
Terrible
4

elena076
Moscow, Russia298 contributions
Mar 2019 • Couples
I thoroughly enjoyed both the palace and the model train museum.
In the palace itself there are original or reconstructed rooms showing the aristocratic lifestyle of the 18th and 19th centuries. The most valuable part of the palace is Hungary’s sole intact aristocratic private library, which looks amazing.
The building of the Coach Museum used to be the stable and coach house of the central Festetics estate. Now it contains a fine collection of more than 50 coaches, carriages and sleighs from the golden age of coach and carriage manufacture. Some objects are really unique and the collection, in general, is one of the most diverse of its kind.
After a short leisurely walk across the well-kept park, you will see the Hunting museum, which also houses one of Europe’s largest model railway exhibitions.
75 trains run according to timetable on 2700 meters of tracks surrounded by 1800 buildings. The authentic trains are made up of engines, passenger cars and freight wagons of the 19th and 20th centuries. The rail network of the stations is based on aerial photos and original plans.
A small cafe at the palace is quite expensive, but worth popping in because of the peculiar collection of wall clocks.
The only negative thing which should be mentioned is the condition in which the birds are kept in the palm house. The cages have not been cleaned for ages and there was no fresh water at the time of our visit.
Written March 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SJH42
Ware, UK227 contributions
Jun 2016 • Family
So the weather today has been awful, barely over 24 all day and overcast, so we decided to do something indoors, to be honest not that easy at "Hungary's coast". On a random trip advisor search I came across Festetics Palace in Keszthély, which is about 40 minutes drive on the North Shore. It's always pleasant to drive along the south shore till you nearly reach the border and then take the road which crosses the Zala river and main train line to Zagreb and start a journey up the North Shore, the best bit is every few minutes you pass an elderly lady or very young boy flogging watermelons from a stand consisting of a white patio table a wooden crate chair and an umbrella. The whole road side is littered with cardboard signs saying "watermelons" in various languages, and even this rather busy road is filled with the hazard of random stopping cars as people stop and purchase the fruit.
The town is a university town and being Sunday only the museum's, bars and churches are open so driving through while the football was on had a somewhat festive feel. The museum itself was full of coach parties, and very little else, inside on a Sunday they have lives classical music from 11-5 daily, and people in historical clothing serving food from the Habsburg court but most of the other visitors were just passing through and it seemed a terrible shame.
The palace was commissioned by the Habsburgs with the instructions that it should rival Versailles, it was completed in 1754 and given to the loyal Festetic family from Croatia. (This being almost a border town). The palace is reminiscent of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna and a clue to why the Festetic family home is so far away from the Capital of the Empire may be found in the similarities. What the Royal Palace is famous for, its wonderful zoo, is somewhat parodied here, the Festetics seem to have an obsession with trophy hunting and the museum is an ode to the grotesque. Every conceivable animal has been shot, skinned and stuffed then displayed in a tableau of its natural environment. Dennis seemed mostly worried however by the "local hunter" in each scene, resplendent in furs with native hunting tools there stood an Inuit bringing down a walrus, a tribesman manhandling a hippo, "Did they shoot them too?" He asked "let's not ask, I don't want the answer".
However we could have asked the wonderful and friendly guide, as she was from....and you won't believe this.....Stotfold.
Dotty's favourite part of the Museum was the model trains, which take up a whole floor of the "new" museum a multi million Forrint EU grant is helping to preserve the "English inspired" "Chatsworthesque" Edward Miller gardens by moving some of the more popular exhibits to a purpose built museum across the road. This model train set takes trains on. Journey from Nuremberg to Keszthély via mountain passes and beside Lake Balaton, an ingenious the inbox system allows trains to run under the scenes and back around again and the while thing is controlled by pc monitored by the ever present bored teenager.
The whole palace and its survival is down to the work of one man that second generation owner György Festetic who was a philanthropic polymath who followed the ideals of the enlightenment. He built hospitals and the agricultural college (now university) which briefly made Keszthély the agricultural and scientific centre of enlightenment Europe. He also arranged huge attend music concerts and opened the palace to the people. In 1944 when the town was taken over by the Soviets because of the history of the family's philanthropy and social justice they were allowed to live on at the Palace with the understanding that they would act as caretakers helping to keep this a cultural centre for the people.
During the communist era the stables became a cultural centre and a collection of priceless Habsburg artifacts were able to be stored safely with them understanding of the greater historical good. Also the palace had once been a base of English cartographers and was able to keep its impressive multilingual rococo library.
The palace is still home to the family.
Yesterday according to the guides there had been a big wedding at the Palace so clearly we should have come then!
Written June 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roger B
Lydney, UK173 contributions
Sep 2014 • Family
This castle is set in the town of Keszthely on Lake Balaton. The Castle is set in parkland. You can enter the parkland for free and wander around taking in the view of the town , the fountains and the trees. Helikon Castle is really a grand palace. There is a museum complex of four buildings and here you will find five exhibitions. In the Coach House there is a wonderful exhibition of carriages and one can have a ride around the estate in a horse drawn carriage too. One of the wonderful features of this palace is the historical model railway exhibition. .The palace now belongs to the state but was own until WW2 by the Festetics family who still have apartments in the building. This castle (or palace) is a treat not to be missed if you visit Lake Balaton
Written October 7, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

deejayeh
Kent68 contributions
Sep 2015 • Couples
In my review of the palace I explain about the multiple ticketing options. It can be confusing but there is clear guidance.

The coach museum contains a lot of coaches and other horse drawn "things" from the last 280 years or so. These include Sleighs, Gigs, Coaches and Hearses in various forms. At first sight there is little information; just a title in English something like "Hunting Carriage - 1890". This is a little terse but then we noticed that there is a QR code under many of the exhibits. Using our smartphones and the free wifi included we discovered that scanning the code brought up a good description and background information in the language of your phone (English in our case). Although the translations left a little to be desired this provided enough information to change the visit from "Yawn - it's a coach" to "This is quite interesting". However a smartphone and technical ability use a QR reader is required. There was not information at the entrance to explain this.

So, in summary, quite interesting especially if you are smartphone literate.
Written September 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Progenitor
Central Hungary, Hungary514 contributions
Jul 2018 • Friends
We first visited the model train museum because there is free parking. We skipped the hunting museum, which is not so special, but the trains on the top floor are truly amazing. I would say any kids dream. Huge setups with detailed scenery and complex train schedules all running by computer control. The Palace is beautiful and I have reviewed it in detail elsewhere.
Written July 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

switchedoff
Townsville, Australia357 contributions
Jul 2016 • Family
Very well done exhibits, as well organised and pretty well described in three languages (Hungarian, English and German). In hall number three there were some items only described in Hungarian, which was a pity because it looked like interesting stories with photos relating to the family generations who lived there as well. If you go to the Palace, see this as well.
Written July 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

graubaer47
Purbach am Neusiedlersee, Austria9 contributions
Aug 2015 • Friends
we drove there all the way to find a building site and unfriendly staff - what a disappointment. Not a word about the present state on their homepage - so we considered it a bad trap for interested tourists. By the way, the castle must be beautiful once it is presented decently!
Written August 26, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Miki D
Canada150 contributions
Apr 2015 • Family
A collection of exhibitions in the palace and in other buildings, from a huge model railway to hunting trophies and old carriages and of course the opulent, well maintained palace itself. It is THE thing to see in Keszthely and can provide well balanced fun program for all ages- dont miss it. For kids, it is especially ideal, one can select the exhibitions, tickets are really cheap
Written April 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelingCat22
Tucson, AZ2,401 contributions
Feb 2015 • Couples
We had just visited Fertöd (dubbed small Versailles) and I like this castle much better. It has a warmer feel, the library is beautiful, explanations well written everywhere so you can visit at your own pace. It is also called Festetics Palace by some people: it is the same place. It has several other museums (coaches, trains, ...) besides the castle itself (furniture).
Written March 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hugh
South Ozone Park, NY1,299 contributions
Sep 2014 • Solo
This is not tobe missed if you're in Keszthely. The castle is enormous and grand in every sense. There ar various kinds of combined tickets. I bought the one for the castle and the coachouse.. The grounds are extensive and delightful. You can wander outside for free!
Written September 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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