On the south-western shore of Balaton, by the foot of mild downhill, in beautiful surroundings lay our two totally in-one-built holiday places: Balatonkeresztúr and Balatonmáriafürdő. The two settlements can be found in the crossing of roads and railroads, offer pleasant Balaton and a lot of other relaxing facilities for the guests complementing each other. The shallow, for bathing excellently appropriate water, the diverse landscape, and not last opening to Balaton, catching beautiful view persuaded the travellers to stay already centuries ago. It has been an inhabited area since time immemorial, which could preserve its nature-friendliness, familiar feature even nowadays. The transport hubs of the settlements serve the easy approach, and they are ideal starting places to get to know the surroundings. In a circle of 10-40 km five thermal baths (Hévíz, Zalakaros, Kehidakustány, Marcali, Csisztapuszta) and vast cultural and natural sights wait for the guests.
In the area of Balatonkeresztúr the Celts already settled, archaeologists have also found finds of the Roman, the Conquest and the Middle Ages. The first written relic originates from 1316, according to which this area belonged to the Benedictine Abby of Somogyvár. The appearance of the Festetics family brought significant change in the life of the village, which arrived from Croatia in Transdanubia in 1634, and gained significant lands. Kristóf Festetics was the shireman of county Somogy, parliamentary ambassador and developer of sciences. The founding of the school is connected to his name, the building of castle in Baroque style, and the Holy Cross Glorification Roman Catholic Church by 1758.
Balatonkeresztúr played an important role first of all as the stock breeder centre of the Festetics lordship, but the fishing and vine producing also represented significant economical part. The building of the Southern railroad in 1861, then the establishment of station brought rise in the life of Balatonkeresztúr. The local economy went over real big change when from 1891 the vine producers ‘arriving’ from settlements of Zala, having been gone because of grape phylloxera blast got opportunity of living here. With leading of Settling Commissioner Earl Imre Széchényi vine plantations were formed on the sandy beach of Keresztúr, which was named Mária-plantation after the wife of Széchényi, of Mária Andrássy in gratitude.
The phylloxera blast in 1891 destroyed the grape yards of beach of Zala. That is why the then agricolous governance commissioned Earl Imre Széchényi to rent the six kilometre long lordship area at the border of Keresztúr and to form there 585 grounds. Impoverished and beggared grape producer families of Zala could rent the parcels. Permanent houses were built, but the wealthier had also holiday villa built in the continuous vines. The vine and wine culture remained even till the 1970s, when the vineyards were parcelled almost totally. The bath life also boomed, because the farmers also hired the houses to the people who wished to relax in the summer. In 1902 the first Bath Association was founded. The Mária-plantation was stage of childhood holidays of artist Aurél Bernáth, about which he wrote in his autobiography titled We lived in Pannonia like this.
In 1912 a medical hotel with 36 rooms was built on the beach and a bath house in the water. In 1926 the Mária-plantation already possessing significant population became separate settlement with the name of Balatonmáriafürdő. With the starting of the so-called „Balaton-cult” the holiday tourism already began to get mass at that time. In 1952 the bigger and more significant private villas were deprivatised within a few weeks. The first child camps were opened, some of which still operate today. The decades of mass tourism arrived, the vineyards were cut, and ’weekend houses’ were built on the parcelled grounds. Balatonmária became beloved, family meeting place, holiday resort of the national and foreign – first of all the then GSR - GDR – tourists. In the last years, the image of the settlement has significantly changed.
Nowadays besides renovated common places and renewed institutes, selective restaurants based on old traditions, quality accommodations and cultural programs wait for the visitors.