Siofok Tourist Attractions
Situated at the mouth of the little Sió river, Siófok is the regional center and the largest town on the south bank; in recent years it has become a favorite spot with holidaymakers, mainly because of its excellent infrastructure (good restaurants, shops, hotels, etc.) and beaches; in the summer months the population of Siófok increases fivefold.Back in Roman times attempts were made to put the mouth of the little Sió river to good use, and a canal was built. The town of Fok, mentioned in 1055 in the Tihany town charter, was seized by the Turks in 1541. They took up positions in a castle built in the water and from there they ruled the whole of the south bank area. In 1863 the Sió Canal was built, through which the Balaton fleet of ships could find its way to the Danube. Siófok has the building of the Budapest-Fiume rail link in 1861 to thank for its development into a tourist resort; five years later the park and promenade came into being and hotels and restaurants shot up after Budapest society had "discovered" the resort.SightsThe town center of Siófok lies south of the railroad line between Kálmán Imre sétány and Tanácsház utca, with the extensive and partially lawned Fo tér (town square) in the very center. The square is dominated by the South Balaton Cultural Centre, opened in 1976, with a theater seating 500, conference and exhibition rooms and a municipal library. The Beszédes-József Museum on the bridge of the same name over the Sió (Sió utca 2) provides information on the history of Lake Balaton, including archaeological finds, economy, navigation and folk-art. In the house in which the great composer of operettas Imre Kálmán was born, at Kálmán Imre sétany 5, some of his personal possessions are displayed in a small exhibition in his memory. The Evangelical Church built by Imre Makovecz, situated outside the town in Fö utca, just before it joins Dózsa György utca, looks more like some mythical creature than a church. Makovecz, who also designed the Hungarian pavilion at the 1992 World Exhibition in Seville, was the founder of a new alternative form of architecture in Hungary which has already earned international recognition. The Balaton Navigation Company has had its head office at this busy port since 1889. East of the harbor Petöfi sétány forms a promenade along the bank of the lake, and on it will be found Siófok's largest hotels - some six-storied, some twelve - with their own swimming pools, sports facilities and restaurants. Adjoining the line of hotels is the well-known beach resort of Aranypart (Golden Beach); the beach west of the harbor is called Ezüstpart (Silver Bank). Both beaches offer both public bathing areas and others reserved for hotel guests.