When studying the history of Almádi – although it had been an inhabited settlement since the old times – we cannot connect the establishment of the settlement to a certain document as in other cases
Almádi was first mentioned in the form of in promontorio possesionis Zarbereny in loco Almadi vote sitam in a Latin language document dated in 1493 and containing a grape sales contract (on the grape hill of Szárberény settlement on the place called Almádi). Almádi is mentioned in two other documents from the time before Mohács, in both cases mention is made of a grape estate. The independent settlement status was regained in 1869, then from 1909 the official name became Balatonalmádi.
After the vine-pest epidemic the settlement started to become a spa resort with the division of estates in Káptalan and of the private estates in the last quarter of the 19th century. On the land sites where grapes were not replanted cellars, villas, holiday homes and bath houses were built along the lake shore in 1974 and the Old Park was established, while the population number as well as the number of visitors coming for vacation increased continuously. And if there were guests, restaurants, cafés and hotels had to be built, the scope of services increased continuously.
By building a port Almádi joined the regular ship traffic of Lake Balaton in 1889, the railway traffic started in 1909.
On the turn of this century the local propagation of the natural curing methods – Kneipp water cures, Rickli sun and air bathing and Lahmann nutrition method – gave special stimulus to the settlement and during 30-40 years Almádi went into the public thinking as a flourishing health spa resort.
From the early years of the commenced holiday life a settlement interested in attracting guests has organically developed and received city rank in 1989.
Whoever drops in our township wishing to start a discovery tour in order to find the artistic sights available, goes to the churches, public buildings and surviving monuments, can trace the flourishing and vicissitudinuous one thousand years of Hungarian history.
The use of red sandstone is of outstanding importance since this region has always abounded in this noble material. Local Stone sculpture also looks back to a long history.
The monument to the Heroes of World War I is the largest column in Hungary prepared solely of red sandstone from Almádi. The Óvári Lookout-tower high above the township was also built of red sandstone from where a beautiful panorama unfolds itself unto the town and the eastern basin of Lake Balaton. Pannonia Aqua is yet another red sandstone monument to the living and architecture of sometime people which can be seen in Városház Square.
Natural building materials including red sandstone, reed and wood have been decisive to the architecture of the settlement. Genuinely sawn serrated decorations – called wooden-lace locally – on the houses with verandahs preserve the traditions of the past.
The most significant listed building in our township is the fortified Calvinist Church, which is the witness of bygone times in the ancient district of Vörösberény, was built on 11–12 century Romanesque foundations and bears some motifs of the Gothic style, too.
The walls of this church hide the remnants of one of the oldest village churches in Hungary. Surrounded by an 18th century stone wall, the mass effect of the church-building mirrors medieval origin but upon entering the church we can see an unportioned and domed Baroque portico.
The determinant example of Baroque architecture is the Roman Catholic Church of Vörösberény consecrated to the veneration of St. Ignatius Loyola in 1779. Together with the adjacent block of the monastery this church is one of the finest relics of the region. The frescos, altars and the rostrum are outstanding artistic compositions. The one-time monastery became the “Berény castle” of the Jesuits from Gyôr as early as 1758. This very building functions under the name of Hotel Kolostor today. The new Wine Museum can be found at the site of the old granary.
The Saint Emery parish church was built according to the plans of architect István Medgyasszay. A special value of the church is the fact that it follows the traditions of Transylvanian architecture but its block is still determined by the red sandstone-architecture. Adjacent to the church we can find the Chapel of the Holy Dexter with the golden mosaics of King Saint Stephen by Miksa Róth transplanted from the Castle of Buda in 1956, together with the fragment of King Saint Stephen’s Holy Dexter.
An extraordinary constructivist complex is the Dénes Györgyi Primary School built right after World War II, and its exterior is the creator and guard of contem-porary style of Hungarian school-buildings. The Old Park in Almádi planted with sycamore maple and willow-trees at the beginning of the last century is embellished with the statues of great Hungarians including those of Petôfi, Kossuth and Rákóczi, the Bridge of Sighs, the Sancturay Lamp, and the memorial bench to sub-prefect Véghely. Coffeehouse Liget built in 1928 and the Music Pavilion rebuilt after the style of the turn of the 20th century can also be found in the park full of protected species of plants.
The township is also rich in relics without any official protection whatsoever They include memorial tombstones in the cemeteries of Vörösberény and Almádi. The memorial crosses found everywhere within the town all remind of someone or something. The best-known one is the statue of Saint John of Nepomuk.
Red Sandstone Urban Nature Trail of Balatonalmádi
A 6 km round tour marked by a blue triangle the walking time of which is 2-3 hours in comfortable speed. The trail presents the tourists the main sights and natural values of Balatonalmádi. More detailed information can be obtained in the Tourinform Office in Balatonalmádi under Városház tér 4.
Szent Erzsébet liget (Old Park)
Dezső Véghely natural scientist initiated the parking of the city around 1882. The park of a 10 hectares territory was declared a local nature conservation area in 1977.
Labelled geological findings:
- along main road no. 71 red sandstone breaking at Káptalanfüred
- next to the road leading to Veszprém, the carbonate layer formations settling over each other in the county-hilly road cut from the period of Middle Trias, where ancient residues can be seen.
- in Vadvirág street the road cut explores the border of the geochronological ancient and middle ages.
The reigning tree type is Turkey oak, but native trees are Pinus nigra, ash-tree and maple-tree. It is almost exclusively here that the flora of the Lake Balaton Uplands landscape extends to the shores of the Lake joining the willow-plantations of the waterside (Káptalani-szoros)
'Köcsi Lake' Nature trail
On the 4 stations of the 400 m tourist trail (yellow T sign) we can get a foretaste about the natural values of the lake’s environs.
Red lane round tour
The distance is 11,5 km, walking time is 3 hours; Balatonalmádi railway station-Széchenyi sétány-Martinovics u.-Kompolthy Tivadar-emlékoszlop-Remete-völgy-Vödör-völgy-Kőhill.
The valley is running on the tourist routes of Vörösberény between the steep, forestry slopes of Sátor hill and Vár hill, where fireplace is welcoming the tourists. The name was donated by the mill on river Berényi Séd fed by the Ferenc spring rich in water.
Walking Blue tour towards Western direction
Distance: 21 km, the walking route passes through the territory of Balatonalmádi on 12 km. Route: Balatonalmádi railway station –Csere hill lookout tower - Alsóörs (the lookout tower on Somlyó hill can be reached via the blue D sign)- Csákány hill, Endrődi Sándor lookout tower - Csopak, Nosztori-Valley -Péter-hill -Tamás-hill, Jókai-lookout tower, Lóczy-cave - Balatonfüred, Red Church.