The locals sometimes refer to the town by the name Földvár, without using the Balaton prefix.
The region around Lake Balaton had been occupied around 11 BCE by the Romans and provided passage for a military road from Aquincum(part of present day Budapest) to into the Italian peninsula. This road was considered one of the important roads of the Roman province ofPannonia. Pannonia incorporates the area occupied by modern day Hungary west of the Danube.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the area of today’s Balatonföldvár consisted mostly of pasture land. In terms of jurisdiction, it was attached to the settlement of Kőröshegy, located about three kilometers south of the lake. The entire region around Kőröshegy was purchased and belonged to the Archbishop, György Széchényi since 1677. The oldest known building which is said to have belonged to Balatonföldvár, was the ‘földvári csárda’, namely, the inn of Földvár. This inn was supposed to have existed from about the middle of the 18th century to the late 1800’s.
The name Földvár appeared around 1893, used by Zsigmond Széchényi, the owner of the area at the time. The inn was eventually demolished and a new one was built in its place. The Holovits family rented this inn, enlarged the building with additions and eventually established a more modern restaurant and a small hotel there.
The Széchényi family may be considered as the most influential family, which directed the expansion of the town starting in the late 1800s. Balatonföldvár was eventually developed into a high profile holiday resort. Many rich and influential people from the capital city had lavish villas built there. Several small hotels were established. Sailing became a pastime of the rich and famous. Beautiful gardens had been established. The design and management of these gardens was the work of Ilona Jordanits, who was a horticulturalist. Her efforts contributed to Balatonföldvár winning the 1995 European prize, as the city with the most flowers.