The town is located in Maramureş County at the banks of the River Lăpuș (Lápos), 10 kilometres of Baia Mare (Nagybánya). It consists of two villages: Coltău (Koltó) as administrative center and Catalina (Katalin). Most of its 2557 inhabitants are Hungarians.
Koltó was first mentioned in a document (inspection of boundaries certified by the Premonstratensian monastery of Lelesz) dated 1405, as Kolcho. The village was listed and known as Koltó from 1492, as a property possessed by the voivodes of Maramureş. For more than 150 years the Dragoş (Drágffy) family had been the owner of the village. It became part of a special district (Districtus Köváriensis) in 1549. Districtus Köváriensis (Țara Chioarului) was managed as a treasury domain within the Principality of Transylvania in 1615, and later functioned as an independent administrative district until the reforms in 1876, when its territory was split between the counties Szatmár (Sătmar) and Szolnok-Doboka (Solnoc-Dăbâca).
The castle was built in the 18th century by Count János Teleki, as part of an estate used solely during hunting season, while the family had lived for generations primarily at the estate in Sármás (Sărmașu). The castle was built in Baroque style, first restored in 1821. In 1845, its most renowned owner, Sándor Teleki took over the estate. Pupil of Mihály Táncsics, and having lived an eventful and adventurous life, he befriended well-known personalities and artists as Franz Liszt, General Bem, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas (pere and fils). He as a close friend of the Hungarian poet and liberal revolutionary, Sándor Petőfi, who often referred to him to as the “wild Count of Koltó”.
The visits of Petőfi have established the literary reputation of Koltó, and attracted keen lovers of the Hungarian literature to the town ever since. The poet and his wife, Júlia Szendrey spent their honeymoon at the estate between 9th September and 19th October in 1847. They had spent the happiest six weeks of their lives and Petőfi wrote 24 new poems. One of the most eloquent elegies of the romanticism, a highly distinguished masterpiece of the Hungarian and world literature, “End of September” was written on the stone table under the canopy of a cornel tree in the castle’s park.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Telekis extended and modified the old castle, where once many historical figures were welcomed. A spacious open terrace was added to the northwestern part of the castle, where visitors could enjoy the wonderful panoramic view of the Lăpuș Valley, adorned with the high mountain ranges of Maramureş in the background.