The first traces of settlement in Lendava date back to Roman times, when the settlement on the Poetovio–Savaria route (today Ptuj-Szombathely) was named Halicanum. The first mentions of modern Lendava go back to the 9th century, as the church was said to have been consecrated there in 853, and the town of Lindva, named after the local river, was first mentioned in records dating from 1192. Because of its position on the main transit routes, Lendava first grew into a market town in the 14th century, then a parish in 1334. The rulers of Lendava and surroundings in Middle Ages, Hungarian nobles Banffys, started the first developments of the city, and were succeeded by the House of Esterhazy in 1644. The area was under Hungarian and Turkish rule throughout most of the 17th century. In 1867 Lendava became a town and administrative district seat.
Lendava, or in Hungarian Lendva, has a big Hungarian minority, which is normal, considering the long period Lendava was part of Hungary. One third of the population are Hungarians, and every sight in the city is signposted in both Slovenian and Hungarian. Even some statues in the city are of famous Hungarians who lived in Lendava. Despite good relations between countries and harmonious ethnic relations, Lendava is off the beaten path for both countries and many travelers miss this city.