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Essence of Hungary | Guide to Szeged region

The southern part of Hungary has the highest number of sunshine hours, and at night the city of Szeged sleeps or parties under a star-strewn sky. Beyond the poetic kitsch, the region is full of natural and cultural curiosities. The centre of the region is Szeged, which is generally described as a small Mediterranean town: family-focused, bustling and brimming with gastronomic places. In fact, it has its own salami, fish soup, dialect and trendy folk slippers. From spring to autumn, the town is almost constantly bustling, with a gastronomic cavalcade flourishing on the main street or an open-air theatre in Dóm tér that offers performances until dawn. Art nouveau mansions are the city’s treasures, while the countryside is the heart of rural romance. This region is like the mirage of the Great Plain: dominating the landscape, yet full of life and charm.  

photo: László Balkányi

Alabárdos Bár Étterem és Borozó – Alabárdos Bar, Restaurant and Wine Bar is a well-known and popular establishment in Szeged. The restaurant has a seasonal menu, a chef’s special and a regularly changing dessert selection – the dishes at Alabárdos look like genuine works of art! And for a reason: the modern and experimenting approach is not only apparent in the unusual flavour combinations but also in the way the dishes are presented.   

address: 6720 Szeged, Oskola utca 13 

Tiszavirág Szeged – There are a number of aspects that make Tiszavirág Szeged unique, but the most striking feature is  the fusion of design and tradition as echoed by both its architecture and gastronomy. There is no doubt that this is one of the city centre’s most stylish accommodation options, where a spa, a conference hall and a nationally-renowned restaurant welcome guests with great taste. The common characteristic of both more spacious and more compact rooms is the homely, relaxed atmosphere that is conveyed by the original oak parquet and the combined use of glass, marble, flax, velvet and lambskin.

address:  6722 Szeged, Hajnóczy utca 1/B

photo: Botond Wertán

Móra Ferenc Museum – Móra Ferenc Museum is situated right in the heart of Szeged, on the embankment at Belváros (Downtown) Bridge. The institution is a landmark building of Szeged and an outstanding cultural centre of the region. Founded in 1883, the museum boasts a rich collection of archaeological, natural science, ethnographical and fine art pieces, offering visitors both permanent and temporary exhibitions.

address: Szeged, Roosevelt tér 1-3, 6720

Local Touch – Two things are certain when it comes to the city of Szeged and its surroundings: its unparalleled cultural life and gastronomic values are impossible not to mention. This sunny region in the Southern Great Plain offers countless culinary experiences: be it a gastronomic festival, theatre or tradition. Szeged is also home to one of the most significant summer theatre experiences in Central and Eastern Europe. For years, the Szeged Open Air Festival has been Hungary’s largest capacity open-air stage, where everyone can find something to suit their taste, regardless of genre: prose, musicals, opera, dance performances and symphonic music are all part of the programme. The stage is located in Dóm tér, one of the most important locations in Szeged, where the Votive Church towers above the podium, creating a sacred atmosphere. These performances really add to the atmosphere of the sultry evenings, as enjoying a play in the city’s most prestigious square while sipping champagne is an idyllic memory in itself. Talking of culture and the Open Air Festival, it is important to mention another unique place, the Reök Palace. It is the most dazzling art nouveau building in the city, which bears the ornamentation of aquatic flora. Furthermore, the palace’s fabulous interior has been dominated by the arts for decades: numerous exhibitions, performances and small concerts have taken place within its walls, and new events are constantly being added to and are enriching Szeged’s cultural palette. A few years ago, however, culture and gastronomy merged and the Reök Artisanal Confectionery and Café opened its doors, providing a truly sumptuous environment for guests with a sweet tooth. The artisan confectionery is in perfect harmony with the other parts of the building, thanks to its exceptional interior design. The interior with its distinctive atmosphere and the award-winning desserts quickly became popular, putting the place on the region’s culinary map early on. In Szeged, gastronomy combines with the justly famous fish soup, which is a must-try during a visit to the city. One of the city’s most popular fish soup restaurants is the Kiskőrössy Fish Tavern on the banks of the Tisza, which enchants its customers with traditional charm. Live music, fresh fish, tasty food, a well-built village house and the proximity of the Tisza River ensure an unforgettable authentic atmosphere. 

illustration: Benjamin Kalászi

The Great Hungarian Plain can surprise anyone, whether you want to be close to the ground, on the water or in the air. The Mórahalom Buffalo Reserve is a veritable curiosity, where visitors can tour the scenic buffalo enclosure, the panoramic observation stand and the main attractions, the buffalo of the Great Plain. The country’s largest salt-water lake, Lake Fehér, is home to an incredible variety of birdlife. It is a highly protected area, but birdwatchers can still observe the migratory birds that roost here. The mysterious world of the Mártély Nature Trail welcomes hikers: a boardwalk several metres wide leads to the marshy areas of the Tisza river, which offers a truly spectacular sight. The Treetop Boardwalk in Makó offers a bird’s-eye view over the forest canopy, from where you can not only enjoy a stunning view, but also see the environment in a whole new light. 

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