Difference between revisions of "Szeged"
Revision as of 12:22, 1 August 2012
Located in Central Europe, Szeged is the third biggest city in Hungary, lies on Hungary's south-eastern border, just south of the mouth of the Maros river on both banks of the river Tisza. It is about 171 km South of Budapest on the M5 highway. It is the lowest elevation city in the country and is known as the "City of Sunshine", because it has the highest number of sunny days throughout the year.
Szeged is the main city in Csongrád county and serves as a commercial and cultural center of the region.
According to the 2011 data, the city's population was around 170.000.
Today's Szeged is an important university town and a popular tourist attraction. In the summer season (1 June - 15 September) a tourist information pavilion is located at the Széchenyi Square.
If you are flying to Hungary, you will most likely be arriving to the Ferihegy International Airport in Budapest and you will want to take the M5 highway South to Szeged. The M5 highway has just been completed (end of 2005) to reach Szeged, and it will take from about an hour and half to two hours to drive from the airport.
It takes about 2 hours to travel by train from Budapest Nyugati to Szeged. These trains also stop at Ferihegy, Terminal 1, meaning it isn't necessary to travel into the centre of Budapest.
Szeged has a small airport , which is just perfect for small airplanes or private planes.
Szeged lies on the banks of Tisza river. The western side is generally referred to as "Szeged", while the newer eastern side is called "Új-szeged" ("New Szeged").
There are further parts of the city, which you can think of as districts (although they do not work as districts): Belváros (the center of the city, downtown), Alsóváros, Móraváros, Rókus, Újrókus, Fölsőváros, Tarján, Fodor-kert, Petőfi-telep, Makkosház, Baktó, Tápé, Újszeged, Odessza, Marostői kiskertek, Klebelsberg telep, Kecskés István telep, Iparváros, Béke-telep, Baktó.
For the size of the city, Szeged has a really good public transportation network. Within the city you can get around by cabs (taxi), trams (villamos), trolley buses (trolibusz) or autobus (autóbusz). If you wish to use these types of public transportation, you will need to find out about their routes, stops and schedules. During the work week, in the busy hours, within the city, most public transportation vehicles will leave every 10-15 minutes.
There's no difference in the tickets for the different types of transportation methods. You can usually purchase tickets from the driver, for which you will always have to get on the vehicle using the frontmost door. You can also purchase weekly and monthly passes as well as single-trip tickets from various kiosks and newspaper stands throughout the city. These passes will be valid for all 3 types of public transportation,so you can travel by trams, trolley buses and buses as well. There are also discounts offered to students and seniors.
There are a few taxi services in the city. You can call and "order" one to your location. The drivers may not speak English, but should be able to get you where you want to go. Trips usually cost somewhere between 1-2000 Forints within the city.
Tips: If you are on a limited budget, you can purchase tickets for a lower price and after the show has started you can move to a better (empty) seats.
There are several events taking place in Szeged during the summer. The best way to find out about their times is from the free local magazine (called "Szegedi Est") that you can find in most restaurants, bars, clubs and cinemas.
There are two main theaters in Szeged . One the main one is located close to the museum, near to the bridge in downtown. The smaller theater is also near-by, located a just few blocks from there.
Like some other Hungarian towns, Szeged also has thermal baths. The two best known are:
See Szeged from the Air
You can see the city from the above and if that is something you would like to do, just head out to the local airport. You can select from various airplane tours ranging that last about 15 minutes to 1.5 hours around the city. They even have programs when they "let you fly" the airplane: 
The Szeged Go-Cart ring is on the road 47, outbound from Szeged, just before the junction of M43 and 47. The track is made of old tires in an old parking lot, and is about 800 meters in length. Prices are reasonable: 
Szeged is a very active city, partially because of its educational base. The University of Szeged  offers wide range of programs including Agricultural studies , Food Engineering, Arts, Economics and Business Administration, Health Sciences, Law, Medicine, Music, Pharmacy, Life Sciences and Education. Throughout the year students from all around Hungary and around the world come here to study.
The city also has a wide range of high school programs, most of which are highly specialized in areas such as humanities, sciences and engineering and more.
Szeged has two big-sized supermarkets, Tesco and Cora. Both are easy to reach. Cora has its own bus line, Tesco (Rókusi blvd.) can be reached by Line 2 and the other Tesco, in Móraváros can be reached by line 4. In addition, there are many regular supermarkets, such as Plus, Lidl and others, throughout the city. Most of them belong to German supermarket chains. Buying everyday products (especially groceries) could be cheaper than in other European countries like France, Italy or Germany. Most electronic equipment like iPods and computers are, however, considerably more costly here.
Szeged is famous for its local, traditional food.
The most famous of all is probably the Fisherman's soup (Halászlé), which is made from various freshwater fish using lots of paprika (this is not necessarily spicy, but you can definitely order it that way).
Szeged is also known for its good quality sausage and salami. Pick is Szeged's own brand, which is also exported to various countries around the world. Make sure that you try the famous "Pick salami". You can buy these products at most local grocery stores and smaller, family owned 24/7 stores.
If you are looking for international food, just check the local grocery stores. You shouldn't have too much problem finding anything from around the world. Even Americans can find their favorite cream cheese and peanut butter/jelly if they look around...
The quality of the food varies by restaurants, but is good in general. Meats and cheese can be found at most places, and they are often breaded and fried. If you go to a standard restaurant, the portions will be generous and more than enough to feed an adult. There are a few restaurants (Gőry ), which serve extra large portions of food, which are almost impossible to eat all at once.
In the downtown (Tisza Lajos krt. 76.) there is also a vegetarian restaurant  serving traditional Indian and Hungarian dishes as well.
There are lots of fast food places in the city. The most popular ones are local pizza restaurants, which are all around town. Some of them, which are open until the morning hours, are popular gathering places for the late night crowd. Of course, the international fast food chains are also present (Burger King, McDonald's, etc.), they are popular mostly among younger people. Compared to the local fast food places, these chains offer smaller portions for higher prices.
Traditional Szeged-style fish restaurants
The traditional fisherman's restaurants are a great choice for visitors. Locals also visit these on a regular basis because of their excellent fish soup and wide selection of good other food. There are three main fishmerman's restaurants in town.
Hungary has very good home made style pastries and cookies. Szeged has a few bakeries around town that have excellent food selection. Ordering is quite simple, since most of the baked goods are displayed behind a glass window. They are usually freshly baked. Just point and pick what your eyes like and enjoy. Some of the more popular pastry shops around town:
Coffee Shops have become very popular among students. There are quite a few in town, where the younger crowd likes to meet up to study and/or talk.
Szeged is a University town and it has a very active night life throughout the school year. The high school and college crowd gets mixed up at most places, although some clubs try to target specific age groups with their events.
Most places have entrance fees, but offer discounts if you have a student ID. Regular fees are around 500-1000 Forints depending on the day of the week, the place and the event.
Parties are advertised to start early at night, but the crowd doesn't start to gather really until about midnight or 1AM (!!!) and usually party until the morning. This is true even on weekdays (for example Wednesday is a very big party night). Many times people meet at local pubs for a drink and talks before hitting these places.
You will have various choices to stay at while in Szeged. The city has some larger and more expensive hotels, but there are quite a few cheaper and comparable places where you can stay.
In Szeged, and in most other, bigger Hungarian cities you can find a cheap room in college dorms. Most places will let you pay cash and stay for a few days. There are a few of these around town and the best way to find one is probably to ask one of the younger, "student looking" locals.
The bigger hotels are usually closer to downtown. Szeged is not that big in size and you can probably walk or use public transportation to most places.
Szeged is a pretty safe city. You can enjoy walks around the whole town even at late night hours. Most places and streets are well lit, so you won't have to worry about getting lost. Sometimes groups of younger people going home from late night parties could cause problems, but in general this is not an issue.
Szeged has many free WiFi (hotspot) locations. The largest square downtown - the Széchenyi tér - offers free wireless access to anyone with a WiFi capable device (laptop, mobile phone, PDA, etc.).