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Szeged

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Szeged [1] - the city of sunshine is a town in southern Hungary.

Understand

Dóm square

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.

Demographics

According to the 2011 data, the city's population was around 170.000.

Tourist Information

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.

History

Get in

By car

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.
You will need to get a sticker for your car in order to drive on the highway, which you can buy at any gas station (ask for "matrica").

Szeged has a parking zone system, parking tickets are available from newsagent's, local stores, etc.

By train

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.

By air

Szeged has a small airport [2], which is just perfect for small airplanes or private planes.

Get around

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.

Public transportation

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.

Schedules

  • Schedule of public transport: [3]
  • Schedule of buses within Szeged: [4]
  • Schedule of buses leaving and arriving to Szeged: [5]
  • Schedule of trolley buses and trams: [6]

Tickets

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.

  • Local bus ticket and pass prices: [7]

Taxi

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.

  • Szeged Taxi: (62) 333-333
  • Tele-4 Taxi: (62) 444-444
  • Gábriel Taxi: (62) 555-555

See

  • Kárász street - main street, downtown
  • Tisza river
  • Dóm square, and the Votive church
  • Ferenc Mora Museum - works by Hungarian painters like: Munckacsy, Istvan Csok, Rudnay, Josef Rippl-Ronai and Szeged Synagogue.
  • Pick Salami and Szeged Paprika Museum, Felsõ Tisza-part 10, (, fax: +36 62 480 800), [8]. Tu-Sa 3PM-6PM. 980 HUF (740 HUF for students, children, and pensioners).

Do

Open-Air Theater

Open-Air Festival
  • In the summer you don't want to miss the famous "Open-Air Festival" [9]. It is called open-air, because the Dóm square is turned into a stage with seats. It usually starts around the beginning of July and ends sometime in August. The shows play for about a week and then they change. Tickets are not always easy to get, but you can always get them from scouts (of course at a higher price) before the show starts.

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.

Festivals

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.

  • Wine Festival
  • Beer Festival
  • Days of Szeged
  • Hungaricum Festival
  • Szegedi Ifjusagi Napok (SZIN) - Szeged Youth Days [10] is an open-air festival with Hungarian and international bands, held every year at Partfürdő. In 2012 the date is 22-25 Aug.

Movies, theaters

Theaters

There are two main theaters in Szeged [11]. 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.

Movies

  • Belvárosi Mozi [12]: a traditional, old, large movie theater. It has recently been upgraded and now also offers 3D movies. It is located near the museum, next to the main theater.
  • Cinemacity [13]: located in the Szeged Pláza [14] shopping mall.

Baths, pools

Like some other Hungarian towns, Szeged also has thermal baths. The two best known are:

  1. Anna fürdő [15] - it has just been renovated and offers an amazing experience, located downtown of the city. The bath has two sections, which offer various natural, thermal water based pools, spas, saunas.
    The younger (mainly 20-30s) crowd enjoys visiting the bath's Night Swimming events every Monday, Wednesday, Friday night between 9-12PM. The entry fees are half-priced for these events (currently about 900 Forints, or about 4-5 Euros).
  2. Thermálfürdő [16] - is an older, indoor thermal bath located at the swimming pool complex on the Újszeged side of the city.

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: [17]

Go-Cart

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: [18]

Learn

Szeged is a very active city, partially because of its educational base. The University of Szeged [19] offers wide range of programs including Agricultural studies [20], 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.

Buy

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.

Eat

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...

Restaurants

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 [21]), 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 [22] serving traditional Indian and Hungarian dishes as well.

Fast Food

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.

  • Burger King - at the Nagyaruhaz mall in the center of town.
  • McDonald's - on the main walking street, Kárász street and in the Rókusi boulevard.

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.

  1. Roosevelt Téri Halászcsárda [23] is close to downtown, right across from the Móra Ferenc Museum by the bridgehead of the "old bridge";
  2. Kiskörössy Halászcsárda [24] is in the northeastern part of Szeged, on the bank of the Tisza River. This is an excellent choice in the warmer months, because you can enjoy your meal next to the river and quite often they will also have musicians perform traditional Hungarian folkmusic or Gypsy music for the guests. You'd probably want to catch a cab to get to this restaurant, and then use another cab to get back to your hotel.
  3. Fehértói Halászcsárda [25] is outside the city, next to the old E5 highway going towards Budapest. You can ask a cab to drop you off here and they can also bring you back. This restaurant breeds its own fish and is known for its excellent fish soup. Their prices are reasonable as well.

Other restaurants

  1. Alabárdos is on Oskola str., near John Bull Pub. They have a nice restaurant section and a separate section just for grabbing a beer or tasting wine. Food is good. Prices: higher than usual
  2. Gőry Pince & Terasz [26] is the place with a huge food selection and even bigger portions. Many just order half portions. Food is excellent. Prices: higher than usual
  3. John Bull Pub [27] is located downtow, about 50 meters from the Virág Cukrászda. Great place to grab a beer with clients or friends, and can be an excellent choice for a romantic dinner. They have a big menu, with a good selection. Prices: high
  4. BOCI Tejivo [28] Small canteen that provides a variety of fast food under 500 HUF. Open 24 hours a day and also provide free wifi. Located next to a bar. Prices: low

Pastries, cookies

Kárász street, main street downtown

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:

  • Hatos Rétes - located on Klauzál tér, known for strudels ("rétes" in Hungarian).
  • Palánk - ice-cream shop
  • Virág Cukrászda -
  • Z. Nagy Cukrászda - one of the best pastry shops in the city, where most of the locals go to. You can find it under József Attila sugárút 24.
  • A Capella -

Drink

Coffee Shops

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.

Clubs

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.

  1. GinTonic [29] - This is a club in the basement of the older Tisza Hotel in downtown. It has dance nights every Friday. It is in the same block as Retro, but on the other side of the building. This is a highly popular party place among foreign students who study in the city. They usually play the latest popular dance songs. The entrance fee is about 800 Forints.
  2. JATE Klub [30] - This is one of the popular university clubs that is open during the day as well as at night. There is a large bar section and several dance floors with different types of music. Concerts and other cultural events are also common here. If the evening appears to be slow, the crowd might go over to the SZOTE Klub (which is true vice-versa). The high school and college crowd blends really well in this place. They play all types of music from alternative through the latest popular dance songs to older Hungarian favorites. Sometimes they collect entrance fees, but you can get in without a fee if you get there earlier.
  3. Retro [31] - this is a newer coffee house, that turns into a dance club at night. Dance nights are held on Fridays and Saturdays. The place mostly attracts graduates, late 20s and above. They like to play songs from the 80s, 90s and of course today's hits. Entrance fee is around 1000 Forints.
  4. Sing-Sing [32] - this is one of the largest dance clubs in Southern Hungary. It is located right next to Szeged's main bus station and farmer's market. This club usually attracts the younger high-school crowd (their average age is probably around 20). It is well known for its semi-monhtly nude (both male and female) dance shows, concerts with invited guests and teen parties. They usually play the latest dance hits.


  • Gentleman's Club - there is one gentleman's club in town called Zsiráf. It is on Furj Str. near the Greek restaurant.


Sleep

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.

Budget

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.

  • Familia Pension has a very easily accessible location, a couple of minutes walk from Dóm square (the Votive Church) and a few blocks from the main railroad station and the 500 years old Mátyás Church.
  • Hotel Bella is situated in downtown Szeged, on 'Kossuth Lajos sugárút', within walking distance to the major sights, restaurants and bars.
  • Collage Dorm Hunter Street, The cheapest accommodation in the city. Szeged, a small college in the center of the rooms in summer for families, group publisher. The rooms are 4-storey room. Shared kitchen and sanitary. A total of 40 key deposit guarantee.

Mid range

Splurge

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.

  • Hotel Tisza [33] is an older, but renovated hotel in an excellent location right downtown.
  • Hotel Royal [34] is another older, but upscale hotel in the heart of the city.
  • Hotel Dóm [35] A newer hotel.
  • Matrix Hotel Szeged [36] elegant and friendly rooms.
  • City Hotel Szeged [37] Elegant rooms and intimate restaurant Rézangyal Bistro.
  • Novotel Hotel [38] is within walking distance from downtown.
  • Hotel Forrás [39] is in Újszeged, on the Tisza River's opposite side from downtown. The hotel has an indoor thermal bath, which is open around the whole year.
  • Hotel Romance [40] is situated just in the heart of Szeged, close to Széchenyi Square.
  • Hotel Mozart [41] - new Hotel, opened in 2011 (really good location, in the center of the city).
  • Hotel Soleil [42] - new Hotel, opened in 2011 (really good location in the center of the city)

Stay safe

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.

Contact

Internet, hotspots

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.).

Get out

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