A fairly large city in the heart of Hungary is Kecskemét. It’s also a resort town with thermal baths and a center for producing apricot pálinka (fruit brandy). I’ll tell you about Kecskemét – how to get here from Budapest, the sights to see, and a review of the local spas. This article will help you decide if it’s worth visiting and what you can do here.

Kecskemét: Brief History and Interesting Facts

Some interesting and useful information:

  • The population of Kecskemét is 110,000 people.
  • It’s the 8th largest city in Hungary.
  • Situated in the country’s center, along one of Hungary’s main highways, it’s just 70 km from Budapest. Getting here is a breeze.

Interesting to know:

The name Kecskemét translates to “goat” – the city’s symbol is depicted on its coat of arms. Kecskemét is located in the Great Hungarian Plain, surrounded by vast pastures, historically a major livestock center.
Kecskemét main square
The main square of the city is quite large and hosts 80% of all major Kecskemét attractions.

Getting from Budapest to Kecskemét: bus, train

  • By car on the highway, it’s a quick 40-minute drive.
  • Bus Budapest – Kecskemét No. 1080. Runs 10-15 times daily from 5 am to 9 pm. Takes just under two hours. Tickets cost around 4 euros. Schedule, current prices, and ticket purchase available on the carrier’s official website: Volanbusz.
  • Train: Departures from Budapest Nyugati train station every hour. Takes 80 minutes. Ticket price is 5-6 euros. Check the schedule and purchase tickets on the official Hungarian Railway website: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/en
Kecskemet how to get there
For the most recent bus schedules, prices, and times from Budapest to Kecskemét, always check the carrier’s websites.

Author’s tip:

The train is much more convenient and comfortable, slightly more expensive but quicker. Plus, it departs from Budapest’s city center train station, which is a significant city attraction in itself.

Top Restaurants in Kecskemét, or Where to Eat Deliciously

Hungarian cuisine is hearty, meat-heavy. There are hundreds of cafes and restaurants in city streets, ensuring you won’t go hungry. Below are a few places I frequent when in Kecskemét. They serve delicious Hungarian dishes at reasonable prices.

Top 10 Attractions in Kecskemét

I’ll tell you right away, the city is relatively small, so don’t expect an abundance of attractions in Kecskemét. You can easily see the entire center and main spots within 3 hours. Allocate half a day for visiting the spas. As a tourist, a peaceful day in the city would take up one full day, maybe two at most. There isn’t much else to do here.

Travelers driving through Hungary usually arrive in town around noon, stay for a night, spend the afternoon at the baths, dine in the evening, and stroll around Kecskemét. Anything you miss in the evening, you can catch up on the next morning before heading to a new city. Szeged, with its two fantastic thermal baths, is just a 50-minute drive away.

where to go in hungary
One of the spas is the Anna Baths in Szeged. I highly recommend visiting this city.
  • Overview of Szeged: what to see, where to eat, and details about some of the best baths in the country..

Below, I’ll list the main attractions of Kecskemét. I’ll tell you in advance, I won’t list dozens of temples, churches, monuments, and statues – you’ll see them just by strolling through the city center.

  • The main square, kilometer zero, city hall, city cathedral, reformed church – all these are in one place. This is the most touristy spot in Kecskemét.
Kecskemet Hungary what to see
In the photo is the main square with all the attractions mentioned above, including Kossuth Square, which I’ll talk about next.

Author’s rating:

The city hall is interesting from the outside, but I suggest going inside the reformed church and cathedral. The cathedral is simply beautiful, like all Catholic churches, while the reformed church, true to its style, is minimalistic, but it has a functioning organ. There’s no fixed schedule for organ performances, but they often happen on weekends and holidays, around noon. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Interesting fact: Almost all major attractions in Kecskemét are on the main square 🙂 But the center doesn’t end there; there are pedestrian streets and places to wander. Kossuth Square, often mentioned as a separate attraction, is actually an extension of the main square – it’s all one location.

  • The “Cifra Palota” Palace – it’s an unusual attraction in the city and indeed in Hungary as a whole. In Budapest, there’s nothing quite like it. Cifra Palota translates to “Decorated palace.” The architect of the palace drew inspiration from Gaudí’s works, who disliked sharp angles and preferred smooth forms.
Cifra Palota hungary
Locals say it’s the “gingerbread house” of Kecskemét.

Kecskemét’s Arboretum – a vast 62-hectare park, abundant greenery, walking trails, observation towers, a lake, and intriguing statues – a place for leisurely strolls or picnics.

  • The park is huge, and the coordinates point to its center; simply head in that direction: 46.914239633951524, 19.654746820352663
  • Free admission and open 24/7.
  • If you’re in Kecskemét for just half a day, you might consider skipping it. But if you’ve seen everything and visited the baths, this is a great spot for a walk.
Kecskemet parks
There’s an observation tower in the center of the arboretum. The views are fantastic, and it’s entirely free.

Kecskemét Zoo. Zoos are quite popular in Hungary, and even in a relatively small city like Kecskemét, there’s a proper zoo with not just horses and sheep, but lions, hippos, giraffes – a full-fledged zoo.

Kecskemet Zoo
Lions at Kecskemét Zoo.

Author’s rating:

The zoo is very small, which is its main drawback. The animals seem healthy and well cared for. It’s recommended for those with children. Kids will enjoy it. But it’s better to plan a visit to the zoo in Budapest; it’s ten times larger.

And here’s a cool spot (though not easy to access) – a museum and distillery for producing Palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy, similar to Balkan slivovitz and rakia). Full name: Zwack Kecskemét Brandy Manufacture.

Interesting fact:

Kecskemét is considered the center of Hungarian apricot Palinka production.
  • Coordinates: 46.89453775817385, 19.6908349
  • This is the actual distillery, and you can’t just show up here without prior arrangement – it’s an industrial area.
  • They offer tours of the Palinka production, but you need to book in advance on their website: https://zwackunicum.hu
  • Recommended for those interested in distillates and spirits. It’s a fascinating tour through an active production facility, including the cellar with aging barrels.
kecskemet hungary pálinka factory
The tour covers all stages of Palinka production.

Additionally, Hungarian Palinka makes an excellent souvenir with a national touch. Read more about what else to bring home from Hungary in the link.

Review of Kecskemét’s Thermal Spa Center

And of course, the main attraction in Kecskemét, according to most tourists, is the thermal aqua center. Here’s what you need to know about it:

thermal baths in Kecskemet
The main entrance to the Kecskemét Thermal Baths.

It consists of:

  • Standard 25-meter swimming pool.
  • Leisure pools area, including outdoor and indoor pools, a couple of kiddie pools, a few slides. The outdoor pools operate only from May to September. It’s a fairly extensive area within the complex with large pools for relaxation. There’s a panoramic pool, and in some, the water is at +36 degrees Celsius.
  • SPA zone or thermal pools with hot medicinal water. Open year-round, featuring two pools, one indoors and the other outdoors. The water temperatures are +36 and +38 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
  • Sauna World, a relatively modest section with three Finnish saunas, one steam sauna, one infrared sauna, an aroma room, a salt room, and two jacuzzis.
Kecskemet thermal complex
This is the main area of the complex – the leisure pools.
water park kecskemet
In the photo, an outdoor thermal pool in the SPA zone. It’s fantastic to sit in it during winter. The water temperature here is +38 degrees Celsius.

Always check the current prices on the website, but here’s an approximate guide for a general understanding:

  • Full-day ticket with access to all zones: around 14 euros.
  • All zones for the whole day excluding the sauna area: 10 euros.
  • It’s essential to understand that all tickets are without time restrictions. Even if you arrive an hour before closing, you still need to buy a full-day ticket.

Author’s rating:

If you’re in Kecskemét, this is a must-visit, BUT. The complex isn’t that big; there are only 2 thermal pools, and generally, spending 3-4 hours here is more than enough. There are activities for children, but they’re limited, especially in winter when almost all outdoor pools are closed. When compared to other thermal baths in Hungary, Kecskemét falls short. There are many thermal complexes where there’s more space for kids and more relaxation areas for adults.

If you’re looking for great thermal baths, consider:

  • The large aqua complex for the whole family in Hajdúszoboszló with outdoor thermal pools.
  • The city of Szeged and its large water park, Aquapolis, and the cool Anna Baths. The link to the review of Szeged was at the beginning of the article.
  • Miskolc and the thermal complex in the caves.
  • There’s also a large water park in the city of Zalakaros with lots of slides and thermal pools. But that’s in the top 30 attractions of Hungary (outside Budapest).

If you’re just planning your trip to Hungary and starting to gather information about the country, I recommend an informational article about vacation in Hungary, travel trends, and what tourists can do in Hungary in general.

In conclusion: Kecskemét is an excellent city for a one-day visit. Its big plus – it’s close to Budapest. Don’t expect mega-awesome attractions from this city. There’s nothing more to do here beyond a day. If you have the time and are considering where to go, check out the cities of Miskolc and Eger; I highly recommend them, especially for those with a car and the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas. All the reviews are available on this guide’s pages.

IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel