Hometown of paprika, two cool thermal baths, the third-largest city in Hungary – that’s all about Szeged. A comprehensive overview of this city that won’t leave any tourist indifferent. Come here for 2-3 days and explore everything yourself. Later, I’ll tell you what to visit, where to eat, provide an overview of local spas, and lots of other useful information.

Szeged: Interesting Facts, General Information

Brief general information about the city:

  • Szeged is an ancient city founded in 1183.
  • Population: 160,000 people. It is the third-largest city in Hungary. Only Budapest with 1.8 million people and Debrecen with a population of 200,000 are larger.
  • Despite being located in the southernmost part of Hungary near the border, Szeged is very popular among tourists traveling through Hungary by car. Szeged holds a crucial transport position: 7 km to Serbia, 10 km to Romania. Plus, one of the largest European roads, the E75, passes near the city, starting in Gdańsk, Poland, heading through 7 countries, and ending in Athens, Greece.
gift from Szeged paprika
Szeged paprika is considered the best in Hungary. Whether Szeged is the true home of paprika is debatable.

Interesting Fact:

Szeged is considered the birthplace of Hungarian paprika. You can buy it in souvenir shops in various forms. However, it’s not entirely accurate. Nowadays, Szeged is the center of Hungary’s food industry and agriculture, producing a lot of Hungarian sausages and those with paprika. The region’s fields grow a lot of paprika because it’s the sunniest and hottest part of the country. Bringing paprika and sausages from Szeged can make excellent gifts. What other souvenirs do people bring from Hungary for their family and friends?

Getting to Szeged from Budapest

As you may have gathered, this is a major city with excellent transportation connections not only to other Hungarian cities but also to other capitals in Central Europe. There’s no point in explaining how to get from Budapest to Szeged by car. Take the E75, 160 km, about one and a half hours, and you’re there.

Tip:

For those traveling by car: along the way from Budapest, there’s a great little town called Kecskemét, which also has thermal baths. You can stop for 3-4 hours. A tourist overview of Kecskemét, what to see, where to eat. By the way, if you take the train, you’ll also pass through the center of Kecskemét.

A brief on buses and trains from Budapest to Szeged.

  • Tickets, schedules, prices for bus tickets – check the official carrier’s website: Volanbusz. 6-7 trips per day. The price is around 8 euros. The journey takes a little over 2 hours.
  • But the easiest and most convenient option is by train. Prices, schedules, ticket purchase on the Hungarian Railways website: https://www.mavcsoport.hu/en. Trains run every hour from 5 am until late at night. The travel time is 2 hours 20 minutes. The ticket costs around 6-7 euros.
to Szeged from Budapest
Train schedule from Budapest to Szeged. There’s no problem getting to Szeged; trains depart every hour.

Where to stay, Szeged’s best restaurants

I won’t talk much about accommodation. It’s better to stay in the center, as everything is closer, but the center has old houses, while more comfort can be found in newer houses closer to the outskirts. The choice is yours.

  • Features of accommodation in Hungary, you’ll find out what to expect in old houses in the center of Hungarian cities.
  • You can search and book on any major site; Hotellook is one of them, comparing prices among dozens of popular providers, often with good discounts.

And now about the best restaurants in Szeged and where to eat. There are plenty of eateries in the center. I’ll tell you about the ones I frequent, where Hungarian cuisine is served, with large portions and reasonable prices.

  • Régi Híd Vendéglő – one of the most famous Hungarian cuisine restaurants in Szeged. Plenty of tables, but lots of visitors too. During the season, sometimes you might have to wait or book in advance. Large portions, prices slightly above average.
    • Coordinates: 46.25094627598818, 20.15029536022475
    • Menu and website: http://www.regihid.hu/
    • Operating hours from 11:30 am to 10 pm, until 11 pm on weekends.
    • I highly recommend trying the halászlé soup and choose between pörkölt or paprikash for the main course. Very delicious. An overview of Hungarian cuisine and what a tourist should try.
    • This eatery includes a 10% service charge. Therefore, you don’t need to leave anything extra; just pay the bill.
Szeged best restaurants
This is our usual order at Régi Híd Vendéglő: halászlé soup and chicken paprikash. Very delicious.
  • Tündérkonyha Étterem – this place doesn’t claim to be elite. It’s called a restaurant but is more like a bistro or buffet. They offer food delivery throughout Szeged, available for order on their website. Large portions, everything is tasty, prices below average, so there are always many young people here.
    • Coordinates: 46.25230426165116, 20.149261650906638
    • Operating hours: from 10 am to 10 pm daily.
    • The website allows you to order delivery or view the menu: https://www.tunderkonyha.hu/online-rendeles
    • The cuisine is more European, but they have several Hungarian soups, always a couple of types of pörkölt, and even túrós csusza, which won’t leave anyone indifferent :). Overall, apart from pizza, pasta, burgers, they have all the main Hungarian dishes.
    • No hidden fees, service charges. The service is fast.

What to See: Top 12 Attractions in Szeged

Szeged is a big city with a rich history, offering plenty of attractions. If you’re a fan of medieval architecture or religious themes, you’ll find lots to explore here. With dozens of churches, cathedrals, historic buildings, and narrow streets, the list is extensive. I won’t detail everything. Below, you’ll find a map of the top attractions in Szeged, essential for every tourist.

And for those seeking more, simply wander the streets of Szeged, especially in the center and along the riverside, where you’ll discover numerous fantastic spots. On the map below, I marked not only the main attractions in Szeged but also the restaurants mentioned earlier and two cool thermal baths, which I’ll talk about later.

  • Dom Square and the main Cathedral of Szeged, along with a bonus visit to the Szeged University. It’s a complex of buildings in an English-style from the 18th century. It reminds me of scenes from Harry Potter movies and Hogwarts. All of this surrounds Dom Square, a stunning and Instagram-worthy location.
    • Coordinates for Dom Square: 46.24809697784403, 20.148387287888234
    • While this is within the university’s courtyard, the entire area is open for public access and absolutely free.
    • Plan about 30 minutes for this location. If you’re good at choosing angles and compositions for photos, you’ll capture some fantastic shots here.
what to visit in szeged
This is how the entrance to Dom Square looks. It’s part of the university buildings.
szeged dom square
And here is the square itself with the Cathedral.
  • The Móra Ferenc Museum in central Szeged. It’s a massive museum building constructed in neoclassical style in 1896. It houses ethnographic and historical exhibitions. Additionally, major exhibitions are held annually, displaying items from the world’s top museums. In 2023, there was an 8-month-long exhibition called ‘History of Ancient China’ brought to Szeged by the Shanghai Museum.
    • Coordinates: 46.25235750152549, 20.152107256081013
    • Operating hours: from 10 am to 6 pm.
    • Official website, where you can check prices, exhibition schedules: https://moramuzeum.hu/. Use a translator; the English version is terrible.
    • Price: around 9 euros for a ticket to all museum halls, all exhibitions, including temporary ones.
szeged museums
Móra Ferenc Museum

Good to know:

The museum is right on the Tisza riverside near the city’s main bridge. There’s a large green park, fountains, plenty of shade, and it’s incredibly beautiful. Even if you’re not a museum enthusiast like me, this place is hard to pass by. Plus, a vast number of Szeged’s attractions are within walking distance from here.
  • Széchenyi Square and the City Hall, also known as the main square and the city hall. It’s a large, beautiful green square that’s essentially a park with fountains, walking paths, and benches for relaxation. There’s no grand ‘wow’ effect; it’s just beautiful and tranquil.
    • Coordinates: 46.25368967043063, 20.148889252973028
    • Free to visit 24/7.
    • If you’re heading to Anna Baths or the water tower, chances are you’ll pass through here. There’s nothing extraordinary; it’s just a regular but beautifully architectured building.
main square and town hall in the city of Szeged
Nothing particularly outstanding; in Szeged, almost every building looks as good as the City Hall. In the photo, by the way, is the City Hall, and I’m taking the photo from Széchenyi Square.
  • Reök Palace. On one hand, it’s an average attraction—just a house. But on the other hand, it boasts very unusual architecture for Szeged and Hungary. The house was designed by an architect named Reök in the Art Nouveau style. The architect drew inspiration from the works of the famous Gaudí, who adored smooth lines in everything. That’s the uniqueness of the house when you look at the photos.
    • Coordinates: 46.2515, 20.14539
    • There’s nothing to do inside; it’s a five-minute attraction from the outside. Accessible round the clock.
    • It’s beautifully lit in the evening, as is the entire street.
    • On the ground floor, there’s a café-patisserie. You can have coffee and pastries here. It’s very delicious but quite expensive. Still, tourists like to sit here.
palaces of Szeged
Decide for yourself how impressive the ‘Palace’ Reök is or if it’s just an ordinary house with original architecture.

Author’s opinion:

For me, it’s just a slightly unusual architecture. But for local residents, this is a major attraction, and they always mention the Reök Palace to tourists as something special.
  • The center of Szeged and the pedestrian streets of the city. This is the most touristy center of the city. As expected of pedestrian streets: beautiful, lots of shops, restaurants, souvenir shops, interesting objects, and monuments. Here, you just need to stroll and look around. The main pedestrian street is Kárász. It’s not particularly long, about 300 meters, starting from Széchenyi Square.
szeged attractions
The main pedestrian street in Szeged. Just walk and look around; also, don’t forget to glance upwards; there are unique and interesting spots.
  • Water Tower of Szeged. Towers like these were built all over the country at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. These are actual water towers that provided water to the city’s plumbing systems. They designed them so beautifully to promote the idea of technological progress among the less educated population. I like these water towers more than the ordinary metal cylinders we have at home.
    • Coordinates: 46.25842747115772, 20.15020571575
    • The tower has an observation deck with a fantastic view of the city.
    • Unfortunately, it’s been closed for about 2-3 years now. They only open it for visitors a couple of times a year on national holidays. The ticket price is around 2 euros. Check the link for information on Hungarian holidays and traditions; perhaps you’ll be lucky if there’s a significant holiday during your visit to Hungary.
Szeged water tower
Unfortunately, it’s only accessible from the outside. But in Debrecen, there’s a very similar tower that’s already open to tourists with an observation deck on the roof.

Interesting to Know:

The Water Tower of Szeged is incredibly beautiful. They say there will be a reconstruction, and the entrance will remain closed for the next couple of years. For those who enjoy such attractions, in Debrecen, a similar water tower has already been restored and opened. It operates all year round, has an observation deck on top overlooking the whole city, and inside the tower, there’s a café and a climbing wall. A comprehensive review of Debrecen, the water tower, and other city attractions.
  • The Szeged Synagogue. I mentioned earlier that I’m not particularly fond of religious attractions. In any European city, there are dozens of churches, cathedrals, temples, and synagogues. They’re all beautiful, but you’ve probably never seen a synagogue like this one. Just take a look at the two photos below and decide for yourselves if you want to see it with your own eyes 🙂
Szeged sinagogue
This is the synagogue.
sinagogue hungary
The photo is taken with a wide-angle lens, so the geometry is slightly distorted, but you can still assess the scale and décor.

Author’s Opinion:

The synagogue is truly impressive both from the outside and inside. In Hungary, entrance fees apply to almost all attractions, and in Budapest, they charge for entry to Catholic churches as well. For instance, St. Matthias Church charges 7 euros for entry and an additional 8 euros to climb the tower.
  • The Szeged Zoo. Hungarians love zoos; almost every reasonably sized city has a proper zoo with lions, giraffes, hippos, and so on. Szeged also has such a zoo.
szeged zoo tickets
I confidently recommend the Szeged Zoo for families with children. It’s great here.

My Rating:

I confidently recommend visiting this zoo. Compared to the zoos in Debrecen and Pécs, it’s much bigger; there’s more space here. All the animals look good, and the enclosures are large and clean. The Szeged Zoo leaves a pleasant impression. Kids will love it if you’re traveling with them. It’s one of the best zoos in the country; only Budapest’s zoo is cooler.

And from other interesting locations that you should visit in Szeged or at least not miss:

  • The riverside promenade of the Tisza River and the city’s main bridge: 46.251741495229375, 20.152747103587508
  • The small fortress of Szeged and the interactive exhibition in the backyard of the Móra Ferenc Museum. You can buy a combined ticket for visiting the museum and the fortress. Coordinates: 46.25293071355995, 20.152470034677012
  • And, of course, what most tourists come here for. Szeged is known for having not one but two awesome baths: the thermal baths of Anna and the large spa complex for the whole family, Aquapolis. Let me tell you about both.

Anna Baths: prices, working hours, photos, peculiarities

If you’re traveling without kids, this is the place for you. Although Anna Baths allow children, consider sparing yourself and other visitors. It’s a place for relaxation; there aren’t any amusements for kids here, and they might find it boring and uninteresting.

thermal baths in szeged
This is how the Anna Baths look from the outside. This is the main entrance. The building is over 100 years old.
  • Coordinates: 46.256205797710706, 20.150041331095945
  • Operating hours: year-round from 7 am to 8 pm. I recommend coming before lunch; there are fewer people then. This applies to all baths in the country: the earlier you arrive, the fewer people there are.
  • Official website: https://www.szegedsport.hu/arlista
  • Full-day ticket: 4500 forints (around 12 euros). There’s a 3-hour ticket for 7 euros. Check the current prices on the website.

The Anna Baths are in a beautiful historical building. The structure itself is circular, housing thermal pools, relaxation zones, saunas, a café/bar, and in the courtyard, there’s a lounging area with deck chairs. It’s great for sunbathing in warm weather.

anna baths szeged
The last time I was here was in November; there were no people in the courtyard at all. There’s also a relaxation area inside.

Handy to know:

The Anna Thermal Baths haven’t switched to electronic bracelets yet. When you pay for entry and enter the changing room, find a staff member who’ll give you a key to a locker. By the way, you can bring your own food and drinks; there are tables in the café where you can eat, but you can also buy on-site.

What’s included in the visit to the thermal complex:

  • About 10 thermal pools with water temperatures ranging from 33 to 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Jacuzzis, hydro massagers, the usual amenities for such places.
  • Around 7-8 saunas, steam rooms, a salt room, and infrared saunas. By the way, the saunas at Anna Baths are excellent, and there are few visitors. In various baths in Budapest, it’s the opposite, lots of people and only a few saunas.
  • There’s a relaxation zone with deck chairs, both inside and outside.
thermal spa szeged
One of the 10 thermal hot pools. Here and in the following photos, notice the number of people. Then compare it with the photos of Széchenyi Baths in Budapest when you read about them.

Important point:

Many nooks and crannies. To not miss any pool, peek into every corner. If you can’t find a certain pool, ask the staff 🙂
anna bath hungary
Vaulted hall and a thermal pool around +36-37 degrees Celsius.
saunas anna baths
There are small pools, like the one in the photo. Also, there are infrared saunas in the form of a cabin for two people. The traditional saunas are large, for 10-20 people.
jacuzzi hungary baths
Usually, this pool isn’t found right away; you need to wander a bit to find it. Here, there’s medicinal water with a temperature of +38 degrees.

The Anna Baths are really cool; honestly, I like them more than the popular Széchenyi Baths in Budapest (check the link for a comprehensive review of the most famous Hungarian spas). Yes, there are no outdoor pools here; all the thermal pools are indoors. But it’s incredibly beautiful inside, even more so than the interiors of Széchenyi; there are more pools and jacuzzis here, and most importantly, there are incomparably fewer people. You can see it all in the photos. If you come here at 8-9 in the morning on a weekday, there’ll be about 10 people in the whole complex. In Széchenyi at the same time, there are already 1000 people.

Aquapolis: a water park with thermal pools for the whole family

But if you’re traveling with kids, there’s an awesome water park in Szeged that also has thermal pools. It’s a classic water park as we know it, with slides and lots of entertainment for the whole family. The full name of the water park in Szeged is Sunshine Aquapolis Szeged.

szeged water park
Aquapolis is the most standard water park, and there are many in Hungary and Europe.
  • Coordinates: 46.25082214485732, 20.15933528465444
  • It operates year-round (the outdoor pools and slides close in winter) from 7 am to 8 pm every day.
  • Official website: http://www.napfenyfurdoaquapolis.com/hu/arak-berletek/
  • Prices:
    • All-day ticket to the water park: around 20 euros (adult).
    • There are 3-hour tickets to the water park for about 16 euros.
    • The complex includes a sauna area called Forras SPA, and there are only 3-hour tickets available: 12 euros.
    • There’s also a combined ticket for the whole day, including entry to the water park + 3 hours in Forres SPA: it costs 9600 forints (around 25 euros).

Important note:

Access to the Forres SPA sauna area is prohibited for those under 16. It’s an area for relaxation and rest. If you really want to, one parent stays with the kids in the water park, while the other can go to Forres SPA, then switch.
Thermal water park in Szeged
Outdoor thermal pool, open year-round. Water temperature is +38 degrees Celsius.

What awaits you at the water park:

  • The main zone, the water park, includes:
    • 13 slides, 9 of them indoors (3 extreme slides for adults) operate year-round, 4 outdoors are seasonal.
    • 2 huge pools with lots of fun, a lazy river, and other water amusements.
    • 2 thermal pools, one of them outdoors and open year-round.
    • There are two simple steam saunas.
    • And a large area called baby mom world for kids aged 0 to 5.

Interesting to know:

In the Szeged water park, there’s Europe’s longest slide open year-round. It’s called Anaconda, 272 meters long, starting from a 30-meter height. But this slide is only for adults.
Aquapolis Szeged water park
Take a look at the tower, at the tallest blue slide. It’s called Blue Anaconda – they say it’s the longest in Europe.

And another point: the water park itself with all the pools opens early, BUT: from 7 am, only the thermal pools are open; from 9 am, the entire water park zone, and the slides operate only from 2 pm on weekdays and from the early morning on weekends. Keep this in mind.

  • The Forres SPA sauna area is small and includes:
    • A 25-meter pool.
    • 3 jacuzzis.
    • 7 or 8 saunas. Some of them duplicate, in reality, all the variety comprises 4 saunas.
    • There’s a salt room and an infrared cabin.
    • That’s all. A 3-hour ticket to the saunas is more than enough; there’s nothing else to do here.
    • The plus side is that it’s quiet, very beautiful, and there’s a choice of saunas, unlike the water park. On the downside, the thermal pools are in the water park, not in the sauna area. Here, there’s only a jacuzzi and a pool, but the water temperature is comfortable.

Photography isn’t allowed here because people might be relaxing naked, so I don’t have any photos. You can check official photos via the link – Forres SPA.

In conclusion: the Hungarian city of Szeged is a fantastic place for tourists. It’s beautiful, there’s much to see, and the entire city center is steeped in history. Having two absolutely different thermal complexes elevates Szeged to the top of the best cities to visit in Hungary. Come here for 2-3-4 days; it’s really cool here. In one day in Szeged, you can see all the main attractions, but if you plan to visit the thermal baths, you need at least 2 days.


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