Gyor, Hungary was the first city I visited in the country (besides Budapest where I’ve been to countless times). For years I somehow avoided visiting Hungary properly, for no particular reason really, so when I’ve finally decided it was about time to get to know the country a bit better Gyor made an obvious first stop.
The city is conveniently located on the railway line between Vienna and Budapest and all the international trains stop there.
To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect from the place since I had no idea about things to do in Gyor. The pictures I saw online looked pretty enough to convince me to visit Gyor but then every second city in Central Europe looks pretty.
I arrived on Friday early evening, in the summertime, and was instantly impressed with the vibrant atmosphere of the city. The center was packed with people, wandering around or enjoying the warm weather in the outdoor restaurants. I liked Gyor right away and with time it got only better.
Where is Gyor
Gyor, the city of around 130.000 inhabitants, is located in the northwest part of Hungary, right across the border with Slovakia and not far from the border with Austria.
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is located around 120 km away from Gyor while another Central European capital, Bratislava, is even closer – 80 km from Gyor. Vienna, the capital of Austria, is also 120 km away.
Why visit Gyor
Gyor is one of the oldest cities in the region, first settlements here date back already to the 5th century BC. Due to its location, at the confluence of the Danube, Raba, and Rabca rivers, Gyor has played an important role in the region for centuries.
The city is known for its impressive Baroque architecture – during that period the major reconstruction of the city took place and the effects are visible still today. In Gyor you will find a few hundred buildings that are considered monuments, fortunately, the majority of them are located in the center so you can easily see them.
The city has this typical Central European vibe and charm and if you are looking for a good alternative to overcrowded nearby capitals – Gyor can be your answer. The city also makes a perfect day trip from either Budapest, Vienna, or Bratislava.
How to get to Gyor, Hungary
Getting to Gyor is actually super easy, doesn’t matter from which direction you are coming from. There are frequent trains from Budapest (more than once per hour, mostly from Keleti station), the fastest connection takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.
From Vienna you have train once per hour, the journey takes 1 hour and 10 minutes. To reach Gyor from Bratislava you need to take a bus.
The train and bus stations in Gyor are located next to each other, some 10 minutes walking from the center.
How much time for visiting Gyor
Even if Gyor is packed with attractions you can easily see everything in a few hours only as the main highlights of the city are within walking distance from each other. Add to that a bit of the extra time for sitting down in one of the cafes or restaurants to enjoy the atmosphere in the city and you can spend a perfect one day in Gyor.
I stayed overnight in Gyor as I also used the city as a base to visit Sopron too (definitely recommended!). This way I could also enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Saturday evening in the center of Gyor.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Gyor I can definitely recommend Hotel Capitulum (8.5/10 on Booking). The hotel has a perfect location and very spacious rooms and is a great value. Click here to check the availability and current prices.
What to see in Gyor
The pedestrian center of Gyor is packed with monuments and attractions and that’s where you will most likely spend the majority of your time in the city. That’s also where you will find most of the Gyor highlights.
The most important of Gyor monuments is the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, the seat of the Diocese of Gyor.
It dates back to the early 11th century when the Romanesque church stood here – you can still see its remnants in the back of the Basilica. After the war damage that over the centuries hit the building, the cathedral was rebuilt in the Baroque style with the 19th-century neoclassical facade.
The cathedral might not be very impressive from the outside but the interior is simply breathtaking with the stunning decor and rich details. It’s definitely worth visiting it inside! I only managed to take a quick peek as the wedding took place there when I wanted to visit the cathedral.
Another church worth visiting in Gyor is the Saint Ignatius Benedictine Church located on the main square of the Old Town. It’s yet another example of the stunning Baroque architecture you can find in the city. The church dates back to the mid-17th century while the incredible interior was decorated a century later.
Due to the history and big religious importance in the region, Gyor is packed with sacral monuments. If you are not really interested in visiting churches you still should make the exception for the two mentioned above as their interiors are real pieces of art that can impress everyone.
The heart of the Old Town is Széchenyi tér, the central square surrounded by some impressive Baroque houses, such as Vastuskós house (home to the Collection of Patkó Imre) or Abbot House (where John Xantus Museum is located) – both are among the most beautiful buildings you can find in Gyor.
Széchenyi tér is vibrant with numerous outdoor restaurants and people hanging around and enjoying the atmosphere. I also spent a big part of my time in Gyor there, just observing the everyday life go by.
The Old Town in Gyor is really picturesque, lined with winding lanes and charming corners. You can also find there numerous sculptures adding an extra nice touch to the place.
The most impressive one is probably the Ark of the Covenant statue, yet another excellent Baroque masterpiece in the city. You can find it at Gutenberg tér, between Széchenyi tér and Raba river.
There is also the Virgin Mary Column right in the center. While in the majority of Central European towns such columns were erected as thanks for saving the place from the plague, the one in Gyor commemorates Buda’s recapture from the Turks.
For me, one of the best things to do in Gyor was simply wandering around the pedestrian Old Town, discovering all the gems, and falling for the place. I didn’t use the map, simply followed my intuition and after two days I spent in the city I walked every street at least a few times. Yet every time I managed to notice something new, it shouldn’t be surprising considering how many buildings of great historic value are around.
If you are tired of all the Baroque architecture around you can find a great example of brutalism right at the edge of the Old Town. Gyor National Theatre was built in 1978 and is an impressive structure, home to the world-famous ballet company.
While the majority of Gyor monuments are located in the Old Town, you can find some more gems worth checking outside of it too.
The Synagogue of Gyor is an impressive building, designed on the octagonal plan and finished in 1870. Today it is a branch of the Municipal Museum of Art. Unfortunately, during my visit to Gyor, the Synagogue was closed for a few days. I still regret I couldn’t see it inside as all the photos of the interior look really incredible.
Another building that took my breath away is the City Hall, located right next to the train station. In fact, this was the very first place I’ve seen after arriving in Gyor and it was the perfect start of exploring the city.
The monumental building, built in the Neoclassical style at the end of the 19th century, dominates the area. While it’s impressive in the daytime it’s worth visiting the place also in the evening, when the City Hall is illuminated in the gold lights.
Where to go next
While Gyor itself is packed with attractions, the city can be also a good base to explore the nearby area.
I used Gyor as a base to visit Sopron too, a beautiful town right at the border with Austria. There are frequent trains between the cities and the journey takes around one hour.
A bit closer to Gyor, some 20km away from the city, you can visit the impressive Pannonhalma Archabbey. This is one of the most important monuments in Hungary, dating back to the year 996.
You can also hop across the border to Slovakia and visit nearby Komarno (divided by the Danube river between the two countries) to see its unique European square where each building represents the style of a different European Union country.
Or you can simply head to one of the Central European capitals that you can find in the proximity of Gyor: Bratislava, Budapest, or Vienna.
Final thoughts on visiting Gyor
I couldn’t have chosen a better first stop for my trip to Hungary. Gyor really enchanted me with its beautiful Baroque architecture and vibrant atmosphere. I didn’t expect so much beauty around yet I could find it all over the place. Every street and every second building was a real treat for the eyes and I really fell for the place.
If you would like to get a taste of Central Europe outside of the popular destinations I can definitely recommend visiting Gyor to get the laid-back vibe of the region and a taste of the beautiful architecture typical for this area.
If you are looking for a perfect day trip from either Budapest, Bratislava, or Vienna, Gyor can be a perfect option too! Don’t miss this city, it really is kind of a gem!
Revolut bank card is the best way to save money when traveling. It’s a pre-paid service that offers very good exchange rates and no fees for ATM’s use. Click here to learn more and order your Revolut card.
You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Gyor
Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Hungary here.
I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.
Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.
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Valentin31/03/2022 at 15:05
Very nice city. I was there few years ago. But only had a few hours for my visit. I walked around center and had a coffee in main square. I visited it in february so the weather was a bit cold. Would like to come in spring or summertime.
kami05/04/2022 at 07:14
I definitely recommend Gyor in the warmer months, the city is so vibrant then and that’s part of its charm