City square in Kecskemét, Hungary

An insiders guide to Kecskemét, Hungary

Kecskemét is the place that lies halfway between Hungary’s two most popular cities, Budapest and Szeged. Unfortunately, not many people take the time to stop here, which is a crucial mistake when coming to the country. It’s filled with culture, history and the night life is absolutely exceptional.

But what exactly do you need to see here?

Eating out

Hungary’s cuisine can be a bit scary, especially when it comes to meat dishes. However, if you are looking for a new experience and new flavors then you definitely need to visit a few specific restaurants in Kecskemét.

The first one is Kecskeméti Csárdás. They are on the pricier side but if you want traditional dishes, they are the best at it. The staff speak English as well and they are very friendly towards tourists, so you will definitely have help with choosing a dish if you need it.

Fekete Gólya (or Black Stork) Restaurant is another great choice, however, they are a bit of a drive out of the center. This is important because if you’re looking to try their pálinka (Hungarian brandy made from fruit) – which is legendary – then you will need a designated driver back.

48 Restaurant and Bar and Bagatell Restaurant are often recommended to tourists. If you listen to a Hungarian person though, we will tell you to stay away from them if you want something really authentic. They are also more expensive than they should be, especially for Hungarian cuisine, which is famous for being dirt cheap.

Culture

While walking around in the center you will see several churches. It might come across odd at first, as why would a single city need four churches, especially only a few meters away from each other? Well, the answer is simple: they are churches for completely different religions. These days this is just fine, but these buildings were made in the 18th century, which can make you realize just how accepting people were back then in this city.

Kecskemét is also home to a key place for cinematography. Our first cartoons were animated here and you can take a guided tour through the building and see the process they used for it. Hungary’s favorites were made here and in honor of it, there is an annual festival for Moving Picture and Animation. If you’re in Kecskemét in August make sure to check it out.

Szórakaténusz is a building located right at the center of the city and it is the perfect place to go with kids. They have traditional toys all around, with explanations as to how each one was made and what era they were popular in. There are also a few that you can try. On weekends you also get the chance to make one of your own toys for a small fee. These toys vary greatly, sometimes the staff help the children make dolls out of corn, other times they make pictures with wool. Candle making is also a quite common program here.

Night life

Once you are done with appreciating the nuances of Hungary you will probably want to get yourself straight into entertainment. Kecskemét has plenty of bars but if you want to have yourself a really good time you can’t just pick any one of them. Kéttemplom köz is the perfect place if you are an extroverted party-goer. There, you can drink and dance until the sun comes up with a ton of other people. Since you will be in Hungary, your drinks won’t cost as much either, so you won’t have to worry about emptying your wallet for a night out.

However, if you prefer quieter nights, you have a different option: Black Cat. This pub offers customers a nice vibe, good cherry beer and some typical bar games. They are only open until 2 AM though, so make sure to keep that in mind. After midnight the scene changes quite a bit though, as that’s the time when a lot of smaller bars close and people tend to flock to Black Cat afterwards.

The biggest specialty I can offer is to metalheads though. Hungary doesn’t have many bars and pubs that cater to alternative music styles but Kecskemét is proudly home to one of them. Aranykerék is a bar that has been around for decades, you have the option of putting a song of your liking (for free) and it’s also the cheapest place in the entire city. You might be thinking that this bar is in a rough area because of its style, or that it could get you in trouble to go there. Absolutely not. There’s a nice atmosphere, bar games, sometimes karaoke parties down in the basement (also alternative). The owner is always out at the bar and welcomes newcomers.

Transport

The biggest question you might have is: how does one get from one place to another? Well, if you want to go by car, that’s always an option but Kecskemét has a really well-built public transport system. You can get a monthly pass for around 10 euros, so if you’re staying for longer than a weekend it’s your best option. You can easily check the schedule online, or you can download the “Menetrend” application which can tell you directions as well as buses leaving soon in your area. Once you can figure out the app you will never get lost. Just make sure that you always plan how you will get back into the city, since in the more rural areas buses are a bit harder to come by and later in the evening they completely stop running circles.

Kecskemét is quite a small city when you only take the center into consideration, which is what most people stick to. Because of this, it’s unlikely that you will need any kind of public transport or car to go about your way if you’re staying in the middle. It only takes 10 minutes to get from one end of the center to the other, so you can simply walk while you’re here.

Heading to Hungary? Why not go and explore and head to Kecskemét for a few days. Book your travel on our transport page.

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