We first found out about Gyor, Hungary during our trip to Budapest–Vienna–Bratislava back in the summer of 2018. We took a FlixBus from Budapest to Vienna and there was just one stop along its route. The charming little town of Gyor, very close to the Hungary-Austria border. The only thing that we did see from the town was the huge town hall that welcomed us right before turning to the bus station.
We never thought that we would have the chance to actually visit Gyor ever again. But life works in mysterious ways sometimes. Four years later we not only ended up in Gyor again, but we got to spend a night there as well. In July 2022 while on our way to Vienna, we had to stop for the night somewhere close enough to the Austrian capital. We drove from Bulgaria to Vienna and the distance of 1,000 km was getting too much for a single drive for us. So we had the chance to spend the night in Gyor and take a long stroll through its wonderful little central streets.
Did we know anything about Gyor before getting there?
No, absolutely not. I did a quick Google search the night before when we actually booked our accommodation. But the only thing I could do was pinpoint a few sights that looked interesting and easy to find. I definitely did not have the time to do proper research and come up with a specific itinerary. I found a cute restaurant to have our dinner just moments before parking our car at the hotel. That was literally the most unplanned visit we have ever done. We had just a few hours to explore and we decided to spend them just wandering around as the sun sets. We also enjoyed a nice dinner at a convenient restaurant with good reviews online.
In case you are passing through Gyor in any of your travels, I highly recommend that you spend at least one night there. Here is what we managed to see and do while we were in the town.
Let’s start with the basics – where did we spend the night in Gyor? We literally booked our accommodation the night before so we had rather limited options to choose from. Booking offered a variety of options – from hostels and apartments to expensive luxury hotels. There were only two criteria that we wanted to abide by. The place should have been relatively cheap and close to the city center so that we could explore on foot.
The Baross Hotel ticked both of these for us. It was just 50 EUR for a double room. And it was 800 meters from the start of the pedestrian section of the town. It also had free parking which was great as we had to leave our car somewhere safe. The room was clean, although a bit old. There was a standard hotel breakfast included in the price. Nothing spectacular but still nice before a full day of exploring Vienna.
Overall, I would say that we got really good value for our money.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN GYOR?
Given the fact that we had just a few hours to explore, we had to be very organized. We arrived at around 7 pm local time on a Thursday night. So we really had 1-2 hours to see some sights and enjoy our dinner at one of the restaurants. Here is what we managed to see and where we had our dinner.
The town hall is literally the first thing you see in Gyor if you arrive by bus or train. Talk about a great first impression! The building is spectacular – its neo-Baroque design is instantly recognizable in Hungary. It has more than 200 rooms, measures 85 metres long and the central tower is 59 metres above the little formal gardens in the square.
We spent a few minutes in front of the town hall for pictures at sunset.
Gyor’s Old Town
Right across the town hall you can see the beginning of the main pedestrian area in Gyor. Most of the Old Town’s streets are on straight lines in an irregular grid system. The architecture is Baroque and Neoclassical, with facades painted in light yellow and pastel tones.
I would highly recommend that you simply take a stroll around the streets of the Old Town. It’s a very cute and quaint part of the city so just enjoy it.
St Ignatius of Loyola Benedictine Church
Flanked by a connected grammar school and monastery building on Széchenyi Tér, this Italian-designed church is the earliest example of Baroque religious architecture in Hungary. It was founded by the Jesuits and built between 1634 and 1641.
St Ignatius of Loyola Benedictine Church is located at the Szechenyi Square – it’s the main square of the Old Town, so characteristic of so many European cities. It has its fair share of restaurants and bars for every taste and budget. It is a great spot to enjoy your dinner and watch children playing at the fountains and old people enjoying their evening walks.
Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady
The radiant Baroque church on Káptalan Hill has had a tempestuous history since it was consecrated at the start of the 11th century by King Stephen I. That initial Romanesque monument was flattened by the Mongols in 1241, and its replacement had to be completely rebuilt from the 1630s after the city’s brief Ottoman occupation. The image of the Virgin Mary on the altar at the north side of the nave is one of Hungary’s most venerated pilgrimage sites.
Kármelita Templom (Carmelite Church)
The sight that gets the most attention on Bécsi Kapu Tér is the yellow-painted Carmelite Church at the southern end, unmistakable for its single onion-domed tower. The Carmelites came to Győr at the end of the 17th century and this Italianate church was raised in the first half of the 1720s.
Enjoy your dinner at Palffy Etterem
I found the Palffy Etterem restaurant on the way to Gyor at the TripAdvisor website. It had fairly good reviews online so we ended up enjoying our dinner there while watching the evening hustle and bustle at Szechenyi Square.
We tried the grilled chicken breast with sweet potato cream and cherry tomato salad and two of their pizzas – the Capricciosa and the Spicy one. Four meals and drinks cost us 40 Euros which was great for the value we received.
Have you ever visited a place you knew nothing about? Let me know in the comments below.