Szombathely, Hungary

By | December 16, 2022

Located in the very west of Hungary, the city of Szombathely rarely receives the attention of tourists. A significant part of the foreigners visiting this border town are auto travelers traveling to neighboring Austria (only 10 km away) and stopping here for a couple of hours to rest and buy inexpensive food. Few people know that Szombathely bears the title of the oldest city in Hungary and, in addition to the magnificent baroque mansions of the glorious times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, monuments of the Roman era have been preserved in it. And almost 80 thousand people hint that this is not a place forgotten by God, but quite a “living” European city worthy of attention. Check clothingexpress for information about visa to Hungary.

How to get to Szombathely

The most convenient way to get to Szombathely is through Budapest. From the airport. Franz Liszt travel to Budapest: bus number 200E (though only to the Kobanya-Kishpest metro station), minibuses and trains. Arriving in the city center, you need to go to any of the three stations – from each of them up to 15 direct trains per day leave for Szombathely (most from Nyugati). You can check the schedule and buy tickets online at the office. website (in English) of the Hungarian Railways. The journey will take 2.5-3.5 hours. There is an option to take a bus (from the Nepliget bus station), it will cover 230 km in 4.5 hours. Read more here (in English).

Transport

Until 1974, trams ran along Szombathely, and today the city’s public transport is represented only by buses, mostly the nostalgic Ikarus. True, tourists may not need them, since the historical center is quite compact. By the way, this is a paid parking area, so it’s better to move around on foot or by bike – fortunately, a city bike rental system has recently appeared in Szombathely. It is better to call a taxi by phone (you can contact the hotel and restaurant staff) or through applications – it’s cheaper than hailing a car on the street.

Szombathely Hotels

Hotels in the city are offered at very affordable prices. So, the cost of a double room in a two-three-star hotel is from 20,000 HUF. You can rent an apartment or apartments for a day – from 13000 HUF. The prices on the page are for February 2022.

Cafes and restaurants

Catering in Szombathely is for every taste, and the prices for food are pleasantly surprising. Establishments with traditional cuisine predominate, where they cook “goulash” (about 1300 HUF), wild mushroom soup with cheese dumplings (about 1000 HUF), baked catfish fillet with dumplings (about 2600 HUF). Restaurants also specialize mainly in Hungarian cuisine, only in a modern interpretation. The favorite fast food of locals is burgers and cakes paired with takeaway coffee (from 2000 HUF for a dessert with a drink). There are also international players: McDonald’s and Burger King.

Attractions in Szombathely

The vast majority of Szombathely attractions are located in the historical center. You can visit them all in 1-2 days and without using public transport.

The historical theme park is one of the “freshest” tourist attractions (Arena u., 1). It is located in the Franciscan Garden (“Ferenzes Kert”) and is an exact copy of the ancient Roman fortifications with a fort, barracks and 6 towers. The park regularly hosts reconstruction festivals, concerts and theatrical performances.

The Church of St. Elizabeth was founded in 1360 by an Italian Franciscan monk (Arena utca, 1). In the 17th century, the Gothic church was rebuilt in the Baroque style, but its altar retained medieval features, formally making the church the oldest in Szombathely.

On one side of the altar there is a unique picture depicting the city at a time when it was still surrounded by fortress walls (17th century).

Izeum – a temple in honor of the Egyptian goddess Isis of the early 2nd century – one of the main symbols of Szombatheya (Rakoczi Ferenc u., 6-8). It was discovered relatively recently, in the middle of the 20th century, near the site of the Amber Route from the Baltic to the Mediterranean that passed through the city. The territory adjacent to it is literally dotted with the ruins of ancient Roman buildings. Now, on the site of the sanctuary of Isis, there is a museum, which presents finds dating back 2000 years. Archaeological research continues.

Szombathely Cathedral – the third largest in Hungary – was erected at the end of the 18th century on the site of a destroyed fortress temple and Roman ruins (Szechenyi Istvan u., 8). During the Second World War, the church was seriously damaged – only small fragments of beautiful frescoes and murals survived, the restoration of which continues to this day. It was in this church that the famous physicist Lorand Eötvös proved the existence of the effect of changing the weight of bodies on objects moving relative to the earth, which was later named after him.

Szombathely Cathedral is the third largest in Hungary.

During the Roman Empire, Szombathely was called Savaria. The same name was given to the museum responsible for local history in the city (Kisfaludy Sandor u., 9). The exposition on the first floor illustrates the natural and geological history of the region and tells about the way of life of the ancient people – the inhabitants of this pre-Alpine region. In particular, Neolithic and Roman artifacts, fragments of the foundation of the temple in honor of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva are presented.

Weather

The climate of Szombathely is temperate continental. Summers are warm but not hot. Winter is cold and snowy. The city has a fairly large number of sunny days per year for the region – 250.

Szombathely, Hungary