Don’t you just love the name Székesfehérvár? It is one of those typical Hungarian names that people who are not Hungarian look at and wonder how on earth it is pronounced. After a lot of coaching from our new-found family, I can tell you it is pronounced Say-Kesh-Fair-Har-Var. Easy right?
Székesfehérvár is less than a one hour train ride outside of Budapest. The train cost our family of four 3200 HUF (about 15 CAD). We were invited here by our cousins on quite a few separate occasions and were lucky enough to explore the city with locals!
At first glimpse, the city seems to be a lot of unadorned apartment blocks, but looking deeper, the city has so much beauty and charm!
The downtown area is simply gorgeous. It is picture-perfect Europe with cobblestone streets, colorful, ornate buildings, statues, churches, and of course what I now equate as a Hungarian National symbol, ice-cream stands! The best part is that the entire area is closed off to cars which makes the streets an absolute joy to wander.
Of the many statues in the downtown core, the one of “Kati Néni” was our favorite. This statue is of an old lady who lived in Székesfehérvár and would sell her wares in the downtown streets every day.
One of the most famous attractions in Székesfehérvár is the Bory Castle. While it is not incredibly old (it was built in the early 1900’s) it is a beautiful spot to visit. The castle is filled with statues and artwork and we had a nice time wandering around, despite the cold and rainy weather on the day of our visit.
Close to the downtown area lies an AMAZING playground that we took full advantage of. This was by far the best playground that we have been to in Europe so far. I think that the trip down to Székesfehérvár is worth it for this playground alone!
Next to the playground is a peculiar fountain that has people lining up to fill up their bottles. This fountain is quite famous as it spouts a type of water that is rich in minerals like iron. We had a drink…the water sort of salty with a metallic taste. Apparently, it has healing properties.
Székesfehérvár makes a great (and easy) day trip from Budapest or would make a beautiful destination on its own. Our cousins tell us the downtown area is incredibly beautiful at Christmas time when the area is lit up with Christmas lights and full of vendors. If we ever come back to Hungary, I think this would be a city we could settle down in for a while.