Named after a medieval Hungarian ruler, Gyula lies on the banks of the Crișul Alb River on the Great Hungarian Plain. It’s located just a stone’s throw from Hungary’s border with Romania and is famed as the birthplace of Ferenc Erkel, a renowned conductor and pianist who composed the Hungarian national anthem.
Things to do in Gyula
Watching over a lake in the town’s east is the Gyula Castle, which is the only flatland Gothic brick fortress still standing in Central Europe. Constructed in the early 15th century, it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1566 and is beautifully restored. Descend into the dungeon and see costumes once worn by the castle’s lords and ladies, then step inside the reception room of the Sanjak Bey.
Alongside the castle is the Spa Castel Gyula, which is considered one of the most beautiful thermal bath complexes in Hungary. It features naturally heated swimming pools and a state-of-the-art wave pool, as well as water slides and a children’s playground. In Castello Sauna Park, you’ll find a Finnish-style sauna, a steam chamber and an aromatherapy sauna.
Gyula is an ideal base for exploring Körös-Maros National Park, which was established in 1997 as a refuge for migrating birds. Its mosaic-like landscapes include swamps and floodplains that provide habitat for black storks, short-eared owls and little egrets. Also nearby is the Vésztő-Mágor Historical Exhibition, which showcases Neolithic and Bronze Age artefacts uncovered in the area.
Getting around Gyula
Gyula is around 1.5 hours drive from Kecskemet and 2.5 hours from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular trains connect to the Gyula railway station and buses travel throughout the town. The centre of Gyula can easily be explored on foot.