Things to do in Gyula
Hungary may not have impressive mountains or seaside beaches, but it surely is a paradise when it comes to spa resorts.
Gyula is a charming small town located in the southeast corner of Hungary. It is best known for its first-class spa complex, a 14th-century brick castle, shady parks, pálinka production, and peacefulness. There’s no wonder that tourists of all ages come here each year in such great numbers. So, if you ever visit Gyula, here’s a brief list of things you should do:
1. Experience the Castle Bath. It was built in 1942 in the heart of Gyula, in the middle of an 8.5 ha primeval park which belongs to a former mansion. In 1985, it was classified as a 4-star medicinal bath with open-air pools by the Hungarian Association of Baths. The complex has been developed continuously since then, and today it features indoor and outdoor pools, medical treatments, a bubble bath, saunas, artificial wave pools, and a children’s water park.
We felt awesome after spending a single day of fun and relaxation at the Castle Bath. We warmly recommend this spa complex to anyone. Prices are very good for the services you receive, and there are also restaurants inside the complex that can provide continental and Hungarian cuisine. More details here.
2. Visit Gyula Castle. The castle was built between the 14th and 16th centuries as property of the Maróthy family. Later, the castle became the property of John Corvinus, the illegitimate son of Matthias Corvinus (from the same family that owned Hunyadi Castle in Hunedoara).
It is said that Gyula Castle is the only intact Gothic brick castle in Eastern Europe built in a flat area. It was restored in the 1960s and turned into a museum. Downstairs you can find the castle prison, a larder, a baking house, a blacksmith´s workshop, a pottery workshop, a wine bar, and a chapel. Upstairs you can see the rooms that belonged to the lord, the lady, and the commander of the castle, as well as the Knights’ Hall and a reception room.
3. Drink pálinka. You just have to try this traditional Eastern European brandy! Pálinka can be made from plums, apricots, apples, pears, cherries, and other locally grown fruits. In our opinion, the best pálinka is made from quince. In any case, in Gyula, which is known as an important centre for pálinka production, you’ll find all the fruit flavours you can imagine.
4. Take a walk through the parks. Gyula is a small, lovely town with a significant amount of green space. Just get lost in the streets and shady parks, and enjoy the silence!
Bonus: If you want to eat something really special, try the so-called “Gyulai kolbász,” which is one of the most popular Hungarian sausages. All you have to do is ask, and the locals will tell you everything about this delicious food, including where to find it.
Written by Alexandra Palconi.
Photos via Flickr.