Győr, Hungary

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We went by train to Győr this past weekend and were pleasantly surprised by the city’s charm. Located within the “golden triangle” of Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava, the city of Győr is a perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

We arrived in Győr with no itinerary or agenda and enjoyed strolling through the old town at a leisurely pace. The city is very walkable, even for little legs, as most of the main sites are within the city centre. The kids loved racing to the statues and fountains and ran circles around the impressive squares.

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We stayed at a unique hotel that happens to be part of a 300 year old Monastery with a church that is still functional today. The staff at Hotel Klastrom were so sweet and patient with our children, inviting our littlest guest to help at the reception desk and unlock the library door. Children are truly adored in Hungary.

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Győr is filled with churches, museums, and monuments, ranking second to Budapest with the most historical buildings in Hungary. We popped into the Kármelita templom and the Győr Synagogue, but otherwise just enjoyed wandering the cobblestone streets and taking in the sites.

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Instead of climbing to the top of the Bishop’s Tower (a historical alternative), we opted for the more thrilling ferris wheel ride for our bird’s eye view of Győr. We were then drawn to the Pulse sculpture, a 4 meter tall reflective sculpture that spins on an axis and sits dreamily by the riverside.

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Győr’s riverside is a popular place to stroll and was a perfect backdrop to enjoy the fall colors. The city is situated at the confluence of three rivers, the Danube, Rába, and Rábca, and even has a small island with a peaceful little park.

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It was a little trickier to find our token playground on this trip, but I am happy to report that we made it. Our littlest is always looking for a swing and our bigger boy is always trying to climb everything, so playgrounds are usually on our radar. Hajós Játszótér is a pirate ship themed playground that is conveniently located down the street from the massive city hall.

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We also happened upon an adorable puppet theatre called Vaskakas Bábszínház and we were just in time for the show. Puppetry is such an art in Hungary and it was a pleasure to watch the production of Hansel and Gretel told in such a creative way. The accordion player set the tone throughout the show as the puppeteers bounced around the set making their puppets come to life. There are two zoos in Győr, a mini one in the city centre with amphibians, rodents, and small mammals, and a larger more traditional zoo a little bit further out. We opted for the smaller one, as it was difficult to reach the main zoo with public transportation. At first glance, the Xántus János Állatkert - Füles bástya zoo was underwhelming, but once inside the kids were delighted by all the animals they could meet up close. From petting chameleons and snakes to holding a rat and feeding a troupe of guinea pigs, the mini zoo made for a fun hands-on afternoon.

Our favorite meal in Győr was at Szegedi Halászcsárda, a traditional Hungarian fish restaurant based out of Szeged. The food was some of the best we have had in all of Hungary. The prices were reasonable and the atmosphere was perfect, complete with live gypsy music.

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The city is easily walkable with the exception of the main zoo or a visit to the Audi factory. Tours of the factory are offered on Mondays and Fridays (children must be 12+). If traveling by car, the Pannonhalma Benedictine Monastery would be interesting to tour and just 20km from Győr. The Pannonhalma is a World Heritage site built in 996, one of the oldest in Hungary, and is still a functioning monastery today.

Győr is a quaint little town that is likely overshadowed by bigger cities and more well-known day trips, but in our opinion, Győr is a hidden little gem well worth a visit. Our family scraped the surface with a more child-centered weekend, but one could easily delve deeper into the wealth of history and culture that makes Győr unique.

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