Kecskemet is the eighth largest city in Hungary, located about 50 miles from Budapest in the center of the country. With a population of just over 100,000, it is known best for its museums, apricot brandy and secessionist and art nouveau architecture. While it makes a nice day trip from Budapest, it is also a good jumping off point for trips to nearby Kiskunsag National Park.
One of the must-sees in Kecskemet is the Ornamental Palace, which is a prime example of Hungarian secessionist architecture. Completed in 1901, it is now home to the Kecskemet Gallery, which is worth a visit as much for the art as it is just to experience the impressive Decorative Hall inside. The city has more than a dozen other museums to occupy your time, including a photography museum, a toy workshop and museum, a museum of Calvinist ecclesiastical history, a Hungarian folk arts and crafts museum and a musical instrument museum.
Kecskemet can be reached by train from the Ferihegy train station near terminal 1 of Budapest’s airport, as well as from Nyugati train station in central Budapest. Trains leave hourly and take about an hour and 20 minutes from the city center or about an hour from the airport. You can also reach Kecskemet by bus from Budapest’s Nepliget bus station, but the journey is less predictable, sometimes taking up to two hours. Upon arriving in Kecskemet, both the bus and train stations are about 10 minutes outside of the center.