A Short Stopover in Szolnok, Hungary

This article details my prolonged stopover at the station of Szolnok, an important railway junction in Hungary.

A Szolnok stopover

My long train journey from Ukraine back to my home in Romania had nearly come to its end.

I took the Latorca InterCity train from Mukachevo into Hungary, where I alighted at the station of Szolnok.

At Szolnok I would connect to the ‘Ister’ night train towards Sibiu, Brasov and Bucharest in Romania.

I had exactly three hours and thirteen minutes to spare before the departure of my train, so I headed into Szolnok to search for a restaurant where I could have dinner.

border pole hungary river tisza latorca train
Crossing the Ukrainian-Hungarian border bridge over the River Tisza by train. ©Paliparan
latorca intercity train mukachevo budapest ukraine hungary
On board the Latorca InterCity train from Mukachevo to Szolnok ©Paliparan
szolnok train station
I got off the train at the station of Szolnok. ©Paliparan

First impressions

Szolnok’s train station feels large compared to the size of the town, as it has numerous platforms, owing to its significance as a major railway junction.

The station building boasts a distinct architectural style typical of the communist era of the 1970s.

Despite its rather plain and utilitarian appearance, the station is well-maintained and features a few small shops.

szolnok railway station
The front entrance of Szolnok’s railway station. ©Paliparan
szolnok train station
The main hall of Szolnok station. ©Paliparan

Into the city centre

Szolnok’s train station is situated outside the city centre, requiring a walk of about 20 minutes or a bus ride to reach it.

The city of Szolnok is located on the banks of the Tisza River, which I had already crossed earlier in the day by train just to the north of the town of Záhony where it demarcates the border with Ukraine.

Upon leaving the train station you may not be impressed with the initial view, as the surrounding area is dominated by imposing communist-era apartment blocks.

However, as you walk closer to the city centre Szolnok becomes much more agreeable and you can even see the odd Art Nouveau building and houses in other Belle Époque architectural styles.

communist apartment block
Communist apartment blocks in Szolnok. ©Paliparan


I wasn’t however in Szolnok for sightseeing.

Given that it was already dark it would be rather pointless anyway to embark on a city tour.

I stumbled upon a charming cellar restaurant called Bajnok Étterem, which proved to be an absolute winner.

The pheasant soup with homemade noodles was absolutely delightful and the breaded pork chop was certainly great too.

I washed it all down with a couple of pints of Austrian Gösser beer.

Bajnok Étterem
Bajnok Étterem. ©Paliparan
pheasant soup Bajnok Étterem Szolnok
Some delicious pheasant soup at Bajnok Étterem. ©Paliparan
pork chop
Yummy breaded pork chop with chips. ©Paliparan

Back to the station

Having finished the excellent meal, I decided to head back to the train station.

When I arrived at the train station, I noticed a small kiosk bar with some rudimentary benches in the pedestrian underpass.

It seemed like a charming spot to enjoy a few more beers and mingle with some of the locals.

Sadly, the little bar and all the other stores at the train station had already closed when I arrived there just before 8pm.

Luckily, there is a large Interspar supermarket located just a short walk from the station that stays open until 9pm.

With a beer in one hand and another for the train, I waited on one of the benches in the main hall for my departure while listening to the wonderful Hungarian station jingles and announcements.

szolnok train station
The front entrance of Szolnok’s train station. ©Paliparan
station bar
Unfortunately, the small station bar in the underpass had already closed for the night. ©Paliparan

Train to Romania

Having finished my beer, I headed out onto the cold platform to await the arrival of the Ister night train towards Bucharest.

Although I was excited to begin the last leg of my long journey home, I also felt a bit of sadness as the wonderful journey was slowly coming to an end.

szolnok station
A Hungarian train at one of the platforms of Szolnok station. ©Paliparan
szolnok ister train bucharest
Waiting on the platform for the arrival of the ‘Ister’ night train towards Bucharest. ©Paliparan


While Szolnok may not appear as Hungary’s most attractive town at first glance based on all the ugly high-rise buildings visible from the train station, it still has its own charm.

My stopover in Szolnok was actually quite pleasant as I enjoyed my short walk through the city centre and the excellent dinner at Bajnok Étterem.

Perhaps one day I will have some time during another stopover to have a proper look around Szolnok!

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Mail From Mariupol: A Pre-War Trip to Ukraine by Train‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Night Train Bucharest to Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania
2. At the Sighet-Solotvyno Border: From Romania Into Ukraine
3. Review: Solotvyno to Rakhiv by Bus
4. Review: Hotel Europa, Rakhiv, Ukraine
5. In the Land of the Hutsuls: A Visit to the Town of Rakhiv
6. Rakhiv to Mariupol: Riding Ukraine’s Longest Train Route
7. A Tribute to Mariupol: Memories of a Pre-War Visit
8. Ukrainian Railways Mariupol to Kiev Train in Platzkart
9. Review: Ibis Kyiv Railway Station Hotel
10. Review: Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi Station First Class Lounge
11. Ukraine Night Train: Over the Mountains to Mukachevo
12. Review: Latorca InterCity Train Mukachevo to Budapest
13. A Short Stopover in Szolnok, Hungary (current chapter)
14. Review: Ister Night Train Budapest to Bucharest

koen paliparan rhodes rodos


Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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