Beautiful and extraordinary, there’s a certain charm to Budapest, a delightful city that is sometimes called the “Little Paris of Middle Europe”. When thinking of Hungary, many tourists probably only know of its capital of Budapest. This isn’t surprising with the abundance of great things to do and see. However, Hungary hides a treasure trove of historic baroque towns, gorgeous scenery, and vast wine regions that produce quality wines that are hardly known outside of the country. If you have the time, definitely branch out from Budapest to discover all that the area has to offer.
Here are some of the best day trips to enjoy from Budapest:
The Danube Bend is a lovely region to the north of Budapest, its banks dotted with quaint towns offering a slower-paced taste of Hungarian charm. Your first stop will most likely be Szentendre, the gateway to the rest of the Danube Bend and an easy day trip from Budapest. Once a haven for artists, the town still teems with an artistic spirit, with art museums and contemporary art galleries scattered liberally at every turn. Explore the baroque downtown with its winding narrow alleys and Mediterranean-style architecture. Be transported back in time at the Skanzen Hungarian Open Air Museum, a re-created village comprising relocated old houses that showcase Hungarian village life from centuries ago.
Browsing exhibits at museums can sometimes be hungry work, as our brains have to digest a storm of information. Well, you’re sure to get hungrier than usual at the Marzipan Museum, where you can purchase pastries at the confectionery store on the ground floor and browse the creative exhibits (such as a model of the Parliament Building) constructed from marzipan.
Do note that Szentendre can get crowded with tourists from Budapest on weekends and in the summer.
The suburban railway service (HEV) departing from Batthyány Square in Budapest (M2 red metro line) to Szentendre takes 40 minutes. Trains depart at around every 10 to 15 minutes at peak times.
If you want to fit more into your itinerary, move on to the equally scenic towns of Esztergrom and Visegrád.
Skanzen Hungarian Open Air Museum
Address: Sztaravodai ut., Szentendre 2001, Hungary
Price: 2,000 HUF (7.20 USD)
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 9 am - 5 pm
Contact: +36 (26) 502 537
Website: Skanzen Hungarian Open Air Museum
Szamos Marzipan Museum
Address: Dumtsa Jeno utca 14, Szentendre 2000, Hungary
Price: 500 HUF (1.80 USD)
Opening Hours: 9 am - 7 pm
Contact: +36 (26) 310-545
Website: Szamos Marzipan Museum
From Budapest: Danube Bend Day Trip including Lunch
Duration: 10 hours
If you’re looking for a relaxing break from the busy pace of travelling and sightseeing, Eger is an ideal choice to rejuvenate your soul. The town in Northern Hungary is famous for its castle, Turkish thermal baths, and its wines. Explore the historic attractions, soak away your tiredness in the warm medicinal waters that contain a hint of radon, and have a taste of the famous wines in the cellars of the Valley of Beautiful Women.
Just a gentle 20-minute walk from the city brings you to the verdant valley with cellars carved from the hillside, where you can pop in for a tasting session. Don’t leave without trying the most famous wine in Hungary, the Bull’s Blood of Eger (Egri Bikavér). Its name is derived from a 16th-century legend where Hungarian troops were fed local food and wine during a Turkish siege of the city and a rumour spread about the dark red wine. It was said that the local wine was mixed with bulls’ blood to give the 2,000 soldiers strength to win the battle. Who knows? A glass of this potent dry wine could give you an extra boost of energy to see more of Hungary!
Eger Thermal Bath
Address: Eger, Petőfi Sándor tér 2, 3300 Hungary
Price: 2,200 HUF (7.91 USD)
Opening Hours: 9 am - 7 pm
Contact: +36 36 510 558
Website: Eger Thermal Bath
Eger Wine Country Day Trip from Budapest Including Lunch
Departure Address: Your centrally located Budapest hotel
Price: From 295 USD
Departure Time: 8 - 9 am
Duration: Around 10 hours
About 1 hour and 20 minutes of driving on the freeway from Budapest will bring you to the town of Kecskemet, located in the heart of the Great Plains. This sunny region is captivating with its expansive grasslands, horse-riding culture, and the sparkling Lake Tisza, where a variety of water sports can be enjoyed. Kecskemet is a colourful town known for its Art Nouveau architecture. One of the best examples of the style is the Cifrapalota (Ornamental Palace) with multi-coloured tiles adorning its facade.
Cifrapalota (Ornamental Palace)
Address: Kecskemét, Rákóczi út 1, 6000 Hungary
Opening Hours: 10 am - 5 pm
Contact: +36 76 480 776
Website: Cifrapalota, Ornamental Palace
From Budapest: Puszta Great Plains and Kecskemet Day Trip
Duration: 8 hours
The village of Hollókő is a UNESCO World Heritage listed town, whose name translates to Raven-stone. The village has preserved the traditional architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries and affords visitors a glimpse into rural Hungarian life and traditions of the past. The town is at its most bustling during Easter when you can see the townspeople donning traditional Hungarian Easter costumes and practicing Easter traditions, like men throwing buckets of water at women after reading them Easter poems. This tradition is called ‘dousing’ and is somehow supposed to make the women 'good wives’! Besides the old village, check out the Castle of Hollókő, seated on the Cserhát Hills.
Budapest to Holloko or Mezokovesd Easter Festival Day Tour
Duration: 10 hours
Hévíz is a spa town 2 hours away by car from Budapest, and it draws visitors year round to Lake Hévíz. Lake Hévíz is the second-largest thermal lake in the world, and biologically the biggest active natural lake. The healing waters of the lake are perfect for a dip year round. Temperatures are up to 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer, and the water temperature is never below 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit), even on the coldest of winter days. In use as a spa since the Roman ages, Hévíz Spa provides you with a relaxing and carefree getaway in the warm arms of the sulfurous lake or through the soft touch of your masseuse’s hands.
Address: Hévíz, Dr. Schulhof Vilmos sétány 1, 8380 Hungary
Price: From 2,400 HUF (8.64 USD)
Opening Hours: 9 am - 6.30 pm
Contact: +36 83 501 70
Website: Hévíz Spa
Get out and get Hungary
Fall in love with Budapest, and then fall a little deeper with the rest of Hungary. Beyond the capital, resplendent worlds and quaint towns await. Discover more of this interesting country with some varied day trips from Budapest.
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