Must see sights around Budapest
If you are one of those lucky fellows who can spend more than a few nights in Hungary, you will realize that this tiny country has a lot more to offer beyond Budapest. The countryside is really diverse in terms of geography and culture too. You don’t even have to go far from the city, there are plenty of beautiful places around Budapest too. Let’s see what’s in the neighborhood!
This town is located about 30kms northeast from the outskirts of Budapest and it is famous for the Sissi Royal Palace. The palace used to be the favourite summer residence of Elizabeth, the beloved queen of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The 250-year old building is said to be the second largest baroque castle in the world and recently it has been beautifully renovated together with its parks and gardens.
Quaint little streets, an almost Mediterranean-like chaos of tiled rooftops, colourful houses, romantic riverbank, handicraft shops, busy cobbled main square, historical atmosphere, “lángos”, museums, exhibitions, churches and tiny alleyways. That’s what Szentendre is all about. It is often referred to as the town of art and it also hosts the so-called “Skanzen”. Skanzen is an open-air ethnographic exhibition with traditional homes, stables, workshops, clothes, mills and different implements. Shows rural architecture and lifestyle of 10 different Hungarian regions.
For the best views of the Danube Bend, don’t miss the Royal Castle and the Citadel in Visegrád. It is basically a medieval royal residence and fortress, but it also houses a historical exhibition and a panoptikum. The lower castle is also known as the Solomon Tower, where you can travel back in time and observe medieval knight tournaments in the performance of the St. George Knight order. Do not miss the famous Renaissance restaurant at the bottom of the hill! If you happen to visit Visegrád in July, you will also be able to enjoy the International Palace Games.
One of the oldest towns in Hungary lies about 60kms northwest from Budapest, right on the Slovakian border. The largest basilica in the country is located here, and is the seat of the Hungarian Catholic church. You can also visit the ruins of a 10th century royal palace, tour the Christian Museum or even cross the Mária Valéria Bridge to say hello to our Slovakian neighbors.
The bonus destination of our list is the Etyek wine region. This is the only destination where we do not recommend driving. (Please note that Hungary applies zero tolerance towards drunk drivers!) Visit the small, family-owned cellars of this quickly developing wine region, sign up for a wine tasting or a cooking course and enjoy the mesmerizing scenery.
All the above recommended destinations can be reached by public transportation as well. Since they are quite close to the capital, you can easily do half or full-day trips to explore these places, no need to spend the night there. Get ready and enjoy the outstanding Hungarian hospitality!