Find treasures in the Grand Budapest Area
The Hungarian capital has more than enough to keep visitors entertained, but it is also an excellent starting point for excursions further afield should you be interested not just in getting a taste of the capital, but the country as a whole. Hungary has excellent infrastructure centered on Budapest, there is so much else to see with just an hour of travel. So you will have no trouble getting to nearby towns, whether you’re going by road, train, or for the most scenic option, by boat. After enjoying breakfast at your hotel or rental apartment, you can embark on a short leisurely trip to several beautiful destinations, all within reasonable distance from the city.
Travel along the Danube, central Europe’s longest river and an integral part of not only of the Budapest landscape, but also the history of the country's travel and commerce. Enjoy the comfort of organized trips that will introduce you to the region surrounding the Hungarian capital and familiarize yourself with the area.
If you venture beyond the city borders, your first stop should be Szentendre. The town has a wealth of history and delights visitors with its narrow streets, street musicians, portrait artists, as well as the wide variety of craftsmanship and traditional cuisine on offer. The city is famous for its marzipan production and there is even a museum centered around the local history of the sweet. Drop by the Skanzen of Szentendre, its outdoor ethnographical museum to learn about the architecture, the farming, the interior decorations and everyday life of eight Hungarian regions.
Visit Hungary’s biggest religious building in Esztergom, the local Basilica. Climb to the dome and see for yourself the staggering view of the surroundings. The city has one of the largest collections of religious relics and artifacts in central Europe and also boasts a major lineup of arts and crafts from a diverse range of international artists.
Marvel at the splendid view from the Visegrád castle, formerly the home of the royal court. It is a bit of a climb, but you will be rewarded with a priceless view of the Danube bend. Be sure to pick up some souvenirs, enjoy a traditional meal, or try your hand at archery, always a hit with the kids. If you’re after a bit of an adrenaline rush, give the bobsled track a go. If you do go, try to take a ferry ride across the river to get a whole different perspective of the wondrous view.
Etyek is rightfully famous for its deeply rooted traditions in winemaking that dates back all the way to the Romans. The city can be considered Budapest’s vineyard, there are now hundreds of cellars producing a vast variety of top-quality red, white and sparkling wines. The picturesquely rustic wine village is host to a traditional picnic featuring the top wines and gastronomic treasures typical of the town.
Gödöllő is a classic destination; every Hungarian has been here at least once on a school field trip. The city is filled with historical buildings that will easily fill a whole day with sightseeing, most obviously its fabulous Royal Palace (built in a style that became known as Gödöllő Baroque), but you might also want to visit the local nature reserve.
The Castle of Gödöllő is one of the most remarkable castles of Hungary simply because of its size. This is one of the biggest baroque castles in the world. This was the summer residence of Queen Elisabeth, or Sissi during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Sissi enjoyed being here; Hungarians loved her and treated her very friendly.