Most Visited Little Town - Szentendre
20 kilometers from Budapest is located the cheerful, nice little town, Szentendre (Saint Andrew). It is a half-day program.
You can reach the town by the suburban train (HEV) from Batthany ter (M2), these trains run quite frequently, in 20 minutes. The trip lasts about an hour and your tickets are valid till the borders of Budapest, at the ticket counter you need to ask for a supplement. You can even take a bus there but we could recommend you rather the HEV.
Szentendre is the most picturesque little town along the Hungarian stretch of the Danube, and home to sculptors and painters.The town is a charming monument to the eighteenth century, with its undulating cobbled streets and unexpected alleyways, and if it exudes something of a Mediterranean atmosphere then that’s probably thanks to the Serbs, Dalmatians and Greeks who settled here from the fourteenth century onwards.
Szentendre is famed for its seven churches – among them a bishopric of the Greek Orthodox Church – its rich museums, exhibitions of contemporary art, galleries and wonderful eating places. Hungary’s largest open-air ethnological museum (skansen) is situated at the edge of the town. Its old peasant houses, church and handicraft workshops are well worth visiting.
Worth going there to enjoy the atmosphear of a little town with colourful houses, to have a nice lunch in a cozy restaurant in one of the narrow streets.
Central Europe’s Largest Mediaeval Castle Keep - Visegrád
50 kilometers from Budapest, half-day-program. Trains run from Nyugati train station which can by reached by tram 4 or 6, or metro M2. Train to Nagymaros departs every hour (the detailed schedule is on Elvira). While waiting for the train you can get the Budapest and Surroundings map from tourist information office which is on the left side of the entrance. To see the historical sites of Visegrád you will need to take the ferryboat from Nagymaros to the right bank of Danube where the town lies. The ferryboat shuttles between the banks every 40-45 minutes, and it takes about ten minutes to cross the river.
Visegrád is a small town known not only for its historical ruins, but also for picturesque view of the Danube bend and surrounding hills. In the 14th century Visegrád became the seat of royal power and the capital of Hungary. Today the three main historical sites of the town evoke memories of former greatness of Visegrád: the Royal Palace, Solomon's Tower, and the citadel perching on top of the hill. Solomon's Tower is also known for its famous prisoner, Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula, who was kept here under duress for almost thirteen years, between 1462 and 1475.
To reach the Citadel and to enjoy the gorgeous views you may choose to climb – the slope is not that steep, and it will take you about 40 minutes to get to the top. Or, if you know you are not good at climbing or the weather leaves much to be desired, you may take a taxi. You can order a taxi in the café by the church.
The stretch of the river known as the Danube Bend is one of the most attractive parts of all Hungary. The river follows the form of a double “S” shape, which it carved out for itself between the hills after the last Ice Age. The town of Visegrád is in the most picturesque part.
The golden age of the Palace and the citadel was the time of the Renaissance King, Matthias, noted for his discerning taste. He added terraces, a grand courtyard, a red marble ornamental well and baths. Guests visiting from far and wide regularly likened the palace to a paradise on earth. After Matthias’ time the buildings fell into ruins, were completely destroyed by fire and buried by mud and rocks tumbling down the hillside. Now, however, thanks to decades of archćological excavation and painstaking research, the palace’s Renaissance grand courtyard has been faithfully reconstructed.
Similarly, by reconstruction of a section of the original walls, visitors to the Citadel can appreciate how strong a fortress it would have been in its heyday. This is the finest lookout point anywhere on the Danube Bend. The nearby thirteenth century castle keep, the largest anywhere along the line of the Danube, has survived the ages completely intact. The five-storey, 31 metre high hexagonal Salamon’s Tower today houses original wells and statues found during the excavations of the Renaissance palace.
Programs: Visiting the ruins of the Royal Palace at the feet of the hill, visiting the Citadel and haveing a magnificant view from the top of the Hill. Summer BOB next to the Citadel, an execursion in the forests, skiing in the Wintertime. Very good food in one of the town's "csardas"!
Hungary’s Largest Church - Esztergom
Right at the Hungarian-Slovakian border is the former royal town, Esztergom situated.
If you have your passport with you just cross the river thru the bridge (Maria Valeria) which was rebuilt in the recent years and you can visit the Slovakian town, Stúrovo, too.
Take a train from Nyugati station to reach Eszetergom or a bus from ARPAD hid bus terminal, it takes about an hour to get there.
The towns situated on the banks of the Danube tend to show their best faces to those approaching by boat.
The town is Hungary’s ecclesiastical centre and seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop, the Basilica and the walls of the ancient castle rise imposingly on the Danube’s right bank. The Basilica, as well as being Hungary’s largest church, is noteworthy for its remarkable altarpiece depicting the Assumption, which is the largest single-canvas oil-painted altarpiece in the world.
The church’s stately interior contains Hungary’s finest complete Renaissance monument, the Bakócz Chapel, built from red marble in the early 1500’s. The Cathedral Treasury is the richest in Hungary. In the nearby Bishop’s Palace is a Christian Museum noted for its valuable collection of fine arts.
The first fortress was built on Castle Hill in 972, and it was here that the founder of the Hungarian State and Church, King Saint Stephen, was born, earning the town’s epithet “Cradle of Hungary”. The twelfth century castle chapel and one of the symbols of Esztergom, the rose window, vividly recall the importance of the former palace building.