Budapest Day Trips
Without a doubt, Budapest is a captivating destination that offers visitors a perfect blend of stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture. But did you know that there are also many exciting day trips you can take from Budapest to explore the surrounding areas? From charming small towns to natural wonders, there is no shortage of amazing places to discover just a short drive away. Whether you are looking for a peaceful escape from the city or an adventure-packed day trip, Budapest has something to offer for everyone. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best Budapest day trips that you won’t want to miss. So, grab your backpack, put on your walking shoes, and let’s hit the road to discover the hidden gems around Budapest!
Featured Day Trips
Just 140 kilometers east of Budapest, nestled on the southern slopes of the Bukk Mountains, lies the enchanting town of Eger. With its 17 Baroque churches, thermal baths, and Turkish minaret, Eger is a treasure trove of historical and architectural wonders. Embark on a day trip and immerse yourself in its rich heritage.
Start your exploration by visiting the magnificent Eger Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Apostle. This stunning structure, built in classical style, features twin towers and offers panoramic views of the Old Town. Don’t miss the István Dobo Castle Museum and the Baroque Lyceum, both showcasing fascinating exhibits and offering breathtaking vistas.
Stroll through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, where you’ll find charming shops, the bustling central market place, and the impressive church of St. Anthony. For a truly immersive experience, make sure to visit the medieval Eger Castle, a fascinating fortress that has witnessed centuries of history.
If you’re looking for a day trip that combines natural beauty with historical charm, the Danube Bend and Vác should be at the top of your list. Located along the majestic Danube River, this picturesque region offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into Hungary’s past.
Start your journey by taking a scenic boat ride along the Danube Bend, allowing you to admire the stunning landscapes and the charming village of Vác. Once you arrive in Vác, you’ll be captivated by its well-preserved Baroque architecture and relaxed atmosphere.
Explore the town’s historic center, where highlights include the stunning Vác Cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace, and the imposing Town Hall. Don’t forget to visit the Kossuth Museum, which provides fascinating insights into the region’s history and culture.
Just a short trip north of Budapest lies the charming town of Szentendre, often referred to as the Artists’ Village. This picturesque town is renowned for its artistic flair, making it a haven for creative souls and art enthusiasts.
As you wander through the narrow streets of Szentendre, you’ll be greeted by colorful Baroque houses, cobblestone lanes, and an array of craft shops and galleries. Take your time to explore the town’s artistic heritage, visit local museums, and perhaps even find a unique piece of artwork to bring home as a memento.
Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll along the town’s promenade, which offers stunning views of the Danube River. Szentendre perfectly captures the bohemian spirit of the 18th and 19th centuries, providing a delightful escape from the bustling streets of Budapest.
If you’re in search of a tranquil retreat surrounded by natural beauty, look no further than Lake Balaton. As the largest lake in Central Europe, Lake Balaton is often referred to as the Hungarian Sea due to its vast size and stunning turquoise waters.
Embark on a day trip to Lake Balaton and discover the charming towns and villages that dot its shores. Whether you’re looking to relax on the lake’s natural beaches, indulge in water sports, or explore the surrounding national parks, Lake Balaton has something for everyone.
During the summer months, the water is perfect for swimming, and you can bask in the warm sun while enjoying panoramic views of the lake. Don’t forget to visit the Balaton wine region, where you can sample delicious Hungarian wines, such as the local specialty, Olaszrizling.
Less than an hour’s drive from Budapest lies the picturesque town of Tata, known as the “city of living waters.” This charming town is nestled amidst numerous lakes and mills, with the Old Lake taking center stage.
Visit Tata during the migration season to witness the incredible sight of thousands of waterfowl resting on the lake. Explore the town’s historic center and admire the fourteenth-century Tata Castle, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Nature lovers will be delighted by the hiking trails that wind their way through the scenic landscapes surrounding Tata. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the region and reconnect with nature as you explore the pristine forests and tranquil lakes.
Just outside the historic village of Dömös, you’ll find the popular hiking destination of Rám-szakadék. This breathtaking valley is characterized by its volcanic rock walls adorned with magnificent waterfalls, creating a picturesque and challenging hiking experience.
To reach Rám-szakadék, you can take a train or bus from Budapest, with the journey taking under two hours. Once you arrive, embark on a hike through the valley’s rugged terrain, taking in the wild and scenic beauty that surrounds you.
If you’re up for a challenge, venture deeper into the valley and explore the three-spring valley, known for its untamed and captivating scenery. The journey to Rám-szakadék is well worth the effort for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
For a trip back in time and a taste of royal luxury, head to the picturesque town of Gödöllő. Located just a short metro ride away from Budapest, Gödöllő is a popular spot for both history enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful retreat.
The town is mainly famous for the eighteenth-century Royal Palace, a favorite residence of Queen of Hungary Empress Sisi. Explore the opulent interiors of the palace, stroll through its beautiful gardens, and imagine life as a royal during the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
While in Gödöllő, indulge in a hearty lunch of Central European delicacies at Smarni restaurant, followed by a visit to Sissi ice-cream parlor for a sweet treat. If you happen to visit in December, don’t miss the Royal Palace’s annual Advent celebrations, which offer a range of festive activities for the whole family.
Situated on the edge of the Danube River, Visegrád is a castle town that offers a perfect day trip destination from Budapest. While you can reach it quickly by train, we recommend taking a boat ride along the Danube if the weather permits. This scenic journey allows you to take in extraordinary sights, including the beautiful village of Vác and the uninhabited islands that dot the river.
Once you arrive in Visegrád, make your way to the famous Visegrád Castle, where you can immerse yourself in medieval history. Explore the castle’s grounds, attend medieval performances, and even witness a jousting tournament if you’re lucky.
For a unique experience, visit the Pálinka Museum, dedicated to the traditional Hungarian fruit spirit. Learn about its history and production process, and perhaps even sample some of these delicious spirits.
If you’re a nature lover and crave breathtaking views, a visit to Prédikálószék Lookout is a must. Situated on one of the prominent hills of the Pilis, this lookout offers Instagram-worthy panoramas of the Danube Bend.
To reach Prédikálószék, catch a train from Budapest to Dömös, followed by a hike along popular trails that lead to this stunning destination. The hike itself is an adventure, as you traverse the beautiful landscapes of the Pilis, known for their diverse flora and fauna.
For an even more spectacular view, climb an extra 12 meters to reach the lookout tower. From this vantage point, you’ll be rewarded with an awe-inspiring panorama that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Step back in time and discover the traditional village life of Hungary at the Szentendre Skanzen Village Museum. Established in 1967, this open-air museum showcases the country’s folk architecture and offers a glimpse into the culture and customs of rural Hungary.
Explore the nine areas of the museum either on foot or by taking a ride on the Skanzen train. As you wander through the museum, you’ll encounter traditional houses, workshops, and even a working windmill. Immerse yourself in the daily life of the past as you witness craftsmen practicing their trades and learn about traditional farming techniques.
After your visit, indulge in some traditional Hungarian cuisine at the Skanzen restaurant or explore the variety of eateries in the nearby town of Szentendre. If you wish to extend your stay, the Skanzen even has its own hotel, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of the museum.
Experience the meeting point of two countries at Esztergom, a Hungarian city connected to the Slovakian town of Štúrovo by the Maria Valeria Bridge. This historic city is home to one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, the Basilica of Esztergom, which is an architectural marvel worth visiting.
Explore the grandeur of the Basilica and admire its intricate details and stunning views of the surrounding area. For a deeper dive into the region’s history, visit the Castle Museum, which houses treasures dating back to the ninth century. Alternatively, head to the Danube Museum to learn about the history of navigation and the creation of soda water.
For a unique experience, take a leisurely stroll across the Maria Valeria Bridge, crossing from Hungary to Slovakia in just a few minutes. Once on the other side, treat yourself to a refreshing Slovakian beer and enjoy the international atmosphere.
Nestled at the southern foot of the Mátra Mountains, the picturesque village of Mátrafüred offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of Budapest. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day trip or a longer stay, Mátrafüred has something to offer every nature lover.
Embark on one of the many hiking trails that wind through the pristine forests of the Mátra region. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you explore the breathtaking landscapes and discover hidden gems along the way.
To further explore the region, take a small railway from Mátrafüred to the town of Gyöngyös. Along the way, you can stop at the Mátra wine region and indulge in the local whites and rosés, a perfect way to unwind after a day of hiking.
What are some popular day trips from Budapest?
Some popular day trips from Budapest include Visegrád, Szentendre, Eger, Lake Balaton, Gödöllő Palace, and the Danube Bend.
How long does it take to get to these destinations?
The travel time to these destinations varies depending on the location and mode of transportation. Generally, it takes around 1-2 hours to reach these destinations by car or public transportation.
What is the best way to get to these destinations?
The best way to get to these destinations depends on the location and your personal preferences. For example, you can take a train, bus, or boat to reach some of these destinations, or you can rent a car or take a private tour.
Do I need to book in advance?
It's recommended to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, as popular destinations can become crowded and some tours may sell out quickly.
Is it easy to navigate these destinations on my own?
Most of these destinations are relatively easy to navigate on your own, especially if you have a map or a guidebook. However, some destinations may require a guided tour to fully appreciate their history and culture.
What should I bring on a day trip from Budapest?
It's important to bring comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, water, and any necessary documents or tickets. You should also check the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
While many of these day trips can be done using public transportation, renting a car can provide you with the freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace. Consider renting a car for the day to make the most of your journey and have the opportunity to visit multiple destinations.
When renting a car, compare prices and availability on Rentalcars.com, an aggregation site that searches hundreds of car rental companies to find the best deals for you. This way, you can find a car that fits your budget and allows you to fully enjoy your day trips from Budapest.