From Budapest, by car, your first stop will be the beautiful and quaint Szentendre, followed by Visegrád, Esztergom, and lastly, Komárom.
Szentendre is on the Pest side of Budapest, Hungary’s capital city. It’s a quaint scenic town on the banks of the River Danube.
The town is known for its baroque architecture, churches, cobblestone streets, and colorful houses.
It’s a perfect staycation for many Travel Buddies in Hungary. For example, from Budapest, it will take you around 35 minutes by car to Szentendre. By train from Budapest, it will take you about 1h15m to reach Szentendre.
If you take alcohol, even on the very odd occasion, we suggest booking a tour instead of self-drive. And these are the reasons for this bit of wisdom…
After Szentendre, it’s time to explore Visegrád before moving on to Esztergom and Komárom.
See the Museum of Matthias Rex is a royal-palace-turned-museum dating back to the 13th century, built for Hungarian kings.
And of course, you can not miss the Zugfőzde Pálinkamúzeum you get a glimpse into the tricks of forbidden pálinka brewing and learn the real Visegrád brewing secrets.
For a nice and easy hike (there are many trails around Visegrad) or a picnic, go to Devil’s Mill Waterfall. The waterfall has reduced to more of a stream than a waterfall, so don’t get your hopes up to see a massive waterfall. Nevertheless, it’s a great city-break.
The 179.5 m long Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad across the Drina River in the east of Bosnia and Herzegovina was built at the end of the 16th century on the orders of Grand Vizier Mehmed Paša Sokolović. The bridge has 11 masonry arches with spans of 11 m to 15 m, and an access ramp at right angles with four arches on the left bank of the river. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bridge is a representative masterpiece of Mimar Koca Sinan, one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period and a contemporary of the Italian Renaissance.Read more from the World Heritage Convention
After Szentendre and Visegrád the happy county awaits, and we’re off to Esztergom and Komárom. But first, Esztergom…
Known by alternative names Gran (German), Ostrihom (Slovak), it’s another gem on the river Danube! Esztergom sits in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the border with Slovakia.
Meander around the beautiful Saint Stephen Square that lies on the castle hill, next to the Basilica.
See the largest Catholic church in Hungary.
Széchenyi Square is the main square of the city that had been a market square featuring stone sculptures, a fountain, restaurants, and bars.
The Statue of King Saint Stephen is surrounded by a mesmerizing view, day and night.
Walk the Valeria Maria Bridge (constructed in 1895) that connects Esztergom with the Slovakian Párkány. You may as well stop for some refreshments at one of the adjacent restaurants or do souvenir shopping while the kids enjoy themselves on the playgrounds.
Picnic at Lake Palatinus, between Dorog and Esztergom. Known as one of Hungary’s lakes with the clearest waters, Palatinus Tófürdő has a beach on the shallow part. Walking and biking are also very popular at this artificial lake, fostered only by groundwater.
Aquasziget (Aqua Island) is a large modern bath complex with 5 indoor and 5 outdoor (open from May to August) baths. It caters to the entire family. Namely, a wellness area with infra saunas, the health and beauty area, and the amusement area with water equipment, caves, and slides. A terrarium, an open-view kitchen, a small lake, and a pub kind of completes the setting. The best is to go have a look for yourself! It’s well worth a visit and relaxing here for a few hours.
Another must-do is the Mala-forrásalagút (Mala-spring tunnel), a 470 meters long and 3-4 meters deep tunnel that runs underneath the city. It is open to visitors. Now a tourist attraction, it was originally constructed to channel the former lake’s water away.
The Travel-and-Home tour of choice is the Full Day Danube Bend tour. The tour includes sightseeing of both Szentendre (above) and Esztergom. Thus two for the price of one! I like that the tour is not rushed and slightly longer than the average day-tour from Budapest.
Our accommodation picks are conveniently located, i.e. less than 1 km from the town center.
After Szentendre, Visegrád, and Esztergom, Komárom awaits as our final stop.
Known by alternative names Komárno (Slovak) and Komorn (German), the city lies on the south bank of the river. Despite Komárom’s city status, it only takes up around 70.19 km2 (27.10 sq mi) of the Danube river area.
Komárom is about an hour’s drive by car (via M1) from Budapest, and 1h10m by train. Thus a perfect staycation to explore.
That’s a one-way excursion from Budapest, to Szentendre, Visegrád, Esztergom, and the last stop at Komárom. In that order, and subject to traffic conditions. I’d recommend each destination as a day-trip, or hop on a river cruise and hop off as you wish.