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Szentendre, Visegrád, Esztergom, and Komárom are perfect day-trips if you’re visiting Budapest, or living near enough. 

From Budapest, by car, your first stop will be the beautiful and quaint Szentendre, followed by Visegrád, Esztergom, and lastly, Komárom. 

Szentendre

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.

What it’s known for

The town is known for its baroque architecture, churches, cobblestone streets, and colorful houses.

Things to do in Szentendre

  • Fő Tér is the main square where most of the activities happen.
  • You’ll find lots of narrow alleyways around it with specialty shops, art galleries, and also museums. Such as the Szamos Marzipan Museum, one of Szentendre’s most visited attractions.
  • The Margit Kovács Museum is dedicated to the work of artist Margit Kovács (1902-1977). Several clay pieces including plates, pots, statues, and tiled murals are on display.
  • There are several Serbian Orthodox churches in the town. For instance, the 18th-century Greek Orthodox Blagovestenska Church with its elaborate decor and an ornate partition screen is located just off the square, at Fo tér 4.  The small church dates back to 1752.
  • Castle Hill, with its magnificent view of Szentendre, was originally the site of a fortress from the Middle Ages. Although the fortress was destroyed, the Gothic church of St. John the Baptist still remains.  There are many beautiful frescoes inside, dating back to the 1930s.  Once at Váralja lépcső, follow the narrow steps between Fõ tér 8 and 9.
  • Budapest has Margaret Island, and Szentendre has Szentendre Island which is also located in the Danube River. At 31km long, it’s a magical visit providing a taste of Hungarian life many years ago. A ferry service from Tahitótfalu will take you to the island, also known as the priest’s island. The island is also known for hosting the Lipizzan Horse Show.
  • Learn about and explore the country’s way of life at the Hungarian Open Air Museum. Explore a collection of houses, several artifacts, petting farms, and craft stalls.  Sztaravodai út, 2000, Szentendre, Hungary.

A perfect day trip

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.

 Directions.

The rule of “zero tolerance’

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…

  • You will no doubt be offered to taste Hungary’s very famous Palinka or even any one of the award-winning wines from their many wine regions. After all, that’s part of their culture.
  • There is a “zero tolerance” regulation in place that will kicks at the moment you take that first sip. Driving is off-limit if you had even a drop of alcohol. 
  • If you are caught, you stand to pay a hefty fine, have your drivers’ license suspended for a couple of years, and in some cases, even be up for some time in prison!

   Check the weather before you go.

Find a tour 

Szentendre Pest Hungary colorful facade

Accommodation nearest to the town center

Szentendre Pest Hungary main square
Szentendre Pest Hungary
Szentendre Pest Hungary Fo Ter Square
Szentendre Pest Hungary clockhouse
Szentendre Pest Hungary Marcipan museum

Višegrad

After Szentendre, it’s time to explore Visegrád before moving on to Esztergom and Komárom.

Visegrad Castle Danube Hungary Sky Blue WhiteVisegrad Castle Danube Hungary
Visegrad Hungary Landscape River Mountians Hills Scenic Sprawling
Visegrád is a very small castle town, and easy to miss, but that will be a mistake. By saying very small, I really mean it. The population seems to decline. For instance, in 2010 the population measured at 1,864, whereas seven years later only 1,840 were recorded in the population records.
 
This little gem also sits on the Pest side, just north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend.
 

What it’s known for

  • When you get off a river cruise and anchor at Visegrád you’ll get to see the remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and the medieval citadel. This is what the tiny town, founded in 1009, of only 33.27 km² is famous for.

Things to do in Visegrád

  • 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 castle on top of the hill has amazing scenery.  
Visegrad Mehmed Pasa Sokolovic Bridge UNESCO Hungary
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge

Another perfect day trip

Visegrád is just over an hour’s drive by car (via Route 11) from Budapest and almost 3 hours by train. The Danube bend cruise is a good choice – make sure they have a connection to or stop at Visegrád.

 Directions: Car & train routes.

 Check the weather before you go.

Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge

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
Visegrad Citadel Danube Hungary
The view from Visegrád Citadel.
dobogoko beautiful place hungary highest point visegrad hills hungary
Scenery of the hills surrounding the town.

Esztergom

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.

What it’s known for

  • Happy times!! According to the 2018 Happiness Map, Komárom-Esztergom county is one of the happiest counties in Hungary.
  • Saint Stephen, the first king of Hungary, was born and also crowned in Esztergom.

Things to do in Esztergom

  • 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.

  • From the middle of June until the end of August, you can see shows at the Esztergom Castle Theatre (next to the basilica), constructed in 1962.

A perfect day trip

Esztergom is about an hour’s drive by car (via route 10) from Budapest. Thus a perfect staycation to explore.

Below you’ll find a Google Map link giving you transportation options via car or train.

Directions.

Check the weather before you go.

Esztergom St Stephen Baptism Hungary travelandhome travelbuddies

Find a tour 

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.

Esztergom Hungary Limit Bridge Sturovo hungary travelandhome travelbuddies

Accommodation nearest to the town center

Our accommodation picks are conveniently located, i.e. less than 1 km from the town center.

Statue Holy Trinity Esztergom
Esztergom Cornice Bridge Basilica Cathedral Castle
Esztergom At Night Mountain Lights Castle Basilica

Komárom

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.

What it’s known for

  • In keeping with the authentic Hungarian style, geraniums, and pálinka are everywhere.
  • The city lies in two countries. Namely, Komárom (Hungary) and Komárno (Slovakia).
  • The last big story about Komárom was about the Monoštor bridge. The beautifully constructed modern bridge, that connects Slovakia and Hungary, was officially opened to traffic in the summer of 2020.

Things to do in Komárom

  • See the ancient Roman ruins that remained after the Turks’ destruction of the monastery in the early 16th century, including a stone mile marker and watchtowers.
  • Visit Fort Monostor (Monostori Erőd), now a museum of irregular polygon-shaped buildings, that was constructed between 1850 and 1871. It’s known as the country’s biggest ammunition storage after World War II, for the South Soviet Army Group. The fort is rich in history. For instance, the first parts created under Napoleonic wars, and Fort Csillag served as a transit camp for Jews.
  • Relax at Brigetio Gyógyfürdő, public baths.
  • György Klapka Museum is in honor of one of the most important Hungarian generals of the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848–1849. Also known under the German name, Georg Klapka, he was a politician, member of the Hungarian Parliament, and deputy War Minister.

Another perfect day trip

Komárom is about an hour’s drive by car (via M1) from Budapest, and 1h10m by train. Thus a perfect staycation to explore.

 Directions: Car & train routes.

 Check the weather before you go.

In conclusion, the combined 4 destinations add up to a car drive of around 2h40m.

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.