Published: October 02 2023
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, serves as a gateway to several wonderous sights and destinations. If you're staying in Budapest and have a few extra days on your hands, you can make a memorable day trip to several historical and natural attractions within a few hours drive from the city. Here are some of the best day trips you should consider.
The Danube Bend, just north of Budapest, showcases picturesque towns like Visegrád, Szentendre and Esztergom, nestled along the tall loops of the Danube river. The area is rich in history with Royal palaces, medieval ruins, splendid cathedrals and an artsy, baroque town. All these places can be reached within an hour's drive.
A two-hour drive east from Budapest will take you to Eger, famous for its historic Castle of Eger, thermal baths, and a flourishing wine scene. Eger is one of Hungary's oldest towns dating back to the Roman age. Venture into the Valley of the Beautful Women to sample some of the country’s best wines, visit the castle and the Northern Great Church, or immerse yourself in the thermal spas.
If you don't mind starting early, Pecs, three hours south of Budapest, is worth a day trip. Recognized as the European Capital of Culture in 2010, Pecs offers a blend of Roman, Ottoman, and Hungarian architecture, and is famous for its ancient Christian tombs (part of UNESCO World Heritage), grand mosques and the Zsolnay Ceramic Museum.
Lake Balaton, an hour and a half southwest of Budapest, is the largest freshwater lake in central Europe. Known as the "Hungarian Sea," it offers stunning seaside views, towering castles, hills cloaked in vineyards, and a hearty dose of water sports. The nearby town of Tihany is famous for its lavender fields and historic Abbey.
Just 30 minutes east of Budapest is Gödöllő Palace, the former summer residence of Queen Elisabeth (Sisi) and Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. Steeped in history, this vast Baroque palace offers beautifully restored rooms, well-kept gardens, and a dose of royal history.
There you have it, five fascinating day trips to consider when staying in Budapest. Whether you're a lover of history, culture, wine, or nature, these destinations promise an enriching addition to your Hungarian holiday.