Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city full of culture, history, and beauty. But sometimes, getting out of town and exploring the countryside is lovely. Luckily, plenty of day trips from Budapest allow you to do just that. Here you will find several suggestions located less than one hour from Budapest. We have also added information about a couple of cities in Hungary worth visiting, even though they are further away from Budapest.
The easiest way to discover Hungary is by car. You can easily rent a car at the airport or by asking the reception at your hotel for help. Of course, traveling by train or bus is also possible, but discovering Hungary and the vicinity of Budapest is a way more time-consuming activity if you use public transportation.
But what should you see and where should you go if you want to discover and explore the Hungarian countryside?
Places worth visiting in Hungary close to Budapest
Visegrád is a small town located on the Danube Bend in Hungary, and it’s a popular day trip destination from Budapest. There are plenty of things to do and see in Visegrád, making it an excellent choice for tourists.
Here are some of the top activities and attractions to consider while visiting Visegrád:
Visegrád Castle: The town’s main attraction is the impressive Visegrád Castle, which dates back to the 14th century. The castle is perched high on a hill and offers stunning views of the Danube Bend.
The Royal Palace: Located next to the castle, the Royal Palace was once the residence of Hungarian kings. Today, visitors can explore the palace ruins and learn about its history.
Solomon Tower: This tower is part of the castle complex and offers panoramic views of the Danube Bend and the surrounding countryside.
Hiking: Visegrád is surrounded by beautiful hills and forests and has plenty of hiking trails. The trails range from easy to challenging, and they offer stunning views of the surrounding scenery.
Szentendre is a picturesque town just a short distance from Budapest, making it a great tourist day trip destination. There are several reasons why Szentendre is a popular choice among tourists:
Charming Architecture: The town’s architecture is a unique blend of Hungarian and Balkan styles, which gives it a distinct look and feel. The colorful buildings, narrow streets, and baroque churches make it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll.
Art Galleries and Museums: Szentendre is known for its thriving art scene, with several galleries and museums scattered throughout the town. The Hungarian Open Air Museum, located just outside of town, is also worth a visit.
Danube Promenade: The town sits on the banks of the Danube River, and the promenade offers a beautiful view of the river and the surrounding countryside. Several cafes and restaurants along the promenade make it a great spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Traditional Hungarian Crafts: Szentendre is famous for its traditional Hungarian crafts, including ceramics, embroidery, and leather goods. Visitors can purchase these handmade items at the town’s many shops and market stalls.
Serbian Orthodox Church: The Serbian Orthodox Church, located in the center of town, is a beautiful example of Balkan-style architecture. It also houses a museum with exhibits on the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Hungary.
Would you like to enjoy a magnificent little city between Budapest and Györ? Tata is a pearl primarily known for its lake. If you want a nice walk, this is the perfect place to get one. The walk around the big lake is approximately 7.5km. While enjoying the fresh air, you can see a castle from the 14th century (also used during the recording of the Netflix series The Witcher), an Eszterhazy castle, and much more.
Tata also has a second park with another lake not far from the main lake. This park is also beautiful, making it a perfect solution for those who want a shorter walk but still with magnificent scenery.
The city might not be the most interesting, but the castle with its beautiful park might catch your interest.
The castle in Martonvásár is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture and is located just a short distance from Budapest. It was built in the early 19th century for Count Antal Grassalkovich, a wealthy Hungarian nobleman. The castle’s interior includes several ornate rooms, including a grand ballroom and a library. Today, the castle is open to the public and serves as a museum, showcasing the life and times of Count Grassalkovich and his family.
Beethoven and the Grassalkovich Castle have an interesting connection many may not be aware of. Count Antal Grassalkovich II, who owned the castle in the early 19th century, greatly admired Beethoven’s music. He even invited Beethoven to visit the castle in 1800, a significant honor for the composer.
Beethoven stayed at the Grassalkovich Castle for several weeks, and during his visit, he composed several pieces of music. One of the most notable pieces he composed during his stay was his Sonata for Piano No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, also known as the “Pathétique” Sonata. This piece is one of Beethoven’s most famous and is considered a masterpiece of the classical period.
If you visit this area, we recommend driving some more kilometers towards the south to visit the city of Velence and bring a swimming suit to swim in the Velence lake (if the weather supports that idea).
Only ten kilometers from the city center in Budapest you find Budaörs. This is considered by many to be a part of Budapest, and it feels like it is in many ways. Here you find stores such as IKEA, Decathlon, Auchan, Jysk, and many others, but it is also a perfect area for hiking and enjoying the fresh air.
There are several tops here worth climbing, and even though they aren’t very high, they will still give you a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction as you reach the top.
You can find some ideas for hiking tours in Budaörs in this article.
Gödöllö might not be the most interesting destination for a tourist, but it has a fantastic castle that makes it worth the ride anyway. You can travel to Gödöllo using public transportation, something that comes as a big plus (travel with the red metro to Örz Vezér tere and then travel with the HEV from there until the end station called Gödöllö).
The Gödollö Castle is a stunning baroque-style palace located in the town of Gödollö, just a short distance from Budapest. The palace was built in the 18th century and was the summer residence of the Hungarian royal family. It is considered one of Hungary’s most significant cultural and architectural monuments.
The palace’s interior is richly decorated with ornate frescoes, intricate woodcarvings, and stunning chandeliers. Visitors can explore the palace’s many rooms, including the royal apartments, the grand staircase, and the ballroom, one of Europe’s largest.
The palace also includes several beautiful gardens and parks that visitors can explore. For example, the Great Grassalkovich Park, which surrounds the palace, features a stunning fountain, a rose garden, and several walking paths.
Turul bird (Tatabanya)
The Turul bird is a large, mythical bird believed to be the guardian of the Hungarian people. Hungarian folklore often depicts it as a powerful creature that symbolizes strength, freedom, and victory. In Tatabánya, there is a giant statue of the Turul bird located on the Gerecse Mountain, a popular hiking destination for visitors.
Hiking in Tatabánya is popular, with several trails available for all skill levels. The Gerecse Mountain is a favorite among hikers with its stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the Turul bird statue at the top. You can also find the Szelim cave and a big lookout tower close to the statue, making this area ideal for a half-day excursion from Budapest.
Would you like to walk in a city with real stores instead of walking around in the forest somewhere? Székesfehérvár is an actual city with a real city center. It isn’t even close to the size of Budapest, but that gives it more intimacy and a different kind of peace.
Would you like to see even more as you travel to Székesfehérvár? One of the nicest places worth visiting is the so-called Bory castle. This is located a little bit outside the main city center. It is a beautiful castle telling a story about a man madly in love with a woman.
Other cities in Hungary definitely worth a visit.
Are you eager to see and experience even more? Don’t you mind driving more than one hour by car to get to your destination? Here you have even more suggestions.
This charming town is located in the north of Hungary and is known for its baroque architecture and historic castle. It’s also famous for its wine, particularly the red blend known as Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood of Eger).
As a visitor to Eger, you should visit the castle and the Szépasszonyvölgy (a valley packed with wine bars). Many people decide to spend a few days in Eger due to the beauty of the city and all the programs available in the area.
- Our favorite hotel in Eger: Hotel Eger Park
Hungary’s largest lake is located just a couple of hours from Budapest, and it’s a popular destination for swimming, boating, and sunbathing in the summertime. In addition, you can walk, run, or bicycle around the entire lake (more than 200km), or you can visit one or more of the cities separately.
The most popular city closest to Budapest is Siófok. Other cities around Lake Balaton are Balatonfüred, Tihany, Keszthely, Heviz, and Balatonlelle.
Some hotel recommendations around Balaton:
- Siofok: Hotel Azur
- Heviz: Lotus Therme
- Balatonfüred: Boutique Hotel Annuska
This small town is home to a Benedictine abbey designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The abbey dates back to the 10th century and is an important cultural and religious center in Hungary.
The town only has a little to offer besides the Benedictine abbey. If you want to combine a Pannonhalma visit with another program, we recommend visiting the city of Györ, which is close to Pannonhalma.
This city in southern Hungary is known for its vibrant art scene and historic architecture. Highlights include the early Christian tombs and the Mosque Church, built during the Ottoman era.
The city center is beautiful, but we can also recommend hiking in the area around the TV tower of Pécs. The city has a delightful zoo and several attractions making it a perfect destination for all kinds of travelers.
Recommended hotel in Pécs:
- Palatinus Boutique Hotel (very central)
Hortobágy National Park:
If you’re interested in wildlife, head to Hortobágy National Park, which is home to a wide variety of birds and other animals. There are also traditional Hungarian shepherd shows and horse shows in the park.
We hope these suggestions have made planning your trip to Budapest and Hungary easier. Of course, the Hungarian capital has a lot to offer, and you can read about many of the most popular activities and attractions in Budapest here in our Budapest Guide. But if you want to see even more of Hungary, we hope this article has inspired you.
If you have any remaining comments or questions, please write them below.