Beyond Budapest: A Szentendre Day Trip

Take a break from the city and glimpse the stunning landscapes along the Danube with a visit to Hungary’s most artistic town.

Photo: © Haidamac/iStock

Ribboned with cobbled lanes and embroidered with pretty pavement cafés, Szentendre is Budapest’s charming little sister. It’s a quaint Baroque town tucked into a picturesque curve of the Danube, as if lifted directly from a fairy tale. Home to a thriving artistic community, no doubt inspired by the surrounding natural vistas, its centuries-old architecture is infused with an appealing bohemian atmosphere. Happily, it can be reached within 40 minutes from Budapest. Here’s how to spend a day trip in Szentendre.

Getting To Szentendre

Begin a Szentendre day trip by taking the HEV train from Batthyany ter in Budapest. Trains are frequent and take approximately 40 minutes. Purchase a Szentendre ticket as it’s beyond the Budapest zone, so travel cards won’t cut it. Alternatively, buses from Budapest to Szentendre leave from the Újpest-Városkapu metro station and take 30 minutes, or you can follow Route 11 if you’re going by car. The walk from Szentendre station into the centre of town is an easy five minutes.

Photo: © ZoltanGabor/iStock

Browse The Art

With a bijou gallery on every street corner, Szentendre’s creative flair is immediately apparent. However, serious art historians should seek out the Margit Kovacs Ceramic Museum, which explores the work of one of the town’s most famous former residents. Kovacs’ striking pottery frequently explores biblical themes, mortality and family life while referencing Hungary’s folk art tradition. The collection, housed in a Baroque merchant house, offers an engaging overview of her career. Further from the town centre, the Ferenczy Museum offers an enthralling collection of Hungarian modern and contemporary artists. The Szentendre Art Mill deserves special mention for its dazzling collection of contemporary treasures. Its three floors are packed with paintings, sculptures and photographs by local and international talents.

Photo: © martin-dm/iStock

Kick Back With A Coffee

If it’s spectacular cuisine you seek, remain in Budapest. Szentendre is not exactly known for its world-class restaurants. The menus here are generally unremarkable, although Promenade, with its views over the Danube and excellent venison stew, is a good bet. Szentendre may not be the first choice for a special meal out, but a peppering of decent cafés have opened their doors as the tides of visitors from Budapest swell, especially during the warmer months. Folt Café is a friendly option for a good coffee, and Budapest gelateria Levendula serves delicious artisanal ice cream.

Photo: ©vladi79/iStock

Discover The Museums

Despite its diminutive size, Szentendre is home to a number of specialist museums with plenty to engage curious minds. Begin with the Szabó-Samos Marzipan Museum, where intricate models ranging from Hungarian historical figures to the cast of Sesame Street are rendered in the traditional confectionery. With your taste buds suitably stimulated, head to the café next door to sample some for yourself. Equally intriguing is the Mikro Csodak Museum, a small museum hidden away on one of the many narrow cobbled streets. It’s not just the museum that’s bijou: the space contains a collection of microscopic artworks – including a chessboard on the head of a needle – by Ukrainian artist Mikola Szjadrisztij.

Photo: © Lusky/iStock

More information: