Hungary

15 Perfect Day Trips from Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is one of the most fascinating cities to visit in Europe and each visit there is a treat. But the country has so many more amazing places that are often in the shadow of this more popular destination.

Fortunately, you can use your trip to Budapest to explore more of the amazing places to visit in Hungary on a day trips from the capital. I did it on a few occasions, too, and I enjoyed every single one of the Budapest day trips.

day trips from Budapest

If you would like to see more of Hungary (and beyond) or simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital, I put together this guide with the best day trips from Budapest to give you some ideas about where to go and what to see. Read on and plan your perfect excursions from Budapest!

How to plan day trips from Budapest

The easiest way to go on day trips from Budapest is by train (that’s what I did as well), as most places are linked with the capital by railways. The connections are decent, at least once per hour, the trains are comfortable, and the tickets are affordable. Depending on the destination, the trains depart from the stations located in the center and are easily accessible by metro.

If you plan your Budapest day trips in advance, you can find lower ticket fares. You can find the schedules and buy tickets here.

If you don’t want to depend on public transport, you can go on tours or rent a car and drive yourself (you can find the best deals on rental cars in Hungary here).

day trips from Budapest

Day trips from Budapest

And now, without any further ado, here are the best day trips from Budapest and info on the best way to get there.

Szentendre

With a distance of only 20 km north of Budapest and very good and easy connections by public transport, Szentendre is probably the most popular day trip from Budapest. Known as the artistic oasis, this charming town has picturesque winding lanes where you can find numerous art galleries and ateliers. But that’s not all that Szentendre has to offer.

Since the 17th century, the town has been inhabited by Serbian refugees, and you can see their impact in the architecture that is slightly different here than in other nearby places – the Serbian Blagovestenška Church from the mid-18th century is the best example.

It’s such a pleasure to wander around Szentendre and enjoy all its charming corners and vibrant atmosphere. Since it’s a popular day trip from Budapest, it’s best to visit Szentendre on a weekday or in the morning to avoid the crowds and have the best possible experience here.


Distance from Budapest: 20 km
Best way to get there: suburban train from Batthyány tér station
Read more about Szentendre in my article: Visit Szentendre, Hungary – a Perfect Day Trip from Budapest

Recommended Szentendre tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Visegrad

A bit further north of Szentendre along the Danube, you can visit Visegrad, a sleepy town with some impressive historical landmarks. The biggest attraction is the ruins of the medieval castle, located high on the hill from where you can admire breathtaking views of the Danube bend. In the lower part of the town, you can visit the reconstructed royal palace, originally built in the 14th century when King Charles I of Hungary owned it.

If you are interested in international affairs, the name Visegrad might sound familiar. The political alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia was named after the town.


Distance from Budapest: 40 km
Best way to get there: bus no 880 from Újpest-városkapu station

Recommended Visegrad tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Esztergom

The last one of the famous places along the Danube Bend in Hungary is Esztergom, located right at the border with Slovakia (you can walk across the bridge in the center to get to Sturovo on the other side of the Danube). The main reason to visit Esztergom is to see its impressive Basilica, the largest building of that kind in Central Europe. It takes your breath away with its size and beautiful interior.

It’s worth exploring the Basilica and all it hides inside: the crypt, the treasury, the dome, and, of course, the main area. In the upper parts of the building, you can even find the cafe from where you can look across the river to Slovakia.

Besides the Basilica, you can see numerous other interesting historical sites in Esztergom, such as the castle, numerous churches and museums, and plenty of beautiful architecture. It’s one of the most important places in Hungarian history. This is the original capital of the Kingdom of Hungary and the birthplace of the greatest ruler of the country, King Saint Stephen.

Despite its big significance, not many tourists decide to visit Esztergom which is a pity as it’s such an interesting and charming city to discover.


Distance from Budapest: 50 km
Best way to get there: bus no 880 from Újpest-városkapu station or train from the Nyugati station
Read more about Esztergom in my article: Visit Esztergom, Hungary – the Historical Town on the Danube

Recommended Esztergom tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Godollo

Another easy day trip from Budapest is Godollo, home to the impressive Royal Palace. It was built in the Baroque style in the mid-18th century and served as the summer residence for the Habsburgs, especially Franz Joseph and Queen Elizabeth (known as Sisi). Over the years, the Royal Palace had a rather turbulent history and has only recently been restored to its former glory.

Inside, you will find some beautiful interiors, including the palace church and the stunning representative hall still used for various events today. You can also visit the Baroque Theater and Riding Hall for an extra fee.

Once you are done visiting the palace, take some time to wander around its grounds, too. The garden is well-kept and a perfect place to relax.


Distance from Budapest: 35 km
Best way to get there: train from the Keleti station or suburban train from the Örs vezér ter station
Read more about Godollo in my article: Your Guide to Visiting Royal Palace of Godollo, Hungary

Recommended Godollo tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Eger

Eger is one of the most popular day trips from Budapest, and it’s no wonder, as this small town located in the north of Hungary is packed with attractions.

The most important one is the 13th-century castle, towering on the hill above the city. Inside you can visit the museum telling the story of the castle and the town or go to the undergrounds, however the biggest highlight of the place is the beautiful panorama of Eger you can admire from there.

Another unique landmark to see in Eger is the minaret, the north-most Turkish monument and the only remnant of the mosque that used to stand here. If you are brave enough, you can climb to the top through a very claustrophobic staircase and look at the town from the very narrow balcony.

The center of the town is charming for a stroll, too. You will find numerous impressive buildings, both townhouses and those of public use, as well as religious sites such as the Minorite Church, which is considered the most beautiful Baroque building in Hungary.

When visiting Eger, you can also stop in the so-called “Valley of the Beautiful Women,” located just outside the town and known as one of the best wine regions in Hungary.


Distance from Budapest: 135 km
Best way to get there: train from the Keleti station
Read more about Eger in my article: 7 Perfect Things to Do in Eger, Hungary

Recommended Eger tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Lake Balaton

The largest lake in Central Europe – Lake Balaton – is also known as the “Hungarian Sea.” This is the top holiday destination for locals and the main recreational area in the country. Still, since it’s well-connected to Budapest by train, you can easily visit the place for a day trip to escape the busy city life.

There are many towns and villages along the lake, some more interesting than others, so it’s important to choose wisely where you want to go for your day at Lake Balaton. My recommendations are:

  • Balatonfüred – one of the largest towns on the lakeshore that feels like a small charming town with elegant villas, a nice promenade to wander along, and a lovely relaxing vibe. This is also one of the oldest spas in the region, where treatments started in 1722.
  • Tihany – Located just south of Balatonfüred, the beautiful peninsula is one of the biggest Lake Balaton attractions. The main reason for coming here is to visit the Benedictine Tihany Abbey, which dates back to the mid-11th century (however, the place got its current look after the reconstruction in Baroque style in 1754). The abbey, located high on the hill above the lake, is important for its cultural, religious, and artistic values. While you are here, stop for a coffee and cake in the nearby Rege Cukrászda, as the views from there are simply breathtaking.
  • Siofok – the capital of Lake Balaton with a vibrant atmosphere and some nice attractions, such as the water tower, two interesting churches, or some beautiful villas from the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century.

The good news is that you can visit them all during your one-day trip from Budapest. You can reach Balatonfüred and Siofok by train and use the Lake Balaton ferry to get between the places.


Distance from Budapest: 100 km
Best way to get there: train from the Deli station
Read more about Lake Balaton in my article: A Complete Guide to Visiting Lake Balaton, Hungary

Recommended Lake Balaton tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Szekesfehervar

With the location only 60 km away from Budapest and frequent direct trains connecting the city with the capital, Szekesfehervar is one of the easiest day trips from Budapest.

The city is known as the first capital of Hungary since it was the royal seat of King Saint Stephen in the early 11th century. Unfortunately, most of the medieval buildings were destroyed during the Ottoman occupation, but the city was rebuilt in the 18th century, and it is now a perfect example of the grand architecture of that period.

You will find most of the Szekesfehervar attractions in the center, which you can explore in a few hours. Some of the most important places include the Bishops Palace, the Saint István Cathedral, and the Medieval Ruin Garden (the area of Hungary’s most important church in medieval times that was later destroyed by Turks).

A bit further from the center (but reachable by public bus), you can visit the Bory Castle, built between 1923 and 1959 by the famous Hungarian sculptor Jenő Bory and his wife. The building itself is an interesting combination of different architectural styles. Another reason to visit it is to see some of the original works of Jenő Bory placed inside the castle and around the gardens.


Distance from Budapest: 65 km
Best way to get there: train from the Deli station
Read more about Szekesfehervar in my article: Visit Szekesfehervar, Hungary – the Old Royal Capital

Recommended Szekesfehervar tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Kecskemet

One of the most beautiful art-nouveau cities in Hungary, Kecskemet is located halfway between Budapest and Szeged, with frequent train connections serving the place.

The main reason to visit Kecskemet is the stunning architecture that will satisfy all fans of Art Nouveau. Numerous buildings in this style are located all over the center, the most impressive one being the town hall, completed at the end of the 19th century and still one of the most outstanding examples of art nouveau architecture in Central Europe.

However, Kecskemet offers more attractions, including a very pleasant center, some churches worth visiting, and the only photography museum in Hungary, which is located in the former Orthodox Synagogue.


Distance from Budapest: 90 km
Best way to get there: train from the Nyugati station
Read more about Kecskemet in my article: Visit Kecskemet, Hungary – the Art Nouveau Paradise

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Szeged

Szeged is located a bit further from Budapest, some two hours by train, but with the frequent connections, it’s possible to go there for a day trip. This is such an underrated and overlooked city with beautiful architecture typical for the region.

What makes it special is the outstanding art nouveau architecture that the city is full of. You will find there many palaces in that style, which used to belong to noble families. However, the two most impressive art-nouveau buildings are the town hall from 1883 and the synagogue from the very beginning of the 20th century. Be sure to visit it inside, too – its beauty will take your breath away!

Besides the art-nouveau architecture, Szeged is also known for its educational significance, as the local University is among the most important ones in Hungary. Overall, this is such a pleasant and vibrant city to visit that can surprise you in the best possible way.


Distance from Budapest: 180 km
Best way to get there: train from the Nyugati station
Read more about Szeged in my article: What to See in Szeged, Hungary – the Art-Nouveau Gem of Europe

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Pecs

Pecs is one of the most interesting places to visit in Hungary, with numerous attractions, including the UNESCO-listed ancient necropolis. With a long and turbulent history dating back to the 2nd century, you can surely find there many impressive monuments, such as one of the most spectacular cathedrals in Hungary, the former mosque converted into a Catholic church, and a beautiful synagogue.

The center is yet another example of a charming Central European city, with beautiful architecture and a vibrant atmosphere that is so easy to enjoy. Even if you have only one day to explore Pecs, it’s still worth coming here all the way from Budapest.


Distance from Budapest: 200 km
Best way to get there: train from the Kelenfold station
Read more about Pecs in my article: 10 Great Things to Do in Pecs, Hungary

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Gyor

One of the oldest cities in the region, with a history dating back to the 5th century BC, Gyor has always played an important role in the area, primarily due to its location at the confluence of the Danube, Raba, and Rabca rivers. Today, the city is known mainly as the Baroque Jewel, as that’s when the major reconstruction of the center took place.

There are a few hundred buildings that are considered monuments – you will easily spot them when wandering around the center and the charming old town. Gyor is another vibrant place where you can enjoy the slower pace of life in beautiful surroundings. With frequent trains from Budapest, visiting Gyor on a day trip is very easy.

While you are here, you can add another impressive place to your itinerary – the Pannonhalma Archabbey, located around 20 km away from Gyor. The monastery, founded in 996, is one of the most important monuments in Hungary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Distance from Budapest: 120 km
Best way to get there: train from the Keleti station
Read more about Gyor in my article: Gyor, Hungary – the Baroque Jewel on the Danube

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Holloko

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hungary, Hollókő is a traditional, preserved village located in the northern part of the country. Everything looks and feels here just like it used to at the beginning of the 20th century, and this traditional charm is the reason why Hollókő is one of the popular tourist destinations in Hungary.

The village has one main street from which you can access houses (there are 67 of them), many of which are now home to museums or workshops. You can also hike up to the ruins of the castle from the 13th century.


Distance from Budapest: 100 km
Best way to get there: with a tour

Recommended Holloko tours:

day trips from Budapest

Tata

Tata, located halfway between Budapest and Gyor, is easily reachable by train from the capital. The town is worth visiting for its castle with its picturesque location at the lakeside.

The castle originally dates back to the 14th century but was rebuilt in the 19th century when Emperor Franz Joseph was about to visit the town.

Besides the castle, don’t miss the Esterházy Palace, the synagogue, and the center of the town with old churches and other historical buildings.


Distance from Budapest: 70 km
Best way to get there: train from the Kelenfold station

day trips from Budapest

Bratislava, Slovakia

While most of the best day trips from Budapest I suggested here are within Hungary, you can also hop across the border and easily visit two nearby capitals. One of them is Bratislava, Slovakia, located only 2,5 hours away by train from Budapest.

The city is still somehow underrated but offers plenty of things to see and do, enough to spend a whole day there. You can wander around the charming Old Town and visit some interesting galleries as well as find outdoor art like quirky sculptures. From the nearby castle, you can admire a beautiful panorama of the city, including the red rooftops of the Old Town, the Danube, and the famous UFO-shaped bridge (that you can later visit, too!).

If you are interested in brutalist architecture, Bratislava has some interesting examples of it, and some of the best places are located in the center and are easy to find. The city also has an excellent food and cafe scene, so you can always find a nice place to sit down and relax a bit before you head back to Budapest.


Distance from Budapest: 200 km
Best way to get there: train from the Nyugati station
Read more about Bratislava in my article: The ultimate list of things to do in Bratislava, Slovakia

Recommended Bratislava tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Vienna, Austria

Even if Vienna, the capital of Austria, is packed with attractions that require at least a few days to explore, you can still see all the highlights in one day. Since the trains between Budapest and Vienna depart every hour and take under three hours to reach their destination, you can easily go for a day trip from Budapest to Vienna.

Start in the center of the town, surrounded by Ring Road. In the very heart of it, you will find Stephansplatz with the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral – be sure to visit it inside, too! From there, you can walk on either Kartnerstrasse, the main shopping street in this area, or Graben, which is the street with stunning houses along the way.

Your next stop should be Hofburg Palace, the former imperial residence that once belonged to the country’s rulers. From Hofburg, it’s a short walk to Ring Road with all its attractions and some of the most important buildings in Vienna: the Opera House, the Parliament, the State Theater, the Town Hall, and the University—just to name a few.

Next, go to Karlsplatz, which has the beautiful Karskirche and some of the most amazing art nouveau buildings in Vienna. Your last stop should be Schönbrunn Palace, where the famous Empress Sissi used to live. Attached to the beautiful palace is a large and pleasant park—from its upper parts, you can admire a really lovely view of the city.

To relax between visiting all these amazing places, try to stop in one of the famous traditional coffee houses Vienna is famous for to get a better feel of the city. It will be a busy day, but definitely worth it.


Distance from Budapest: 240 km
Best way to get there: train from the Keleti station
Read more about Vienna in my article: One day in Vienna – how to see the most in the Austrian capital

Recommended Vienna tours:

day trips from Budapest

day trips from Budapest

Final thoughts on Budapest day trips

As you can see above, you can base your whole trip to Hungary in Budapest and explore some of the best places in the country from there. Hungary really has a lot to offer. All these amazing towns and cities are like Central Europe in a nutshell, with charming Old Towns, beautiful architecture, and a long history you can discover around each corner.

I hope this overview of the best day trips from Budapest will inspire you to leave the capital and explore more of this fascinating region. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

day trips from Budapest

Travel Resources

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day trips from Budapest


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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Valentin
    02/05/2024 at 19:54

    Very nice list of best daytrips. I would add some other places that I visited with car.
    Miskolc is a city east from Budapest. You need some 2 hours to reach it.
    Vac is north half hour. There are remnants of old castle.
    Baja is 1.5 hours south. Beautifull city hall and main square.
    Komarom is a town on Danube river between Gyor and Tata. On other side of Danube river is Komarno in Slovakia. Both towns has a fortress.
    And if you want to visit top of Hungary, go east for one hour. Follow signs for Matra mountain.

    • Reply
      kami
      11/05/2024 at 12:47

      Thank you for your recommendations. I omitted a few of those places on purpose but it’s good you mentioned them, too. All the best!

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