The famous Danube with a pretty blue sky above it, the colourful old houses, the cobblestone streets, the artists at work on the bright pavements, the happy little art shops, the dramatic old Churches and the ever smiling faces around… you cannot get enough of Szentendre! If you are an artist, art lover or a photographer… you should not miss Szentendre when you travel to Hungary.
Quick Note –
- Local Language – Hungarian
- Local Currency – Hungarian Forint. Euro is accepted in few of the prime tourist hubs
- Best time to Visit – May, June & September : Pleasant. July-August : Hot, crowded but gorgeous
Located in the Pest County of Hungary, alongside the great Danube river, Szentendre is just a 30 minutes drive from Budapest. Its a charming drive. You have to park your vehicle in the allotted parking space before entering the town. Once you are inside, you either have to walk around the elevation of this delightful little township or you could cycle through the riverside. You could also reach there by train, bus or a lovely boat ride by Danube.
There are regular HEV train connections. These are Budapest’s suburban railway line that starts from Batthyani. Szentendre doesn’t have a train station inside the town, but it is just a 10 minutes walk from the rail station to Centrum. HEV trains would take you there by 40 minutes from Budapest. Another way of transporting to Szentendre is a bus ride which would take 30-40 minutes. The bus station is adjacent to the train station. Both HEV and bus tickets are not expensive, and you are good if you already hold a local transportation pass. Boat rides up along the Danube is also amazing, but a lot slower than the other means of transportation. So if you have just one day to spend there, boat ride is not recommended. However you can plan your return trip by boat from Szentendre to Budapest in the evening, when the lights start to illuminate the ornate view of the city.
History defines Szentendre as a town with a very rich cultural background. The town’s oldest recorded history is dated back around 9th Century when Prince Kurszan reestablished the town from the Roman ruins. Since then many changes in architecture, culture, cult and religion had been recorded. I got goosebumps as I passed the old alleyways and buildings, thinking about the traces that history had ingrained there. The town is an amalgamation of modernism and history with accumulative influences of Romans, Serbians, Ottomans and of course the locals. You could feel all that by visiting the museums, churches or simply by strolling around.
Szentendre is one of the most popular tourist spots in Hungary, so expect crowd all the time, especially during summer. Summer weekends are generally full and vibrant with a mixture of locals and tourists sitting back and relaxing in the roadside cafes or simply sunbathing down the riverside. There are plenty of good places to eat and drink. We have thoroughly enjoyed the local specialties there.
Don’t miss a hot bowl of Goulash (pronounced as Gou-yash) and definitely drink the beer called Soproni :). While walking up the dark and narrow alleyways towards the centrum you would be surprised by small but elegant eateries that prepare mouthwatering Hungarian delicacies and serve local wines. Definitely try Langos (pronounced as La-ng-osh) which is a handmade deep-fried round bread topped with sour cream and sauces and a dessert called Palacsinta (pronounced as Pala-chin-ta) which is a famous Hungarian pancake.
There are numerous art shops around the centrum where you can collect lovely souvenirs, most of them handmade. There are book stores in the centrum as well as in the various museums in case you want to buy books or read about the town’s history. If you are a museum lover, Szentendre would offer you so many that you surely cannot finish visiting all of them in one day. When weather is good and sunny, you can enjoy street arts and live music all over the town. Most of all, it is a photographer’s paradise! You can find plenty of subjects and brightest of colors reflecting over the prettiness of the township.
Already planing your trip there? Don’t think twice and pack-up! Szentendre is worth a visit. Go see it yourself!