Budapest is known for its many heritage sites which makes it a hotbed of tourist attractions and draws in millions of visitors every year. But while Budapest is a truly majestic place, there’s so much more to Hungary than its hugely popular capital.
Hungary may not be one of Europe’s largest countries, but it has one of the continent’s highest number of historic sites and tourist attractions, as well as stunningly beautiful scenery.
Budapest is situated on the banks of the Danube River, making it an ideal base from which to plan day trips to the seemingly endless number of villages, towns, and cities that surrounds the capital or even across the border.
So here’s a list of places you can visit and explore in a day, all within a few hours by train from Budapest.
13 Day Trips From Budapest
1.Puszta and Kecskemét
The picture-perfect town of Kecskemét is located right at the heart of Hungary’s southern Great Plains region a scenic land of rivers and lakes, wheat fields and grassland marked by rustic farms.
Kecskemét is known for its architectural marvels, with stunning castles and palaces that are a haven for shutterbugs. The Kecskemét Zoo, meanwhile, makes the town more ideal for families and anyone looking for a different yet fascinating day tour from Budapest. It is the best place to visit near Budapest for those who want to see more of the age-old architecture of Hungary that makes this country popular among history enthusiasts and art aficionados.
Aside from the colorful, ornate buildings, Kecskemét is also popular for its equine roots. Bring surrounded by Puszta or lowland prairies, you can also join tours that take you out into the Great Plains. In guided tours, you get to visit the popular horse shows at Bugac or
Lajosmizse, where Puszta horsemen perform in a show. Here you also get to experience a carriage ride, then enjoy traditional Hungarian meal served in a country tavern with Gypsy music.
Barely an hour and a half from Budapest by car or train, make sure to visit the other attractions at Kecskemét such as the Cifra Palace, Kecskemét Vadaskert and Co-Cathedral of the Ascension of the Lord.
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The Danube Bend is one of the most stunning parts of Hungary, where the famous European river turns south and flows towards Serbia and Croatia. The sharpest bend in the river wraps around the small castle town of Visegrád, which has a lot of renaissance buildings and picturesque castles perched on hills.
The Visegrad Castle should definitely be part of your itinerary when you take this day trip from Budapest. It offers fantastic views of the Danube Bend, and also the most charming example of Hungary’s heritage and architecture. The castle is positioned at the top of a 350-meter hill, reachable via a steep hiking trail through the woods but you can also get a taxi to take you there if you don’t want to hike.
Inside, you’ll find an armory and a wax museum, but the real highlight is the beautiful panorama of the river alongside the area’s hills and valleys seen from the battlements. While in the castle, visit any of the cafés, and try the famous spritz wine.
At the bottom of the hill, there’s still so much to see in the town of Visegrád. You can visit the Renaissance palace ruins on the riverside or check out the Zugfozde Palinka Museum, dedicated to the Hungarian fruit brandy.
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Monday-Sunday 9 am-6pm
Address: Visegrád, Várhegy, 2025 Hungary
3.Danube Bend and Vác
In the west of Hungary and between Esztergom and Szentendre the gorgeous Danube River sharply bends towards the south and on this bend, you can find the charming little town of Vác.
In Vác’s historic center, you’ll find the impressive Cathedral of Mary’s Ascension, surrounded by streets of luxurious merchant’s homes. With 18th Century bridges, picturesque plazas, and Baroque churches, this little riverside town is both fascinating and romantic, perfect for a day trip from Budapest to escape the hustle of the Hungarian capital
You can enjoy scenic views of the town’s skyline, with its iconic church towers, from a river cruise or from Danube Island, accessible from Vác by car ferry.
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Only a couple of hours by train from Budapest, the gorgeous town of Eger lies 140 kilometers east of Budapest on the southern slopes of the Bükk Mountains. It is one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe, known for its 17 Baroque churches, picturesque central plaza, thermal baths, and a Turkish minaret.
Some of the town’s main attractions are the Eger Basilica, with its twin towers and a wide stairway leading to its portico that offers scenic views of the town; the Dobó Castle Museum and the Baroque Lyceum, with its 53-meter-tall tower and revolving dome.
While in Eger, wander through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, where there’s a huge central market place and the stunning church of St. Anthony.
Finally, visit the medieval Castle of Eger and marvel at its 11th-century structure that has been expanded numerous times over the ages.
Weekend- 8:30 am- 6:00 pm
No entrance fee, but and accepting donations
Adult 300 Ft (€0.92)
Students and Pensioners 100Ft (€0.31)
which can only be thrown into the donation box.
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Address: Eger, Pyrker János tér 1, 3300 Hungary
Phone: (36) 515-725
It is only about two and a half hours by train from Budapest to reach this enriching Austrian capital that’s a must visit for culture and history enthusiasts. A UNESCO heritage city since 2001, Vienna in one of the best day trips you can experience. Start with breakfast in one of the many cafés all over the city, and soak up its coffee culture. Pair your Viennese coffee with apple strudel, sit for a while before heading out to the Schonbrunn Palace. This palace also opens earlier than other attractions, making it a good place to start to make the most of your Vienna day trip. Schonbrunn Palace is one of the most renowned cultural and historical monuments in Austria and is known for being the summer residence of the much loved Princess Sisi.
Stephansplatz, in the heart of the city and considered as Vienna’s most important square is where you can find the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which is one of the country’s most iconic buildings. Next, there’s the Mozarthaus, a 17th-century building which was Mozart’s home from 1785-1787 and is now a museum dedicated to the famous composer.
Lunch at Naschmarkt is a must, as there are dozens of food stalls selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to trail mixes to sausages and olives. After eating, relax at the Art History Museum or Belvedere. both set inside a palace.
Next is the Hofburg Palace, once the main imperial palace in Vienna and the seat of power for the Habsburg family. Today, it is the workplace for the president of Austria and home to three museums: the Sisi Museum, Imperial Apartments, and Silver collection.
A visit to Vienna won’t be complete without marveling at the Bauhaus and its glorious Gothic details, then sampling a Wienerschnitzel for dinner, before seeing a show at the historical Vienna State Opera. Lastly, have another cup of Viennese coffee at the Sacher Café paired with the delicious sacher torte.
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Known for its mild climate and popular due to its location on the slopes of the Mecsek Mountains, it only takes two hours to reach the small town of Pécs from Budapest. This town has many historical and cultural attractions that date back to the 11th Century and graves dating back to the 3rd Century, medieval buildings and contemporary art galleries.
A horned of fascinating sites, Pécs’ most popular destinations in its fortified Old Town are the Cathedral Precincts surrounding the Cathedral of St. Peter, and the old graves just below the cathedral square and in the courtyards of the old houses. These dates back to the 3rd and 4th centuries, also regarded as the most important surviving examples of Early Christian culture in Hungary.
When in Pécs, make sure to explore Szénchenyi tér, a medieval market place in the heart of the Old Town.
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The overground commuter train H5 from Budapest reaches Szentendre in only an hour, making it one of the top Budapest day trips. This is usually the first stop when on a trip to the Danube Bend and often comes with a trip to Esztergom and Visegrád. Szentendre is a small town on the hilly right bank of the Danube 20 km north of Budapest, and one of the most popular destinations for people from the capital. It is also called an “artist village” because the creative types that have been settling here since the 1930s.
Szentendre is a buzzing cultural hub in Hungary, known for museums, art galleries, and markets and restaurants. When in Szentendre, make sure you visit the Blagovescenska Church, a Serbian Orthodox place of worship built in 1752. The doorway is an interesting sight, with its Baroque curved balcony and a fresco above the side entrance depicting Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena with the cross of Christ. Make sure to check out Fő tér, the main square, with its Merchants’ Cross built following a plague, and the lovely old Church Square with design influences from the Catholic Croats of Dalmatia who settled around the church.
Other places you should see when in Szentendre are the Hungarian Open-Air Museum, Annunciation Church, Szamos Marcipan Museum and Margit Ceramic Museum. Since this town is situated on the banks of River Danube, an idyllic stroll by the serene riverside is a great way to end your day in Szentendre.
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Somló is Hungary’s smallest wine region— much like a secret garden with its untouched vineyards and crumbling old houses. A fortified castle lies on top of the hill, and there are three Medieval churches. A visit to Somló won’t be like any other Budapest day tour you’ve ever experienced but a fascinating and rewarding one, nonetheless.
The Somló region consists mainly of vineyards covering just one pretty hill, which is an extinct volcano, giving a unique earthy flavor to the wines they produce. It is said that once you try a wine from Somló, you will forever recognize its taste. Somló wines tend to be elegant, high in alcohol, acidic, with lots of minerality and meant to be aged.
Somló maybe one of the smallest towns in Hungary, but a visit here offers a lot. With its cone-shaped volcanic hill that rises out of the plain north of Lake Balaton, you’ll get some seriously stunning views of surrounding areas.
It is where some of the country’s most unique and interesting white wines are produced. When you go on a day trip here, enjoy a visit to a winery on the northern side of Lake Balaton. Marvel at the rolling hills above the lake that seemingly changes color from every angle, which is covered with a patchwork of grapevines, lavender fields, limestone, and scenic cellars.
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Going to Miskolc takes l a good two and a half hours from Budapest, but it has a lot to offer if you want to spend a day from the capital city. It is located in an area surrounded by stunning nature reserves, and among the most popular day trips from Budapest.
Miskolc’s most famous attraction is the network of thermal baths built into a cave, where you can also enjoy stunning views of the iconic Diósgyőr Castle, nearby Bükk National Park, and a picturesque forest train ride to the beautiful town of Lillafüred. You can also choose to rejuvenate at any of the thermal spas known for their therapeutic properties. A dip in this natural jacuzzi is sure to invigorate your senses, which is why Miskolc is one getaway you shouldn’t miss.
Apart from the thermal baths and spas, Miskolc offers a variety of things to do in the town center and the surrounding nature reserves. You can hike through forests, explore wildlife or experience a State Forest railway ride. You can learn more about the city by spending time in Miskolc Zoo and Cultural Park.
Located along Danube River and surrounded by mountains where castles, old churches, and historic plazas are a common sight, a day trip to the Slovakian capital Bratislava is something you should experience. It only takes 2 hrs 4 mins to reach Bratislava from (and back) via a tourist train or private car.
If you only have a day to spend, make sure you check out the Old Town, an 18th-century village filled with bars and cafes. Check out the Church of St. Elisabeth or the “Blue Church”, and features an impressive Art Nouveau style design; the Clarissine Church, which showcases unique Gothic architecture, and St. Martin’s Cathedral, another Gothic-inspired church that’s considered the largest and the oldest church in Bratislava.
After you’ve said your prayers, look out for Bratislava’s quirky inanimate ‘residents’, sculptures that were made to make the city a livelier place. There’s Čumil the Peeper, who seems to be coming out of a manhole; the Paparazzi by Radko Macuha, Schone Naci and Napoleon’s Solder, both created by Juraj Melis.
When in Bratislava, it is a must to catch a glimpse of Michael’s Gate, the only remaining part of the medieval fortifications that once surrounded Bratislava and is now a famous tourist landmark.
Another definite must do is to climb up the Bratislava Castle. Located on a hill along the Danube River, the castle also houses artistic and historical exhibitions of the Slovak National Museum and offers a stunning view of the city and the nearby areas.
Slow down and relax after all the walking and climbing by trying some Slovak food like the Slovak potato salad and beef stroganoff, then see if you can get tickets to a show at the Slovak National Theater. A strange, but interesting way to end your day in town is to head over to the UFO Observation Deck in central Bratislava. The viewing area shaped like a flying saucer is reachable by an elevator ride that will take less than a minute. The best time to come here is during sunset until late at night.
If you want to go beyond exploring old streets, monuments and castles, a tour of Lake Balaton is something you should experience. An easy day trip from Budapest, you can reach Lake Balaton via an hour of a scenic train ride. A beautiful freshwater lake in the Transdanubian region of Hungary, it is known as the Hungarian inner sea. You can enjoy a Lake Balaton cruise with one of the many tour operators in the area, where you’ll be on a journey over the glassy waters of the lake’s 50-mile long expanse.
Well known as a wine-growing region, this place also has beaches, volcanic hills, and swanky resorts. Lake Balaton is the largest freshwater lake in Europe and apart from cruising, offers a variety of fascinating activities to do, from exploring lush, grassy landscapes to visiting vineyards and historic towns.
When in Lake Balaton, you can visit the photogenic town of Szigliget and see the Szigliget Fortress, or hike around the volcanic hills surrounding the lake which are home to scenic vineyards. Other places to see are the Balaton uplands, Tihany monastery, Tihany Felsziget, and Festetics Palace
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One of the best day trips from Budapest, Esztergom sits perfectly on the Hungary- Slovakia border. It is one of the oldest towns in Hungary and lies about 60 km northwest of Budapest where the Danube breaks through the Hungarian Central Uplands. Esztergom is also the original capital of Hungary when it was founded as a nation back in 972. You can reach Esztergom by train within two hours, and its an ideal place to explore for its architectural significance as well as for its historical value.
Esztergom has vintage castles, cathedrals, boulevards, public squares, and cobblestoned alleys, which makes walking around the town center seem like you’re in another era. It has the largest church in Hungary the Esztergom Basilica — an imposing Cathedral with its entrance marked by two tall towers and several Corinthian Columns; the ruins of the 10th-century Hungarian Royal Palace and the adjacent Christian Museum with its collection of works of Hungarian Italian Renaissance artists.
If you are going to Esztergom by car, be sure to stop by the Pilis Mountains. Situated in the loop formed by the Danube Bend, this is a nature reserve known for its caves and fossils. Its mountain slopes covered mainly in forests of beech and oak with steep and picturesque chalk cliffs, and also a popular area for hikers and trekkers.
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Situated on the Little Hungarian Plain is the quaint town of Győr, which is just over an hour away on the train from Budapest. It sits in the convergence of the rivers Danube, Rába, and Rábca, and is halfway between Budapest and Vienna. The Old Town area of Gyor, along with Chapter Hill and Royal Town is regarded as one of the most beautiful Renaissance and Baroque townscapes in Hungary. Gyor is home to no less than 170 listed buildings, perfect for walking around and learning about the town’s history and culture through its architecture.
Frequently listed as among the best day tours from Budapest, you’re about to experience a jampacked day when you visit Gyor. Some of its more notable attractions are the Vienna Gate Square, a lovely Baroque square surrounded by well-preserved 17th- and 18th-century homes, as well as the impressive Carmelite Church. When in Gyor, it is also a must to check out the Bishop’s Castle, that houses a museum, a 14th-century tower and was a residence of Bishop Kálmán (his coat-of-arms still adorns its front). Make sure you stop by the 11th-century Cathedral of the Virgin Mary and the eight-meter Ark of the Covenant Monument built at the request of Emperor Charles III and depicting two angels holding the Ark of the Covenant. There’s also the Iron Cockerel on the bank of the Mosoni Danube, which is also the town’s emblem and Széchenyi tér, the 17th-century Hungarian Old People’s Home still in use today.
A good way to relax after a day of exploring the Old Town is to enjoy a pleasant stroll along the converging rivers of the Danube, Rába, and Rábca.
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