15 amazing day trips from Budapest


If you’re looking to escape city life for the day, I’ve got you covered with some of the best day trips from Budapest.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Budapest. It’s city of grand architecture, vibrant culture, and rejuvenating thermal baths.

While the city itself offers a myriad of attractions, its location in the heart of Central Europe makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding regions.

On my recent visit to Hungary, I decided to explore beyond the city itself. And I found a variety of wonderful destinations just a short journey from the lively city centre.

From historical towns brimming with mediaeval charm to serene natural landscapes, the options for day trips from Budapest are as varied as they are fascinating.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply someone looking to explore beyond the city’s limits, I’ve got a day trip for you.

In my guide, I share some of my favourite day trips from Budapest, plus a selection of options recommended by friends and fellow travellers. 

From the rolling hills of the Hungarian countryside to the charming streets of ancient towns, there is plenty to explore.

So, pack your day bag, lace up your walking shoes, and join me as we discover the treasures that lie just beyond Budapest.

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Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Szentendre 

Best for: Art lovers

By car: 30 minutes

By train: 45 minutes

Just a stone’s throw from Budapest, Szentendre is a wonderfully charming town that I know art and history lovers will thoroughly enjoy exploring.

I’d recommend this day trip from Budapest for those who don’t want to travel too far, as it’s only a half hour drive away from the city.

Known as the “Town of Painters,” Szentendre’s cobbled streets, baroque architecture, and vibrant art scene have long been a source of inspiration for artists.


As well as its artsy heritage, Szentendre has retained much of its historical character too. The town’s architecture is a delightful mix of mediaeval, baroque, and 18th-century buildings.

The Main Square, with its beautiful baroque church and colourful townhouses, forms the heart of the town. It’s incredibly picturesque, so make sure you bring your camera!

What I really love about Szentendre is its thriving artistic community. The town is dotted with galleries, studios, and museums, showcasing a wide range of art from traditional to contemporary.

The Margit Kovács Ceramic Museum and the Marzipan Museum are two of my favourites.

Activities & tours to book in Szentendre:

2. Gödöllő

Best for: A touch of royalty

By car: 40 minutes

By train: 25 minutes

​​Gödöllő is a serene town located just a short journey from the city centre and is another of my favourite day trips from Budapest.

The town’s main attraction is the magnificent Gödöllő Palace. It provides a fascinating insight into Hungary’s rich aristocratic history and royal past.

Gödöllő Royal Castle

In fact, it’s one of the largest Baroque palaces in Hungary. I’d highly recommend exploring the beautifully manicured gardens which surround the palace.

Inside, the palace’s restored rooms and exhibitions offer insights into the lives of its royal residents, showcasing exquisite furnishings, artworks, and personal items of the imperial family.

Beyond the palace, Gödöllő itself is a quiet town with a pleasant, laid-back atmosphere.

The town hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, so I’d definitely suggest checking out the events calendar when planning a visit.

The area surrounding Gödöllő offers a number of lovely nature walks and paths, ideal for a peaceful afternoon outside of the city.

Activities & tours to book in ​​Gödöllő:

3. Lake Velence

Best for: Nature lovers

By car: 40 minutes

By train: 50 minutes

A delightful contrast to the urban hustle and bustle of Budapest, picturesque Lake Velence is a truly serene destination.

It’s perfect if you’re looking to spend some time outdoors, soak in the surrounding nature, and enjoy some fun activities.

Lake Velence

Located halfway between Budapest and Lake Balaton, this lesser-known gem is an ideal spot for a relaxing day trip.

Lake Velence, with its warm, shallow waters, is particularly popular in the summer months. It’s one of the warmest lakes in Europe, making it perfect for swimming, sailing, and windsurfing.

The lake is also a haven for birdwatchers and animal lovers, with various species of birds and aquatic wildlife to be found.

Well-maintained bike paths circle the lake, making it ideal for cycling enthusiasts after a scenic route.

For families, there are numerous beaches and recreational facilities where children can play and enjoy the outdoors.

The towns and villages surrounding Lake Velence, such as Agárd, Gárdony, and Velence, offer a glimpse into local life and culture. 

4. Visegrád & Danube Bend

Best for: Epic scenery

By car: 1 hour 10 minutes

By train: N/A

Visegrád, located in the heart of the Danube Bend, boasts some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in Hungary.

This area, known for its panoramic views of the Danube River and its rich history, is a favourite among visitors to Hungary – and I can see why.

Visegrád is famed for its imposing fortress, the Visegrád Citadel, perched high on a hill overlooking the Danube.


This mediaeval castle was once a royal residence and fortress. Visitors can explore the remains of the palace, the Solomon Tower, and enjoy beautiful views of the Danube Bend from the castle’s terraces.

The Danube Bend itself is renowned for its extraordinary beauty – and believe me when I say, it is extraordinary!

This region offers some of the most picturesque landscapes in Hungary, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and river cruising.

There are various viewpoints to check out around Visegrád. For example, the Citadel or the nearby Pilis Mountains provide captivating vistas of the river and surrounding countryside.

The lush forests and hills of the Danube Bend are ideal for outdoor adventures and provide a refreshing change of pace from the urban environment.

Activities & tours to book in Visegrád & Danube Bend:

5. Esztergom

Best for: History and culture

By car: 1 hour

By train: 1 hour 20 minutes

Esztergom can be found on the Danube River near the Hungarian-Slovakian border.

Known as the birthplace of Saint Stephen, the first King of Hungary, it’s a city steeped in history and religious significance.

I’d say this makes it a must-visit destination for those interested in the country’s history and heritage.


The crowning glory of Esztergom is its magnificent basilica, the Esztergom Basilica. Also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Adalbert (quite the mouthful!).

This stunning structure is the largest church in Hungary and one of the largest in Europe.

It’s worth a visit for its impressive architecture, vast interior, and remarkable collection of religious art.

The basilica’s dome offers a panoramic view of the Danube and the surrounding areas, including a glimpse across the border into Slovakia.

The city makes a great excursion as it’s a great base for exploring the rest of the Danube Bend, with its breathtaking landscapes and charming towns.

This also makes it a lovely destination for riverside walks and other leisure activities, adding to its appeal as one of the best day trips from Budapest.

Activities & tours to book in Esztergom:

6. Rám-szakadék

Best for: Hikers

By car: 1 hour 10 minutes

By train: 3 hours 30 minutes

Rám-szakadék is a spectacular gorge located in the Pilis Mountains near Budapest. Hikers, this one is for you!

Known for its steep walls and lush surroundings, this natural wonder provides both a thrilling and scenic hiking experience.

In fact, the hike through Rám-szakadék is often considered one of the most exciting hiking trails in Hungary. It’s a bit of a challenge but it’s definitely rewarding!


The trail takes hikers through narrow passages, over streams, and along rocky paths. It’s an exhilarating journey through the heart of the gorge.

The gorge is a haven for those seeking tranquillity and a connection with nature. The sound of the flowing water and the cool, damp air of the forested gorge offer a refreshing respite.

As the hike can be completed in a few hours, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the serene beauty of the area.

The hike can be challenging, so I’d recommend wearing appropriate footwear and to be prepared with water and snacks. 

I’d say the best times to visit are during the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild, and the natural scenery is at its most vibrant.

7. Győr

Best for: Beautiful Baroque architecture

By car: 1 hour 20 minutes

By train: 1 hour 5 minutes

Győr is a vibrant city located halfway between Budapest and Vienna. Rich in history and art, the city offers a delightful exploration for those venturing out from Budapest.


Győr’s old town is full to the brim with Baroque architecture, boasting beautifully preserved buildings and charming cobblestone streets.

Don’t miss the Győr Cathedral with its stunning interior, and the historic Bishop’s Castle.

Museums and galleries, such as the Győr National Theater and the Museum of Roman Archaeology, provide the perfect way to while away a few hours.

Győr’s culinary scene offers a taste of traditional Hungarian cuisine, so it’s a great destination for foodies too.

I love that the city is also a gateway to exploring the wider region, including nearby vineyards and the banks of the Moson-Danube, perfect for leisurely walks and picnics.

8. Hollókő

Best for: A glimpse into the past

By car: 1 hour 20 minutes

By train: 2 hours 10 minutes

Hollókő is a really unique destination. It’s a picturesque village located northeast of Budapest and is a living example of rural life in Hungary several centuries ago.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is celebrated for its well-preserved folk architecture and traditions, so it feels very much like a time capsule.


The village is most famous for its traditional Palóc houses, which are constructed using white-washed walls and steep, dark-tiled roofs.

These historic buildings, some of which house museums and craft shops, provide an authentic representation of 17th-century Hungarian village life.

Hollókő is not just an open-air museum; it’s a living community where traditional customs are still practised. It’s truly fascinating!

Visitors can witness local crafts, such as weaving and embroidery, and experience folk festivals and events that celebrate the village’s heritage.

I’d recommend a visit to the nearby Hollókő Castle, perched atop a hill, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

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9. Lake Balaton

Best for: A lakeside escape

By car: 1 hour 30 minutes

By train: 1 hour 30 minutes

Lake Balaton is Central Europe’s largest freshwater lake. It’s a beloved summer destination, although I actually visited in winter and still had a wonderful time.

Known as the “Hungarian Sea,” this expansive lake offers a variety of experiences, from lively beach resorts to serene thermal spas.

Lake Balaton

The towns of Siófok and Hévíz are among the lake’s most popular places to visit – I stayed in the latter myself.

Siófok, on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, is known for its vibrant atmosphere and extensive beaches.

Often referred to as the party capital of the lake, Siófok is bustling with beach bars, nightclubs, and lively summer events.

On the western end of Lake Balaton lies Hévíz, which has a very different atmosphere. It’s famous for its unique thermal lake, which is the largest of its kind in the world.

The warm, mineral-rich waters of Lake Hévíz are said to have therapeutic properties, so it attracts those seeking relaxation and healing. Read my guide to visiting Hévíz.

Lake Balaton Hungary

Whether it’s sailing, fishing, hiking in the surrounding hills, or exploring the lake’s numerous vineyards, there is plenty to do in Lake Balaton.

Activities & tours to book in Lake Balaton:

10. Eger

Best for: Wine lovers

By car: 1 hour 40 minutes

By train: 2 hours 10 minutes

If you love wine as much as I do, then Eger is likely to be one of the best day trips from Budapest for you.

The city is known for its exquisite wines, beautiful baroque architecture, and the heroic tale of its castle.

Eger Castle is a highlight of any visit to the city – don’t miss the panoramic views of the town from the castle walls; they are simply breathtaking.


The city’s well-preserved baroque architecture undoubtedly adds to its charm. The Eger Cathedral, with its impressive facade and gorgeous interior, is one of Hungary’s most beautiful churches.

Plus, I think the town’s pedestrian streets, lined with colourful buildings, are perfect for leisurely strolls.

Eger is also renowned for its wine, particularly the red blend known as Egri Bikavér (“Bull’s Blood of Eger”).

For a spot of wine tasting, I’d recommend heading to The Valley of the Beautiful Women, just outside the city centre. Here you’ll find numerous cellars offering samples of the region’s best wines.

For relaxation, carve out some time to enjoy Eger’s thermal baths, such as the Turkish-era Eger Thermal Bath.

The city also serves as a gateway to the nearby Bükk National Park, where you can go hiking and exploring.

Activities & tours to book in Eger:

11. Szeged

Best for: Sunny weather

By car: 1 hour 50 minutes

By train: 2 hours 20 minutes

Szeged is another of my favourite day trips from Budapest. Known as the “City of Sunshine,” it’s famed for its bright weather, which I think is reason alone to visit!

This lively university city offers a blend of academic vibrancy, architectural splendour, and culinary excellence.


Szeged is home to a stunning array of Art Nouveau buildings, including the Votive Church and the Szeged Synagogue. 

Szeged is also known for its foodie offerings, particularly the Szeged Fisherman’s Soup. It’s a spicy paprika-based river fish soup that I think is a must-try for visitors.

For those after a spot of relaxation, the nearby Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park provides a peaceful escape with its historical and natural exhibits.

The Tisza riverfront in Szeged is another spot for leisurely walks and enjoying the scenic views.

12. Miskolc

Best for: A blend of both urban and rural

By car: 2 hours 10 minutes

By train: 2 hours 20 minutes

The third-largest city in Hungary, Miskolc is a unique city where industrial roots meet remarkable natural landscapes. It’s this contrast that makes it an intriguing day trip from Budapest.

Miskolc’s industrial heritage is a significant part of its identity, with the former ironworks and current museums offering insights into the city’s past.


The cultural scene is vibrant, highlighted by the Miskolc National Theatre and various galleries and museums dotted around the city.

Nearby Lillafüred, a small resort town within the city limits, offers a stark contrast to Miskolc’s urban environment.

Set in the Bükk Mountains, Lillafüred is home to a beautiful palace hotel, serene hanging gardens, and the highest waterfall in Hungary. 

One of Miskolc’s unique attractions is the Cave Baths of Miskolctapolca. These thermal baths, set in a natural cave system, provide a unique spa experience. These are not to be missed!

The city also boasts historical architecture, like the Gothic Protestant Church of Avas, and several castles in the surrounding area. 

13. Bratislava

Best for: Charm and beauty

By car: 2 hours 15 minutes

By train: 2 hours 25 minutes

If you’re looking to cross borders, just a short journey from Budapest lies Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Bratislava’s Old Town is a highlight, with narrow, winding streets that lead to the main square, historic buildings, and cosy cafes.


The Bratislava Castle, perched on a hill, provides unforgettable views of the city and the Danube. While the mediaeval Michael’s Gate is another must-see historical site.

The city is home to numerous museums and galleries, like the Slovak National Museum and the Bratislava City Museum. Both worth a visit if you ask me!

For the foodies amongst you, Bratislava’s culinary scene reflects its diverse cultural influences. You’ll find a range of Slovak, Hungarian, Austrian, and modern international cuisine.

The Danube riverfront is a popular spot for leisurely walks and dining, while the UFO Observation Deck offers panoramic views of the city.

Activities & tours to book in Bratislava:

14. Vienna

Best for: Arts and architecture

By car: 2 hours 45 minutes

By train: 2 hours 25 minutes

Vienna, the illustrious capital of Austria, lies within surprisingly easy reach of Budapest. It’s an absolute must-visit for anyone interested in imperial history, classical music, and stunning architecture.

This grand city, once the heart of the Habsburg Empire, offers a day trip experience filled with culture, art, and timeless elegance.

Vienna is famous for its magnificent palaces, such as Schönbrunn Palace and the Hofburg Imperial Palace.

Hofburg Palace on St. Michael Square in Vienna

The city’s skyline is also adorned with iconic structures like St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Belvedere Palace.

As the birthplace of many classical composers, including Mozart and Beethoven, I love that Vienna is steeped in musical history.

To truly experience they city’s musical heritage, you cannot miss a visit to the Vienna State Opera or the Musikverein.

While art lovers can explore world-class museums, such as the Albertina and the Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum).

Foodies will of course love sampling the Viennese cuisine, from the famous Wiener Schnitzel to the delightful Sacher Torte.

The traditional Viennese coffeehouses, recognised by UNESCO for their cultural significance, are another highlight of this elegant city.

I can’t think of a better way to spend an hour or two than with a coffee, pastry, and a chance to soak up the local ambiance.

Activities & tours to book in Vienna:

15. Aggtelek National Park

Best for: Nature and adventure

By car: 3 hours

By train: 4 hours

Aggtelek National Park, located in the rugged terrain of northeastern Hungary, is a natural wonderland famed for its extensive cave system. This includes the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Baradla Cave.

The park offers a unique and enchanting day trip experience, a world away from the urban life of Budapest.

The highlight of Aggtelek National Park is undoubtedly the Baradla Cave, known for its impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations.

Baradle Cave in Aggtelek National Park

Guided tours of various lengths take you through the cave’s vast chambers and corridors, revealing a hidden underground world of geological wonders.

Beyond the caves, the park is a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna. I’d definitely recommend exploring the marked hiking trails that wind through lush forests and past scenic karst formations.

The area’s rich biodiversity and unique geological features make it a fascinating destination for both casual walkers and serious naturalists.

While a bit further from Budapest than some other day-trip destinations, Aggtelek National Park is still accessible for a full-day excursion – and I do believe the longer journey is worth it!

This concludes our exploration of day trips from Budapest! Have you visited any of these incredible destinations? Let me know in the comments below.

For more Hungary travel inspiration, you may also like:

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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Want up to 25% off hotels?

Subscribe to my newsletter and get immediate access to my guide on how to save money on flights and hotels. Our weekly emails are filled with adventure inspiration, insider travel tips and exclusive discounts.