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day trips outside Budapest

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Fort Lauderdale...
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day trips outside Budapest

We will be in Budapest March 22-31. Any highly recommended day trips? We especially love castles and history. Is it possible to do a day trip to any nearby countries and be in our hotel that evening? thanks

Scotland
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1. Re: day trips outside Budapest

Take a trip to Szentendre, a lovely, traditional, Hungarian conservation village not so far North of Budapest.

Take the train from the big Underground station which is just by the embankment, across the water from Budapest Parliament builing. (There's a tram terminus outside it.)The train takes you straight there. If you have a Budapest Card, remember you have to pay for the part of the journey beyond the city limits. It's a lovely day-trip. If you're really keen on a Danube trip, you can take the river-boat there and back, but it does cost more than the train.

The village is an olde-worlde delight to visit, and a old Hungararian man runs a traditional horse-drawn carriage to take tourists around. Well worth photographing.

Just outside the railway station is a most interesting "Transport Museum" full of genuine old-fashioned tram-cars.

So Cal
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2. Re: day trips outside Budapest

You should definitely visit Eger. It's about 2 hours northeastish of Budapest. It's a beautiful little town, one of my favorite places in Hungary. It's in wine country so you can sample the local Egri Bikaver (Bull's Blood wine). And go eat some palacsintas (Hungarian crepes) at Palacsintavar Restaurant on Dobo street. Very delicious!

You can go north from Budapest up the Danube Bend. Visegrad has some beautiful views of the river. Continue up to Esztergom which is on the Slovakian border. There's a huge basilica in Esztergom and you can cross the bridge into Parkany, Slovakia (that's the Hungarian name of the city, I forget the Slovakian one... Sturovo or something similar).

Arlington, VA
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3. Re: day trips outside Budapest

Eger a good suggestion (fortress where they held off the Turks, a minaret, etc), Estergom OK for a day, Szentendre good (& as stated, an easy trip from Batthyany ter red line metro stop; buy ticket in mezzanine at ticket counter and around corner take the HEV suburban train to Szentendre (not the train that goes only to Pomaz). Also, a day in Kecskemet (south of Budapest) is a kick with a train from Keleti station (InterCity as I recall) is fast and nice - get guidebook that describes towns. Szekesfehervar is to the southwest, a short trip and worth a day. It's been a while since I did it last, but a short trip east to Godollo ("castle") which has a grand and partially restored mansion. Take red metro line to end at Ors Vezer tere and go diagonally through underpass across street to where you can buy HEV suburban RR ticket and catch the train to Godollo.

Of course, everything is faster by car, but that has its own complications and costs, and in a way is not as much fun.

Arlington, VA
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4. Re: day trips outside Budapest

Now, if you have a car: is it too cold to enjoy the ruins that remain of castles? Although you can take the bus (not sure that the train goes there as I always drove) to Visegrad, north of Szentendre on the road (11 ?) that takes you north on the Buda side, past the ruins of the roman civil town of Aquincum - in Obuda). In the middle ages the Castle (as I recall of King Matthias) was the jewel of Europe. They ollected tolls from those passing along the road and the Danube, I believe) & got rich and cultured. Sad ruins at the top of the hill above the Danube Bend. Can continue on same road to Estergom. Return to Budapest by cutting the corner through Dorog and Pilisvosvar - get a good map - especially during daylight).

Also, if have car, can go to Unesco World Heritage site of Holloko village and a castle ruin that is above it (check with Tourinform offices - maybe still one office near Deak metro and another off Varosmarty ter). Hapsburgs tried to destroy all old actual castles after Hungarian Revolution in mid-19th cent. Fortifications gave them the "willies."

Also, with car, but long trips, you can get to Fertod (to east) the Versailles of Hungary built by the Esterhazy's - guite a place, try to catch a concert in the very hall where Haydn performed his works composed over 29 years for his employer.

Off the M1 highway, to northwestin Komarom (on the way to Vienna)is the Austrian Fort Monostor, also called Fort Sandburg. Never been there, don't know if it is worth the trip - the largest 19th century fortification of eastern Europe - open mid March to Oct).

If you drive like me, Vienna is 2 hrs by car (stop after border & buy mandatory road pass). Not much time in just a day but could take in Schonnbrun Palace(astounding) or in center of the city the Hofburg Palace & other sites. But it is really too far for a day trip, as are all out of country places such as Bratislava.

Even another World Heritage site, the Aggetlek caves way north of Eger, on the Slovakian border are a bit to far by car (though I did it in a day during summer)and I'm not sure they're open in March.

Have fun but take it easy.