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Click on any photo with blue frame to see an enlarged version. Hungary Map

The beautiful capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a favorite destination for many visitors to Europe. But very few venture further than the central part of the city. Thus they miss many gorgeous towns and villages, which are all easily reached by train, bus or tour in your own rental car. Hungary is not a large country, no place is much more than 150 miles (270km) from Budapest.
In Part 1 we will concentrate of places that can be seen in an easy one-day tour from the city.

Obuda was once an independent town and still retains its quiet old-world atmosphere. It is located on the west bank of the Danube just north of the Arpad Bridge. As you walk along the quiet streets, you have the feeling that you have been transported back in time to the end of the 19th. century (except for some parked cars.) Obuda Varga
You may want to go there for dinner after a day outdoors on Margaret Island. There are many charming restaurants that serve tasty Hungarian dishes.
In a square you see the figures of women holding silver colored umbrellas. This is a work of the modern Hungarian artist Imre Varga A small palace contains a display of his work, the larger objects in the rose garden.

Just three stops further north on the HEV line you can see the ruins of Aquincum, the elaborate Roman baths at the site of natural mineral springs. In the summertime you can enjoy modern outdoor swimming pools fed by the natutral springs.
The fastest way to get there is to take the HEV electric light-rail line from Batthyany ter station of Metro line M2. It is the fourth stop at Arpad hid (bridge). If you use a Budapest card you do not have to pay extra.

Szentendre. One of the tourist destinations, which is praised by the guide books, is the small town Szentendre. Many organized bus tours go to this charming old town. If you prefer to go on your own, you can get there easily by the HEV electric light-rail line from Batthyany ter station of Budapest Metro line M2. If you use a "Budapest Card" you have to pay the equivalent of about US$ 2 extra for the section beyond the city limits. Another pleasant way to go is by river boat. Be prepared for a lot of walking - both the HEV station and the boat dock are about 1km from the town, in which all the streets are for pedestrians only.

Gödöllö Goddollo Varga is a town about 35km (22 miles) north-east of Budapest. Tour buses go there to visit the palace. If you prefer to go by yourself, you may take the HEV electric light-rail line from Ors Vezer tere station at the end of Metro line M2. If you use a Budapest card you have to pay extra for the section beyond the city limits.
Built in the 18th. century, for many years the palace was the summer residence of the Austrian Hapsburg emperor Franz Josef. Part of the fortification surrounding it still remains. The palace was badly damaged during the 50 year occupation by Soviet troops, but the main building has recently been beautifully restored, as seen in this view from the park in the rear. The extensive park has reverted to its wild state as a result of half a century of neglect. But you can hike there or rent horses.

BasilicaSzékesfehérvar is the furthest from Budapest - 40 miles (72km) south-west from Budapest, An expressway and fast trains make it easily accessible for a day trip. In the early days it was the capital of Hungary, and kings, including St. Stephen, were crowned in the Basilica. The Basilica and the early 12th to 14C fortifications are now ruins, but in the 17thC. many fine Baroque buildings were constructed including the present cathedral in which lies the tomb of St. Stephen.

Continue to Part 2 - the wine country, Eger, Tokay, Pecs
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design All photographs and map are © B.C. Biega, unless otherwise noted.
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Last updated: September 2006.