Destination: Esztergom, Visegrád, and Szentendre, Hungary

During my time in Budapest, I also made a day trip outside of the Hungarian capital to explore a bit more of what the country had to offer. From my friend’s suggestion and the Internet, I settled on visiting three small towns not too far away: Esztergom, Visegrád, and Szentendre. Although it would be quite packed for visiting three places in a day, I was up for the challenge!

I woke up early to catch the 7:00 bus to Esztergom, my first stop for the day. It was originally the Hungarian capital from the 10th to 13th centuries, and it’s known for having the largest church in the country, the Esztergom Cathedral. The bus ride over was the longest leg of my trip, which took about 80 minutes. Upon arrival, I hit up the Esztergom Cathedral on the hill, which also had castle ground ruins. The castle itself wasn’t open yet, as it was still early, but nevertheless, I got pretty good shots of the hills surrounding the town from above.

View from Esztergom Cathedral.

Next, I headed down to Viziváros (Watertown), a small neighborhood with buildings of Baroque and Classical architectures. Quite picturesque as I took a few photos of the small, main square before I headed to the Maria Valeria Bridge, which is distinctive for connecting the countries of Hungary and Slovakia from the Danube River. It was surreal to believe that, as I walked across the bridge, I was in another country! I was in Slovakia for a good 5 minutes before I crossed back to Hungary and headed back to the bus stop to catch my ride to the next town on my itinerary. It’d been a short visit (barely 90 minutes), but I enjoyed my time in Esztergom.

Viziváros (Watertown).
Maria Valeria Bridge.
Welcome to Slovakia.
Esztergom Cathedral from the distance.

The next stop was Visegrád, a castle town known for its medieval citadel which contains the ruins of King Matthias’ summer palace from the 15th century. It’s perched on the hill, which required a bit of a hike up to access it. Unfortunately, the weather turned for the worse upon leaving Esztergom; it started to rain quite hard, so by the time I arrived in Visegrád, it was pouring. Nevertheless, I tried braving the weather to hike up to the citadel. I soon realized, though, that most of the path was dirt, and with the rain, it turned into mud. I nearly slipped trying to scale the incline, and after trying for some time without success, I tried accessing it from a different path, but to no avail. In the end, I gave up and descended the hill back to the bus stop, as there was no way I could visit the citadel that day. It was a disappointment, but hopefully there’ll be better weather next time.

View from the hike up to the citadel.
Castle on the hill.

Weather began clearing up (even becoming sunny) when I arrived at my last stop, Szentendre. Considering that it’s only a 30-minute ride from Budapest, it’s a popular day trip for tourists. Many flock to check out its main square (Fő tér), as well as do some souvenir shopping. It’s quite picturesque with its mixture of Orthodox architecture; I wandered around the Fő tér and popped into a few shops, one of which I purchased some paprika as a gift for one of my colleagues. Also stumbled upon the Belgrade Cathedral, which serves the small minority of Serbs living in town (about 100 of them). Soon enough, I was done with my visit, and I took the bus back to Budapest where I returned around 15:00.

Fő tér.
Paprika for sale.
Belgrade Cathedral.
Wandering the alleys of Szentendre.

My day trip to the different towns in Hungary ended up being shorter than usual due to the not-so-great weather. All the same, I was glad to have gotten a glimpse into the culture outside of the capital, and they’re worth a visit should you be in Budapest some day!

More to come soon– until then!

— The Finicky Cynic

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