Szentendre is a beautiful, diverse and scenic town on the Danube’s bank, about 30 minutes driving from Budapest. Indeed, Szentendre is the perfect city break from the big city, an easy town where you can spend an adventure-filled day.
Szentendre is a popular tourist destination so that means it is full of mass tourism’s practises. There are a lot of tourists on weekends and during seasons and there are too many overpriced artist shops and low quality restaurants. For instance, the main promenade, Jenő Dumtsa Utca, is lined with forgettable restaurants and silly gift shops. Take a look before you sit, be aware you are in a one-day maximum destination and just enjoy the beauty. It is worth!
Why Szentendre is the perfect city break
Szentendre is the perfect city break because you will find diversity, beauty and art. Everyone of those three concepts can be understood by tradition and historical reasons of the town.
In the late 17th century, many Serbian, Dalmatian and Greek immigrants settled in the medieval town of Szentendre. They were escaping from the Ottomans and taking advantatge of Leopold I respect for the civil and religious rights. Szentendre began to flourish thanks to that inmigration and in the 18th century, Szentendre had a very important Serbian community, eight orthodox churches, several Serbian schools, and a prosperous economy based on Danube trade and winemaking.
In the early 20th century, this community of local Serbians returned massively to their motherland. It had been more than 200 years after they came to Szentendre. So today, there are only a dozen Serbian families left but the bond of the town with Serbia remains in the culture. You can find Serbian restaurants and inscriptions and signs in cyrilic in the town.
Szentendre is full of Baroque buildings with the traditional old Hungarian patterns like the light colorful of the façades and the dormers’ windows. Those add up to the diversity of the styles of the churches, some of them converted into Catholic from other religions.
In 1926, Szentendre started an artists’ colony, replacing Nagybánya, which was pushed out of the borders of the current Hungary, after the for the world fully shameful Trianon treaty.
Its beauty and the proximity to Budapest attracted to Szentendre many major figures of Hungarian art. Some exemples are Lajos Vajda, Imre Ámos or Jenő Barcsay. Today, still, Szentendre has an active art scene, many museums and every year the city hosts Art Capital, one of the main art events in Hungary.
Best plans in Szentendre
- Open-air art exhibition: Just wander around and take a look at the open-air exhibition featuring the work of the most talented young Hungarian artists along the twisting, cobblestone alleys.
- Coffee and marzipan: Jump into an outdoor café and marvel at life-sized marzipan sculptures in the Marzipan Museum.
- Catch a boat: On the river shore you will spot the deck where you can have a drink while waiting for the boat to get to Budapest. Read here our Budapest bucket list!
- Bargain for souvenirs: Get into the tiny boutique stores and let’s start a small business conversation.
- Get up for the views: Climb the nearby hills for amazing views of colorful rooftops and dormers’ windows settled along the river.
- Visit Aquincum: Get back in time to ancient Roman times and visit Aquincum settlement, with its aqueduct and the Roman amphitheater.
How to get to Szentendre
- Train: The most convenient way! The quickest and the cheapest way to reach Szentendre from Budapest is via the HÉV suburban rail line. You can catch it either from Batthyány Square or Margit híd, budai hídfő stations. To reach Szentendre is needed a valid Budapest public transport ticket (1 euro) and an extension ticket (1 extra euro). Both of which you can buy from the machines at the stations. It takes about 40 minutes. We recommend getting your tickets in advance on Trainline.
- Cruise: The river cruise is the most scenic way to get to Szentendre. It cost 9 for a one-way trip and the schedule changes seasonally. The boats usually leave from downtown’s Vigadó Square at 10:30 a.m. and return from Szentendre at 5:00 p.m. The journey is 50-60 minutes from Budapest.
- Car: It depends very much on the traffic but you can expect one hour driving from Budapest via M-11. In Szentendre there is no mess to park. We recommend getting your car in advance on Rentalcars.
- Bus: This is not the best way to arrive at Szentendre unless you decide to visit Aquincum. From there, at the District III of Budapest, you can catch the interesting H5 bus line. In 25 minutes it will drive you to Szentendre.
Where to stay in Szentendre for the perfect city break
Szentendre is a well-know place for the Hungarian Jet Set. Many of Hungarian famous people have build villas around the town in exclusive areas. This doesn’t mean that is going to be unaffordable for regular tourists. There are options for all the budgets and some of them very good value for you money. Just check below your odds!
Enjoy our discounts in the place
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2 Replies to “Szentendre is the perfect city break”
Yay Szentendre … another place that I truly love! Gorgeous old town!
It really does look like the perfect break!