Travelling King - Finance Planner turning holiday dreams into a reality!
Hungary

Best Day Trips from Budapest 

Budapest, Hungary. Aerial cityscape image of Budapest with Chain Bridge and parliament building during summer sunset.

Known for its beautiful sights, many impressive bridges connecting the two sides of the city: Buda (on the West bank of the Danube River) and Pest (on the East bank of the Danube River), Budapest is a magical city that keeps attracting international tourists. Famous for its cultural institutions like the Budapest Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts, or the Music Academy, Budapest is a perfect destination for lovers of arts and culture.

Check if your visit to Budapest aligns with “WAMP” (Wasárnapi Művész Piac, which translates to “Sunday Design Market”), a trendy monthly design fair, like in London or New York! When you feel the need to escape the urban bustle of the Hungarian capital, we suggest you look into day trips outside of Budapest. Don’t know where to start? Let us guide you through the best day trips from Budapest!

Plan your trip to Hungary

Need data for your trip to Hungary? We use Tep Wireless which offers unlimited data for $8 per day. Travelling King readers can get 10% off using the discount code TRAVELLINGKING on check out.

Don’t be an idiot! Make sure you have Travel Insurance, it’s best to always be prepared! I would recommend travel insurance from WorldNomads.com, which is available to people from over 130 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

Read more on Hungary:

Looking for a particular destination, see below otherwise you can go to Hungary Travel Guide to view current posts

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Day trip from Budapest to Esztergom

Situated in the northern part of Hungary, the city of Esztergom is a popular tourist attraction and a place of historical significance for the Hungarian people. In the early 11th century, this royal city was the place of coronation of St Stephen, Hungary’s first king. 

When visiting Esztergom, do not miss the city’s magnificent Basilica. It is the largest church in Hungary, but it is also the tallest building in the country (its impressive dome tops out at 118 meters). The building began in 1822 and the church stood completed in 1869. Close to the basilica, you will find the much smaller Bakócz Chapel. Built from red marble, it is considered one of the most impressive pieces of Renaissance art in Hungary.

Make sure to visit the Watertown (also known under the name “Víziváros”) as well! You will find it on the right bank of the Danube River, below the Esztergom Castle walls. The neighbourhood, founded by the Hungarian archbishop Matthias Rátót was set up in the 13th century. Later the area was transformed by Ottomans who opened Turkish baths and built mosques.

For Esztergom best day trips Budapest Nyugati station will be your point of departure! Esztergom is only 50 kilometres away from Budapest, you can get there by bus no. 800 or by regional train (both take around 1 hour). 

Day trip from Budapest to Esztergom

Panorama Of Esztergom - Komorom-Esztergom, Hungary, Europe

Day trip from Budapest to Szentendre

Szentendre in Hungary is a town on the Danube River, famous for its colourful houses, narrow cobbled streets and impressive churches. The city is known as a cultural hot spot too! We recommend you start your Szentendre explorations at the city’s main square, Fő Tér. The square is surrounded by countless shops, cafés and restaurants and churches. One of the most famous churches is the Greek Orthodox Blagovestenska Church from the 18th century. Known for its impressive interior, the church was established by settlers from Szentendre’s Greek Quarter.

Save some time the Hungarian Open Air Museum to explore the history of the traditional Hungarian lifestyle. The museum houses a collection of items and artefacts that tell the visitors about the different regions in Hungary, its varied local cultures and traditions. More traditional Hungarian culture can be experienced at The Szentendre Art Mill. It is a gallery located in an old mill with large art pieces spread over three exhibition floors. 

Stop by the Szentendre Island too. Situated between Budapest and the Danube Bend, the isle houses villages like Kisoroszi and Horány and it is known for hosting the Lipizzan Horse Show too!

To get to Szentendre from Budapest, grab the bus line no. 2694. The two cities are less than 20 kilometres apart, you will get there in an instant!

Day trip from Budapest to Szentendre

Szentendre, Hungary - People in restaurants and coffee shops in the old town of Szentendre in Hungary.

Day trip from Budapest to Kecskemet

Prepare to see some unusual sites on your visit to Kecskemet. One of the most special places in the city is the Cifrapalota building (which is a part of Kecskemet Ornamental Palace). The Art Nouveau structure is now housing a gallery and a museum; before it used to serve as an apartment building. You cannot miss it for its remarkably decorated facade that makes the structure look like it has been taken out of a fairy tale! Stunning folk motifs and a decorated roof – remember to have your camera with you!

One more impressive example of art nouveau architecture with charming folkloric motifs is the restored Otthon Cinema. It also houses an atmospheric café, a great place for a short coffee break.

Another popular tourist attraction in Kecskemet is the city’s town hall. it was designed by Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos, and the ornaments on the building’s facade are inspired by traditional Hungarian and ancient Turkish folk art. For more folksy themes, visit the Museum of Hungarian Naive Artists showcasing classical and contemporary works by Hungarian naive painters and sculptors.

An excursion to Kecskemet is one of the easiest day trips from Budapest by train. With the fast train, you can get to Kecskemet in just over one hour, and the tickets start at around 4 USD for a one-way single journey.

Day trip from Budapest to Kecskemet

the gaudy mansion, built in secession style, kecskemet town, hungary

Danube Bend Tour from Budapest

If you want to explore the towns of Esztergom, Szentendre and Visegrád during one trip, we recommend you book a one day private tour around the Danube Bend. 

The trip will begin in Esztergom where your guides will take you directly to the city’s impressive basilica. In Visegrád you can have a stroll around the city’s famous Citadel, check out the Hungarian Open Air Museum and stop for a lunch break with panoramic views of the magnificent fortress.

The trip will continue to Szentendre where you can explore artist villages, shop souvenirs or simply go for a relaxed afternoon stroll in the cobbled alleyways, admiring the many churches and charming building facades. For even more stunning views of the Danube Bend, your guides might take you across the border to Slovakia’s Námestie Slobody. It will be a quick photo-stop, but non-European visitors should remember to have their passport with them.

Depending on when you book your Danube Bend Tour, it is possible to go back to Budapest from Szentendre by boat. The cruise will take around 1 hour, but keep in mind that this option is only available in the summer, from May 1st through September 30th. 

Danube Bend Tour from Budapest

Visegrad, Hungary - castle on the hill above the Danube river bend.

Day trip from Budapest to Lake Balaton

Located in the western part of Hungary, Lake Balaton is a popular holiday destination for Hungarian and international tourists alike. Along the 197 kilometres long shoreline you will find beaches and impressive hotels, but also stunning volcanic hills!

At the lake’s north shore, you will find Balaton Uplands National Park, filled with hiking trails – a great pick for travellers who want to add some activity to their vacation in Hungary. On the northern shores, you will also find the stunning town of Szigliget that houses one of the most impressive castles in Hungary. Erected on the Várhegy hill, the castle contains a medieval fortress that was built by the Benedictine order. After the Tatar invasions and the Turkish occupation, what is left today are the castle ruins, but the site is still worth exploring! 

The town of Tihany is also worth visiting. It is the oldest medieval town in the region. Take a look at its Baroque Abbey and do not miss the old monastery established by King Andrew I of Hungary.

If you want to go to Lake Balaton from Budapest, we suggest you take a look at gastronomy tours from Budapest. The volcanic grounds around Lake Balaton are a great base for vineyards, so book a culinary tour with a wine tasting of traditional Hungarian wines!

Day trip from Budapest to Lake Balaton

Views of Hungarian nature reserve Kis Balaton (Little Balaton)in the near from Lake Balaton with blue Sky ,green Vegetation and blue Water

Day trip from Budapest to Etyek Wine Country 

With “only” 200 years of wine production, the town of Etyek is considered as a relatively young wine region in Hungary. It is located 30 minutes by car from Budapest, and the most convenient way to explore the region and learn about its history is booking a half-day private tour. You will be accompanied by knowledgeable, English-speaking guides and conveniently picked up and dropped off at your accommodation in Budapest.

The Etyek region is known for its white grape varieties, mostly sauvignon blanc and pinot gris; during the trip, you will also be offered to taste the famous Törley. It is a sparkling wine specific to the Etyek region. On your trip to Etyek Wine Country, your guides will bring you to several family-run cellars where apart from wine tasting, you will be offered traditional Hungarian snacks and will be able to deepen your wine-knowledge; learning about the local soils and the grape pressing processes. Meeting both the owners of the cellars and the winemakers will also give you a deeper understanding of the local traditions and the culture of Etyek’s wine country.

At the end of your trip, after the wine tasting, you will be served a traditional Hungarian dinner; prepare for a 2-course feast in the unique surroundings of a Hungarian wine estate.

Day trip from Budapest to Etyek Wine Country 

An Austrian village from the deck of a river cruise ship on the Danube River

Day trip from Budapest to Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (UNESCO World Heritage)

If you want to escape the city bustle and spend your day exploring a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, we recommend a day trip to the Caves of Aggtelek Karst. 

The caves are located on the border between Hungary and Slovakia and are a complex of limestone caves. It is Europe’s biggest stalactite system with spectacular formations of both stalagmites and stalactites – prepare for a remarkable spectacle of different colours, shapes and forms. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and on both the Slovak and Hungarian side the caves are surrounded by protected national parks.

The cave system can be accessed through 6 main entrances; 3 of them are located in Slovakia (1 natural and 2 man-made entrances at Domica) and 3 on the Hungarian side (the two man-made entrances at Jósvafő and Lake Vörös are easiest to access).

If you book a one day private tour to the Caves of Aggtelek Karst, your trip will start with cave explorations and after visiting the cave complex, on the way back to Budapest, your guides will take you to the historic town of Eger for a visit to the city’s main highlight – the stunning Eger Castle. It is a castle complex from the 13th century that also includes a 13th-century cathedral.

Day trip from Budapest to Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (UNESCO World Heritage)

Tourist path in the Baradla cave in Aggtelek, Hungary

Day trip from Budapest to Bratislava

If you are looking for international day trips outside of Budapest, Bratislava is a great pick. Bratislava is a city of cultural and historical significance for the Hungarian people. Until 1919 the city was called “Pressburg” and had been a part of Hungary. Hungarian kings and queens were even crowned at Bratislava’s cathedral! 

Start your Bratislava explorations in the Old Town. The main square and the surrounding streets are bustling with small, atmospheric cafés, and the Old Town area is a great place for shopping too. If you are looking for Slovak souvenirs, have a browse through the traditional embroidery, jewellery pieces and home decor. Slovak honey is a popular souvenir too! Buy it for your kitchen or look for bath and body products containing honey. 

Another popular attraction of Bratislava’s Old Town is the Old Building of the Slovak National Theatre. It is known for outstanding opera performances. The performances are held in the evening, so if you want to see the opera, we recommend you stay in Bratislava overnight. Also, to get the best seats, remember to book your tickets in advance!

From Budapest, you can easily get to Bratislava by FlixBus. The journey takes 2 hours 30 minutes and if you book your ticket in advance, the fee can get as low as 6 EUR (approx. 6,7 USD) for a one-way journey.

Day trip from Budapest to Bratislava

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia

Day trip from Budapest to Zagreb

One of the most popular day trips from Budapest to Croatia is a getaway to Zagreb. You can reach the Croatian capital by bus line no. 976. There are several daily departures (from Budapest Kelenföld) and the average price for a one-way ticket is around 20 USD.

The city of Zagreb was born when two settlements – Kaptol and Gradec merged to form one city. The Croatian capital is now known for its impressive landmarks like the fortified Lotrscak Tower and the beautiful Church of St. Mark known for its stunning tiled roof.

Zagreb houses many museum and cultural institutions, and one of the most quirky ones is “The Museum of Broken Relationships”. There will be no “happily ever after”, as you walk through the expositions telling stories of hundreds of break-ups and unhappy love stories from all over the world. Started as an art project by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, the museum aims to offer a safe space for everyone who needs support to overcome an emotional breakdown and encourages a free creative expression in times of emotional struggle. 

Zagreb’s Art Pavilion is a museum in a more traditional sense and a popular city landmark due to its impressive Neo-Baroque architecture. Near the Art Pavilion, you will find the Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb’s renowned opera and ballet house.

Day trip from Budapest to Zagreb

Panorama of the Zagreb, view to the intersection in the city center near the national theater building.

Day trip from Budapest to Prague

The Czech capital is a frequent destination for day trips from Budapest, yet with over 500 kilometres between the two cities, for the convenience of your travel, we suggest you book a whole day private tour.

As you travel out of Hungary, going up through Slovakia and into the Czech Republic, admire the beautiful views of the pristine countryside, and if you need a pitstop to stretch your legs or buy snacks, just tell your driver – on your one day private tour, you are the boss!

Some of the must-see attractions in Prague include the 14th-century Charles Bridge; flanked by 3 towers and decorated with 30 Baroque statues, most of which represent Christian saints. The historic city centre of the Czech capital is officially listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and day trips from Budapest to Prague would be incomplete without paying a visit to Prague’s old town. In the Old Town Square, you will also find the Astronomical Clock that dates back to 1410. The clock was partially destroyed during the Second World War, but it has since been restored.

Also, make sure to visit the Prague Castle which holds the Guinness Record for the largest castle complex in the world. On the castle grounds, you will also find the presidential palace, several churches and an original street from the 6th century; the Golden Lane.

Day trip from Budapest to Prague

Prague Old Town Square and Church of Mother of God before Tyn in Prague, Czech Republic.

Day trip from Budapest to Vienna 

Longing to see another charming European city? We recommend a side trip to Vienna from Budapest. You can book a one day private tour with an agency, but a getaway to Vienna is also one of the easy day trips from Budapest by train! The train journey between the two cities takes only 2 hours 30 minutes (multple daily departures).

In Vienna, make sure not to miss the Museum Quarter (Museumsquartier) with several museums showcasing both classical, modern and contemporary visual arts. Another impressive landmark and a popular attraction among art-enthusiasts are the Viennese Belvedere. It is a complex merging two buildings: the “Oberes Belvedere” and the smaller “Unteres Belvedere”. Inside you will find an astonishing collection of both Austrian and international art. Vienna’s Belvedere is just one of the city’s many famous castles. We also recommend visiting the Schloss Schönbrunn. It was the birthplace of Emperor Franz Joseph I who ruled Austria and Hungary before the first World War.

When you are tired of walking around and exploring, stop for a coffee at one of the charming Viennese cafés or visit Café Landtmann (known as the place where Sigmund Freud and other intellectuals enjoyed their coffee)! Sweeten it up with a piece of locally made marzipans or the popular Sacher Torte – a layered chocolate cake with apricot jam.

Day trip from Budapest to Vienna 

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - The Wurstelprater or Wurstel Prater aerial panoramic view. Wurstelprater is an amusement park and section of the Wiener Prater in Vienna, Austria.

Trip to Buda Royal Palace 

Situated on a majestic hilltop overlooking the riverfront of Danube, you will find the Buda Royal Palace (or Budai Vár, as locals call it). Its beginnings date back to the 13th century, but the impressive Baroque palace that occupies most of the grounds today, was completed in the 18th century. The Royal Palace is Budapest’s most photographed site, but save some time to explore the Castle District around the Royal Palace too, as it is a part of UNESCO World Heritage.

The Royal Palace is an architectural pearl with a magnificent dome and a remarkable, collonaded facade. Buda Royal Palace also houses three of the city’s premier institutions: the Budapest History Museum, the National Library and the Hungarian National Gallery. You can enter the palace and its gardens free of charge, but there are admission fees for each of the museums.

You can admire the Royal Palace in multiple ways; you can explore the castle and its grounds on a guided walking or bike tour, you can take the funicular to the castle hill (the cable car departs from Clark Adam ter at the Buda end of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge). If you book a Danube River cruise, you will surely sail past the Royal Castle too – this option is recommended for photography enthusiasts who want to photograph the castle from a unique perspective.

Budapest, Hungary. Beautiful aerial view of historic Buda Castle Royal Palace and South Rondella at sunrise with blue sky and clouds. View of Buda side of Budapest from Gellert Hill. History Museum.

Day trip from Budapest to Széchenyi Thermal Baths

This trip is actually a trip into central Budapest, but since the Széchenyi Thermal Baths should not be missed, we decided to add them to our list. Széchenyi Thermal Baths (Széchenyi Gyógyfürdo in Hungarian) is one of the biggest and most famous thermal baths complexes in Europe.

When in Hungary, this traditional Hungarian experience of outdoor thermal baths is a must! Prepare to soak in the mineral-rich waters (praised for their healing properties, said to help conditions like arthritis or joint diseases) in a beautiful setting (you can admire an impressive neo-baroque palace while relaxing in the pools). The pools are typically heated to between 20°C and 38°C, so swimming in the outdoor pools is possible even in winter. 

Szechenyi Baths is a complex consisting of 18 outdoor and indoor pools, diverse spa facilities (including saunas and special mudpacks) and, of course, thermal baths. There are also optional massage and wellness treatments available (due to the popularity of Széchenyi Thermal Baths, massages need to be booked in advance). Extra attractions within Szechenyi Baths include a gym, a sundeck, a spa shop and a café. 

The Szechenyi Thermal Baths are open every day, year-round. The complex is located in central Budapest’s City Park, and you can easily get there by metro. Take the Yellow M1 line to Szechenyi station.

Day trip from Budapest to Széchenyi Thermal Baths

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - Szechenyi Baths in Budapest, Hungary.

Recommended Best Day Trips from Budapest

If you’d like to save it for later, please save it to Pinterest.

Best Day Trips from Budapest

Best Day Trips from Budapest

Best Day Trips from Budapest

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!