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Posted by on Feb 19, 2017 | 104 comments

Danube Bend: Day Trip from Budapest

I feel the best when I am surrounded by bodies of water.  Lakes, rivers and beaches make me happy.

This has to do a lot with me being raised in Puerto Rico.  Most of our outings were related to water.  Think tropical rainforests full of waterfalls, fishing excursions to thunderous rivers and lazy days in front of turquoise colored waters.

In order to continue my water related adventures, I decided to book an excursion around the Danube Bend when I visited Budapest.

The Danube has its origins in Germany’s Black Forest.  For hundreds of miles, it moves from west to east.  Close to the border of Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, the river takes a sharp turn and starts to flow north to south.  The area‘s towns and resorts constitute a beloved recreational destination for Hungarians.

Here are some of the towns and sights that can be discovered on a daytrip from Budapest.


Esztergom is a place that occupies a special place in the heart of Hungarians.  In 960, the ruling Hungarian prince, Geza, choose the area to build his residence.  From there, he started to send peace messages to the Holy Roman Emperor.  Later, his son Vajk, converted to Christianism, baptized and asked the Pope to crown him King of Hungary.

The crowning ceremony took place in Esztergom and Vajk became Stephen of Hungary (later St. Stephen), the first king of the newly recognized nation (in political terms).

The crown jewel of the city is the Basilica, the largest church in Hungary and seat of the Roman Catholic Church in the country.

Our guides started by driving us to the town of Sturovo in Slovakia in order to appreciate the Basilica from the other side of the Danube.

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

By crossing the Marie Valerie Bridge, we were back in Hungary and ready to take a closer look at the Basilica.

Once in front of the building, you realize how humongous it is.  It is 118 m (387 ft) long and 49 m (160 ft wide and has an inner are of 5,600 m2.  The dome height is 71.5 m (234 ft).  I felt like an ant when looking at the columns in the front.

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

We were not able to linger inside since mass was taking place.  I stood for a few moments observing the ceremony.

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

In the panorama room, we had time to enjoy a cup of coffee while contemplating gorgeous views of the Danube.  Next to this room, there is an exhibition with details of how the Basilica was built.  There is a model showing the original plans for the construction (most of them never became a reality).

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Then, it was time to take a look of our surroundings from the terrace.  Once again, I fell in love with the river, its bridges and red roof towns.  Just take a look at these views!

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

And, of course, there is a statue commemoration the pivotal moment in Hungarian history, the coronation of St. Stephen.

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

We were given some time to walk around a medieval fair that was taking place in the Basilica grounds.  We were able to observe “fights” between Hungarians and Turks, kids riding horses and artisans selling regional products.

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary


The small town of Visegrad is another popular stop in the Danube Bend area.  Lunch was the main reason for our stop in here.

I ate a little bit faster than the rest of the group and was able to take a look at King Matthias Palace, the Danube and several streets in the town.

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

With our full bellies, we ascended to the Visegrad Fortress.  It is from here that you can appreciate the notorious Danube Bend.  I was lost for words when I found myself in front of this view.  The more I discovered about the area, the more I want to go back and explore on my own.

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary


Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary


Our last stop of the day was Szentendre.  This town is known for its Serbian and Dalmatian influence. Once the Ottomans were expelled from Hungary, Serbs were invited to immigrate to Habsburg lands (since they fought on the Christian side during the war, Hungary ended being part of the empire after the Austro-Turkish War). It is estimated 37,000 families immigrated and many settled in Szentendre.

Today, the town is unique because it is considered an arts haven. More than two hundred fine and applied artists, authors, poets, musicians and actors live in the city.

Szentendre, Day trip from Budapest, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

In here, we were given time to walk the streets and discover at our own pace.  We got swoon by the beauty of Szentendre in a matter of minutes.  The buildings are colorful, art is everywhere and delicious gastronomic offerings abound.  You can read an entire post dedicated to the town in here.

Back to Budapest by Boat

It was time to go back to Budapest but we were going to do it by boat.  The one hour ride took us through some towns, numerous bridges and local swimming spots.  Seems like Hungarians know how to live the good life!

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Once we were close to the capital, the boat traffic increased and we knew our beautiful day was coming to an end.

Before going back to shore, we were given one last gift.  Once the boat passed Margaret Island we started to get glimpses of the Parliament building glowing below the setting sun.  The boat stopped in front of the structure for several moments.  Ah, what a way to end up a day immersed in Hungarian history and culture!

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary

Danube Bend Tour, Hungary


  • This trip (or a similar one) is recommended to those who want to take a deeper look into Hungary (outside Budapest).
  • If you are interested in doing a similar excursion, consider booking with a company that focuses on small groups.
  • The price of this excursion varies depending on what is included and what places are visited. Make sure you read a detailed description of what is done during the day.
  • All towns in the Danube Bend area can be accessed by train or boat. Therefore, it is possible to visit independently.  This option will give you more flexibility to explore each town.

Have you visited the Danube Bend area?

Pin it for later?

A Danube Bend tour visits the area where the river makes a sharp curve. It concentrates in the towns of Esztergom, Visegrad and Szentendre.



  1. This is a full day. What wonderful day trip destinations.

    • So many great places I would have not visited otherwise. Each of these places deserves a day or more.

  2. Wow – what a fun visit. I love the impressive buildings in the last two shots.

    • Thanks! That is Hungary’s Parliament. I wanted to go inside but didn’t have time to stop by.

    • Thanks Sallie! I try to travel as much as possible. When I cannot go outside of the country, I explore around California and other nearby states.

  3. You visited the same places where I was in the past year. There are truly beautiful and scenic places to explore. Interesting post and great pictures, as always in your blog

    • I visited last year too. I am so happy I choose the area. I went to Poland too.

    • That would be an awesome way to do it! You can access all this cities by boat (in an independent way). That would give you the freedom to explore at your own pace.

    • The “bread rolls” are pieces of cheese. Agree they look too perfect but people who prepare them are experts on their craft.

  4. We would love to explore more of Hungary, as we fell in love with Budapest and that’s the only place so far that we’ve been. Pinned! #CityTripping

    • Yes, it would be nice to discover more of Hungary. I hope to discover more smalls cities in a future visit.

  5. I love how Budapest seems to combine Central European with Russian influences. I’ve never been to the black forest in Germany nor seen the Danube up close but I’d certainly love to visit Budapest one day!

    • That is true. There were certain things that reminded me of Russia. Krakow is way more similar to Russia.

  6. Wow big day! Glad you made it to that part of Hungary! 🙂

    • Thanks Amy! That part of Hungary is very cool and I assume the areas I have not been to are nice too.

  7. I would love to do a trip down the Danube… looks amazing!

    • Sarah, hope you are able to do that trip one day! It is a great experience, one you are not going to forget.

  8. I haven’t made it outside Budapest yet, but that basilica is gorgeous!! I was asking our tour guides for recommendations, but everywhere he suggested was several hours away. These seem like they would be great options, too!

    • Not sure why the guides didn’t suggest these places. You have these 3 towns plus palaces and spa areas. I think there is quite to do close to the capital.

  9. A Viking river cruise in that area is on my bucket list. Thanks for the water tour. I wish I was there.

    • Good Sharon! I want to take a cruise too (I saw tons in Budapest)

  10. What a fabulous day trip – I would love to go back to Budapest again soon, as it’s been such a long time since I last visited, and this is definitely now on my list. Each of those places looks worth a visit in themselves, let alone a sail on the Danube and the views of the bend are fabulous. What a great taste of Hungary. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted..City Tripping #64My Profile

    • Thanks Cathy! I loved Budapest and Hungary. I am glad I am able to showcase this beautiful country in this blog.

  11. You know why the basilica-s and churches in Europe were built so large? At that time, the churches were really the center of the community (now, it would be city hall). Love Hungary and the Hungarians – they are friendly and welcoming:) Beautiful captures, Ruth!
    No link up for Tanamatales this week?

    • That is true! Hungarians are awesome! I can only say good things about them. The link party was posted late this week.

    • All the areas around the river are pretty!

    • I loved that Panorama Room. It felt great to have a cup of coffee while looking at the views.

    • Szentendre is a beautiful place. I wrote a post dedicated to the town. You can check it out for more details.

  12. Wow! Bookmarking for the next time I visit Hungary!

    • Glad you liked the post Sarah! Thanks for stopping by.

  13. I love the dome of the Basilica and can imagine the feeling of awe looking up at the large pillars at the entrance, but that wonderful afternoon sun highlighting the golden colour of the houses of parliament is fantastic.

    • Jan, that is why I think we took that ship back to Budapest at the perfect moment. We were like 10 minutes in front of the building. There was a lot of time to contemplate that unique moment.

  14. Ooh this looks great, that church is enormous. Can you tell me, the painting that is above the altar inside the church, who is it by? I’m a bit of an art history geek… sorry!

    • I looked for info about the paintings but was not able to find anything about them. History tend to concentrate on the actual building.

  15. I’m so happy I came across this post. I have been more and more interested in Eastern Europe and would just love to go explore Hungary. What an amazing day trip. Just stunning!

    • Eastern Europe is great. If you are interested in the area, you should go. I was surprised by the amount of history, good food and beautiful cities.

  16. Wow, you packed A LOT in! I once did a cycle tour down the Danube in Austria and loved it. I particularly like that the same river snakes through so many countries.

    • I cycled a bit along the river in Budapest. I would love to do more of that in the future. More knowing that the bikes can go on the boats.

    • Glad to hear that! That is why I would like to do more cruises or sailing trips.

  17. I would love to cruise the Danube River, and visit the towns along its coast. The photos you showed from the towns you visited were amazing. The size of the basilica, fort and palace were all stupendous!

    I love being on the water too, Ruth. I grew up and lived near the Atlantic Ocean and always felt comfortable on all kinds of ships. It’s a beautiful way to travel.

    • I grew up in Puerto Rico and I think that is why I like being close to the water. Here in California I live close to the beach too.

  18. Looks like you had a perfect day for sightseeing. The sky is so blue and the water on the Danube looks blue as well. I guess that’s why they call it the Bue Danube? I would love to do this trip.

    • Thanks Kathy! I had the best weather in Budapest (I cannot complain). It was hot in the city but the country side was perfect.

    • The return trip is one of the main reasons why we did this trip. It was the prefect ending to a day full of new places.

  19. I love being around water, too, and get to the ocean just as often as I can. You captured some great scenes. I love the old buildings and the photos of country life are delightful to see.
    bettyl – NZ recently posted..yellow eyed penguins at the Penguin PlaceMy Profile

    • Well, I am sure there are tons of opportunities to be near the water in New Zealand. The buildings in this part of Hungary are stunning.

    • Rohan, glad you learned about if in here. The word is composed of two cities (Buda and Pest) which presently are united.

  20. I love being near and travelling on water too Ruth. I havent been to Hungary or Budapest yet but I would love to do this tour. The views you showed of the Danube are fantastic and the tour was so diverse. Thanks so much for sharing on #farawayfiles

    • The Danube is truly the life of this area. You had to see the people boating a taking a dip on it. I cherish those memories.

  21. Looks like a great day! The scenery looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. I’ve pinned it for later.

    • Thanks Upeksha! Hope you can visit one day.

  22. Incredible views!! You’ve definitely made me want to revisit Budapest and explore more of the surrounding area along the Danube. Great to see a different perspective from the water. The Parliament building looks very impressive! #citytripping

    • I think not a lot of visitors explore outside Budapest. However, I think it is eye opening to see a different side of the country.

  23. What a beautiful basilica with beautiful views! Like you I am drawn to water and am at my happiest when I’m near it. In fact, I have a trip booked to Puerto Rico this summer to visit a friend in Rincon!

    • Really? That is great! Rincon is the surfing capital of the island. I went to college in Mayaguez, an adjacent town.

  24. What a day you had, and I learnt so much more about Danube Bend. Nice photos too.

    • I am glad you learned something new. That is the purpose of posts like these.

    • Yes, the history is fantastic. Hungary is a place for history buffs. I learned so much about the country and Eastern Europe while there.

  25. You beat me to Esztergom, Ruth. I’ve been in Budapest so many times and still didn’t make it there. I liked Szentendre a lot, but I don’t think I’d want to return there for a second trip. It seems you had a great day on the Danube and the weather was totally on your side.

    • You got to make it to Esztergom one day! In a way, it is the birthplace of Hungary. It is so emotional to visit places like this.

  26. I’d never heard of the Danube Bend until I read this post! The scenery is breathtaking and check out the colour of that sky! We went on honeymoon to Budapest, but reading this, I wish we’d explored the surrounding areas further.

    • Well, I am assuming you had a wonderful honeymoon! From the comments in this post, I am noticing the Danube Bend area is not even known to people who have visited Budapest. I didn’t know it was so unknown.

  27. What a great idea to sail further into the heart of Hungary, Ruth. I’d love to do down the River Danube and it’s always wonderful to explore an area by boat. Thanks for sharing your colourful and inspiring photos with us on #farawayfiles.

    • I hope to sail one day from Budapest to the Black Sea. That is the trip I really want to make.

  28. What a great day trip! I also love being on, in, or near the water. Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration, see you next week!

    • Ahh, I am glad you liked the Basilica. It is so impressive because of its size. There is a lot to see in that small town.

  29. That’s a fantastic photo of the Parliament building in Budapest. It almost glows with light. This looks like a good day to spend the day. I’d enjoy seeing that Basilica and the medieval fair.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Sunset from Lendal Bridge in YorkMy Profile

    • Yes, the Parliament took the prize of best sight of the day. Love how those photos turned out.

  30. Haven’t heard of Danube Bend, but love all the views your captured! Looks like you had a great time.

    • Thanks Edith! Yes, we had a great time and I would go on a similar trip without thinking about it.

    • I try to go out of the cities as much as possible. Like to spend several days around and make one or two day trips.

  31. I love everything about this tour. Like you, I am also at home near the water. Love that you get to experience the little towns, beautiful architecture, great food and be surrounded by all that history. I would definitely do this when we make it to Budapest.
    Mary (The World Is A Book) recently posted..Visiting the Dolphin Research Center FloridaMy Profile

    • I think it is important to see more of a country than the capital. I know a lot of us have limited time in certain destinations but you get to see so much when you make the effort.

  32. Some incredible photos, I feel the same about water and am lucky to live on an Isthmus. Is that bread? It looks wonderful.
    Jeanna recently posted..Sunsets and EaglesMy Profile

    • Where do you live? I am curious now. No, it is cheese.

  33. I love any opportunity to see a place from the water – I completely agree on feeling the need to plan trips to include some body of water. I think this sounds so lovely – I’m dying to see Budapest and getting a little more via the river sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • Thanks Erin! I want to keep visiting interesting places in Europe.

  34. Looks like a great day trip to take from Budapest – something i will definitely look at doing on our next visit to this beautiful city! #FlyAwayFriday

    • Tracy, check this out! It is something you will enjoy.

  35. Love all that history! Awesome post!

  36. I’ve been curious about exploring more of Hungary for a while now, so it’s nice to see that there are indeed plenty of spots to see even just along the Danube. Visegrad looks pretty impressive alone. #theweeklypostcard

    • I think this is an area you would enjoy. These cities are very authentic (in my opinion) and pack a lot of history and other goodies.

  37. I love how many photos you take for every post! It’s so interesting seeing every angle and different spots – tells you a lot about the place you talk about! Danube Bend looks GORGEOUS and such a fun spot to visit! Thanks for joining #FlyAwayFriday, hope to see you again this week! xo

    • Thanks Kana! I am a very visual person and like my posts to be the same way. I get frustrated when I am reading about a place but I can not see photos.

    • Now that I have seen parts of the Danube, I want to do the Rhine. I am doing part of it on May.

  38. This is so beautiful and picturesque!! And I completely agree with you, I feel most at home next to a body of water too 🙂

    • I am excited since I will be sailing the Rhine in the near future.

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