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A planned itinerary to see cities in Hungary outside Budapest

In early October my wife and I plan to spent 4 days in Budapest and then rent a car and spent 6 days (7 nights) visiting areas outside Budapest. While we are senior citizens we have done our own tours and driven our rented car all over the world and are entirely comfortable with this. I am interested in following a planned, logical itinerary that would visit the major highlight recognizing that I will miss some top areas due to their remoteness. We enjoy historical sights, natural wonders and local cuisine. We also enjoy visiting vineyards and attending local festivals where we can "mingle with the locals".
Any ideas? I note that James is a walking authority on all areas of Hungary and really enjoy his comments.

Posted by
16560 posts

The idea of the car works well in Hungary because all the trains connect back through Budapest. BUT, the Northeast of the country; which is really wonderful, cut off from the rest of the country unless you go back through Budapest. So I put together a pretty nice route to the west and the south. To be honest I have been to a lot of these places but always by train out of Budapest; never on one long road trip. I sort of envy the fact that you have the time to do this. If the concept seems good then we can drill down a little deeper for places to stay, little villages along the way and events.

First Day: Budapest by way of Esztergom, Tata and Fort Monostor in Komarom to Gyor. Spend the night at the converted monastery in Gyor. Baroque old town, great old synagogue, couple of rivers, shops and a pretty town in general. <3 hour drive time with good stops and sightseeing about every 45 to 60 minutes.

Second Day: Gyor to the Archabbey and Winery at Pannonhalma and then on to Sopron. Sopron is one of Hungary’s prettiest towns and has a great baroque town center. Where the Austrians vacation because of the prices. Lovely country on the Austrian border. Spend the night in Sopron. <2 hour drive time but the Archabbey will take 2 to 3 hours to see.

Third Day: Sopron to Tihany by way of Szombathely. Szombathely and Tihany are among the prettiest towns in Hungary. <3 hour drive time

Fourth Day: Tihany to Pecs. You get to ride the ferry!! <3 hour drive time

Fifth Day: Pecs is worth and extra day. This is a great city. Mosques, Cathedral, Zsolnay ceramics, Roman ruins.

Sixth Day: Pecs to Szeged. <3 hour drive time

Day seven: Szeged to Bugac for the horse show and then on back to Budapest. <3 hour drive time.

Posted by
21 posts

You are truly amazing! Every thing you are saying makes sense with what I have been reading. I had almost come to the same conclusion that northeast Hungary, while very interesting, simply did not fit well into the overall plan with the number of days I have. I also need to correct: I have 7 days and 6 nights (not the reverse) but on the 7th day I must catch a plane at the Budapest airport at 3:05pm which flies us to Bucharest.
I am ready for the details (where to stay, where to eat, sights, etc.) you so generously offered to furnish. You should be a paid travel agent! Thanks, larry

Posted by
16560 posts

Did you find a non-stop Budapest to Bucharest flight? So skip the horse show an deadhead back to Budapest from Szeged. As an option you could spend an extra day in Tihany and skip Szeged and head straight back to Budapest on day 7 from Pecs.

I would recommend on day seven you have a gentleman (guide) I know pick you up in Szeged and drive you to Bucharest. Won't cost you any more and it's a heck of a drive.

Posted by
16560 posts

I generally make day trips out of these places so I am a little limited on hotel recommendations. I won’t recommend a place I haven’t actually been to. But when I do stay over I do my homework well so I was really satisfied with these:

Gyor: Converted from an old Cloister. Not 4 star but nice, well situated and I would stay there again.

Pecs: This was the grand dame of the city in 1890. Now it’s a decent hotel extremely well situated, clean and sort of special with all of its history and flair. Again, I think a good choice.

Tihany: I had to go look this one up to get the name right and it had some pretty shabby reviews on Tripadvisor. We last stayed there about 2 years ago and it was very good on our stay.

Budapest Get an apartment on the M1 Metro Corridor between District V and the Oktogon.

Posted by
16560 posts

@Larry, did I help any? As for restaurants and such there aren't any names in any of those towns that stick in my mind. Gyor, Pecs, etc. all have pretty nice older centers with nice restaurants selling "Hungarian" food to Hungarians. Gyor has a nice English Pub as well. You aren't going to have any problems if you stay in the centers. The biggest problem might be deciding which of the dozen in front of you, you want to eat at. Now Budapest I have a lot of ideas about if you are interested. But check the other posts here and see if the answers aren't already there.