Please sign in to post.

Side trips from Budapest

My husband and I will be staying in Budapest for two weeks beginning in mid-October. We are staying in an Airbnb apartment and we want to take separate side trips to Pecs and Eger on the train. Do we need more than one night/2 days in each and also is it advisable or necessary to make train reservations to either place? Also we want to take a Danube bend day trip. Does anyone have a company that they would recommend? I have gotten info from Rick Steves Budapest book but would like more opinions. Thanks!

Posted by
12794 posts

Lucky You!

I think both Pecs and Eger are 1 or 2 night trips. I wouldn't worry about buying train tickets in advance. In Eger i like the Senator Haus and Pecs i like Hotel Palatinus both mainly for location.

The full Danube bend trip is popular, but pretty intense in one day. The drive time is every bit of three hours round trip.
Contrary to popular belief there is still 10 hours of daylight in mid October so its very doable, if you left at 9 am, spent 3 hours driving, and 5 hours of sightseeing it would take you pretty much to sunset. If you want to do it all, then i would say hire Andras Illes. He has a good car, he's a good guide and very professional: http://www.guideinbudapest.com/ Time it right and Andrew will drop you off i Szentendre for the boat ride back to Budapest. The boat leaves at 5 pm back to Budapest; but in October the boat only runs on Saturday. Entering Budapest on the water is pretty spectacular.

I'm a lazier traveler. I would be inclined to make two trips out of it. Szentendre is about 30 minutes by the commuter rail on one day, with the boat ride back. Then on another day there are direct trains from Nyugati Station to Esztergom that takes about an hour for a good morning trip one day.

Cost for all of these trains and boats is under $7 a leg; Andrew is a bit more expensive.=; but very good for the money spent.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks James! You are really a wealth of information (I've read lots of your other posts). One more question: are there better days to visit Eger and Pecs (weekdays vs. weekends)? I have read that many things are closed on Mondays in both cities so would avoid that day. Thanks again!

Posted by
12794 posts

I would poke around and see if anything special is happening in either. Just google Pecs festival or Pecs holiday or something similar. For instance in late September they have a celebration with Placido Domingo and a few other top names. And, yes, Mondays have more closed than other days. But remember Friday and Saturday a lot of Jewish sites are closed.

Posted by
12794 posts

When you get your apartment settled, let me now where it is and maybe I know something about the neighborhood or things close by to see.

Posted by
23 posts

Already booked it: Wesselenyi Street, 1077 Budapest. Looks like it's near the Terror Museum, the opera house, and the Doheny Synagogue. But yes, would love to have info on other sights and restaurants. We're walkers--it's really the best way to get to know a city--as if you didn't know that! More thanks!

Posted by
12794 posts

Wesselenyi utca (street) is in the heart of what was the deportation ghetto. It’s a long street (about 1km) and would take you 15 to 20 minutes to walk one end to the other. If the accommodation is in the southwestern most half of the street, then while the location isn’t perfect, it’s in such an interesting place that for me that more than makes up for it. If you are on the opposite half of the street you will be close to a stop of the 4/6 tram that will connect you to the rest of town (with one change). Still an interesting place to be. Of course I favor anything that avoids the center of the Tourist District, because Budapest is about so much more.

From the center of Wesselenyi utca to the Opera is a good 10-15 minute walk. Sort of long by Budapest tourism standards. I bet the apartment marketing said “close”. “Close” is sort of subjective I guess. But, again, good news; the route from the center of Wesselenyi utca to the Opera House goes through and past some of my favorite places in town. To say it’s near the House of Terror is a huge stretch. 20 minute walk at best from the center of Wesselenyi utca. But again, that just forces you to experience more of some interesting parts of Budapest.

Budapest is a great town to walk so perfect isn’t necessary; especially if the neighborhood is interesting; and District VII is.

Those that come to check off lists can generally complete their task in under two full days. Those that come to experience Budapest never stop returning. If you are adventurous, explore that zone between Wesselenyi utca and Andrassy ut.; look down for the Stolpersteine and look up for the bullet holes. And as you walk in and out of the ghetto each day remember

Posted by
12794 posts

Okay, well you are at the far end of the street. Not a place I have ever been, but I looked it up on Google Maps; its how I learn too. Being outside of the loop road, it’s not in the Jewish Ghetto; but it is on a street with several Yellow Star Houses. http://www.yellowstarhouses.org/ And there a few Stoplersteins further up the road. http://topbudapest.org/budapest-stumbling-stones It’s a classic building with a nicely renovated façade; most likely constructed between 1890 and 1920 which was sort of Hungary’s panicle period.

From your address you will be using the 4/6 Tram and the M1 Metro a lot so get a TravelCard. There is a stop about 2 minute walk down the street from your apartment. The 4/6 is very modern and announces stops in English and Magyar; and I think German. While its modern it is also, I have heard, the most heavily used tram line in Europe. Stay close to the doors so you can get on and off.

The 4/6 will take you to an intersection called Oktogon ter (square) second stop from your street. At that point you can walk to the House of Terror in one direction or use the M1 to reach the city park, Hero’s Square, Bath House, Zoo, etc. and in the opposite direction you can walk down to the Opera House or take the M1 closer to the Basilica and the end for the 47/49 Tram that will take you to the Great Synagogue and the Market Hall and the Gellert Hotel with all its great history. A litte further on the M1 and you are just about at the river where the famous 2 Tram connects the Parliament to the Great Market Hall. The M1 Metro is the oldest underground on the continent of Europe and not bad at all to use.

One stop in the opposite direction on the 4/6 tram will take you to Blaha Lujza tér which is the gateway to a whole different places of interest. Between your stop and the next is the NY Palace. Always worth a visit. Also at Blaha Lujza tér you can take the M2 metro back into the center of town.

See, big city, but very small at the same time.

Posted by
213 posts

Susan,

I spent a week in Budapest in May and stayed in an Airbnb near the opera house. Along with RS book and this forum, gained a lot of insight on what to see and do. If you are still looking for day trip ideas, we loved Szentendre. A great little market town on the river. We took the train to town and returned by boat. Highly recommend it as an easy day trip or even a half-day trip.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks, y'all as we say where I live! And James, be assured, I'll never forget.....

Posted by
11275 posts

In addition to overnight trips to Pecs and Eger, I took day trips to Vac and Szentendre. I liked Pecs more than Eger (although the rain in Eger may have contributed to my less enjoyable time there), and definitely preferred Vac to Szentendre. Although the new synagogue in Szentendre is interesting, the town was crawling with too many tourists for me to fully enjoy. Vac was, at least in 2008 when I went, almost devoid of tourists; I really enjoyed seeing the mummies under the town square (they were discovered during a recent renovation), the synagogue, and the general vibe.

In two weeks, you can see all four and decide on your own favorites!

Posted by
12794 posts

I enjoyed Vac too, but i sort of enjoy laid back places where i can just sit back people watch and walk the squares and back streets. Be sure to walk down to the river and eat. If you take the train there from Nyugati station you might want to splurge a bit on the way back and stop at the Bear Sanctuary . But you need a car for that. Have László MÁRKUS pick you up in Vac and drive you to the bear park on the way back to Budapest.