As we do on most trips, we had researched a few daytrip possibilities within a short train ride from Budapest. Szentendre stood out as it was only thirty minutes away and the entire town was walkable from the train station.
When we arrived at the train station we couldn’t find a ticket machine, so we asked the uniformed police officers nearby about buying a ticket. They didn’t speak much English but we managed to pantomime our way through a conversation where they told us we could pay on the train. We jumped on just in time and settled in for a scenic ride. The views changed quickly as we went through the urban Obuda, then through several successively smaller villages. The ticket taker didn’t come until almost the end of the trip and he spoke even less English than the police officers at the Budapest station. Thankfully he was patient with us and we managed to get two round-trip tickets (with lots of incomprehensible — to us — scribbles on them) purchased.
From the train station it was a straight walk into town. While Eric snapped some photos, I picked up a 75 cent map at the Info building. Szentendre is packed with museums and shops but it was a beautiful day and we were more interested in exploring on foot to see the various churches and views. Part of the river walkway was under construction but we were still afforded nice views along the water.
After browsing several shops along the main drag, we headed north up some steep streets for fantastic views of the multiple churches in town.
Feeling peckish we hunted down the famous langos stall down a narrow alley (after a few false alleys). The crispy potato bread with garlic butter was heavenly.
We found a shady spot on the steps of Saint János to eat our langos, then stopped at Christine’s along the water for wine and people watching with a kadarka (red) for me and a juhfark blend (white) for Eric.
I wanted to do a little shopping while we were there, so Eric set off for more photos and I picked up a wooden spoon and some spicy pisto paste at one of the local shops. There was a large selection of laces, wine and various touristy stuff everywhere. The prices seemed pretty fair, so it might be a good place to go if you need to bring home lots of souvenirs for friends and family.
Our last stop before heading back into the city was Bar Centrum, a small wine bar just off the main square. It was small and empty when we went in but the waiter was very friendly and based on our tastes, he suggested what wound up being our two favorite wines of the trip. I got a rose and Eric had a sauvignon blanc, both from Apatsagi. The sauvignon blanc had a light gold color and nice acidity with grass and black pepper on the nose. The rose was very clean, low alcohol scent, creamy and fruity, lovely. We found both of these wines when we returned to the city and bought a bottle each to take home.
I definitely recommend Szentendre as a relaxing day trip to get out of the bustle of Budapest for a few hours. Plus, at about $3 round-trip, it’s also very affordable.