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Greater Budapest for Explorers - 5 days

Greater Budapest
How long it takes?
5 days
Best vehicle choice for this plan:
public transport
This region is famous for:
Museums and exhibitions
Castles, Forts, Palaces
Culture and monuments
Natural values
Greater Budapest
day 1
Gödöllő, Székesfehérvár, Lake Velence and Oroszlány await with fabulous palaces, buildings and wonderful natural treasures. For history and culture buffs, we offer a wonderful four-day tour, during which they will, of course, have time to relax as well. Attractions and wonderful landscapes await all adventurers within 50 km of the capital.

Grassalkovich Palace and the land of horses

The city of Gödöllő, just 30 km from Budapest, is home to Hungary’s largest Baroque palace. Antal I. Grassalkovich started constructing the palace in the 18th century. After the family died out, the building had several owners, until the Hungarian State gave it to Franz Joseph I and Queen Elisabeth as a coronation gift in 1867. Later, during World War II, Miklós Horthy and his family resided here. Their memory is preserved in the Horthy bunker 10 metres underground, which is open to visitors. The legendary songs of Katalin Karády are played in addition to authentic news broadcasts. The palace hosts several permanent exhibitions. Follow in the footsteps of the Sissi cult at the exhibition on the life of Queen Elisabeth, then find out who and what the building housed during the stormy period of the 20th century. The palace has many attractions not only inside the walls, but also outside. The Királydomb Pavilion stands in the fabulous park, displaying 54 oil paintings depicting warlords from the time of the conquest, and Hungarian kings.

Village yard and pálinka with fruit pieces

How about an equestrian show crowned with a shot of pálinka (Hungarian fruit brandy) and a delicious Hungarian meal at the end of the day? In the picturesque Domony Valley, only 12 km from Gödöllő, you can enjoy real village life at the nine-hectare Lázár Equestrian Park. Take a look at the Hungarian village courtyard and the World Champions’ Hall, where you can get an insight into modern Hungarian equestrian sports through the relics of the carriage driver Vilmos Lázár and his brother. Ride through the forests of the area in a horse-drawn carriage or just relish the sight of majestic animals.

day 2

The city of kings

Next day, continue your tour with renewed vigour – don't stop until you reach Székesfehérvár! The centre of Székesfehérvár, considered one of the most important towns in the country in terms of both history and tourism, is worth a long walk, since practically every building is home to a museum or a cosy restaurant or café. Art Nouveau and eclecticism can also be discovered here and there in the mostly Baroque town – undoubtedly this diverse mixture of styles makes Székesfehérvár even more exciting. Visit the buildings of the Hungarian Royal Hotel, the Vörösmarty Theatre and Saint Stephen's Basilica, and if you’d like to immerse yourself even more in the town's rich historical heritage, visit the exhibition grounds of the King Saint Stephen Museum. The second-largest museum in the country, with a collection of millions of works of art, awaits you in several locations and with a number of permanent exhibitions. This grandiose exhibition unites materials and intellectual heritage from a total of four disciplines—archaeology, ethnography, fine arts and applied arts. Take a peek into the medieval ruin garden, the Old County Hall or the Csók István Gallery, but don't miss the Palotaváros Open-Air Museum, which also promises unforgettable experiences. And if you’re curious to learn about the scientific past of herbology, the Fekete Sas (Black Eagle) Pharmacy Museum is the place to be. Follow up with a pleasant lunch within the historical walls of the town centre. In the afternoon, head to the Öreghegy part of Székesfehérvár, where something extraordinary is hidden among the completely ordinary buildings. Bory Castle is the masterpiece of the sculptor and university professor Jenő Bory, and we mean that literally. Over 40 summers, the artist built this overwhelming work with his own two hands. It is a sculptural masterpiece in itself, as well as a symbol of conjugal love. Today, the building is open to visitors as a museum, and in addition to the picture and sculpture exhibition, it’s worth exploring thoroughly—the spiral staircases and hidden paths truly exude a romantic atmosphere.

Hiking and sports activities

Since you’re already in Székesfehérvár, don’t miss the Visitor Centre for the Sóstó Nature Reserve. You can work off your lunch in a fantastic setting on a seven-kilometre educational trail, and even find two birdwatching stations on the 200-hectare site. Only a 20-minute drive from here is Hungary's third largest lake, Lake Velence, which makes a worthy ending to the day. In summer, take a dip in the lake, as it will not only cool you off, but its water, rich in sodium and magnesium, even has a healing effect. You don’t have to give up the joys of the lake at other times of year either. Lake Velence and its surroundings are a real sporting paradise – rent a bike and ride around the lake. The 33 km cycle path not only lets you admire the rich bird life and fauna of the lake, but the coastal towns also hold some thrills. If you are looking for something more peaceful instead of active recreation, you can explore the lake and the surrounding towns by boat from the renovated harbour.

day 3

Something old, something new

The construction of the English neo-Gothic-style, snow-white Brunszvik Castle began in 1785, but it was not until the early 1800s that the estate fell into the hands of the famous Brunswick family. They then shaped it little by little over the centuries, until it took on the form that we see today. At the end of the century, ownership of this unusual building fell to the brewer Antal Dreher, and it was turned into a military hospital during World War II. It is currently under the control of the Academy of Sciences. The most magnificent element of the castle is the 70-hectare English garden, where special trees such as dwarf almonds, cedar and swamp cypress were planted by its creator, Ferenc Brunszvik. The special feature of the park is that the water of the St Ladislaus stream flowing through it was dammed and an island was created. But this is also the site of the Agroverzum Centre of Science and Fun, where you can get acquainted with the latest research in agricultural and natural sciences with ease. The 650-square-metre exhibition is complemented by a science lab and thematic sessions. After historical and scientific exploration, we invite you for a little hike in nature.

Relax with a glass of white wine

As the final act of your trip, taste some premium wine only 25 km north of Martonvásár, on the slopes of the Etyek wine district. As in several parts of the region, white wine is prevalent here, with the best-known wineries being the Nyakas, Etyeki Kúria or Haraszthy wine cellars, but the wine needed for the Törley sparkling wine is also produced in this area. Witness the meeting of tradition with modern architecture, enjoy a taste of some of the best wines on the terraces of European-standard wineries, and then admire the sun setting over the vines.

day 4

Soldiers and castles

After a stretch and a hearty breakfast, it’s time to set off for the fourth day of your tour. If we say Pákozd, what comes to mind? In fact, this was the site of the first battle in the 1848-49 War of Independence, where the Hungarians successfully stopped the enemy. The Military Memorial Park was established in 2010 to commemorate the event, with the aim of presenting decades of military history. On the 1.6-hectare area, you can peek into WWI officers’ barracks, hide in WWII trenches, and find yourself facing a real T-55 tank at the 1956 memorial point. The Don Bend Memorial Chapel, 500 metres from the park, is also a part of the exhibition not to be missed. If you’d like a drink or to sip a cup of coffee, get refreshments at the cafe and its terrace. If you’ve covered all the points of the partly outdoor and partly covered exhibition, head for Dinnyés, 10 km on the other side of the M7 motorway. Spot a Guinness World Record holder at this tiny town on Lake Velence. The Castle Park and Open-air Ethnographic Museum are the work of Zoltán Alekszi, who brought his childhood dream to life in the area. At the imposing open-air exhibition, you can admire the models of historical Hungarian castles that only exist as ruins today. A special feature of the exhibition is that the 35 castles stand in the area according to their original geographical location and, like the original structures, they are made of stone, wood, brick, cane and mud. In addition to the exhibition, there is also an Árpád-era village museum. The open-air museum’s most unique attraction is the 11th century wooden church, while the village is also home to craftsmen and a good number of domestic animals.

Nature is the best prescription

How about a hike as the closing act to your excursion? The Bird Song Educational Trail, located in Dinnyés and consisting of three sections and a total length of 15 kilometres, awaits visitors with a special tour. It offers opportunities to meet special birds, reed warblers, egrets and great bitterns, but indigenous domestic animals such as grey cattle and racka sheep will also accompany you along the way. And if all you want is to stretch your limbs in the water of a spa pool, head to the Agárd Spa and Thermal Bath, whose outdoor and indoor pools and peaceful sauna world guarantee relaxation.

day 5

Monks and an extraterrestrial landscape

As the closing act to your excursion, take a 40-kilometre detour to the Majkpuszta district of Oroszlány, where a historical building complex awaits you among the trees. The Majk Monastery and Monument Complex was home to the Camaldolese monks who once lived in Hungary. The grounds of the complex feature a monks' house, a church and a main building, which are unfortunately in a rather dilapidated state today, but still worth a visit. There is now a museum in one of the quarters, where you can see how the monks, once famous for their vow of silence, lived. The courtyard also serves as a concert venue in the summer. Just 25 kilometres south of Oroszlány, you’ll encounter a sight that you certainly wouldn’t expect. Walking among the red rocks at the Bauxite Geological Park in Gánt and the Balás Jenő Bauxite Mining Exhibition will make you feel as thought you aren’t even walking on Earth, and the park is rare and unique even by European standards. The museum was built on the edge of the mine pit, where you can see classic mining tools and old photographs, but there are also two bauxite locomotives in the museum’s yard.

Move around like a Hungarian