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Greater Budapest for Seniors - 5 days


Szentendre
Greater Budapest
How long it takes?
5 days
Best vehicle choice for this plan:
bus
car
public transport
This region is famous for:
Museums and exhibitions
Castles, Forts, Palaces
Culture and monuments
Greater Budapest
Seniors
Day 1
Five days and a sea of experiences await if you set off and explore Gödöllő and Székesfehérvár, as well as the area of Lake Velence and Oroszlány. Historical city tours and easy hiking—you shouldn’t miss either.
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. Only 10 km from Gödöllő, in the picturesque Domony Valley you can round off the day at the Lázár Equestrian Park, with its unadulterated Hungarian village atmosphere, equestrian traditions and delicious Hungarian food.

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. Velence and its surroundings are a real sporting paradise; if you can, 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
What is an English-style castle doing in Martonvásár?

And what has it got to do with Beethoven? For an answer to all those questions, visit stunning Brunszvik Castle. Here's a little taster for the curious. Construction of the English Neo-Gothic-style, snow-white castle began in 1785. The estate fell into the hands of the famous Brunszvik family only in the early 1800s, and they continued to shape it, bit by bit, over the centuries. 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 let’s return to Beethoven, who, al though he did not like to teach, made an exception with Teresa and Josephine Brunszvik. The world-famous composer visited Martonvásár several times, as he developed a friendship with the family through teaching. The castle commemorates this special story by housing the Beethoven exhibition, where, among other things, you can take a look at the composer’s piano and correspondence with Josephine. After wandering around the castle and the park, 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
Military history and wellness

After a hearty breakfast, it’s time to set off on the fourth day of your tour. If we say Pákozd, what comes to mind? In fact, Pákozd 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. To conclude the tour, head for the area’s main spa and adventure bath. The Agárd Spa and Thermal Bath awaits those wishing to relax in a wonderful natural environment. The 58-degree healing water, which wells up from a depth of 1,000 metres, is excellent for the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, rheumatic complaints, abrasions and gynaecological problems. In addition to the outdoor and indoor pools, there is also a quiet sauna world, where a Finnish sauna, an infrared sauna, a steam cabin, and a plunge pool ensure some well-deserved R&R after the toils of the past few days.

Day 5
Home of trees reaching up to the skies and silent monks

There is nothing better than greeting the sun with a walk among sky-high trees. If you agree, start the last day of your tour at the Alcsút Arboretum, located 40 km from the capital, between Tata and Székesfehérvár. The palace of Archduke József used to stand in the area, but only the facade and the castle chapel remain intact. Not to worry though: the wonderful English park is still beautiful. The 40-hectare area is home to plant rarities such as Japanese acacia, swamp cypress or 170-year-old Lebanese cedar. The arboretum also organises various events and activities each season. In the spring, admire the gigantic snowdrop fields, while the firefly dance dazzles visitors on midsummer night in June. To end 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.

Move around like a hungarian