Picturesque and charming Szentendre Hungary lies on a branch of the Danube River along one of its most beautiful stretches. This is where the great river changes course, creating the Danube Bend, a triangle anchored by the equally charming Esztergom to the north and the great Imperial city of Budapest to the south. A great deal of Hungary’s eight centuries of history and culture is centered in the region around this town that was founded in the fourteenth century by Serbian refugees fleeing the Turkish advance. The town later played an integral part of the Hungarian Renaissance. Easy day trips to Szentendre can be made from the capital city of Budapest, which is only twelve miles away.
What prompts trips to Szentendre as much as anything is the town’s air of being frozen in time. It’s a perfectly preserved eighteenth-century town embellished by neat, brightly-colored houses with tidy window boxes, beautiful Baroque churches, and quaint cobblestone streets all surrounded by lush countryside. The town’s main square, Marx tér, with its central rococo cross monument, is completely cobbled and the ensemble of buildings that encircle it comprise a national historic monument. In this area are some of the town’s best dining venues and many shops. This makes Szentendre Hungary as popular as the main sites of Budapest for experiencing Hungarian cuisine as well as shopping and culture. You can even visit the delightful Marzipan Museum to see perfect reproductions of some of Hungary’s greatest monuments, busts of Hungarian leaders, and legends all made completely from the candy confection of marzipan.
Szentendre tourism is enhanced by its Open Air Museum displaying the folklore, architecture, and culture of the region. Typical thatched and white-washed houses, farm buildings, and mills from the countryside and an eighteenth-century timbered church were brought together so authentically that it is often used for historical films and theatrical presentations. There is Hungarian wine tasting in the summer. Scores of restaurants offer wonderful dining experiences and opportunities to savor great Hungarian cuisine.
Another draw for holidays in Szentendre is its heritage as an artist colony. Artists from Budapest and all over Europe began flocking here beginning in 1900, just as the great Impressionists flocked to southern and northern France, drawn to the exceptional light and beauty of the area. Szentendre tourism hasn’t stopped since, and visiting the charming town is one the things to do if you’re visiting Hungary. Today there are many artistic attractions in Szentendre including an abundance of museums. There’s a museum dedicated to famous Hungarian artist, Jenõ Barcsay, and another to the world-renowned ceramicist Margit Kovács. Other art museums display the works of past masters as well as many of the 700 or so contemporary artists who still make this area home. There is an array of art galleries, exhibitions, crafts stalls, and souvenir shops. There are cafés, fine dining restaurants, and Bohemian bistros.
Szentendre Hungary has always been a crossroads of culture as evidenced by its seven churches including Serbian, Greek Orthodox, and Catholic. While Budapest has its Great Synagogue that also houses a museum, Szentendre boasts the world’s smallest operating synagogue, which is also a museum. The town has a strategically advantageous location at the bend of the Danube and the foot of the Pilis Mountains, and proximity to the mountains makes the town a good start for hiking and excursions into the countryside.
Most everyone makes trips to Szentendre whether they are just visiting Budapest or enjoying Danube River cruises in Hungary and neighboring countries, and Szentendre tourism figures in as a component of most river cruises and vacation packages in the country.