15+ Best Weekend Trips From Budapest, Hungary
Best weekend trips from Budapest, Hungary. We list fun and exciting cities you can easily get to by car, bus, or train.
Best Weekend Trips From Budapest
Budapest is a big city with lots of things to do. However, there are also a lot of other great cities surrounding it. If you’d like to venture out for a bit, we’ve got you covered. With the help of some of our blogger friends, we’ve put together this list of the best weekend trips from Budapest. You can get to all of the cities easily and quickly which means you can spend the majority of your time exploring.
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By Paul of Paulmarina
Eisenstadt is a small city in Austria close to the Hungarian border. It’s the capital and administrative city of Burgenland, a region that was added to Austria only after WW1.
The easiest way to get there is by car. It takes only 2 1/2 hours, and the roads are smooth. Traveling from Budapest to Eisenstadt by train is a bit more complicated. Trains have to be changed at least 3 times to get there, but it takes in total only 3 1/2 hours.
The city is mainly known for the Esterházy palace, a lavish baroque palace, owned by the famous Austro-Hungarian Esterhazy family. The grande palace with vast gardens is located right at the center of the old town, so visitors can see the palace and the historical center in one afternoon. The palace was also home to the classic composer Joseph Haydn. He and his wife lived in the compounds of the palace, as he was the personal Kapellenmeister of the influential Esterházy family.
The Haydn hall is a marvel in itself, not only because of its fresco and stucco decorations but also because the hall’s acoustics have been perfected. Unique classic music ensemble can be experienced at certain times of the year in Haydn hall.
Get a room at the Hotel Galantha. It has a view of the palace and you can enjoy a fine regional meal just like the princes of Esterházy did in the restaurant Paulgarten.
By Alina of World of Lina
Another one of the best weekend trips from Budapest is Graz, the capital city of the Austrian state of Styria. The fastest and easiest way to get to Graz is by car which takes around four hours. If you prefer to travel by public transport, you can take the train. It takes around 5.5 hours and involves a few transfers.
Once in Graz, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the “Uhrturm.” It is the city’s main sight and one of the most famous landmarks in Austria. It is located on a small hill overlooking the entire city. To get up there, you can either climb a few hundred steep stairs or take the less exhausting way: The cable car called “Schlossbergbahn”.
Another place you need to visit on a weekend in Graz is the Kunsthaus. It’s a modern art museum housing different exhibitions of contemporary artists. Because of its outer-worldly look, locals also call it ‘friendly alien’. Make sure to not miss Schloss Eggenberg. There, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll in the big, lush park surrounding the castle.
If you get hungry, Graz has a lot of restaurants serving typical Austrian but also international cuisine. Some good recommendations are Ginko Greenhouse or Don Camillo.
A good option to stay in Graz is the Hotel Daniel. It is located directly at the main train station and just a 15-minute walk to the city center.
By Lowri of Many Other Roads
With its picturesque streets brimming with culture and history, Vienna makes for the perfect weekend getaway. It’s just a 2 and a half hour drive away from Budapest, so it won’t take up too much of your time.
But if you do not want to rent a car there are plenty of train and bus options that will get you to Vienna in around 3 hours. These are great options for solo and budget travelers!
Once you arrive in Vienna, there’s an endless list of things to explore. Some must-sees are the majestic Schönbrunn Palace, the world-famous Prater amusement park, or the vibrant Naschmarkt.
If you are looking for one of the best places to eat during your trip, try Schnitzelwirt. You cannot visit Vienna without trying its famous Schnitzel and this is the perfect place to do it!
The city is full of great places to stay for all budgets and needs. But the best place to stay for location and comfort is the Leonardo Hotel Vienna.
The capital of Austria is a fantastic getaway from Budapest all year round, just make sure you take some good walking shoes and other Europe travel essentials with you.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or a peaceful escape, Vienna has it all!
By Alice of Adventures of Alice
The thriving capital of Croatia is a great city to explore and there are loads of wonderful things to do in Zagreb. The city can be easily reached from Budapest. The best methods to get there are either by bus or by renting a car.
The bus journey takes around 5 hours and costs between £20 and £50 (depending on the time of day). Renting a car might be slightly more once you factor in fuel. However, it gives you the freedom to drive at your own pace and make stops along the way.
While you’re in Zagreb, visit the historic Upper Town. This area is filled with stunning architecture, including the iconic St. Mark’s Church and Lotrscak Tower. Take a walk through the picturesque cobblestone streets, stop at one of the cafes or restaurants, and enjoy the beautiful views.
Explore the Museum of Broken Relationships. This unique museum showcases various objects and stories of failed relationships, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in off-beat museums. It’s an emotional, thought-provoking experience that you won’t forget.
Take a stroll through the Dolac Market. This vibrant market is located in the heart of Zagreb and is the perfect place to get a taste of local life. Browse through the various stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables, and other local products.
During our time in Zagreb, we stayed at Elenas Rooms and Apartments. This cute apartment was affordable and central, and the host was very friendly. As for food, I highly recommend Sri Lankan Curry Bown. We had a delicious meal here and the atmosphere was great.
Zagreb is definitely worth a weekend trip from Budapest. You’ll see another beautiful European capital and get to explore its unique culture, cuisine, and history.
By Alyse of The Invisible Tourist
If you’re looking for a weekend trip from Budapest that is worth the lengthier drive, look no further than stunning Prague. Hugging both sides of the Vltava River, Prague’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed medieval center is not just photogenic. It also has a rich history to uncover for curious visitors.
During the 11th – 18th centuries, Prague was the leading cultural center of Europe, which is evident in its cobbled streets lined with enchanting architecture from these times. Some of the city’s top attractions to add to your Prague itinerary include the 600-year-old Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, and the impressive Prague Castle.
It’s a very special feeling walking in the footsteps of historical figures from the arts and sciences such as Mozart, Kepler, and Galileo. It’s also possible to avoid crowds by visiting lesser-known neighborhoods such as Novy Svet. Its crooked medieval houses were built centuries ago as residences for Prague Castle staff.
Speaking of architecture, if your trip is for a special occasion why not head to Restaurant Zvonice for a traditional Bohemian meal? Located within one of the city’s Gothic spires a few steps from the Powder Tower, the restaurant is quite unique.
After a long day of sightseeing head back to Hotel Rott. It is centrally located and just a few minutes from the Old Town Square. With views over old terracotta rooftops, it’s hard to beat!
By Linn of Brainy Backpackers
An excellent weekend trip from Budapest is to the underrated city of Miskolc in northern Hungary. At only a couple of hours drive or train ride away from the capital, you will feel like you are a whole world away.
Miskolc is known for its unique cave thermal baths where you can swim through naturally carved caves. The water is around 30°C (86°F), so not the warmest baths you will find in Hungary, but there are a couple of warmer pools and sauna to warm up in.
There are a lot of other things to do in Miskolc as well. Among them is taking the Lillafüred tourist train to the Bükk Mountains. There you can explore incredible caves, rent a boat and paddle across the lake, or discover waterfalls. This is a lovely half-day trip, especially in fall when the mountain is covered in a yellow and orange cape. Other attractions worth visiting are the medieval Diosgyor Castle and the Old Wooden Church.
For a lovely vegan meal, try Süt a Nap Vegán Bisztró, they also have excellent vegan baked goods. A great hotel to stay at is Fiáker Panzió where you will feel like you step back in time.
By Joanna of The World in My Pocket
Szeged makes a perfect relaxing weekend trip from Budapest. The city, located close to the border with Romania, is two hours away by car. Szeged is also well connected to Budapest by train and bus.
The city of Szeged is known around Hungary for two things: the thermal waters, and the home of paprika. It is believed that this is where the famous Hungarian condiment was first created.
Szeged is a lovely city with a beautiful Art Nouveau historical town. It is often referred to as the City of Sunshine because of the high number of sunny days it receives every year.
There are plenty of things to do in Szeged. Start with visiting the impressive Votive Church and climbing the Dömötör Tower in front of it. The Móra Ferenc Museum is the place to go if you want to learn more about the city, or if you want to relax in one of the parks nearby. Close by you will find the intriguing City Hall. It has a tower and a bridge that connects it with the Town House.
If you visit Szeged in summer, don’t miss relaxing on the sandy beach on the shore of the Tisza River. Here you can hire a chair and an umbrella and sunbathe with a view of the church just across the river.
You must try the local Szeged fish stew or the Szeged goulash, which is made differently than anywhere else in Hungary. A good restaurant to eat it at is Régi Híd Vendéglő.
If you want to experience the thermal waters of Szeged and enjoy the massive water park, stay at Hotel Forras. They include treatments in the spa as well as free access to the Aquapolis, for guests.
By Audrey of That Backpacker
If you’re looking for an easy weekend getaway from Budapest, you should consider a trip to Szentendre! This charming town sits on the Danube Bend. It is filled with churches, art galleries, and museums, making it an ideal place to explore on foot.
Some of the attractions I would recommend include the National Wine Museum, located in the Labirintus Restaurant’s cellar. They offer wine tastings and the wine to try when in Hungary is the Egri Bikavér.
The Marzipan Museum is also a lot of fun. In case you’ve never tried marzipan, it is a sweet made from sugar and ground almonds. The museum has all sorts of elaborate sculptures made using nothing but marzipan!
Plus, you can also visit Art Mill. It’s an art gallery set inside an old mill spanning three floors, where you can enjoy everything from paintings and photography to sound installations.
One restaurant we enjoyed was Labirintus. They specialize in traditional Hungarian cuisine and we couldn’t resist trying their goulash. Keep in mind that the classic recipe is more like a soup than a stew.
And if you’re looking for a place to stay, Bükkös Hotel & Spa is a nice option. It’s ideal for a relaxing getaway as it features saunas, steam rooms, and a jacuzzi.
If you visit Szentendre during the summer months, I would recommend taking the train there and the boat back (the boat route is seasonal). The HEV train departs from Batthyány tér and takes 40 minutes. You can then take the boat from Szentendre to Budapest which takes 1 hour downstream. The journey is 2 hours traveling upstream.
By Diana of Travels in Poland
Zakopane is a small town in the heart of the Tatra Mountains in southeastern Poland. It is also one of the best weekend trips from Budapest. Known as the winter capital of Poland, Zakopane offers a wide range of outdoor activities, stunning natural scenery, and a rich cultural heritage that makes it stand out from other European towns.
The town’s unique architecture is a blend of traditional wooden houses and modern buildings, which gives it a charming and distinctive character. One of the main attractions in Zakopane is Krupowki Street, the main shopping and dining area in town. The local cuisine is phenomenal and visitors can shop in local stores for souvenirs, including many local handcrafted items.
Zakopane skiing is some of the best in the world, with the city having hosted multiple international snow events. If you’re going in the winter, absolutely take part in this pastime. If you’re a novice, there are plenty of ski schools in the area. Snowboarding and snowshoeing are also popular winter activities.
During the summer months, hiking and mountain climbing are popular activities. The Tatra Mountains, which are part of the Carpathian range, offer a breathtaking landscape and various hiking trails for both experienced and novice hikers.
To get to Zakopane from Budapest, the best way is to take a private vehicle or tour. The journey takes approximately 5 hours. If staying in southern Poland, it may also be worth visiting Krakow by hopping on one of the many PKP Intercity trains.
Karczma u Fiarka is a fantastic restaurant featuring local cuisine. Their sour rye soup with sausage and potatoes is delicious. For overnight stays, Aries Hotel and Spa in Zakopane is only a 5 minute walk to Krupowki Street making it an ideal location.
By Cris of LooknWalk
Located in Western Romania, Oradea is a lovely city that can be explored on a short weekend trip from Budapest.
The easiest way to get there is by road. Expect the travel time to be around 3.5h by car (excluding the time spent at border control – Romania is not part of Schengen although it’s in the European Union). Buses and trains take about 5.5 hours (including border control).
Without a doubt, the city is an undiscovered gem, despite being one of the largest and most important in Transylvania. It offers romantic baroque architecture from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a well-preserved fortress, plenty of pedestrian streets, lots of cafes, and many clubs to dance the night away. It’s also close to Baile Felix, a well-known thermal spa resort.
Probably one of the most beautiful streets in Transylvania is Calea Republicii. The Art Nouveau buildings lining it are gorgeous and most have been restored to their former glory. You’ll pass by charming cafes, where you can stop for a drink or something sweet.
Or head over to the “Black Eagle” Passage, the main nightlife hub in the city. Well into the night, the music is blasting from the numerous clubs and restaurants.
No trip to Oradea is complete without visiting its Fortress. Home to a lovely history museum, in summer it comes to life during the Medieval Festival. Between battle reenactments, plenty of medieval costumes, and music, you’ll have loads of fun.
Astoria Grand Hotel Oradea is an excellent choice for those who want to be pampered. The elegant 4-star hotel is located in the perfect place. It’s near the Theatre and within a few minutes walk from the “Black Eagle” Passage. Their on-site restaurant, called Astoria Restaurant Video, serves international cuisine and caters to any diet.
By Alex of Just Go Exploring
Often overlooked by visitors who head straight to the castles of Transylvania, Timișoara is a city in western Romania, about 80 kilometers from the Hungarian border.
The city is full of attractive historic buildings, beautiful parks and gardens, elegant churches, art galleries, and many excellent cafes and restaurants. Known as the “City of Flowers” or “Little Vienna”, this is definitely one of the most underrated cities in the region.
Start at Union Square, in the heart of the city center. From here, you can admire the multi-colored buildings that line the square. Stop for a coffee in one of the many outdoor cafes, relax, and take in the calmly buzzing atmosphere.
Then, head over to the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. This stunning church has a really distinctive design and contains a selection of precious artwork, historical artefacts, and an incredible amount of gold.
In the evening, join the locals for a pre-dinner drink in one of the bars along the banks of the Bega River. Unlike in trendy Budapest, there’s a good chance you’ll be the only foreign tourist there.
Timișoara is a 3.5-hour drive from Budapest. The journey is straightforward, although you should budget another 30 minutes or so for border formalities (Romania is in the EU but not the Schengen Zone).
You can also catch the train between the two cities (I did this a few years ago). It takes about 5.5 hours. Trains depart from Budapest-Keleti station and tickets cost about €20 each way.
A great restaurant to try while you’re in town is Sabres. It’s been open since 2006 and they serve authentic Mediterranean cuisine. For your trip, consider staying at the hotel Mercure Timisoara. The hotel has city views, an on-site restaurant, and free parking.
By Jacs of Flashpacking Family
Banská Štiavnica is an ideal destination for a weekend trip from Budapest. Despite being in central Slovakia, it is only a 2-hour drive (150km) from Budapest.
Banská Štiavnica is worth visiting because it is the most beautiful town in Slovakia and because it has a fascinating history. It is the oldest mining town in Slovakia, with mining activity dating back to the 3rd century. More commercial mining started in the 12th century, peaking in the late 18th to mid-19th centuries.
There are lots of things to do in this beautiful town to keep you busy over the weekend. We would recommend taking a walk around town first to get your bearings. Many of the sights and attractions of Banská Štiavnica are within walking distance of the center of town.
Don’t miss the Love Bank. It is the only museum of its kind with a Love Vault where people come to store love messages. The Old Castle and The New Castle occupy prominent positions overlooking the town and are now museums.
If you are visiting on a weekend in the summer, make sure to pack your swimmers and hike up to Tajch Veľká Vodárenská, an artificial reservoir. It is one of many in the Štiavnica Mountains (the area surrounding Banská Štiavnica).
The best place to eat in town is Cantína Tratória. They serve delicious Slovakian food and have tables on the terrace with excellent views. The best hotel in town is The Grand Matej. It is very central and has a rooftop jacuzzi with views over the surrounding hills.
By Stephanie of History Fangirl
After exploring the grandeur of Budapest, a day trip to Bratislava is a great way to dig deeper into the architecture and history of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Once a provincial outpost in greater Hungary, Empress Maria Theresa elevated its status through important building projects. It became, for a time, one of the most important (if not the most important) cities in Hungary.
To come and see the beautiful architecture for yourself, grab a northwest-bound train from Budapest to Bratislava. In just two hours, you will be in Slovakia’s capital. While both cities were located on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain, you can also learn about how the Communist era affected Slovakia, which was part of Czechoslovakia at the time.
During your visit, make sure to go on the city’s original free walking tour with Free Tours Bratislava, check out Michael’s Gate, and visit Bratislava Castle. Make sure to also try out some traditional Slovakian cuisine, like Bryndzové halušky, a sheep’s cheese gnocchi that will warm you right up. You can get a great version at Bratislava Flagship outside of Old Town.
Bratislava is a popular day trip from Budapest, but a Vienna to Bratislava day trip is also common. If you choose to stay a night or two, check into Marrol’s Boutique Hotel.
By Kami of Kami and the Rest of the World
Kosice, the second-largest city in Slovakia and the 2013 European Capital of Culture, is one of the easiest and most interesting weekend trips from Budapest. There are frequent trains between the two cities, departing every 2 hours, and the journey time is around 3,5 hours.
There are plenty of things to do in Kosice that will keep you busy for the whole weekend.
Start your sightseeing in the center, on the pedestrian Hlavna street. There you can find some of the city’s highlights such as the 14th-century St. Elisabeth Cathedral (the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe), the splendid State Theater from 1899 (you can try to see a play here in the evening so you can admire its stunning interior too), or the singing fountain.
Be sure to also visit the East Slovak Museum. There you’ll see the impressive Golden Treasure. The collection of almost 3,000 golden coins and jewelry was found in 1935 during renovations on Hlavna street.
If you are looking for a bit more alternative attractions, Kosice has them too. You can enjoy the great street art scene, stop in the former Tobacco factory (now the cultural center), or visit the former swimming pool that is now used to show contemporary visual art.
Once you are done with all the best Kosice attractions you can try some delicious food in one of the restaurants along Hlavna street. You should visit Hostines. It’s the oldest brewery in Kosice, dating back to the 15th century. There you can try both fresh beer and delicious local food.
In Kosice, you can choose from numerous accommodation options. A great option is Boutique Hotel Slávia, one of the oldest and most beautiful hotels in the city.
By Noel Morata of USA Road Trip Now
A fun and different weekend trip from Budapest would be to see the gorgeous lakeside area of Lake Bled. About a 5-hour drive by car or bus, this is the most direct route to get to the pristine and beautiful lakeside areas of Bled. Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque places in Slovenia that is still natural and wonderful to explore.
To start, take the hiking trail around the perimeter of the lake and enjoy the spectacular views from the different areas you visit along the waterfront trail. Next, hike up to Bled Castle. Do a guided tour of the grounds and find some amazing panoramic views. Also, spend some time wandering around the complex.
Sail or row to the small island located in the middle of the lake called Bled Island. You can rent individual rowboats or take a larger tour on the local boats called pletnas and explore the small church called the assumption of Mary Church which is the highest point on the island.
There are a few good restaurant choices around the lake and one of my favorites is Restavracija Sova Bled. Try their local dishes, especially their delicious Bled Cream cake it is heavenly.
Hotel choices – again there are many places in Bled town worth staying for your weekend retreat. One of my favorite places to stay is the Grand Hotel Toplice. It is a very traditional waterfront hotel with excellent views, rooms, and service.
By Shireen of The Happy Days Travels
From one capital city to another, Ljubljana is an ideal weekend trip from Budapest. You can visit another country just a few hours away by driving or public transport. Ljubljana is located in central Slovenia and this is the perfect weekend away because you can visit Slovenia’s other top destination of Lake Bled as it’s just an hour away from the city.
To get to Ljubljana from Budapest, you can take a 5-hour bus or train. Then to reach the turquoise lake just outside the city, for a hike or a canoe ride, take the 1-hour bus to Bled from Ljubljana for a half-day trip.
The best things to do in Ljubljana include visiting the unique neighborhood of Metelkova, former army barracks, now an autonomous social center for art and music, taking the cable car to reach Ljubljana Castle, checking out all three bridges of the city including the dragon bridge as the dragon is known as the symbol of the city.
For excellent Slovenian food head to restaurants like Gujzina for dishes such as Slovenian pasta called Bleki, Carniolan Sausage called Krajnska Klobasa, and sweet or savoury filled dough called štruklji. Trubarjeva Street is the place to explore for a plethora of delicious international cuisine from Middle Eastern to Italian to Indian. On this street you’ll also find boutique stores, street art and cool bars and cafes.
Final Thoughts On The Best Weekend Trips From Budapest
What do you think of our list of the best weekend trips from Budapest? Although Budapest is a great city, these other cities are also nice to explore for a bit. There is just so much to see in Europe! If you have any other recommendations for cities near Budapest that are worth a visit, let us know in the comments below. 🙂
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