Szentendre is a charming little town on the Danube River in Hungary, about 19 kilometres from Budapest.
The town has centuries long Serbian past, Serbs settled here after the Turkish Occupation in the late 17th century. Szentendre became the religious, cultural and political centre of the Serbs in Hungary. Nowadays the connection with the Serb culture has disappeared, it is better known being the centre for artists and small galleries.
We visited the city by suburban train (HEV) from the Batthyany Square. The train leaves every 20 minutes and it didn’t take more than 45 minutes to get there. This is the easiest and fastest way, but not only by this suburban train can you go there. You can go by bus from Ujpest, busses leave every 20-30 minutes or by boat from Vigado or Batthyany Square every day regular ships go there (in the Winter not every day) or by car / bike.
The most famous sight of Szentendre is the Open-Air Museum (Skanzen), but it is not in Szentendre’s centre, you can go there by bus from the HEV station. It is filled with traditional buildings from all parts of the country: Farm houses, barns and typical houses from the countryside, here you can get to know Hungarian folk arts.
We didn’t go there, we rather spent some hours discovering the Old town.
The Main Street (Fő tér) is about 10 minutes walk from the HEV Station, the huge column with a cross on it can’t be missed.
The cobbled streets full of restaurants, cafeterias and shops give a certain charm to the city. On foot everything is reachable, we spent there hours just by walking.
We took a stroll along the streets and accidentally found a small train going up to the hill overlooking the town. From above the view is lovely over the small churches and the Danube.
There are many beautiful churches, most of them are Orthodox ones.
Szamos Marzipan Museum was one of my favourite museums, not only because I love marzipan. We entered the Museum and the first thing we saw was a small room, where the marzipan figures are made, through the window you can take pictures of how they form these tiny figures (bunny, fox, cat, dog, bear…etc).
On the first floor you can find the masterpieces of the museum: portraits of famous people, cartoon scenes, a huge parliament building….etc.
Just for you to know that the founder Mathias Szamos learnt from a Danish confectioner in the 1930s how to make marzipan. He became world famous. Now the Szamos Marzipan is a real Hungarikum, like the Palinka, Unicum or the Herend porcelain etc…
Of course I don’t have to mention that there is a marcipan store in the same building with Marzipan Museum. Yummy…
Many artists were working here in Szentendre the past decades. There are a lot of Museums and Galleries, the Ferenczy Museum or the Kovacs Margit Museum (she was a famous sculptor and made beautiful ceramics) just to mention some.
Ah and let’s not forget the Christmas Museum, with hundreds of Christmas decorations. I saw here some original glass decorations from the 1920s-1030s, they were amazing. The shop is very expensive by the way.
The Danube Corso is not far from the centre, it is really romantic to walk there, you can bump into freshly married couples taking pictures in wedding costumes.
There are a lot of restaurants, mostly fresh fish and traditional Hungarian dishes you can have here, but there are also some Serbian restaurants.
Even some Serbian folk dance performance you can catch there any time, like we did 🙂
Sitting there on a bench on the promenade, enjoying the sun and watching the Danube was a good end for our day. We went back to Budapest by ship, we enjoyed it very much looking at the weekend houses built at the Danube bend.
More information on Szentendre (history, sights, artists) you can get eg. on Wikipedia Szentendre