Insider’s Guide: Szentendre, Budapest’s Favourite Getaway

  • 25 Aug 2023 9:00 AM
Insider’s Guide:  Szentendre, Budapest’s Favourite Getaway
A pretty, cobbled, Danubian enclave of Serbian churches and galleries, famous as a picturesque riverside town of painters, Szentendre is many expats getaway of choice for a quick trip away from Budapest.

It’s partly the cultural attractions, it’s partly the riverside walk, but it’s also the journey up there that many find so appealing, by boat from Vigadó tér or a smooth cycle all the way from Buda.

There’s also a regular HÉV train from Batthyány tér, journey time 40 minutes. Of all the regular openings and events, the biggest of the year starts on Friday, 25 August, the weekend-only Szentendre Day and Night Festival, with live music outdoors, and courtyards and cellars open to the public.

Szentendre Main Square

Why go to Szentendre?

There’s far more to Szentendre than just the boat journey up there. You should definitely explore the Serbian churches, most notably Blagovestenska on the main square, which may be closed, and St Peter and Paul Church at Kucsera Ferenc utca 2, both with beautiful interiors. Behind Blagovestenska, the Serbian Church Museum is worth a visit.

Ferenczy Museum

Galleries include the Margit Kovács Ceramics Museum, a showcase of items by one of Hungary’s finest exponents of the art, and the Ferenczy Museum on the main street.

These form part of a network of cultural institutions where you can peruse impressionist paintings, contemporary photography and modern art at the Ferenczy Museum itself, in the former Pajor mansion. For full details, see here.

Amos Imre - Anna Margit Museum

Where should I eat and drink in Szentendre?

The riverside is lined with terrace restaurants, with classic Serbian dishes served in the homely Corner restaurant overlooking Szentendre jetty where Budapest boats come in.

At the opposite end of the Danube embankment, Kacsakő is a lovely riverside spot, slightly bohemian in feel, serving grilled favourites and staging live music.

In town, the Adria Café relaxes in a leafy location by a pretty stream and bridge leading into the main street. Greek and Balkan standards dominate the menu.

Adria Café

For coffee and cakes, Szamos on the main street is known for its marzipan and irresistible confectionery, its figurines making cute gifts. If you’re willing to trek up Bartók Béla utca, the Dalmát Szamár Bistro is well worth it, particularly if there’s a table free outside (or reserve one ahead of time, +36 26 369 397).
Dalmát Szamár Bistro

The kitchen is Med-Balkan-Magyar, the cocktails zing and the staff are lovely. And you can walk off your dinner by turning the corner to the Serbian Tanners’ Cross, which overlooks the rooftops and the Danube beyond.

What else should I do in Szentendre?

Back near the Danube, the Retro Design Centre at Rév utca 4 is a fascinating collection of Socialist-era signage, vehicles, furniture and general curios – a short walk from the jetty, it’s always a popular stop.

Check the schedule as not all films are English-friendly, but the P’Art Mozi near the Kacsakő is real Cinema Paradiso stuff, whose future is ever in jeopardy. Use or lose it, as they say, and it would be tragedy not to be able to enjoy a quiet drink in the café then settle down in one of its large velvety chairs to see a movie as it was made to be seen.

Retro Design Center

When should I go to Szentendre?

Usually the question is, when should I not go to Szentendre, as Sundays tend to see the place packed out. 

Words by Peterjon Cresswell for
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website

Photos: courtesy of

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