In my short three days trip to Hungary, I chose one day to step out of the glitz of Budapest. As this was a last minute planned trip, I couldn’t do much of my usual research on where to go. So I browsed and chose a small group tour via Viator for a day, Danube Bend which would take me to few towns on the banks of the River Danube. So here started my Day 2 in Hungary.
A small matador picked me and few other travelers from the Chain Bridge in Budapest. As I introduced myself to the group of people from Japan, Spain, Argentina and Belgium, I found that other than the guide only I could speak English fluently. Amusing!
What is Danube Bend?
Danube is the lifeline river which flows from Slovakia into Hungary(Magyarorszag). The Danube Bend is a curve where Danube bends near the town of Visegrad to flow into Budapest. This map below which I clicked explains it all.
The blue line is the depiction of River Danube’s route with a clear bend which is the theme of this tour
Our guide was a Hungarian-Spanish who was explaining in both English and Spanish. After a short 45 min drive from Budapest, we were on a bridge and voila, he announced we are in Slovakia. Were we being abducted?? Hell no! Slovakia and Hungary share borders alongside Danube. As a small treat for us, we had our first stop-over in Slovakia; so well we can technically say we have visited Slovakia though for a short 20 minutes.
After grabbing a quick bite, we headed back to Hungary to explore our first town.
Esztergom is one of the oldest towns of Hungary and former capital city. It is the seat of the Catholic Church in Hungary. It proudly houses the Esztergom Basilica, the largest in Hungary and third largest church in Europe.
After a short tour of inside the Basilica, we explored its backyard which gave way to some stunning views of Slovakia from where we had come across to Esztergom
There is this huge statue of the coronation of St Stephen which is equally massive.
That was Estergom known for its Basilica and Catholic faith. The Basilica appears on currency notes of Hungary as well. We started back on our journey in the company of Danube to the next town.
A quaint town on the right Bank of Danube. Famous for the remains of Royal Palace of King Charles I.
It is more significant as near this town is where the Danube bends. We stopped at a viewing point from where we could see the famous curve of the Danube as it bends and makes it way into Budapest.
After our lunch we headed to our last destination. A short ride and I took a nap behind my sunglasses and woke up when our matador halted.
Finally we came to a town which looked very touristy. Szentendre is a charming town on banks of Danube close to Budapest. It has every element of a quaint European town. Cobbled streets, quaint interesting antique shops, baroque churches and a small town square.
We were given one and a half hour to explore the town. Its just one long cobbled street with many narrow offshoot streets. I spent most of my time stepping inside each shop. What I bought? Well the most well known Hungarian Paprika for my sister and some wooden Hungarian dolls. And since it was horribly hot and sultry, in the short time, I gobbled two large ice creams. Happy me!
Aching heels and a sweaty t-shirt, I was exhausted walking around. And it was time for us to head back. Interestingly our journey back to Budapest was not in our rustic Matador but in a big boat. Our guide met us and bid goodbye handing the boat tickets to us.
A beautiful day was coming to an end. It was almost an hour journey cruising through the beautiful Danube and taking last morsels of its enchanting sights. I would remember this peaceful cruise back as I sat and thanked my stars above for these lovely blessings.