The Danube Bend
The Danube Bend is a huge region from Esztergom, where the Danube River starts bending, all the way down to Vác. The region also includes the Börzsöny Hills north from the Danube, Pilis and Visegrád Hills on the south bank, and the Island of Szentendre.
You can explore the region in several ways, but we admit it's impossible to touch every mentionable destination within a day, so we suggest you to pick two or three programs that meet your needs and plan a trip for a day.
You can take a river cruise from any larger town's port and drift up or down (if you travel north by bus) the Danube and marvel on the picturesque panoramas. All the towns are easily reachable by car and public transport from the capital within about an hour.
The Danube Bend has four great towns, are worth visiting. These are the following in order of distance from Budapest:
Some say it's a baroque treasure box, with its lovely houses, small streets, beautiful Main Square and wonderful promenade on the bank of the Danube. Vác also has mummies, a 250 years old arch, a bell-pavilion able to play 300 melodies, and famous confectionaries. You can start nature tours from Vác to the flood basin trail or the hills of Börzsöny.
More info: tourinformvac.hu
A small town on the southern bank with so many opportunities. Visegrád has ski track in the winter, canopy in the summer and bob for all seasons. Above the nice houses and main street of the town stands the Castle of Visegrád on the top of the hill. The latter offers a wonderful view of the Danube Bend. Nearby the five-story Solomon Tower is among the oldest and most intact Romanesque dwelling towers of Central Europe. The forests around are very popular among both hikers and hunters. Many peaks are waiting for you to explore them.
More info about Visegrad: visegrad.hu
Nagymaros is right on the opposite shore of the Danube. An excellent starting point for nature tours in the Börzsöny, from where you will have a full panorama view to the Danube Bend. From Nagymaros's port you can easily rich any other destinations in the region by boat.
50 km from Budapest lays Esztergom, the seat of the Roman Catholic Primate of Hungary. The Basilica of Esztergom is the largest church in the country with its 100 m height. Rebuilt in the 19th century in classical style, it has the largest altar-piece in the world painted on a single piece of canvas by Michelangelo Grigoletti. The Cathedral Treasury holds the richest collection of Hungarian ecclesiastical treasures. The Romanesque Royal Palace with the royal oratory, the frescoed castle chapel and the rose-window are in the neighbourhood of the Basilica. The Christian Museum is located in the beautiful Primate's Palace. Treasures of medieval Hungarian art and early Renaissance Italian paintings are preserved here.
Basilica visiting information: bazilika-esztergom.hu