An excellent choice to spend a day out of Budapest discovering with Cityrama the three most beautiful cities on the Danube shore.
We took the road to visit Esztergom, Visegrád y Szentendre, it sounds as the front of the Hungarian football team but it´s not, these are the cities of the Danube Bend Tour, an essential tour to appreciate the Hungarian nature and architecture and to admire one of the most beautiful rivers of our planet: the Danube.
We met Blas right on time. He was our guide and driver from Cityrama. Always smiling and with great sense of humor, this picaresque Hungarian made us laugh with the funniest jokes. We shared this tour with a Spanish married couple. He was a Coke fan who collected Coke cans from different countries, so when we made a stop in Slovakia, he insisted to go to a supermarket to buy a new can for his collection. She, a very patient and in-love wife. Very careful with his new museum piece, we weren´t allowed to touch it, so he held it when we wanted to look at it. Blas suggested we had to try Kofola, the Czech competition for the Coke, but tasting it is for braves only. Obviously, we didn´t.
After a 50km trip, we got to Esztergom, surrounded by hills, it was the first city of the tour. Esztergom is located at the Danube shore, on the border with Slovakia. It has a little less than 30 thousand inhabitants, and it was the first capital of Hungary. There, Stephan I was crowned on the year 1000.
Esztergom has the biggest Hungarian cathedral, with a 118 meters lengh, 48 meters wide and a dome of 33 meters diameter. Inside there is József Mindszenty´s grave, the cardinal was cover of the Time´s Magazine in february 1949 and symbol of the resistance against Socialist and National Socialist regimes. Once out of the cathedral we crossed the river to Slovakia to see the amazing view of the Basilica and by the way we could make a super short visit to another country.
Next, we arrived to Visegrad, a small town. It´s really small since it has a 33km2 surface. It was the summer residence of the Hungarian Kings on the XIV century and famous because of the fortress located on a high hill from which you can see both banks of the Danube. Visegrad also had a very important role in the defence of Hungary and in the course of the history. On the fourteenth century, it was here the where the kings of the Kingdoms of Hungary, Poland and Bohemia met to deal with the Habsburg dynasty.
We got to Siraly Hotel to do a technical stop for lunch. We ordered goulash and risotto. After the first bite of goulash I stared to my brother Rodrigo, we would understand me. We can´t cope with spicy food. There wasn´t enough water to turn off that fire.
After lunch, we went up hill for a panoramic view. Visegard also holds the rest of Matthias Corvinus´ palace.
Always with the Danube as main character of this play, we arrived to the baroque and bohemian Szentendre, built on medieval foundations, its called the Artist´s Village or Paintors Town. After Blas´s brief explanation and with enought time to have some coffee, we could wander around the old town, walking down the narrow streets. In the main square, there is a beautiful baroque cross erected on 1763 by Serbs traders to thank God for having protected them from the plague.
Now you know, I you go to Budapest, add one more day to your itinerary to make this eight hours tour along the Danube Bend.