When wandering along Szentendre’s curvy cobblestoned lanes that narrowly divide Mediterranean-style clusters of quaint red-roofed homes, visitors commonly feel adrift in time. This picturesque riverfront community just north of Budapest appears essentially unchanged from hundreds of years ago; its Baroque steeples parade heavenward along the hilly town’s tree-jutted skyline while its colourful stone cottages reflect in the Danube below. Szentendre is a culturally captivating destination offering myriad attractions for all ages – discover its many charms with We Love Budapest’s visitor guide.
Szentendre is anything but a hidden gem; day-trippers from Budapest continually flock here in warmer months (and even during winter), so tourist-trap eateries and kitschy souvenir stands are rife along major squares and streets. That said, Szentendre’s genuine cultural attractions vastly outnumber the rip-off joints, and we here at We Love Budapest are happy to highlight some of the town’s finest monumental sights, museums, galleries, shops, restaurants and bars, along with yearly events and travel tips. Furthermore, although Szentendre is ideally sized for a single-day excursion, we recommend some hotels perfect for a romantic getaway.
Major Landmarks, Squares and Streets
Most of Szentendre’s main attractions are clustered along a few central zones near the waterfront, although we absolutely recommend leaving the beaten paths behind to explore the skinny alleyways and hidden parks that await around numerous corners. Nonetheless, these major landmarks, squares and streets are de rigueur destinations for any first-time Szentendre visitor, and are well worth passing through again during repeat trips – for a map featuring all of the sites listed below, click here.
Danube Promenade: Ferryboat passengers arriving at Szentendre are often awestruck by the beauty surrounding this curving riverfront walkway in front of colourful cottages and rising hills topped with ascending church steeples. Numerous benches on this recently refurbished promenade beckon passers-by to slow down and watch the water gently drift by, with the forest of undeveloped Szentendre Island as a gorgeously green backdrop.
Fő tér: Centrepieced by the Baroque-styled Merchant’s Cross erected in 1763, Szentendre’s cobblestoned main square is the bustling heart of this historic town, lined with restaurants, ice-cream shops, museums, and more. Here the Blagoveštenska Orthodox Church towers over everything, while winding streets and alleys stretch out in all directions – head downhill to the riverfront, or hike uphill to find City Hall or Templom tér.
Templom tér: A tiny tunnel from Fő tér (by the Levendula ice-cream shop) leads to a short stairway ascending into this lofty tree-shaded square beside Szentendre’s spotless-white Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Parish Church. The square’s viewpoints provide visitors with fascinating vistas directly over Szentendre’s red-tiled rooftops to the squares and streets below, and beyond to the treetops of Szentendre Island.
Serbian Orthodox Church: The rose-tinted steeple of this imposing church is the centerpiece of Szentendre’s significant Serbian heritage. The church’s tree-shaded exterior bears statuesque portals and stone-carved skulls, while the interior’s icons tower high above the chancel. The nearby Serbian Orthodox Ecclesiastic Art Collection is a two-storey museum full of shining chalices, colourful vestments and ornate candlesticks.
Bükkös Brook: Cutting through Szentendre’s southernmost section, this shallow stream features a paved walkway popular among local parents for evening strolls as their kids frolic by the burbling waters. This rivulet forms an unofficial borderline for the touristy part of town – the bridge connecting Kossuth Lajos utca with Dumtsa Jenő utca (see below) is a busy gateway for HÉV-station arrivals heading to central Szentendre.
Dumtsa Jenő utca: This shop-lined main conduit toward Fő tér buzzes with pedestrian traffic and conversations at pavement cafés. Here the Tourinform Szentendre office near Bükkös Brook bridge provides free multilingual information and maps, while neighbouring businesses include private galleries, restaurants with terrace tables, diversely themed museums, and unique stores offering regionally made gifts and modern artworks.
Bogdányi út: Leading gently downhill from Fő tér towards riverfront Lázár Cár tér (by the ferryboat dock), this rustic lane is also a busy commercial zone. Many stores proffer extremely typical Hungarian keepsakes, but some showrooms have authentically interesting clothing, handicrafts and more. Local painters sometimes set up shop alfresco here, dabbling at canvases while displaying freshly dried artworks for sale.
For more information about the city, shops, churches, museums, restaurants please consult with welovebudapest.com guide.
Pictures and text welovebudapest.com