"Delightful..........." Szentendre by leics
Szentendre Travel Guide: 198 reviews and 583 photos
Yes, I know it is probably the most visited destination within easy reach of Budapest.
And that it caters for those visitors.
And that it has a superb open-air museum just outside the 'town' (really a large village), which I didn't see.........make sure you do.
But I still liked Szentendre.
I wanted to go further still...to Visigrad, to Esztergom...but the mid-to-high 30s heat was enervating, although balm to my grey-and-rainy English soul. The thought of a long hydrofoil or bus trip in the heat just did not appeal.
But an hour or so's cruise on an open-topped boat along the Danube was bearable, so that is what I did. I was pleased to note that many of my fellow passengers were Hungarians, even though it was midweek......perhaps it is a popular place to take the kids/grandkids, out of the city and into the countryside without the hassle of a car?
The boat trip allows you around 5 hours in Szentendre, ample time to explore the place itself and (had it not been so hot) to visit the open-air museum which lies a couple of kilometres out of town.
So I spent the time wandering and exploring, looking for older things and for clues to the past, people-watching from shady spots and observing tour groups arriving (many around 4pm....it must be the last stop for a lot of tours).
In past centuries Szentendre had become home for many Serbian exiles. Forced to flee from a 14th century war, and then from Turkish control in the 17th century, many made their way here (about 6000, apparently). The Serbian church had its centre her.
But things changed,and by the late 19th century numbers had fallen greatly...and now only a few Serbian families remain. But Szentendre's prettiness, and its lovely surrounding landscape, meant it became popular with artists. There are still plenty of artists' studios to be seen.........ceramicists, painters, potters, dyers.
I liked the narrow streets, the worn-stepped alleyways, the strong feeling that once the day visitors had gone the village/town returns to a sleepy community where most people know most other people (and many have done so for decades, if not centuries).
I liked the houses, some of which are fairly old and were built by the Serbian community.
I liked the churches, the strangeness of seeing Orthodox icons and artefacts in Catholic Hungary, the beauty of those icons, the chanting (taped, but atmospheric).
I liked the feeling that the walled hill on which the ancient Catholic church is built..... Templom Ter....with its gnarled old trees, its superb views of the river (on a slow and gentle bend at this point) and of the surrounding hills was almost certainly a hill-fort in prehistoric times. I wonder what evidence would be found if ever there were to be an archaelogical dig there?
O, I just liked Szentendre really.....it's the sort of place I could live in quite happily. Everything you might want, nothing in excess, enough going on not to go mad with boredom but not so much that one is perpetually hassled and harried.
So although it was not my really my intention to spend time in Szentendre..at least, not as much as I actually did.....I am very glad that it turned out that way.
- Pros:Pleasant place, lots of history, river views...
- Cons:Too popular with tour groups, perhaps?
- In a nutshell:Look further than the tour group route...
You can easily get to Szentendre by train from Budapest. But it was so hot I decided to go by excursion boat. Mahart... more travel advice
Some people like to do this, I know. There are shops dotted about all over szentendre, but most of the souvenir shops... more travel advice
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Latest: Aug 7, 2008