Travel Notes: Three towns in Hungary in five hours

Hungary is a beautiful country. Along the Danube River, the vistas and little villages are very picturesque. Perfect for photography. Unless …

Ships, buses and walking tours, oh my.

None of these are ideal for photography. We’ve all been there, though I’m guessing. You have to make the best of it. There are plenty of ways you can prepare.

Three towns in Hungary in five hours

From our dock in Budapest where we spent the night, we boarded a bus and headed out. Typically, I’ll try to take photos from the bus, but this day I decided to enjoy the ride and the views. I mean, most images while moving and through bus windows don’t turn out well anyway.

First stop: Szentendre

From the Offbeat Budapest site: “Szentendre is a scenic town on the Danube’s bank, about 40-minutes from Budapest, best known for its Mediterranean vibes, Baroque architecture, history of Serbian residents, Hungarian folklore stores, and extensive art scene, both old and modern.”

We had not quite one hour here on our own. It is a bit touristy as you would expect, but you can find much to photograph that will keep you away from the gift shops. As usual, I was drawn toward the textures and colors I found. Little scenes and how compositions just kind of presented themselves.

Once you wander a bit you’ll be able to get a feel for a place. It really doesn’t take long to see the colors and textures in most European cities. Those details and some of the overall scenes are what I chose to capture to tell the photographic story of Szentendre from my perspective.

Next up: Visegrad

“Visegrad” in Slavic means high castle. There is a 15th-century castle here, our only stop. It was built by King Mathias and mostly destroyed by the Turks. It sits high on a bank at a bend on the Danube River.

We didn’t have much more than a half-hour here and the climb up was not so fun in the 90 F+ heat. I ended up not really photographing much here. It was great to see the Danube from that far up on the bank.

One thing I’ve learned while traveling is that while you may not ever be back to a location, it’s not worth your health. Heat exhaustion and overdoing it can very easily happen when you are on vacation. I just won’t push myself to that point anymore.

You can find out more about it and see a few more images at

Last town of the day: Esztergom

In Esztergom, we visited the Basilica and spent not quite an hour there, most of which was a guided tour. The basilica is the largest in Hungary. Another beautiful location overlooking the Danube. There happened to be a service in progress at the time we were there so I was unable to get any photos inside.

Fortunately, in order to meet our bus back to the ship, we had to cross the river. This meant being able to grab a few images from a different location. It also allowed me to capture the entire basilica up on the bank as you can see in the header image.

Tips for these types of excursions

  • Be patient
  • Know that you don’t have much time
  • Prepare in advance for any photos you know you want to get
  • Be aware of the others around you
  • Let yourself be a tourist

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