Things to Do in Szentendre
- With lots of museums, galleries, and monuments, Szentendre is a must-visit for art lovers and culture enthusiasts.
- Wear comfortable shoes as there are lots of cobbles to contend with.
- The uneven surfaces and narrow streets can make Szentendre difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.
Szentendre sits on the western flank of the River Danube Bend just north of Budapest, an arty hotspot crammed with brightly painted Baroque houses, Orthodox churches and museums tucked among scores of galleries, craft shops and cafés. Largely constructed in the 18th century by Serbian refugees, the heart of the town is found in the cobbled, triangular Main Square (Széchenyi Tér or Fo Tér), which is dominated by an elaborate memorial cross erected by the Serbian Trade Association in thanks for being spared an epidemic in 1763. Today surrounded by delicate wrought-iron railings, the cross is inscribed with the dates of its renovations across three centuries. Also standing on the square is the Baroque Serbian Orthodox Church, constructed in 1752 and topped with a bronze spire, along with the pastel-hued town houses of Serbian merchants. In summer music and drama festivals take place in the square, in winter a bustling Christmas market takes pride of place. The souvenir stores in the labyrinthine winding lanes leading off the Main Square all have colorful displays spilling out into the streets; this is the spot to load up with pálinka (Hungarian fruit brandy) and hand-embroidered linen tablecloths.
The cute town of Szentendre stands on the west bank of the River Danube Bend around 14 miles (22 km) north of Budapest, a pretty enclave of cheerily painted Baroque houses and Serbian Orthodox churches scattered among galleries, museums and clusters of cafés. Its proximity to Budapest makes it one of the most popular day trips out from the city.
Prominent among the attractions of Szentendre is the nostalgia-inspired Retro Design Center, which flies time travellers back to the 1970s with an in-depth study of lifestyles in Hungary’s Communist era. Here a massive collection of Soviet-style household implements—from toys to televisions and clumsy tape recorders—is displayed in endearingly cluttered surroundings. Several themed set pieces include a flower-power hippy complete with fluorescent platform boots in a room largely decorated in orange; another shows cheery glassware, ceramics and cooking utensils laid out in a basic kitchen.
The standout exhibits have to be the rows of basic, box-like cars, including the brightly colored Trabants so reminiscent of Eastern Europe under Soviet rule. Star turns a bright blue Dormobile covered in hippy-style flower stickers and a startlingly pink cabriolet.
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