Why visit: museums, galleries, Baroque buildings, folk art, picturesque setting
Things to Do and See in Szentendre
Szentendre is just outside of Budapest. Churches, museums, galleries and cafés in Baroque settings symbolize this lovely town. Serbians fleeing from the Turkish occupation settled here in the 17th century in large numbers, giving the city its Mediterranean character, which was preserved to this day. The architecture, cobblestone streets and the city's picturesque location have attracted many artists throughout the years. The best time to visit is during the Szentendre Summer Festival (Szentendrei Nyár), which runs every year from late June to late August. Jazz and folk music, dancing, and theatre performances lure many visitors. There are also several art museums and galleries worth visiting, the most popular are listed below.
Museums & Galleries in Szentendre
Open-Air Ethnographic Museum (Skanzen)
This open-air museum displays traditional Hungarian rural architecture from different regions of the country. Recreated peasant homes from the 18-20th centuries, stone windmills, antique furniture and folk art can be seen. (Sztaravodai út, open Tuesday-Sunday 9 am to 5 pm from April to October and 10 am to 3 pm from November to March)
Margit Kovács Collection
Margit Kovács (1902-1977) was a famous ceramic sculptor well-known throughout Hungary. Her main themes were folk art and religious art, especially Bible stories. She donated the majority of her work, such as statues, pots, plates and plaques, to Szentendre. (Vastagh György utca 1, open 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday-Sunday)
Károly Ferenczy (1862-1917) was a Hungarian Impressionist, one of the leading painters of the famous Nagybánya School of Painting. He studied in Paris, and lived in Szentendre, Munich and Nagybánya. In 1906, he moved to Budapest and became the professor of the College of Fine Arts. His children, Valér Ferenczy (1885-1954), painter, Noémi Ferenczy (1890-1957), tapestry weaver, and Béni Ferenczy (1890-1967), sculptor, were famous representatives of Hungarian art. The museum is a tribute to the Ferenczy family. (Fő tér 6, open 10 am to 6 pm Wednesday-Sunday)
Béla Czóbel Museum
Béla Czóbel (1885-1976) lived in Paris and Szentendre alternately from the 1940s. He belonged to the group of painters following the Post-Impressionist movement. His style reflects the principles of the Nagybánya School of Painting. He met painters of the Fauves group in 1905, and incorporated strong colors in his works. (Templom tér 1, open Tuesday-Sunday 9 am to 5 pm from March 15 to September 30)
This museum is dedicated to the life and work of two outstanding Hungarian confectioners: Mátyás Szamos and Károly Szabó. The exhibition displays the art of marzipan making along with some of their masterpieces, such as a marzipan version of the Parliament building. A gallery of all things marzipan, which can also be a lot of fun for the little ones. (Dumtsa Jenő utca 14, open daily 10 am to 6 pm)
Dobos Chocolate Museum
A sweet exhibit paying tribute to confectioner József Dobos, known for his famous caramel topped, chocolate layered sponge cake, called Dobos torta. The delicacy can be tasted at the museum's café. (Bogdányi utca 2, open Saturday-Sunday 10 am to 6 pm)
Erdész Gallery of Contemporary Art
The gallery features early 20th century Hungarian paintings as well as contemporary paintings, graphics and sculptures. Hosts six exhibitions a year, showcasing the works of classic and contemporary local artists. (Bercsényi utca 4)
Other galleries featuring contemporary art are the Mühely Gallery and the Aktív Art Gallery.
Shopping in Szentendre
Living off its reputation as an artists' colony, the shopping scene in Szentendre may seem somewhat touristy. But Szentendre is not all about folksy souvenirs as there are several unique shops and boutiques offering everything from authentic home accessories and designer clothes to antiques.
Salon de Boheme
A cute boutique with contemporary clothes and accessories for women. (Péter Pál utca 2B)
Blue Land Folklor
Authentic folk art, showcasing works from some 200 different folkloric regions. Tablecloths, home decorations, kitchen accessories, folky Christmas decorations and a large selection of'blue-dye' products, an authentic Hungarian fabric dying technique. (Alkotmány utca)
Communist era pots and pans and miniature models of houses in Szentendre made locally, as well as ceramics. (Fő tér 15)
Palmetta Design Gallery
Located in a Baroque-style cellar, Palmetta Design Gallery sells home decorations, kitchen accessories and clothes by European and Hungarian designers, including Matyodesign. (Bogdányi utca 14)
An art gallery managed by artist Eszter Győry, selling prints, home-made postcards, fridge magnets, rings and medals. (Dumtsa Jenő utca 15)
Anything old and antique around the house, including tiles, sculptures, locks, hinges, buttons and more. (Dózsa György út 10A)
Getting to Szentendre from Budapest: Szentendre lies about 20 minutes north of Budapest. The easiest way to get there is by suburban train (HÉV), which leaves from the Batthány subway station, just beneath street level. Trains run frequently (every 10 to 15 minutes). Tickets can be purchased in the kiosks at the station. Another option is to take a ferry. Ferries leave from Vigadó tér (Pest) and from Batthyány tér (Buda). A fun way to get to Szentendre is by bike, check ot the Szentendre Bike Tour by Budapest Bike Breeze, a local tour company.
In Szentendre, located in a courtyard halfway along a steep and narrow alley leading up to the church on the top of the hill is one of the best lángos vendors in Hungary. How to find it: from the main square locate and face the church on the top of the hill and look for the narrow alley leading up to it. There is a small sign on the wall pointing to the entrance of the alley with ‘Lángos’ written on it.