Culture

Undiscovered Hungary

11-16 or 15-23 September
Hungary

Although there is no coastline to Hungary, it has Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Europe outside Scandinavia, and of course the mighty River Danube which splits Budapest into two (Buda and Pest). It also boasts over 1,300 hot springs, many of which are used for bathing and medicinal purposes.

Join us and explore, not only Hungary’s capital city with its State Opera House, magnificent Parliament buildings, St. Stephens’s Basilica and the Royal Palace, but also beyond this wonderful city. Taste the local foods and drink the local wine. 

In 2018, we split our tour of Hungary into two halves. For first time visitors or for a short break, we offer a shorter introductory visit, followed by a slightly longer tour for those who have already been on one of our tours to Hungary and would like to venture into new areas. The shorter tour will include all the highlights of Budapest and the surrounding Danube Bend area as well as time in the remoter areas of the Great Plains. Our longer expedition will first take us to the north east of Hungary to visit the hill around Miskolc, including narrow-gauge trains, a visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Aggtelek dripstone caves and PTGs first visit to the Tokaj wine region. The second part of this tour will be based in Budapest and include visits to cultural sites including Roman ruins, the traditional country village of Hollókő (another UNESCO World Heritage site) and visits to the former coronation town of Székesfehérvár as well as the splendid palace in Gödöllő, summer residence of the former Empress Sissi.

  • Budapest and Miskolc
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Tokaj wine region
  • Lake Balaton
  • Szentendre “The Pearl of the Danube”

Tour Manager: Ferenc

VINTAGE BUDAPEST

Day 1 Tuesday 11 September On arrival at Budapest Liszt Ferenc international airport we have a road transfer to our hotel in downtown Budapest. Your tour guide will meet you at the hotel in the evening to supply you with information for the following days programmes.

Day 2 Wednesday 12 September (B, D) Time to explore Budapest. A leisurely start in the morning on a chartered heritage tram* will take us around the city centre and provide a direct connection to Hűvösvölgy, terminus of the Children’s Railway. We will take a ride uphill over viaducts, through tunnels and cuttings and over embankments, just like on a real railway. All staff except station masters, signallers and locomotive drivers are children. As we reach one of the highest points in Budapest, we take a light lunch before boarding the cog wheel railway to descend back into town. A 3 hour sightseeing tour by coach follows, visiting all major sights in Budapest such as the Citadel, Heroes Square and the Royal Palace, ending at the hotel enabling us to freshen up before our welcome dinner staged on a river cruise boat allowing us a night-time panorama of this bustling city.

* The charter tram is subject to there being at least 12 tour participants.

Day 3 Thursday 13 September (B) This morning we pay a leisurely visit to Szentendre, also called the “Pearl of the Danube”. We take the world’s first electric underground line and the world’s longest tram vehicles to the HÉV suburban train line that will take us to Szentendre and then have an easy stroll to see the Baroque architecture, Orthodox churches, galleries, cobbled streets and riverside setting. You will have sufficient time to explore or have a good look at the souvenir stalls and enjoy some food or ice cream. At 17.00 we depart by boat to Budapest, arriving an hour later.

Day 4 Friday 14 September (B, L) Today we first take a train from Nyugati station, riding alongside the Pilis hill range to Esztergom, the centre of the Catholic church in Hungary. The city has the Christian Museum, the largest ecclesiastical collection in Hungary and its cathedral, Esztergom Basilica, is the largest church in Hungary. We pay a visit to the Basilica and its museum, then have a quick lunch, followed by coach transfer to Visegrád where we visit the castle on top of the hill, overlooking the River Danube and its beautiful horseshoe curve. We than take a ferry across the Danube and board a train back to Budapest on the left bank of the river, returning us to Nyugati station.

Day 5 Saturday 15 September (B, D) Following a more leisurely departure, we first visit Europe’s biggest synagogue in the former Jewish district of Budapest. We then take a quick metro ride to Nyugati station where a chartered heritage diesel railcar will pick us up* and transport us to the Great Plains where we will be able to experience the real branch line feeling of Hungarian railways. We arrive to a very rural setting with horse stables and pigsties where we can see how life outside the cities in Hungary used to be before globalisation. This will be followed by a horse show and a very Hungarian dinner which will be our farewell dinner of the first tour. On our return to Budapest in the heritage railcar, we will be served drinks to pass away the time. * The charter heritage DMU is subject to there being at least 12 tour participants.

Day 6 Sunday 16 September (B) Today is departure day and a transfer will be made available to you for your trip to the airport. Or stay on for our full Undiscovered Hungary Experience (below).

UNDISCOVERED HUNGARY

Day 1(5) Saturday 15 September On arrival to Budapest Liszt Ferenc international airport road you will have a transfer to our hotel in downtown Budapest. Your tour guide will meet you at the hotel in the evening to supply you with information for the following days programmes.

Day 2(6) Sunday 16 September (B, D) This morning we will take a train ride to Miskolc, the third largest city of Hungary, in the north-east of the country. Upon arrival at the railway station, our bags will be transported to our hotel but we will take a tram ride through the city. A short walk from our tram stop we visit the historic Diósgyőr castle. The current, Gothic castle was built after the Mongol invasion of 1241-1242 and reached the peak of its importance during the reign of King Louis the Great (1342-1382). One of the main tourist attractions of the castle is a large waxworks exhibition in the outer castle. We also get a great view of the city and the surrounding hills from the castle tower. A small lunch snack will be available at the castle or nearby. Retracing a little of our tram ride, we join the narrow-gauge railway line at its terminus and take an hour long ride into the hills through tunnels and over viaducts, passing the Hámori lake and trout breeding ponds. On our return we alight from our train at Lillafüred, a popular tourist spot where there is a waterfall and also our hotel for the next three nights. The Hotel Palota was built in 1929 in Neo-renaissance style and originally served the elite of Hungary, only to be taken over by the government after World War II to serve as a working class hotel. It operates as a hotel again since 1993. We will have dinner in the hotel.

Day 3(7) Monday 17 September (B, D) This morning we transfer to Miskolc railway station and board a train to Sárospatak, an important college town of the region. We visit the Rákóczi castle and a nearby tarn. The city also has three monasteries, a fortified church and a couple of art exhibitions. Following our visit, we take a coach to Tokaj where we indulge ourselves in the local wine scene. Tokaj wines are famous throughout the world for their special character, and the very sweet aszú wine is known not only for its taste but has also traditionally been used as medicine. Tokaj is also where the rivers Tisza and Bodrog meet.

Day 4(8) Tuesday 18 September (B, L, D) This morning we take another coach trip, first to the scenic hills at Aggtelek, where the best and biggest stalactite cave of Hungary is located. The cave system is under the protection of UNESCO since 1995. After our tour, we will rejoin our coach and travel to Szilvásvárad, known for equestrian sports and carriage driving, trout breeding and one of Hungary’s most frequented narrow-gauge railway lines. After a quick local lunch, we take a ride into the hills on the narrow-gauge train and you will have the option to walk back downhill, taking roughly an hour, or relax at either terminus of the railway line. The end of the line is also the location of the famous ‘veil’ waterfall We return by coach to our hotel for dinner.

Day 5(9) Wednesday 19 September (B) We return today by rail to Budapest and after checking into our hotel, you are free to enjoy the afternoon which will be available for museum or thermal baths visits or the programme of your choice.

Day 6(10) Thursday 20 September (B) This morning we take a rail trip to Vác, an important rural town north of Budapest which is the seat of a Bishop. The Baroque town offers a riverside promenade along the Danube, many churches and a nice main square, as well as charming little streets. We continue by coach to remote Hollókő, a beautiful traditional village that is also on UNESCOs World Heritage list. Altogether 67 houses are listed national monuments in the centre of the old village. The ruins of Hollókő castle rise above the settlement.

Day 7(11) Friday 21 September (B) This morning we have a relaxed departure by suburban train to Gödöllő where we pay a visit to the magnificent Grassalkovich palace. One of the biggest baroque palaces in Hungary, this was built in the 1730s by Antal Grassalkovich, a nobleman and confidant of Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. Today the palace serves as a museum and most parts can be visited by guided tour. The gardens are also well worth a visit. We return to Budapest by main line train and pay a visit to the Vajdahunyad castle near Heroes Square before returning to our hotel.

Day 8(12) Saturday 22 September (B, D) On our last day we visit the former capital, King’s residence and coronation city of Székesfehérvár. We depart Budapest Déli station by rail and on arrival walk to the centre. Alongside the many churches and the Bishop’s palace, the ruins of Saint Stephen’s basilica are to be seen as well as medieval streets, a pharmacy museum and a handful of fine monuments. After a snack, we enjoy a quick coach transfer to the Bory castle, the largest building built by one person and also known as the Taj Mahal of Székesfehérvár.  Jenő Bory built it for his wife. We then continue to nearby Tác to visit the Roman ruins of Gorsium. Founded in the first century, this is one of the most important Roman ruins in Hungary. From the ruins we will be driven back to the railway station and after our return rail trip to Budapest we freshen up in the hotel prior to our farewell dinner in a cosy restaurant.

Day 9(13) Sunday 23 September 2018 (B) Today is departure day and a transfer will be made available for your trip to the airport.

Hotels

Budapest – The Three Corners Hotel Bristol
Miskolc – Hunguest Hotel Palota  

Flights

LS897 15.15 Manchester to Budapest (arr 18.55)
LS898 19.40 Budapest to Manchester (arr 21.40)

EZ8423 16.10 Gatwick North to Budapest (arr 19.40)
EZ8424 14.15 Budapest to Gatwick North (arr 15.55)

BA868 14.35 Heathrow to Budapest (arr 18.05)
BA867 14.10 Budapest to Heathrow (arr 15.50)

Place(s) available

 

  • 6 day Budapest holiday including flights from London: £899
  • 6 day holiday with own flight arrangements: £650
  • Single supplement: £195
  • 9 day Undiscovered holiday including flights from London: £1,650
  • 9 day Undiscovered holiday with own flight arrangements: £1,450
  • Single supplement: £295
  • 13 day combined holiday including flights from London: £2,099
  • 13 day combined holiday with own flight arrangements: £1,899
  • Single supplement: £465

Deposit

  • £500 with flight option or £300 for all other options

Price Includes

  • Travel and activities as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality centrally located hotel accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary (B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner
  • Services of our local tour manager (fully escorted from Budapest)
Flights
  • Direct flights with British Airways from Heathrow, Easyjet from Gatwick or Luton, and Ryanair from Bristol, Stansted and Manchester
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