Hungary along the Danube

Tuesday 9 to Thursday 11 September

We arrived in Győr in time for a quick look around before dinner, which was welcome after a big day of sightseeing around Lake Balaton.

Győr sits on an arm of the Danube River. Celts inhabited it from the 5th century BC and Roman merchants made use of the river system in the first century AD.

It is strategically places and so endured many changes of occupation – Slavs, Magyars, Mongols,  Ottomans. During Ottoman occupation, the commander Kristóf Lamberg burned the town down hence the Turkish name for Győr, Yanık kale (“burnt castle”).

The city was targeted during World War II as it was a major manufacturer of the Turán tank and Messerschmitt Bf 10 aeroplane.

We explored it slowly, including a lunchtime stop – very unusual for us. We wandered around the narrow cobblestone streets and rested by the river.

Next day we were back on the road, exploring the Danube to Budapest, 116km to the south east.

We stopped at the little town of Tata, which sits on Lake Öreg (Old Lake). There is a castle there, built in the 14th century and used as a summer residence of King Sigismund. It is a rather beautiful relic now. 

Esztergom is an important town. It was the capital and royal residence of the early Árpád kings until the mid-13th century. Stephen I was born in the town around 970AD and crowned there in 1000. He is considered to be the founder of the Hungarian state and it’s first king.

The St Stephen Cathedral is modelled on St Peter’s in Rome and is the largest church in Hungary – too large to easily photograph.

This was the northern most point of our trip at 47°47′8″N 18°44′25″E – staying within the 40th parallel.

Our last stop was the Visegrád Castle, which sits right on the Danube River with amazing views along the river. It is actually quite a small castle, with a large citadel built into the rocks above it, but it is certainly the classic river-side castle.

For nearly 100 years from 1325 Visegrád was the royal seat of Hungary.

Now it was back to Budapest, to continue our exploration there.