Budapest might have rightfully earned the nickname of the city of baths, but it is also one of the very few capital cities where secluded beaches and undisturbed nature are within an hour’s travel from the bustling city centre.
We are in the middle of the summer season, which is the best time of the year to leave Budapest behind and explore some lesser-known beaches on the outskirts. As Travelo writes, the greatest things about public beaches are the zero entrance fee and the very close contact with undisturbed nature — and while most of these places also offer some basic facilities, in the end, it is just a big plus when organising a day-long trip outside the city.
North: Szentendre and the mountains
With its cobblestoned streets and little shops, Szentendre is probably the most popular day-trip destination outside Budapest, but few tourists know there are several beaches (strand in Hungarian) in the small town’s vicinity. The most popular is Postás, a sandy beach surrounded by trees, which is also equipped with a playground and all the necessary facilities.
Szentendre Island (Szentendrei-sziget) is a 31-km-long island connecting Budapest with the Danube Bend. It is home to six settlements and a decent number of secluded beaches. At the northern tip of the island lies Kisoroszi Szigetcsúcs, a pebbled shore where you might only be able to dip your toe, but the area has a popular camping place and some truly breathtaking views on the Börzsöny Mountains and historic city of Visegrád. Horányi is another public beach on Szentendre Island, located further south and almost in line with the city of Szentendre. The public beach of Dunabogdány is halfway between the two beaches above; the gradually deepening water makes it an ideal bathing place for families with children.
The other side of Szentendre Island (north of the capital’s Pest side) offers some exciting places for beach lovers, too. The public beach of Alsógöd is a well-equipped area with a playground and bar, while Homoksziget is the perfect place for those looking for a more untouched ambience. The city of Dunakeszi also has a nice pebbled beach, although children might only want to play in the playground area, for the water deepens rather quickly here. The village of Verőce is located just north of the Danube bend and Szentendre Island, and it has a beach that is well-known for its volleyball court.
For a more spectacular experience, it is worth taking a little longer trip to Nagymaros, which offers great views on the castle of Visegrád across the river. And if looking is not enough, there is a ferry service connecting the two riverside cities. Zebegény, a little picturesque village right at the foot of the Börzsöny Mountains, has a small beach very close to the train and bus station — the perfect way to end a long day of hiking in the nearby hills.
South: fun and easily accessible
Although it is hard to beat the views of mountainside beaches, these places south of Budapest are also well worth a visit. The town of Ráckeve is within easy reach by suburban railway line 6 and has a nice pebbled beach called Vadkacsa with a grassy area and lots of trees to provide shelter from the sun. It has bathrooms, a playground, and bars to eat and drink. Szigetcsép is around halfway between Ráckeve and Budapest and has a friendly beach with facilities similar to the one above.
Looking to go further south? Few people know that Hungary’s third-largest lake, Lake Velence, is only a 40-minute train ride away from the capital and has a public beach (Velence Korzó) with several bars, shops, and eateries of a great variety. The lake offers a wide range of activities (both in water and on land), too, to keep the whole family entertained.