Budapest: Gödöllö palace and Lázár Equestrian Park
Most travellers visiting Hungary rarely wonder far away from Budapest city center and sadly don’t get a chance to see what the countryside has to offer. I’m not saying that Budapest isn’t worth it, it definitely is and remains one of our favorite cities in Europe which you can read all about here. It’s just that you get to see a more traditional part of Hungary when you step out of the big city. The good thing is that distances aren’t a problem in such a small country.
We did this amazing daytour from Budapest during our visit in Hungary. We were lucky enough to have Cityrama travel agency take care of our transport. If you’re on a low budget you can take the train or bus, but Cityrama can customize the perfect day-trip for you making your trip effortless and more enjoyable.
After an early rise and a delicious breakfast at New York Café, we got picked up from our hotel. Our first destination was Gödöllö (don’t even try to pronounce it!), a small town about 30-40 minutes drive from Budapest city center. The town is famous for the Gödöllö royal palace, a popular summer retreat among the Hungarian royalty during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
We can highly recommend a guided tour through the palace and the surrounding botanical gardens. You get a real glimpse of how royalties used to live in this second largest Baroque palace in the world. The tour guide was fluent in English and he had a deep understanding of Hungarian history. After the Second World War the Soviet Army took possession of the palace and used it to house soldiers and later as a nursing home for the elderly. After the fall of the iron curtain the palace had suffered a great deal of decay but fortunately it has been restored to its former splendors the last two decades.
We can’t show you much from the inside of the palace, since photos are not allowed. However we got a chance to take a few photos of the baroque-styled theater in the basement which is a must see!
After our guided tour we had a quick coffee break at the castle’s cafeteria before taking a stroll around the beautiful botanical gardens. Our driver was waiting at the other side of the botanical gardens so we didn’t have to walk all the way back to the palace.
Leisure flight over Gödöllö
At noon we were transferred to the local sports airport in Gödöllö for a leisure flight over the area. The airport was super cute with so many cool light aircrafts taking off and landing in a wide grass field. We were both excited and a little bit stressed out to fly for the fist time in such a small aircraft. It could only host 4 passengers! Once we were up in the air we forgot our worries and just enjoyed the view. We were lucky to have clear blue skies and flew over the aqua arena and the Hungaroring, a motor circuit where the Hungarian Formula Grand Prix is held. It was such a thrilling experience to see the countryside from a bird’s-eye view!
Lázár Equestrian Horse Park
Our afternoon was spent at the close-by Lázár Equestrian Park, named after and owned by the famous Vilmo and Zoltán Lázár, multiple world champions in carriage driving. This was definitely our favorite part of today’s program. The park is the training ground and competition stables of the Lázár duo, and is situated in the breathtaking views of the Domony valley. Upon arrival the staff welcomed us with traditional Hungarian fruit brandy or “pálinka”. It’s a pretty strong liqueur especially if it’s homemade (ranging from 50-70% alch. cont.).
Enjoying the delicious food with the Swedish travel blogger Christian from mat och resebloggen.
After a few warming shots the waiters presented a feast of Hungarian dishes and local vines. It was overwhelmingly good and ended up being the best food we tasted in Hungary.
After our late lunch we attended the daily horse show where we experienced world class carriage driving and horseback archery. The horse herders showed some crazy skills, one of the rode a herd of horses by standing on the back of two of them.
Later in the show the horse herders chose one person from the crowd to try their skills with the whip. The task was to snatch a red wine bottle with a whip from a few meters distance. The herders looked closely at the crowd and chose Andri who luckily snapped the bottle in his first try. As a reward he got to keep the red wine.
Look at those skills! A truly born talent 🙂 These wonderful photos were shot by our Swedish friend Anna, she is a travel blogger at Travel On A Cloud.
After the show we had a carriage riding tour around the park, Ása even got to steer the carriage herself!
The park is a very nice option for those seeking a time out of the sprawling capital. When visiting you will be submerged in Hungarian traditions and serene landscapes and of course pálinka!
Gödöllö city center
The town of Gödöllö is really small but cute and cozy. If you’re around the area we truly recommend a visit to Hotel Queen Elizabeth, they have the best apple strudel we’ve ever tasted!
It was the perfect ending to an awesome day and the ride back was effortless thanks to Cityrama.