A Historic Town on the Outskirts of Budapest
Located 34km / 21 miles north of Budapest, along the serene Danube River, Vác is a picturesque retreat brimming with history and beauty. Despite being nine centuries old, its charm and allure remain timeless.
According to legend, a hermit monk named Laszlo once resided in the forest now known as Vác. He prophesied that Prince Géza would triumph over King Solomon. After a miraculous sighting of a deer with candles on its horns, Géza established a church on the site, marking it as a bishopric.
Getting to Vác
With trains departing every 30 minutes from Nyugati train station, reaching Vác is a convenient 30-minute journey from the city’s heart. Upon leaving the Vác train station, follow the lone street leading from it. Despite the uninspiring architecture of the little shops lining Széchenyi utca, continue walking straight until you reach Március 15 tér. This square hosts numerous intriguing historical buildings and is the location of TourInform. We won’t discuss accommodations since Vác is close to Budapest, and its attractions can be easily explored in a day. However, TourInform can provide information on local accommodations if you wish to stay overnight.
The allure of Vác is in its wealth of sights that can be experienced at little to no cost. Start with the main square, Március 15 tér, which underwent a complete renovation in 2006 by the award-winning architect László Sáros. The expansive square is a pleasant, relaxing area with a peaceful fountain and glass flooring providing a view into the city’s most significant museum.
Dominating the square is the White Friar’s Church, a baroque-rococo gem from the 18th century. Its interior is brightly decorated, contrasting the white statues. In 1995, a secret crypt was discovered beneath the church during reconstruction, revealing a perfectly preserved set of 262 coffins and their occupants. Today, this remarkable discovery can be viewed at the Memento Mori in the house’s cellar at Március 15 tér 19. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.
A statue of St. Hedwig stands on the side of the church, a three-stage fountain at her feet. St. Hedwig, the patron saint of the Danube and Vác, was known for her dedication to aiding the poor, ill, orphaned, and widows.
Nearby, the medieval building at Március 15 tér 20, once a private residence, houses the Wine Museum and the Chocloteria café. There is also a public gallery and a Bell Pavilion, which plays a glockenspiel every hour.
Further down the square is the City Hall, the Hospital of Mercy, the Greek Catholic Chapel, the András Chazár Education Institute for Deaf-Mutes, and the former Palace of the Great Provost.
Leaving the square, explore the town’s other historical landmarks. The Triumphal Arch, the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Franciscan or “Brown” Church, and the synagogue on Eötvös utca are all worth a visit.
Lastly, take a stroll along the tranquil Danube. The riverside is adorned with trees, walking paths, resting areas, and garden patches. For children, there are play areas equipped with swings and playhouses.
In all, Vác offers a serene escape into history, with plenty of treasures waiting to be discovered.