Earth : Europe : Central Europe : Hungary : Central Hungary : Gödöllő
Gödöllő  is a city in Pest County, Hungary, about 30km east of Budapest. It is often visited as a daytrip from Budapest, or as a stop off while travelling to Eastern Hungary. It is among the most popular destinations for Austrians visiting Hungary, largely due to the royal palace, former home of Emperor Franz Josef and Queen Elizabeth.
Rail is clearly the fastest and most convenient way of getting into Gödöllö from Budapest. Budapest has two suburban rail systems: the HÉV operated by BKV (the transport company in Budapest), and regular személy trains operated by MÁV (the national rail operator). Both serve Gödöllö, but not the same parts.
By HÉV (BKV suburban rail)
The HÉV line to Gödöllö uses Örs Vezér tere as the starting point in Budapest, which is also the last stop of the red metro line. Be sure to take a train towards Gödöllö and not Csömör or Cinkota. Gödöllő has four HÉV stops: Erzsébet park (right in between the Felső Park and the scenic Erzsébet park), Szabadság tér, (in the downtown core and steps away from the royal palace and city museum, so this is probably where you'll want to get off), Palotakert (near the Palotakert housing development), and Gödöllő (connected to the MÁV station of the same name). Tickets can be bought at Örs Vezér tere or from the inspector onboard. Budapest public transport tickets are only valid until Ilonatelep, which is why you need to buy a special HÉV supplemental ticket (20 km), which costs 365 HUF. The line is served by 4 trains/hour during peak hours in peak direction and 2 trains/h at other times, and the trip from Örs Vezér tere takes a little over 40 minutes to Szabadság tér.
By MÁV suburban rail
Gödöllö is also served by MÁV's suburban trains from Keleti pályaudvar in Budapest and is located on the Budapest-Hatvan line with 2 trains/h leave the Keleti train station hourly (of which half terminate at Gödöllö and half continue to Hatvan). Gödöllő has three MÁV stations: Gödöllő-Állami telepek, Gödöllő, and Máriabesnyő. The Állami telepek stop is near the Arboreteum and Beekeeping museum, 3.5 kilometers outside of town. Gödöllő is located right outside the Alsó park, connected to the HÉV terminus and is about a 15 minute walk away from the palace and downtown area. The Máriabesnyő stop is outside the pilgrimage temple. The Hatvan trains will stop in all three, the Gödöllö trains only at Állami telepek and the main Gödöllő station. As with the HÉV, the ride takes 40 minutes and costs 785 HUF (though if you have a Budapest transport card valid for 14 days or longer, this is reduced to 365 HUF)
Buses leave from the Budapest Népstadion station daily. Typically there are several buses an hour, but the trip takes anywhere in between 40 minutes and an hour, depending on how many stops the driver makes. Buses stop at the city bus station, a few blocks east of Szabadság tér and the palace.
Gödöllő is accessible by the M3 motorway and road 3 out of Budapest.
Most of the main sights are within walking distance of Szabadság tér. The HÉV can be used within Gödöllő, at a cost of 90 ft a ticket. If travelling to Máriabesnyő trains leave every hour from the main station, or take either bus 1 or 2 which leave frequently from the main bus station, a few blocks east of Szabadság tér. Tickets can be bought from the driver or at the main bus station. There is also a free bus that runs from the train station to downtown and then on to TESCO that runs roughly every hour. A complete local bus schedule can be found at Volánbusz's website .
Grassalkovich Kastély (Grassalkovich Palace) , located across the street from the Szabadság tér HÉV stop, the royal palace is Gödöllő's main attraction. Built in the 1740s, the baroque mansion was originally home to Count Anton Grassalkovich. With the creation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the palace was given to the Habsburgs as a gift and was often frequented by Queen Elizabeth, better known as Sisi. During communism the palace fell into ruin and has only recently been partially restored. Besides a tour of the royal apartments, there are also the Baroque theater and the royal chapel. Concerts are also frequently held here.
Gödöllői Városi Múzeum (Town Museum of Gödöllő) , is located on Szabadság tér, close to the HÉV station. The exhibit focuses primarily on the Gödöllő artists' colony from the early 1900s, and has several excellent examples of Hungarian Art Nouveau. There is also an ethnographic exhibit on Oceania, collected by Ferenc Ignácz, who worked at the university in Gödöllő. Another small room houses the private collection of Zoltán Mihály Csupor, a Catholic priest.
City Parks Gödöllő is considered a city of parks. The three main parks are all located around the palace: Alsó park (lower palace park), Felső park (upper palace park), and Erzsébet park, named after Queen Elizabeth.
Máriabesnyő Pilgrimage Temple  Máriabesnyő is mostly easily accessed by taking the train to the Máriabesnyő station. You'll be greeted by a large Székely-style Transylvanian gate from 1942 as you walk toward the temple. The temple was commissioned by Grassalkovich when workers found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the site in 1759. It is the only two-storied baroque temple in the country, and you can also see the smallest Virgin Mary statue in the country, a museum about the Virgin, the Grassalkovich crypt, and do wine-tasting in the monastery.
Szent István Egyetem
Szent István Egyetem  is the largest agricultural university in Hungary. The university is located directly east of the main train station.
Méhészeti Múzeum (Beekeeping Museum) is located on Isaszegi u. a few kilometers south of the downtown and is most easily reached from the Állami telepek train stop. The museum can only be visited by prior arrangement.
Arboretum is located on Isaszegi u., near the Beekeeping Museum and Állami telepek train stop. There are many old trees and buildings in the area, as this used to be part of the palace complex.
Gödöllői Repülőtér (Gödöllő Airport)  is located southwest of the city on Repülőtéri u. They offer sightseeing, hang gliding, and parachuting opportunities.
Petőfi Sándor Művelődési Központ (Sándor Petőfi Cultural Center)  is located in a large space-ship looking building near Szabadság tér. Local performances including theater, dance, puppets, and concerts are often held here.
Trafó Club  is the city's only true club or disco and it is located directly next to the Palotakert HÉV stop. Local DJs and tribute bands often perform here on the weekends.
Városi Filmszínház (City Movie Theater)  Located next to the Town Museum. It is a small movie theater that shows 2-5 different movies a day on one screen. There is never a line and the theater is never crowded. Prices are typically cheaper than in Budapest with discounts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
In an around Szabadság tér are a few places to get gyros or hamburgers.
Gödöllő is close enough to Budapest that you probably won't need to look for accommodation here. If you plan on staying, however, here are some options.
Panzió Sissi Dózsa György út 36, . Free wifi internet access. A little bit north of downtown. The Pizza Max Cafe is on the first floor.
Galéria Restaurant and Pension Szabadság tér 8. Reasonable prices and a central location. Also has a traditional Hungarian restaurant.