Gödöllő is a city in Pest County, Hungary, about 30 km 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.
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 Gödöllő, but not the same parts. However, if coming from central Budapest MÁV is almost always the better option.
The Gödöllő HÉV originates at Örs Vezér tere in Budapest, the eastern terminus of the metro line 2. Be sure to take a train towards Gödöllő 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 and steps away from the royal palace and city museum), Palotakert (near the Palotakert housing development), and Gödöllő (connected to the MÁV station of the same name). Service pattern is 4 trains/h during peak hours and 2 trains/h at other times, and the trip from Örs Vezér tere takes 51 min. Tickets can be bought at Örs Vezér tere or from the inspector on board, and the fare is 765 HUF (though if you have a Budapest period travelcard, this is reduced to 365 HUF).
MÁV suburban rail
Gödöllő is also served by MÁV suburban trains on the Budapest - Gödöllő - Hatvan line, which originates at Keleti pályaudvar (metro line 2) in Budapest. Service pattern is generally 2 trains/h Budapest - Gödöllő with 1 train/h running onwards to Hatvan. Gödöllő has three MÁV stops: Gödöllő-Állami telepek (near the Arboreteum and Beekeeping museum), Gödöllő (connected to the HÉV terminus, 7 min on foot to the palace and 9 min to downtown), and Máriabesnyő (outside the pilgrimage temple). The Hatvan trains will stop in all three, the Gödöllő trains only at Állami telepek and Gödöllő station. The ride takes 38 minutes and costs 735 HUF (though if you have a Budapest period travelcard, this is reduced to 365 HUF).
Gödöllő is accessible by the M3 motorway 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 155 HUF a ticket. If travelling to Máriabesnyő suburban trains bound for Hatvan leave every hour from the main 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.
- Alsó Park is located directly in front of the palace and has a giant tree sculpture called the World Tree.
- Felső Park is located directly behind the palace and is mostly easily accessed from the Szabadság tér or Erzsébet Park HÉV stops. Of note is the wild chestnut path, a row of trees where Queen Sisi would often ride her horse.
- Erzsébet Park was built in memory of Queen Elizabeth, nicknamed Sisi, after she was assassinated. The park entrance is a long trail of lindens leading to her statue. Turning right at the entrance you'll find the Kálvária monument, which depicts the crucifixion and was commissioned by Grassalkovich and built in 1771.
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.
- The area around the main building is well decorated, with a variety of flowers.
- Inside the assembly hall, the building just north of the main building, is the monumental mural Apotheosis of the core by sculptor Imre Tót. The assembly hall is open typically on school days till six.
- The university is also the home of the Museum of Agricultural Tools and Machine Development, a small exhibit displaying reconstructed agricultural tools, the history of agriculture in the region, and current products made in Hungary. The building itself is worth a look for the fantastic woodwork inside and out. Admission is free.
- The City Sports Arena is also located on the campus, opposite the assembly hall, and the local volleyball  and futsal  teams play here. Tickets typically cost 300 ft.
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.
- Szélkakas Étterem (Weathervane Restaurant). Bajcsy-Zsilinszky u. 27. Good atmosphere with typical Hungarian fare. It can get fairly busy on weekends, so reservations may be needed.
- Yellow Pub és Étterem on Dózsa György út 64. Traditional Hungarian dishes and beer. Located a short walk out of the city center. After 21:00, dinner is half-priced.
- Pizza Max Caffe. Dózsa György út 36. Quality pizziera gives you the choice between thin and thick crusts and also offers soups and sandwiches. On top of that they'll give you a bowl of peanuts to munch on while you wait.
- Pizza Fortuna, ☎ 28/545-565. Kőrösfői u. 14. Good, cheap pizza in a residential neighborhood. The only drawback is they don't have anywhere to sit and eat. They deliver everywhere in the city.
- Pizza Palazzo on Szabadság tér 2. is a bar/pizzeria. They put little tomato sauce on the pizza itself and expect you to make up the difference with ketchup. Not the best in town.
In an around Szabadság tér are a few places to get gyros or hamburgers.
- Special Gyros at Állomás tér, on the Gödöllő HÉV stop and near the train station serves up the best gyros in town. They're definitely worth grabbing while waiting for the train or HÉV.
- Sulyán Cukrászda on Szabadság tér 8. offers Hungarian cakes, Somlói galuska, and gellato. During the spring and summer they set up tables outside so you can people watch on the square.
From Spring to Autumn, home-made ice cream, cakes, and soft drinks can be purchased at the main entrance to Erzsébet Park.
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.