Margaret Island / Margitsziget
Between Buda and Pest, between the Margaret and Árpád bridges
Named after a medieval princess this is a kind of Central Park of Budapest, with a great jogging track, a swimming pool and an all-year-round beach called Palatinus. At the northern tip there are two hotels. Until 1919 Margaret Island was privately-owned and people had to pay an entrance fee. You can get to the park by bus or water bus.
City Park / Városliget
Two hundred years ago this was the first planned public park in the world, and it has grown into more than just a green oasis: it is also home to institutions of culture, entertainment and recreation like the Museum of Fine Arts. To make the park 21st-century proof it will get a complete facelift: the institutions will be renovated and the park’s green area will be rehabilitated and enlarged. The – controversial – project will be completed by 2020.
South of the Lágymányos Bridge, on the Buda side, you’ll find this nice park, with a large pond in the middle of it. It was the first step of a successful city gentrification project on a former industrial site. There are nice restaurants and cafes, a playground, a rekortan running track and even an award-winning building that houses the water police station.
The biggest public park in Budapest is also the most neglected and undervalued one. For many decades it was used as a motorcycle race site and a practice ground for wannabe drivers, and it has never really recovered from that period. However, ‘Walking Solar System’ is a nice garden project: it’s about 650 metres long and it represents the solar system on a 1: 10 billion scale.
A square with a bus terminus, on the top of Rose Hill, a traditionally chic middleclass area. The park is never really crowded – young mothers from the neighbourhood like to come here when they want to get out of the house, or students who need a little distraction. There’s a 415-metre-long rekortan running track.