What is Margaret Island and where is it?

Margaret Island (or Margitsziget in Hungarian) is an island in the middle of the river Danube in Budapest, Hungary. It got its name by Saint Margaret of Hungary, a Dominican nun and daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary, who lived there.  For those of you born before the 14th century, you might recognise it by its former name, Island of Rabbits! 😀

Nowadays it’s mainly used as a recreational park and is often compared to New York City’s Central Park. Even though in the heart of the city, it makes for a pleasant getaway. It’s located between 2 bridges, Margaret Bridge and Árpád Bridge. You can access the island on foot from these two bridges.

Like most parks, ideally you should visit it in the spring. But it has its own charm when the weather’s good in the summer, when the foliage takes all the beautiful colours of the autumn or when it’s less crowded in the winter.

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What’s there to do on Margaret Island?

You can:

1. Walk, jog, skate, rollerblade, ride a bicycle or even catch bus nr 26 (boooooriiiing!!!) to go around the island!

Or, even better, catch one of those fancy cars to “drive” around!

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Budapest Margaret Island fancy vehicle

You can d them after you’ve entered the island from Margaret Bridge.

Any option is easily doable, as the island is only 2.5 km long and 500 metres wide (at its widest point).

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2. Go swimming or have a thermal bath!

There’s a swimming pool, a water park and thermal baths on the island!

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Palatines Water Park

Palatinus Water Park

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Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium

Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium

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Palatinus Thermal Baths (closed for renovation)

Palatinus Thermal Baths

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The water park and baths were closed at the time of my last visit though! 😀

3. Have a coffee, a drink, a dance or a gamble!

There’s canteens, places to grab a coffee, pubs, bars and even a casino around the island. Getting a beverage and a light meal is no issue all around the year. But some of these venues are only open when the weather gets warmer.

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One of the cafes, where you can also have a snack

One of the cafes, where you can also have a snack

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4. Picnic 

It’s always a nice option when the company’s right and you don’t wanna end up sitting on one of those benches!

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Budapest Margaret Island bench

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5. Attend the different events that take place on the island

Whether you’re into culturesports or just people gathering events, there’s a lot of things going on here. From aquatics world championships and football games to the Budapest Summer Festival, there’s often something interesting to attend on Margaret Island.

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Budapest Margaret Island football stadium

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There’s an open air theatre ,too!

 

6. Spend time with the kids

There’s a couple of playgrounds and ample space for the kids to play. Plus they can get in better touch with nature and history, too.

Budapest margaret Island

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And there’s always the above mentioned water park, open air theatre, different events etc etc.

7. Discover all the busts around the park

There’s so many of them! You can google to find out more about these important men and learn more about the history of Hungary!

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Budapest margaret Island busts

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8. Visit all the landmarks of the island

Don’t miss the Centennial Monument, the Franciscan Church ruins, the Musical Fountain, the Water Tower, the Chapel of St Michael, the Dancing Fountain and the Dominican Monastery ruins!

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The Water Well

The Water Well

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Chapel of St Michael at sunset

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The Centennial Monument

The Centennial Monument

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9. Climb up the Water Tower

Use the spiral staircase to go to the viewpoint of possibly the most famous landmark of the island!

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Budapest Margaret Island Water Tower

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10. Swing like a kid!

With the ruins of an old Franciscan church in the background! That’s very cool!

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11. Make it a getaway place without having to travel too far!

And if you wanna make it more grande, you can stay at the beautiful Danubius Grand Hotel, which has its own spa and thermal baths! Choose some nice company or just spend some me time there!

The Danubius Grand Hotel just before sunset

The Danubius Grand Hotel just before sunset

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12. Visit the Japanese and Rose Gardens

But do it in the spring or summer. I promise you they’ll look much better than this!

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The Rose Gardens without the roses!

The Rose Garden without the roses!

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The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

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13. Play with the autumn leaves or hug some of the nice trees!

Is it winter or autumn and there’s not much to see in the island’s Japanese and Rose Gardens? No problem! There’s plenty of autumn leaves to play with!

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Budapest Margaret Island autumn leavesBudapest Margaret Island Water Tower autumn leaves

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And a lot of trees without leaves that are happy to reveal its beautiful shape to you!

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Budapest Margaret Island tree hug

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14. See the ruins of the Dominican Church and Convent

This is the most important sight of the island. Princess (and later Saint) Margaret used to live in this convent and this is where she died, too.

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Budapest Margaret Island Dominican Church Convent

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15. Visit the zoo

There’s a cute little zoo on the island. Don’t expect to see super rare and exotic animals though!

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Budapest Margaret Island Zoo

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16. Take some time to do yoga, meditate and reflect!

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This is me literally reflecting, but you get my point, don't you?

This is me literally reflecting, but you get my point, don’t you?

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And the 16+1 is:

After you leave the island, take a moment to walk towards the Margaret Bridge and admire this

 amazing panoramic view of the city!!!

Wow!

Wow! All the important landmarks of the city on one photo!

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I’ve been to Budapest quite a few times in my life, but this view left me speechless! I was gazing at the beauty of this gorgeous city and I was wondering how come I’d never seen it before from this impressive viewpoint! What a closing for a beautiful day!