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.
What’s there to do on Margaret Island?
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!
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).
2. Go swimming or have a thermal bath!
There’s a swimming pool, a water park and thermal baths on the island!
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.
It’s always a nice option when the company’s right and you don’t wanna end up sitting on one of those benches!
5. Attend the different events that take place on the island
Whether you’re into culture, sports 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.
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.
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!
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!
9. Climb up the Water Tower
Use the spiral staircase to go to the viewpoint of possibly the most famous landmark of the island!
10. Swing like a kid!
With the ruins of an old Franciscan church in the background! That’s very cool!
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!
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!
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!
And a lot of trees without leaves that are happy to reveal its beautiful shape to you!
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.
15. Visit the zoo
There’s a cute little zoo on the island. Don’t expect to see super rare and exotic animals though!
16. Take some time to do yoga, meditate and reflect!
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!!!
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!