W ith the onset of below freezing temperatures and daily snowfalls, plenty of people retire their bikes and running attire to dedicate their time and energy to another, more on-season sport: ice skating!Below, we’ll give you a few ideas about where to go if you’re looking for a fun way to burn off some calories or just a nice program for the weekend.
City Park Ice Rink
One of the main attractions of wintertime Budapest is the huge ice rink found at the entrance of City Park, situated behind the impressive Skating Hall, a masterpiece of Hungarian neo-Baroque architecture. This classic rink adored by young and old alike has been welcoming skate lovers since 1869, when Prince Rudolph opened the gates of Europe’s largest outdoor skating rink to the public. With Archangel Gabriel looking over from the nearby Heroes’ Square and the massive building of the Vajdahunyad Castle towering over the skaters in the background, this one’s a lovely venue for a winter date or a weekend family outing, with plenty of choices for a warming drink afterwards. In case you don’t have an ice skate with you, you can rent a pair in the Skating Hall, while skating classes are also available. Entry is free for children under 6, while tickets on the weekdays range from 1,000 to 1,500 HUF, for students and adults, respectively.
1146 Budapest, Olof Palme sétány 5.
Advent in Óbuda
There are two free-to-use ice skating rinks popping up in Óbuda every winter: one is found in the northernmost neighbourhood of the city, on Békásmegyer’s Csobánka tér, while the other, more spectacular ice rink is located on the cobblestoned Fő tér, just a two-minutes’ walk from the Szentlélek tér station of the H5 suburban train. We recommend you to stick to the latter, as it is surrounded by beautiful Baroque buildings, food stalls, heart-warming ornaments and a nice selection of stalls selling handicraft goods. Children’s programs and live concerts are also held regularly until 26 January.
1033 Budapest, Fő tér
Intermezzo Ice Terrace
Located within a few hundred meters from St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Parliament, and the Danube, the rooftop terrace of Hotel President offers a breathtaking panoramic view over the city, as well as its most exclusive, highest-lying ice skating rink. What’s more, till 12 January, you can take part in unique “après ski” activities every Sunday from 5 to 9 PM, enjoying delicious drinks and skating to invigorating electronic beats at the Hütte Party series of Be Massive Horizon and Intermezzo Ice Terrace. Entry is free for children aged 12 and under, above that it costs 2,500 HUF, including skate rental.
1054 Budapest, Hold utca 3.
Müpa Winter Open Air
The winter wouldn’t be complete without Müpa’s annually organized open air merriments, awaiting visitors with an enormous ice skating rink that can accommodate up to 80 skaters at once, outstanding background music, a cozy, festive mood (courtesy of the building’s gorgeous light painting), exciting programs, and a heated snack bar right next to the rink, offering traditional wintertime delicacies such as mulled wine and hot chocolate until 2 February. Admission to the ice skating rink is 500 HUF.
1095 Budapest, Komor Marcell utca 1.
The city’s biggest free-to-use ice rink is located next to Bálna, the whale-shaped glass-and-bricks building located between Szabadság híd and Petőfi híd. The 450 square meters large rink offers one of the most splendid views out of all the ice rinks in Budapest: gliding by the Danube as the sun sets behind Gellért Hill and the city starts to light up, you’ll be presented with a whole new face of the Magyar capital. Sprinkle your experience with a mug of mulled wine and do pirouettes to the rhythms of your favourite Christmas classics till the end of February at Bálna Advent!
1093 Budapest, Fővám tér 11-12.