Budapest is an ever-evolving, continuously changing capital with plenty of monuments inherited from the past. And even though we love Buda Castle and are mesmerized by the beauty of the Gellért Hill, we find it important to emphasize that local tourism shouldn’t be limited to downtown Budapest. In the below article we offer 5 (+1) must-see destinations, all of which are worth checking out!
ELTE Botanical Garden
You may have heard the word ‘füvészkert’ (which means botanical garden in Hungarian) before, since this particular garden is the main scene of Ferenc Molnár’s famous novel, The Paul Street Boys. In ELTE Füvészkert, the first botanical garden in Hungary, more than 8000 types of plant can be found, and you can even take a guided tour with an expert who will tell you all about them! The centrally located garden is otherwise ideal for long walks, romantic dates, and, of course, picnic.
Surrounded by lush greenery, Lake Feneketlen is like a small oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle that is the city’s up-and-coming Újbuda neighbourhood. Formed in 1877 when clay miners happened upon an underground spring, the lake (with its name translating to ‘bottomless’, even though it’s just 5 meters deep) is frequented by local fishermen, sunbathing turtles and ducks, while the park itself gives home to a number of statues, a scenic, 530 meters long running track, and an outdoor fitness park.
Buda has its own island of peace, namely Kopaszi-gát (gát meaning dam). The huge green area at the waterside is situated in the outskirt of Budapest, which might be the reason why walking around the recently renovated area is so calming. You will find restaurants and cafés in case you have forgotten bringing your own for the picnic. Remember not to take dogs, because they are not allowed in the park.
When you take the train to the only natural coast of the city, you will be amazed by the retro atmosphere the place has preserved since the second half of the nineteenth century. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés that mostly serve Hungarian specialities you can try, or you can even organize a barbecue while enjoying the closeness of the river.
Budapest’s most beloved family venue is also the world’s first public park: conscious tree planting efforts in the area date back to Empress Maria Theresa’s 1755 decree, when the whole park was essentially still one big marshland. It was under the direction of Archduke Joseph, Palatine of Hungary, that City Park started to take its present form, thanks to the efforts of the Royal Beautification Committee set up by him. At the end of the 19th century, City Park became the centre of the Millennium Celebrations, with the whole world’s attention focused on this 100-hectare patch of earth for a brief momentum.
This Baroque gem is located only a short train ride from the centre of Budapest, but you can also reach it by hopping on a bike and following the EuroVelo 6 route along the Danube. Renowned for its cafes, cobblestoned alleyways, lively art scene and almost-Mediterranean atmosphere, Szentendre will charm you in myriad ways. Visit the ancient St. John the Baptist Parish Church, with its 29-metres tall tower dominating the town’s skyline, or stroll down the quaint riverside promenade dotted with bars and restaurants, and learn about all the various architecture styles, customs and lifestyles of eight different Hungarian regions on 60 hectares at the Skanzen, the country’s largest open-air museum.