Budapest has many lovely recreational spots with fresh air and relaxing greenery. Go and check out all the hidden parks and gardens in the city.
If you’re looking for a chill place to sit outside and enjoy fresh air in Budapest, most often you’re pointed in the direction of Margitsziget (Margaret Island, surprisingly by the Margaret Bridge), Városliget (City Park just behind Heroes Square), or Római Part (Roman Bank in northern Buda). Needless to say, they’re all great places, but if you’ve seen them all, you may want to check out new spots while in the Hungarian capital. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place! We’re now giving you the secret map to all the lovely but lesser-known parks and hidden gardens in Budapest, further from the hustle and noise of the city. Grab a blanket, pack some snacks, and let’s go!
If you’ve seen it all at Római Part and would love to find a similar spot by the river, all you need to do is get to the other side of the Danube, to Népsziget (Island of the People). Often referred to as the ‘Pest side Római Part’, Népsziget is in fact the smaller, lesser-known, up-and-coming counterpart of Római. Settled on a forgotten and abandoned nook of Budapest – no wonder its former name was Mosquito Island (Szúnyog-sziget) –, it went through a quick and sudden development in the past few years, catching up to its big brother in popularity. Even though Népsziget is located right under the Northern Railway Bridge in an industrial area of the 4th district, the Danube views and the hip, bohemian vibes with sunbeds and bars are making it appealing for more and more people. With a riding hall, a dog school, and even a goat farm nearby, it is a place for those looking for a riverside park in Budapest with a hint of hippie wilderness.
How to get there: Take metro M3 (Göncz Árpád City Center) and take an approx. 15-min walk
Still staying close to the Danube, let’s move to the southern part of the city to discover another lesser-known recreational area of Budapest. Located on the Buda side of the Rákoczi bridge, Kopaszi Dam and Park (Kopaszi Gát) is a 10ha riverside park with greenery, benches, and restaurants and cafés all around. Due to the decent residential development of the area, the view from the Dam also includes some newly-built apartment complexes and the highest office block (MOL Tower) of Budapest. But don’t worry, the urban landscape doesn’t take away the charm of the park. Sports fans can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and thanks to the recently opened SHO Beach BudaPart, you can even plunge into the waters after sunbathing.
How to get there: Using public transport, you can get there by tram Nr.1 (Infopark), or buses Nr. 153, 154. Kopaszi Dam also operates a spacious parking lot.
Getting closer to the city center, let’s explore some inner-city parks in Budapest. Truly a hidden gem both in looks and in size, Károlyi Garden (Károlyi-kert) is the oldest public garden in Budapest. Located halfway between Kálvin tér and Astoria, but sheltered from the noise of the busy junctions, Károlyi Garden is perfect for taking a breather and relaxing after having explored the city. Built in a French urban style, the park used to be the private garden of the noble Károlyi family. Today it functions as a public park. Please note that no dogs and no alcohol are allowed inside. For those fancying a drink nearby, Csendes ruin pub could be a perfect choice.
How to get there: You can get there by metro M3 (Kálvin tér) or M2 (Astoria), as well as trams Nr. 47, 49. Plus, hop-on-hop-off buses also stop both at Kálvin tér and Astoria.
After exploring spacious recreational areas and hidden city parks, it’s time to discover yet another type of relaxing spot in Budapest. Füvészkert Botanical Gardens is a true Budapest hidden gem, courtesy of the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE). Giving a home to several types of cacti and succulents, as well as large water lilies and cherry trees, the garden dates back to the 18th century. Besides its fresh air and lush green scenery, Füvészkert is also famous for Ferenc Molnár’s iconic novel, The Paul Street Boys, which is partly set at this location. If you’re familiar with the story, make sure to say hi to Nemecsek’s statue in the lake. If interested, you can also buy plants and flowers from the Botanical Gardens, but please note that it’s not a public park – see the entry fees here.
How to get there: Take metro M3 (Semmelweis Klinikák)
09:00 – 17:00
Still in the 8th district, just across the street from the ELTE Botanical Gardens lies yet another hidden spot of the area, Orczy Park. It may be a bit off the grid between Semmelweis Klinikák and Nagyvárad tér, none of which junctions are particularly appealing, but inside the park, you’ll feel you are in a completely different world. Sheltered by the buildings of the University of Public Service, Orczy Park offers everything you can ask from a recreational area, ranging from a lovely lake, lush green fields, sports facilities, a riding hall, and even an adventure park. By the lake bar, you can sit out for a few drinks, and in warm summer evenings, you may even tune in for the songs of a choir that holds their practice there.
How to get there: Take metro M3 (Semmelweis Klinikák or Nagyvárad tér), or trams 2M, 24 (Nagyvárad tér)
Stepping over to the Buda side of the city, Feneketlen-tó (or as translated, the Bottomless Lake) is a must-see for those looking for relaxing parks in Budapest. Contrary to its name, it does have a bottom. It is an artificial lake created in 1877 when the construction of a nearby brick factory required the clay situated in the area. Artificial or not, the park is full of green spots, giant trees, lovely shades, and sunny benches – perfect for relaxing after a busy workday or sightseeing tour. If you fancy a sportier outdoor activity, there’s a tennis court, a running trail, and a street workout spot. For food and drink, we recommend Budai Parkszínpad (Buda Park Stage), the iconic outdoor bar of the neighborhood, which is also perfect for watching football matches or other sports events on the big screen.
How to get there: Take tram 6 or metro M4 (Móricz Zsigmond körtér) or tram 49 (Kosztolányi Dezső tér)
If you’ve spent a day or so in Budapest, you most probably have already climbed the Gellért Hill for a view, but we bet you haven’t noticed a hidden nook of the hill, the Garden of Philosophers (Filozófusok kertje). On the north side of the hill, by the Elizabeth bridge, stand a bunch of dark statues, among which one can spot Jesus Christ facing Buddha, as well as Prince Buda meeting Princess Pest. The statues symbolize different times, cultures, and religions from all around the world. While you contemplate on a better, more understanding future by their side, you can look down on the river and take in the mesmerizing view of Budapest from above. Don’t miss it out!
How to get there: You can either walk up the hill on foot, or take bus Nr. 8E from Ferenciek tere (to Sánc utca)
- What are the best recreational areas in Budapest?
- The most famous recreational areas in Budapest are Margaret Island (Margitsziget), the City Park (Városliget), and Római part, but the city has many more hidden parks and gardens. On the Pest side, make sure to visit Károlyi Garden, the ELTE Botanical Gardens, Orczy Park, and Népsziget. On the Buda side, check out Kopaszi Dam and Park, the Bottomless Lake, and the Garden of Philosophers on the Gellért Hill.
- What are the best inner-city parks in Budapest?
- The best parks and gardens in the city center of Budapest are Károlyi Garden, the ELTE Botanical Gardens, Orczy Park, the Garden of Philosophers, and the Bottomless Lake.
- What are the best riverside parks in Budapest by the Danube?
- Besides Margaret Island (Margitsziget) and Római Part, the best riverside parks are Kopaszi Dam on the Buda side of the Rákóczi bridge, and Népsziget by the Northern Railway Bridge in the 4th district.