Margaret Island Budapest
There is a reason that Margaret Island is one of the favorite green islands of the locals. This place offers relaxation, sports, eating and recreation facilities in the middle of the city. It is worth discovering it thoroughly because every part has something special to offer. Most importantly, it is ideal for all ages: whether you are alone or in pairs, with the whole family or with a huge group of friends: Margaret Island is a place to spend an entire day.
Here is a little review on what is on the island:
- Bringo cart: special bikes, electric vehicles, and even 12-person foot-powered bikes can be rented at several points on Margaret Island.
- Restaurants: mouth-watering food, cold drinks and sports broadcasts at the Danube bank.
- Palatinus Open-Air Bath: it is called “Pala” by the locals. You can’t miss this thermal and whirlpool bath with an open-air bath.
- Sport facilities: 5 km of running track, fitness parks, and the Alfred Hajós National Swimming Stadium.
- Green areas: huge ancient trees, shady promenades and huge meadows, where you can relax, play or have a picnic with your family or friends.
- Wildlife park and petting zoo: it’s a great experience for adults as well.
- Musical fountain: Hungary’s largest musical fountain fascinates everyone with different music and special light show played in every hour.
- Castle ruins: for the lovers of Middle Ages and history.
- Playgrounds: for children of every age.
- Culture: open-air stage.
- Observation tower: a Water Tower with round panorama of the city.
- Japanese garden: for those who seek for a cool place to relax.
- Hotels and a hostel: for those who spends the night.
- Rose garden: wonderful roses with a gorgeous scent.
- English-style park: romantic venue full of flowers.
Bringo Cart and Other Alternative Vehicles on Margaret Island
After arriving to the island from the Margaret Bridge, in a few meters we can already see the colorful and rentable vehicles promising crazy adventures at the huge roundabout.
Let’s start with the simpler ones! ☺
Electric vehicles are a favorite of gentlemen and older couples. Elegant, prestigious electric golf carts can be rented in a variety of colors for up to 2-6 people. Its peculiarity is the seat at the back, where adults and children can sit as well, but let’s face it, the kids looks better there.
The vehicles are recommended to be driven on the concrete road only, leisurely, at a slow pace.
Our next contestant already has a slightly more extreme look, but it is still electrically powered.
We must not lose our heads, this is not a racetrack! Mind the children and the pedestrians. Unfortunately, we can’t really take advantage of the four-wheel drive because apart from one or two hilly parts the ground is flat. The good news is, however, that by choosing this vehicle we probably will not have to call someone to help us because we got stucked. ☺
Our last electric contestant is the scooter, which I recommend for lone wolves, those traveling in herds, and for pairs who don’t mind being close to each other, since there is also a two-person version of it.
And now let’s see my real favorites!
The first series of bringo carts, a special pedal car. At first, only bringo carts could be rented on Margaret Island, the first trunk of which is usually a favorite seat for kids. I recommend renting this monstrous cart with at least three people, and checking the people sitting in the back so they keep pedaling.
I think bike don’t need to be introduced to anyone, but I would like to note that bikes can be rented in the city at a better price, and, of course, they can also be used on the island.
Foot-powered bikes with a more modern design are characterized by easier riding and a sportier pace, so be careful what kind of wheel you choose because the thicker wheel is much harder to drive. As you can see in the photo, you can even have two extra seats if you want to.
For larger groups or for families with kids these blue monsters can be a great choice, available for rent in both kid and adult sizes.
The kids haven’t been forgotten either, but keep in mind that they can’t ride as long as adults, and if they get tired, we have to go back to the rental.
The vehicles can be found by both entrances by the Margaret and the Árpád Bridge, so if you can’t find a vehicle on one side, just walk to the other end of the island.
If you want to explore Margaret Island with these vehicles, you may want to visit the renters first and discuss when to take and bring the vehicle back, as you usually have to wait a long time. This way you can go for a bite or a drink at one of the nice buffets, and you don’t need to worry about the renting.
Restaurants on Margaret Island
Restaurants can be divided into two categories:
Restaurants in identical stone buildings are next to the paved main road, and they are usually open in winter.
And buffets in the coastal part, starting after Budapest sign, where there is always a bustle.
The Champs sports pub on Margaret Island has an elegant, huge terrace decorated with sports trophies and it is specialized in broadcasting sporting events. Of course, it is always open and we can come in for a good meal or drink at any time
Steg is the oldest place on the island, and only few know about it, but there is also a hostel here. So those who fall in love with the atmosphere can also spend the night here!
Hippie Island has a special, hippie-like feeling on Margaret Island. It’s worth looking at the pictures, they speak for themselves.
Wonder Island is simple, but it still seems such a cozy place to me. It has somehow that old, retro feeling: simplicity, plastic chairs, buffet, Danube bank. I usually eat fish here with some pitchers of beer, which is a must.
Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful running tracks in Budapest is on Margaret Island, where the surface is great and the panorama is wonderful. Unfortunately, most pedestrians don’t know that this wasn’t made for them.
Tip: Read more about the running tracks in Budapest in the following link
Green Areas on Margaret Island (90%)
There are plenty of green areas on Margaret Island where everyone can find their favorite place. Some settle in the first grassy part of the island, some swear by the sunny Nagyrét (“Big Meadow”), or prefer to cool off in the shade of a huge tree.
Our favorite place on the Margaret Island with my son is Nagyret. We usually go by bike or scooter and always take soccer ball, frisbee, or badminton with us. We also like to have a picnic here: we just spread out a blanket, and there is always a soft drink, a little snack, a sandwich, and of course 1-2 bottles of beers in the bag.
People come here alone, in pairs, or with a whole group of friends to get together on Margaret Island and play, play the guitar, drink, have fun, play frisbee or American football, or take a sunbathe. In short: to have a great time.
Tip: You’d better bring some corkscrew and plastic cups with you for drinking wine on the grass because there are no tobacco shops or grocery stores on the island.
Don’t forget to pick up your trash before leaving! Luckily, the experience shows that everyone picks up even the last little cap.
Wildlife Park and Petting Zoo
Here we can see Chinese silk chickens, storks, deer native to our domestic forests, as well as pony horses living in the middle of the garden. Children can ride the ponies and get really close to the animals. The entrance can be found on a small dirt road next to the concrete road.
Musical Fountain on the Margaret Island
There are two musical fountains on the Margaret Island, but the one closer to the Margaret Bridge is the biggest attraction of its kind in Hungary. Between May and October, a block of music is performed every quarter of an hour, including music by Ferenc Liszt, Strauss or Beethoven. It’s worth checking it at night because of the amazing lightshow.
Medieval Church, Castle Ruins
Lovers of the Middle Ages and castles can really enjoy walking past the many ruins of buildings and monasteries. The ruins are not fenced, so they can be walked around completely.
You can’t get enough of this beautiful place. Lakes, waterfalls and hundreds of years old trees. The garden is one of the most famous oriental parks in the country, where you can also take wonderful photos. It’s the island of calm, where even time stands still. The splashing water, the rustling of leaves. It’s a real place for relaxation.
Palatinus Open-Air Bath and Pool on Margaret Island
Palatinus is the oldest outdoor bath in Budapest, a great place for those who want to take a sunbathe and dip in an adventure pool. The bath is located halfway between Árpád and Margaret Bridge. In the bath you can paddle, have a thermal bath, go to the sauna, slide, or practice surfing. You must try the huge Wiener schnitzel and the delicious waffle. Please note, that in 2018 cashless payment was introduced in the area of the bath, so foods and drinks purchased in the bath must be paid by cards uploaded at the cashier desks or by credit card.
Hotels and a Hostel on Margaret Island
Danubius Grand Hotel Margaret Island: The oldest hotel in Budapest was built in 1873 according to the plans of Miklós Ybl. The four-star superior hotel has been visited by many artists and celebrities. The elegant hotel is connected by an underground corridor with the neighboring Danubius Health Spa Resort on Margaret Island.
Tip: Read more about the Danubius Grand Hotel Margaret Island in the following article: LINK
The hostel Steg is located nearby Margaret Bridge.
I am not sure if you can sleep outdoors on the island, but I haven’t seen a tent so far 🙂
By the entrance at Margaret Bridge, there are playgrounds for smaller and bigger children alike. However, a few hundred meters further there is a much more modern and larger playground as well. It is worth visiting this newer, more modern playground.
Margaret Island Open-Air Stage
It is one of Europe’s most popular cultural venues and the country’s only built, permanent open-air stone theater. It is always waiting for visitors with a special series of programs, so culture lovers should definitely visit here.
Margaret Island Water Tower and Observation Tower
It is worth walking up the 152 steps to the water tower at the middle of the island, in the courtyard of the Margaret Island Open-Air Stage, because from the top there is a wonderful view of Budapest. The water tower awaits visitors from June to the end of September, and there is also an exhibition on the upper floors.
Click on the link to find out where the best lookout points and rooftop bars in Budapest are: LINK
The huge, well-kept, colorful and fragrant rose garden offers a beautiful view in an area of 15,000 square meters.
Lovers of romance will definitely enjoy a walk in this huge park full of colorful flowers.
Toilets on the Margaret Island
You’d rather check where you can find toilets on the island.
There is a toilet by the buffets and at least 4 more places on the island. They’re in pretty good condition, but there is almost always a long line in front of them. These are mostly automatic toilets, but there are also two containers and a toilet in a building.
Tip: Always have some change with you for automatic toilets. All toilets are paid, they usually cost around 2-300 HUF.
Margaret Island like a big boat
Looking at the two ends of Margaret Island is like boarding a giant ship.
Dog friendly location
Where Is the Margaret Island?
Margaret Island is a huge green park in the middle of river Danube between Margaret and Árpád Bridge.
The island can be approached by tram 4-6; it takes you from the city center all the way to the entrance.
However, I would rather recommend walking to the park from the Pest or Buda bridgehead of the Margaret Bridge. This way you can have a pretty lavish view of the Parliament as you walk on Margaret Bridge, and that is not to be missed.
Bus line 26: it crosses Margaret Island, so for those who don’t like walking, this line may be the perfect solution as it stops several times on the island.
Taxi: it only takes us to the entrance, from where we also need to go on foot.
From the direction of Árpád Bridge tram 1 is the best solution, but if we can, we should approach the island from the Margaret Bridge. If we go by car, we can use the parking lot by the Árpád Bridge.
My favorite way of approaching the island is with the public boat, which can really complete the experience on Margaret Island. You can board at several stops at the bank of the Danube, so you can take the boat from the foot of the Margaret Bridge, but you can also board the boat opposite the Parliament after a visit.
You can read more about the public boat service in this article: LINK
It is worth going to the Lukács Thermal Bath, as it is only a 10-minute walk from here.
You can read more about Lukács Thermal Bath here.