As a traveler around Budapest, Margit Bridge is unavoidable. It forms part of the Grand Boulevard (the Nagykörút) that circles most of the center of the city. As a result, the two busiest and most important tramlines, (Trams 4 and 6), cross over the Danube on this bridge, making it a vital part of the city’s transport system. But even though it has a crucial functionality, Margit Bridge remains a joy for any tourist here in Budapest.
A Little History
Following Széchenyi’s iconic Chain Bridge, Margit Bridge was the second permanent structure to be built across the Danube in Budapest. It was designed by a French engineer, Ernest Goüin, and completed in 1876. So that’s a little of the history, but what makes this bridge such an experience is a combination of factors:
First of all, there are three ways on to the bridge and three ways off: the middle of the bridge connects to an island in the middle of the Danube. Margit Island is a joy in its own right, it’s not just a large park, but is also a popular place for bathers in thermal pools and for those who like wining and dining outside. (There is also a hotel on the island.) Not surprisingly, many people break up their journey across Margit Bridge to spend some time on the island.
A Journey in Itself
Another factor in the bridge’s favor is its accessibility: Margit Bridge is definitely pedestrian friendly, but it’s also a joy to experience on tram. Why not try both?
Fantastic Views of Budapest
Then there are the views from Margit Bridge which are definitely some of the best in the city. The Parliament of Hungary on the Pest side, or the on the opposite side, the Buda Castle and hills that bristle with church spires and castle towers. Stand in the center of the bridge and Buda and Pest are presented for you in equally impressive measure. In addition to the cityscape, there’s also the vast expansion of sky and river which opens up as soon as you step onto the bridge. For those who enjoy some dramatic cloud displays, if the conditions are right, you might find yourself gazing up at searing-pink and orange clouds blazing away above you as the day comes to an end.
Well-Placed for Everything Else
Then there are the nearby possibilities on either side of the bridge. On the Pest side, you find the beginning of the No 2 Tramline: probably one of the most beautiful tram journeys in the world. Also in Pest, there is the trendy Pozsonyi utca (Pozsonyi street) and the Víg Theatre. On the Buda side, the bridge links with the embankment, and also the suburban railway and a potential journey to Szentendre.
Finally, although most of the grandeur of the bridge is seen below the pedestrian level, (another good reason for a boat trip), Margit Bridge is still aesthetically pleasing for those who walk across it: it is peppered here and there with intricately crafted lamps and winged creatures.
Of all the bridges in Budapest, only Chain Bridge ranks higher on the list of ‘must experience’ bridges.