Name: Margaret Island
Category: Nature and gardens
Location: 1138 Budapest, Hajós Alfréd Sétány
There are a number of beautiful places around Budapest where it’s worth to get out to if you’re fed up with the noise of the city and wish for some green. Margitsziget could be the most time-saving choice, though, as it’s situated in the heart of the city. The island, named after Saint Margaret of the Árpád dynasty, was once called the isle of rabbits. This pocket of nature draws us inside with fresh air, various flora, a lake, birds, the Danube, hidden nooks, a running track, a bath of thermal water, a Japanese garden, the Water Tower, a rose garden and even a singing fountain.
A haven of peace and countryside it is rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful parks in Budapest. Thermal water spa, it has the equipment for water therapy and for accommodation. Don't miss the monument of the Centenary, the Palatinus baths, the ruins of the convent where Princess Marguerite lived (daughter of Béla IVth , to whom the isle owes its name), the promenade of the Artists, the ancient water castle, the open air theatre and the old musical fountain.
Lying in the centre of Budapest and the River Danube and closed to automobile traffic, the island can easily be accessed on foot from both banks of the river or by bus. A broad 2-km long green expanse of land stretching between Margaret Bridge and Árpád Bridge, the island is Budapest’s most treasured and beloved park.
Closed to automobile traffic, it can easily be accessed on foot from both banks or by bus 26 departing from Nyugati tér. It is a scenic island of peace and quiet with some trees that are hundreds of years old, the colourful tapestry of a rose garden, a thermal spring in an evocative Japanese-style garden and a waterfall.
The little zoo is popular with children while the Hajós Alfréd Swimming Pool hosts international sporting events.
For the ultimate summer pleasure there is the Palatinus Swimming Pool. Musicals are staged in the open-air theatre at the water tower.
The ruins of a 700-year-old Dominican and a Franciscan church and monastery are the island’s historical monuments. In the belfry of the Premonstratensian chapel, the oldest bell in the country can still be heard. In the high season minibuses are in service, offering faster and easier access to the sights of the island. Pedal vehicles can be rented year round at the Bringó vár (Bike Castle) at the northern tip of the island near the hotels.
Good to know about Margaret Island
- Margaret Island is a 2,5 km long island in the middle of the Danube in central Budapest
- Originally it was 3 separate islands that were connected in the 19th century to control the flow of the Danube
- In the middle ages the islands housed an imporant religious center. The island takes its name after St. Margaret, the daughter of King Bela IV, who lived here in the 13th century
- King Béla devoted his daughter to god to thank him for ridding his country of the invading Mongoles
- Today the island is covered with a landscape park, and it is a popular recreational area with running tracks, swimming pools and other sports facilities
- The Music Fountain and the octagonal Water tower are protected UNESCO sites
- Other highlights are: the Music well, 13th century ruins of St Margaret's abbey, the tiny zoo and a small Japanese Garden
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