High and low, hike in the many hills of Buda or submerge to the depths of the caves in Szemlöhegy, Palvölgy or the Castle Caves. Water-sports lovers will find plenty to enjoy in heritage baths like the Oriental Gellert, Turkish Rudas, open-air Széchenyi or the brand-new Veli Bej. For personal training in the fitness centre or outdoors and more recommendations for sports in Budapest, contact the concierge.
We would like to share some of our most precious discoveries with you, so that you may love Budapest for what it really is.
Carefree locals playing chess in hot thermal water during the freezing winter. You must have seen these images in Budapest guides. I could be in one of those photos, as my preferred thermal bath of the many the city has is Széchenyi Bath in City Park. This one happens to be bright yellow and neo-classical and is also one of the biggest and most special bath complexes in Budapest. It was recently upgraded and renovated, but there are others that have retained their original Ottoman features and are more indoorsy.
This outdoor pool, open in every season remains to me the definitive experience of the bath. It could be sub-zero temperatures but I’m in there, to enjoy a splash, or a game of chess, outside! But it’s also popular with locals because of its great variety of indoor and outdoor pools, thermal and wellness sections, spa treatments and medical services. My very own personal tip is to go there very early in the morning to be the first in the outside pool. Sit in peace in the steam and relax, with no one around but the almost invisible stone sculptures.
Tamás Takács - Head Concierge
Address & Distance:
Széchenyi Bath - XIV. district, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, H-1146
3.1 km = 45 minutes on foot or 15 minutes with underground
Best time for visiting: daily from 6:00am till 10:00pm (Thermal bath till 7 pm in wintertime)
Suggested time for a visit: 2-6 hours
* Daily ticket + cabin on weekdays HUF 5,400 per adult (ca EUR 18)
* Daily ticket + cabin on weekends HUF 5,600 per adult (ca EUR 19)
Jogging in the city
I love Margaret Island’s peace and quiet, but what I find especially fascinating is its sports life. The island is plopped in the middle of the Danube, just off the romantically restored and candelabra-rich Margaret Bridge, and as soon as you go there it will instantly become your sweet spot. It is my relaxing escape from the city; in its very heart yet splendidly isolated by the river. Another positive for the island is that car traffic is restricted. To me, it’s better than Central Park! I run along the island’s full 5.35 km dedicated, rubber-coated running tracks, which are conveniently marked every 500 metres. I swim in the Palatinus water park, which is Europe’s largest open-air swimming complex, and the Alfréd Hajós swimming pool. There are also tennis courts and an athletics centre. Alternatively, you can just meander through this almost 1 sq. km island to discover its attractions, such as the Music Fountain and the Water Tower, both of which are protected UNESCO sites, or the small Japanese garden and the tiny zoo.
Judit Dénes - Marketing Manager
Address & Distance:
Margaret Island - XIII district, H-1138
3.5 km = 45 minutes on foot or 8 minutes by car
Golfing in Hungary Etyek and its Surrounding Vineyards
Let me take you outside Budapest. My favourite “perfect day” destination is Etyek, a quaint village 30 km (18.6 mi) from the city. Its lush vineyards produce some of the best white wine in Hungary, as it has been made there since Roman times. After a visit to the 18-hole Pannonia Golf & Country Club, I never miss Etyeki Kúria or the Haraszty Vineyards. I could not wish for a better afternoon than to relax and enjoy the beautiful view on the cellar's terraces, which give you the feeling that you are in Tuscany enjoying varieties of delicious wine. There’s another side to Etyek as well – a side that can be seen in its film history. As a matter of fact, Etyek is like Napa Valley and Hollywood rolled into one. It is here in the Korda Studios that Jeremy Irons shot "The Borgias", and you can actually book a tour of the studios. After having a light meal at Rokusfalvy restaurant, which I have been visiting for many years, I always return to Budapest with a smile on my face.
Stephan Interthal - General Manager
Address & Distance:
Etyek - H- 2091
30 km = 32 minutes by car