Islands of Budapest

Islands of Budapest

The quaint islands within Budapest are adding more fun and variety to the city’s green patches.

Islands of Budapest

Budapesters cherish their islands, especially in the warm months

Central to Budapest, literally central, is the Danube. But it doesn’t just split the capital into Buda and Pest; it is also home to quaint islands within the city, adding more fun and variety to the city’s green patches. As the islands are plopped in the middle of the river, as well as the middle of the city, you don’t have to go far or even swim!

Budapesters cherish their islands, especially in the warm months: in the day, they jog, stroll and while away the time. In the evening, various summer festivals claim the space for cultural diversion.

Margaret Island

The most central and iconic island, Margaret Island is named after Saint Margaret of the 13th century. It was called several names throughout history, including the “island of rabbits”, which some say came from its wild rabbit population, with others suggesting it was just misspelled Latin, and the island served as quarantine. Not anymore! Today, it’s an island of fun.

Car traffic is prohibited on the island, except public transport. You can access the island by taking tram 4 or 6, from the bridge. You can still ride around though: hire a bike, or rent cyclo-pousses/bringo carts, golf carts, electric scooters and even funny egg-shaped cars.

The most popular sports activity on the island remains jogging. There is a 5-km-plus rubberised running track with spectacular views, in addition to tennis courts, street-workout equipment, thermal pools, adventure pools, water slides and wave pools.

A popular sight, the Musical Fountain is located near the southern end of the island. It is beautifully illuminated at night. Various genres of music are played (Brahms, Bocelli, Simon & Garfunkel, Vivaldi) several times a day, at 10:30am, and 5, 6, 7 and 9:00pm. For more architectural delight, visit the Art Nouveaux water tower.

Margaret Island is especially safe for children as the park is regularly cleaned and sprayed. Especially popular and a must-visit sight is the island’s petting zoo, which is open during the warmer months. Enjoy pony rides! There are treats around the park, such as typical Hungarian bites, as well as ice cream and candy floss.

One of the locations for the Budapest Summer Festival, Margaret Island’s open-air stage shows a diverse range of cultural events in the evenings. August 2019 highlights include Hungary’s trademark operetta “The Queen of Czardas”, the national ballet company of Georgia, Pink Martini and electric music by Zagar.


Óbuda Island

Old Buda’s island is possibly most famous for the iconic Sziget Festival. Held on 7-13 August in 2019, it is one of Europe’s biggest blowouts, featuring concerts by international superstars and all kinds of creative attractions aiming to provide something appealing for everyone. Superfans actually set up tents and stay on the island for the entire duration of the festival. VIP services are also available.


Children’s Sziget tends to take over Óbuda Island in June: for an entire month, families are welcome on Saturdays and Sundays for a wide array of free activities for kids, including games, rides and performances.


Csepel Island

Csepel Island is the largest island of the Hungarian Danube-islands, and it was here that the strategic centre as part of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin was set up, and it is named after tribe chief Árpád’s horse groom, Csepel. Spanning 48 km, the island is home to the famous Manfred Weiss factory (later, Csepel Works), Workers Quarters and the bunkers built during WWII, Freeport Granary and the Kvassay lock at the northern end.


Népsziget (People’s Island)

People’s Island lies north of the city centre, and while it’s not exactly central, it is an up-and-coming riverfront space on the Pest side. If you enjoy strolling or doing sports on the road less travelled, Népsziget offers unspoilt nature. It also reveals beautiful vistas of the Danube and Buda Hills, as well as Soviet-era, graffiti-covered abandoned factories and overgrown campgrounds for history buffs. Elsewhere, open fields spread out for as far as the eye can see, with surreal sculptures dotting the landscape, which were placed here over the years by local artists.

You can also go boating here: kayaking and canoeing lessons are available to anyone for reasonable one-time or multiple-lesson rates. Sessions are primarily conducted in Hungarian but English-speaking visitors are still welcome.

For a people’s food experience, try classic lángos at Sziget Söröző, while on Partizán Boat they serve corn on the cob, grilled dishes and savoury bean soups.

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Be sure to head back to our Destination page to discover more of what to see and do in Budapest. Of course, our Clefs d'Or Member concierges and our entire staff at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus will be more than happy to assist in any way they can during your stay too.

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