20 Sep Chill in Budapest’s Smaller Parks
City life can get suffocating and there’s nothing like a healthy dose of nature to breathe some oxygen back into us. There is a reason the large green spaces like City Park and Margare Island function as Budapest’s green lungs, but since small is also beautiful, here are some petite parks that may be unfamiliar to you. Winter might be coming and autumn is here, but we’re still holding out in hope for a few more stolen sunny afternoons for one more picnic. Say goodbye to the summer in one of these smaller parks in Budapest.
Set in the heart of the V District, this walled park gets its name from its former owners: the Károlyi family. Today it’s a public park with its own opening times attached to its wrought iron fence. The garden evokes dainty French gardens, lined with romantic pathways with crunching gravel below and cultured plants that are getting ready to hibernate. We love this perfectly manicured garden for an afternoon stroll or for a drink at the gate in our favourite bar, Csendes Társ where you can sip a glass of fröccs and watch the world go by.
Location: Károlyi kert on the map
photo: photo: budapestcity.org
Close to trendy Bartok Béla Boulevard, Feneketlen-tó, which translates as the Bottomless Lake, is a cosy park that comes with its own urban legend; some say its name stems from the belief that the lake’s basin plunges deep into the Earth’s crust. From the surface though, it’s just a picturesque spot overlooking a baroque church, with a running track sprinting round its circumference. Ducks skim the surface of in the lake, close to the swaying reeds and the surrounding area is active with tennis courts and the recently renovated Újbuda New Theatre, where you’ll find a bar and some Balkan bites.
Location: Feneketlen-tó on the map
Hidden in the heart of the VIII District, Orczy kert is a beautiful green spot that surrounds another lake, not as bottomless, but certainly bigger, but you’ll also find a football field, basketball court and another a running track. The park breathes history with its 18th century Ludovika Academy, which from the right angle, kind of looks like a stately home. The park is enclosed by a wall, and you can find the main entrance up by Ludovika Square close to the academy. It’s a dog-free park, so not the park for you if you’re planning on bringing your four legged friend.
Location: Orczy kert on the map
Szent István Park
Close to the Danube, Szent István Park is Újlipótváros’s largest and most loved park. It’s a little out of the way of the tourist trail, but makes up for the trek with the abundance of 1920s grandeur. You’ll find some of Budapest’s most beautiful Bauhaus buildings overlooking the trees and park benches. It’s popular with locals for strolls and a relaxing afternoon in the sun, particularly families and dog owners, since there is a small dog park as well. You’ll also find some charming cafés and restaurants nearby, like 1920s era Dunapark Kavéház, or some trendier places like Babka.
Location: Szent István park on the map
Behind Feneketlen-tó and a fence, this rugged botanical garden seems like private property to those not in the know. While the Budai Arborétum (Botanical Garden) is a part of Szent István University, it is open to the public and it’s free of charge to visit. The slope that backs onto the residential part of Gellért Hill is an open air nursery for trees from all across the world, be it Asian bamboo or American maple. Its wide range of trees, plants and flowers are worth visiting all year round, whether it’s the darling buds of May or the changing colours of the autumn.
Location: Budai Arborétum on the map