19 Apr Interesting Abandoned Places in Budapest
There’s a reason people visit usual landmarks – they’re beautiful, they have some historical value and also look good on Instagram. But sometimes it’s more interesting to go off the beaten path and discover a side of the city even locals don’t really know about. If you’re an experienced or budding urban explorer, you’ll find some wonderful industrial buildings in Budapest that may excite you more than a visit to Buda Castle, Chain Bridge or the Hungarian Parliament.
Head out of the city centre towards the XI District in Buda, just across from the Kopaszi Dam, and you’ll find the Kelenföld Power Station. It’s easy to spot from the distance with its tall chimney towers. Built in 1914, this power station may look like your usual industrial building from the outside, but head inside to the old control room and you may be in for a surprise. Architects Kálmán Reichl and Virgil Borbiró created an art deco masterpiece that once acted as the control room to Europe’s most advanced supply of electricity at the time. Underneath the glass ceiling, the copper green controls surrounding the oval room look like something out of a Jules Verne novel. This is undoubtedly one of Budapest’s most spectacular hidden gems.
Location: Kelenföld Powerstation, IX district, Hengermalom út 60.
On the other end of Buda, in the III District further up the Danube, you may spot a curious building that looks like an abandoned chateau. There are four towers, three shorter ones clustering round a tall one, that once made up the water towers of the old 19th century gas works. Much of the site is closed off after being decommissioned in 1984, where you’ll find large halls with old turbines and control rooms tucked inside large brick halls. Most of the area is run down, although the towers have been renovated since.
Location: Óbuda Gasworks, III district, Gázgyár street
Former TV Station
There is no need to go out of the city centre for interesting abandoned buildings, as the former TV station on Szabadsag tér ticks the boxes. Once a broker’s from the early 20th century, and eventually becoming home to the Hungarian Broadcasting Company, the building has been empty since 2009. While much of it lies in dilapidation, you can party the night away at the Impostor bar below, or eat some bao at Asian street food den Baotiful.
Location: V district, Szabadság square 17.
Head down to Csepel Island in the south of the city for an old bunker set in the former industrial area. The Csepel Bunker is located in one of the largest military industrial plants in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the risk of bombing during World War II, the factory was forced underground into the bunkers. Today, some tours run to the Csepel Bunker, but only in Hungarian.
Location: XXI district, Tanműhely street 7.
Up in the district of Kőbánya, there is a network of cellars and mines that run 30km underneath Budapest. Some parts are even completely underwater, but if you have the right certifications, you can do a spot of scuba diving in the submerged mines. Fortunately, not all of the mines are underwater, and some parts are still accessible for non-divers.
Location: X district, Bánya street 37.