Budapest Vacation Service...Margaret Island - The Lungs of the City
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Margaret Island (Margitsziget)
There is so much to see and so many places to visit in Budapest and one area often missed and well worth adding to your itinerary is Margaret Island, located just at the northern end of the city centre.
Margaret Island is a surprising and delightful recreational retreat from the hustle and bustle of central Budapest.
It sits in the middle of the Danube and is accessed via a bridge over the river. Although a fairly small island, (2.5 kilometres long and 500 metres wide,) there is much to see and do for all age groups.
Known locally as ‘the lungs of the city’, the island is named after Princess (Saint) Margaret (1242–1270), the daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary, who lived in a convent on the island. The thirteenth century ruins of the Dominican convent and church are still visible and reflect the status of the island as a centre of religion at that time. The oldest bell in Hungary hangs in the tower of St Michael`s chapel to the north and the ruins of a thirteenth century Franciscan Priory can be found in the middle of the island.
St. Margaret’s burial place can be seen in the ruins of the church.
Landscaped park areas provide space for peaceful picnics and beautiful walks. Visit the small Japanese garden complete with thermal fish pond and pretty rock garden, or admire the many exotic flowers and plants at the northern end of the island.
Margaret Island is virtually traffic-free which makes it ideal for a family day-out. Bicycles, roller blades or electric cars are available to hire, or if you are feeling more energetic, you can run on the jogging track which goes around the island.
Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the tennis courts and athletics centre, while a small zoo with exotic waterfowl will keep the little ones occupied. The Palatinus water park boasts the largest outdoor swimming complex in Budapest.
An open-air theatre seats 3500 people and is a very popular venue, particularly during the Budapest Summer Festival held through June, July and August. Productions include opera, comedy, dance and music concerts. Light shows can be seen on summer evenings at the Music Fountain, which is situated to the south of the island (watch video clip below).
The art nouveau-style water tower at the north end of the island was built in 1911 and now provides visitors with a panoramic view of the city, in addition to hosting a variety of exhibitions and events throughout the year.
Another landmark worth visiting is the Centennial Memorial, at the southern end of the island, close to the fountain, commemorates the 100th anniversary of the city`s unification.
Margaret Island is also known for its thermal water, which can give relief to a number of muscle and joint problems, nerve and circulation disorders and other conditions.
Two large thermal hotels in the northern area provide an excellent base for those wishing to make the most of the peace and serenity. Clubs, bars and restaurants are dotted around the island, making it a great place to spend a summer evening.
If you have some time, why not pay a visit to Margaret Island. You certainly won't regret it.
How to get there:
It’s very easy to reach Margaret Island by public transport from any part of Budapest.
The 4 and 6 tram crosses Margaret Bridge in both directions and stops in the middle of the bridge at the entrance to Margaret Island.
Alternatively, the number 2 tram, which runs along the Danube stops at Jaszai Mari ter (end stop), located at the Pest side of Margaret bridge. From there, just a 5 minute walk to the middle of the bridge and down onto the island.
The musical fountain located on the southern end of Margaret Island
The Gardens on Margaret Island
On July.1. 2013 the newly renovated fountain was officially opened. Breathtaking musical water performances take place during the summer months, featuring the following music:
1. Vivaldi: Four seasons - Spring
2. Simon and Garfunkel: Cecilia
3. Verdi: Nabucco – Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves
4. Creedence Clearwater Revival: Who’ll Stop The Rain
5. Brahms: Hungarian Dances No. 1
6. Shadows: Kon-Tiki
7. The Rolling Stones: Let Me Down Slow
8. Andrea Bocelli: Time To Say Goodbye
Performance schedules are:
10.30 a.m. – 4 songs, 17.00 – 4 songs, 18.00 – Full program, 19.30 – 4 songs, 21.00 – Full program