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A Guide to City Park in Budapest

October 27th, 2021

 

Heroes’ Square is one of the most popular Budapest attractions, but do you know what lies beyond? It’s a shame that many tourists don’t continue through the Square into Városliget (City Park), but we’re here to help you avoid that fate! With seasonal festivals, and numerous attractions, and wide pet-friendly spaces, visiting City Park should definitely be on your Budapest bucket list.

 

Permanent Attractions

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad castle at night

Just stepping into this one-of-a-kind castle is to take a walk through history. It’s actually a combination of styles of different Hungarian castles through time, meant to show the architectural evolution, and though it may look ancient, it was only built in 1891. The castle houses the Hungarian Agricultural Museum, as well as Anonymus Bar&More. The lake that stretches around the castle offers entertainment as well! During the warmer months you can rent a boat and row around, and during the winter months it freezes over and turns into the city’s most picturesque ice rink!

 

Széchenyi Baths

outdoor baths at Széchenyi Bath

If you’ve ever wanted to soak away the day in a Turkish bath, you should consider the Széchenyi Bath. This may be Budapest’s most popular bath--its classic yellow arcade and indoor and outdoor pools makes it a beautiful place to splash around, get steamy in the sauna, or enjoy a relaxing massage. And at night, it transforms into a psychedelic dancer’s paradise during one of Széchenyi’s famous spa parties, or Sparties

 

Cirkusz

colorful sign and statues outside the circus

If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity in Budapest--or just want to reconnect with your inner child--then you should go to the national circus! Started in the 19th century, the circus puts on colorful shows for all ages. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and enjoy the show! And if you’re in the mood to see more animals, you could also head over to the Budapest Zoo on the other side of the park.

 

Festivals

May Day Festival

Come out on the first of May for a May Day festival! There are events all over the city (including the popular race and air show), and you can find a celebration in Városliget as well. There are crafts, traditional food, drinks, and concerts!

 

Vajdahunyad Castle Summer Classical Music Festival

woman playing violin

Music in a castle? Don’t mind if we do! For lilting music carried on the summer breeze, check out their program to find a more detailed list of the series!

 

Rosalia Wine Festival

rosé wines in a circle on the grass

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a sparkling glass of one of Hungary’s famous wines during a warm summer evening. Budapest has numerous wine festivals, especially in the summer, and you can find the Rosalia Wine Festival in City Park. The focus is on rosé and sparkling wines, so grab a glass and drink up!

 

Kürtőskalács Festival

chimney cake next to cinnamon and sugar

There is no better place to try the classic Hungarian dessert, Kürtőskalács--which translates to “chimney cake”, for its tall, spiraling shape--than the Kürtőskalács Festival. Crunch through fall leaves and watch this treat be made freshly over the traditional coal furnace, then choose a topping for it to be rolled in (cinnamon, crushed walnut, or vanilla are all quite popular options). You can find classic chimney cakes or gourmet ones, or even ones filled to the brim with ice cream and covered in sprinkles! While chimney cakes are the star of this festival, you can also find other vendors selling street food, as well as be entertained by concerts and performances.

 

Pumpkin Carving Festival

woman taking a photo of carved pumpkins

Technically this festival takes place in Heroes’ Square, but we couldn’t let you miss out! Even though Halloween isn’t a traditional Hungarian holiday, celebrating it has been getting more and more popular. Enter...the Pumpkin Carving Festival! This charity event takes place near the end of October, and is an opportunity for adults and children alike to show off their carved pumpkins. For two hours, the Square is alight with jack-o-lanterns as people walk around and take in the different pumpkin art. Everyone who brings a pumpkin is asked to bring some non-perishable food to donate to a children’s charity as well. With the open air and interesting art, this is one of our favorite family friendly activities in Budapest!


Christmas Market

woman ordering at a stall at the Christmas market

Come mid-November, Christmas markets start popping up all over the city, and City Park is no exception. Make your way to Vajdahunyad Castle and you’ll find it lit up and full of Christmas cheer! Whether you’re in the mood for some souvenir shopping, mulled wine, or classic Hungarian food, the lesser-known Christmas market in City Park is worth a detour.
 

Now you know: Budapest’s City Park has so much more to offer than wide open spaces.  Make sure to go beyond Heroes’ Square and enjoy one of the many festivals or permanent attractions of Városliget.

 

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