How to get to the Budapest Margaret Island
Margaret Island is one of the islands of the River Danube and a region of Budapest at the same time. It’s 2800 m long and its widest part is 500 m (in the middle region). The area of it is approximately 96,5 hectare. Before the 19th century, it consisted of more little islands, but they have been either removed or joined the main island. Nowadays it’s a huge park where cars are forbidden (exception taxis and some buses) so your rest won’t be disturbed by noise and petrol vapor. Runners love the area and a great path, which is 5,35 km long, is waiting for them. Nowadays visitors are lucky, because until 1919 entry was not free.
How to get to Margaret Island?
- If you go by car, you can leave your car in a car park which can be reached from the Árpád Bridge.
- You can also choose public transport: buses No.6, 34, 106 and 226 or trams No. 4 and 6 are all suitable.
- There is a unique way to reach the island, namely taking a Budapest river cruise and make a nice Budapest sightseeing cruise before taking off on the island.
- Don’t want to join a river cruise filled up with tourist? You always have the option to rent a private boat on the River Danube.
- Some visitors who are interested in values of the island may don’t want to make great walks. For them, the island’s own vehicle called ‘Little Train’ is the perfect solution. This vehicle is actually a little lorry (type UAZ-452) which travels from the Centennial Memorial to the Music Fountain during summer.
What are the main sights on the island?
Probably the best-known items are the ruins of the Dominican monastery which include the tomb of Saint Margaret. She was one of the daughters of King Béla IV who lived in the 13th century. During his reign, Tatar invasion was in Hungary. The king made an oath if God saved him and his country, he would offer his daughter to be a nun. So Margaret became a nun in the monastery of the island. She was very religious. His father wanted to absolve her from the vow, but Margaret didn’t accept this facility. She lived in the monastery as a nun until her death. Nowadays, an open-air ceremonial mass is celebrated near her tomb, round 18th of January every year. Anyway, there were other monasteries on the island, such as the monastery of the Franciscans or Premonstratensians.
The Japanese garden was renovated in 2014 and it’s an ideal site of any tour.
Lovers of bathes shouldn’t miss the Palatinus Bath or the National Swimming Stadium. This latter one was built on the base of Alfréd Hajós’ plans who was a famous swimmer and the first Hungarian champion in the Olympic Games (he was called the Hungarian dolphin). As for the other bath, ‘palatinus’ was a historical Hungarian notability; the second important person in the country after the king.
We should also mention the water tower which was designed by Szilárd Zielisnki in the early 20th century with the usage of ferro-concrete technology; it was revolutionary at that time. Another sight is the fountain which plays nice music made by a Szekely handyman called Péter Bodor. If you like theaters, we recommend you the Oper-Air theatre on the island. Always excellent plays can be watched here!
Don’t forget the view from the island to both side of Budapest since during a nice walk to the island and on the island you can see plenty of attractions of the city. Right in front of the island standing on the entrance, you can see the great building of the Budapest Parliament.
When you leave the island and want to have a nice walk on the Buda side, there is a walking path along the river where you can reach the Buda Castle or the Gellért Hill by walk. Do not miss such a nice way of sightseeing in Budapest.
The world of nature
Sycamores and oak trees are common on the island. From the year 1795, the ‘palatinus’ received the island and he initiated the planting of more than 300 new species including sycamore. The work was inspected by his main gardener called Károly Tost. Many of the oak trees are more than 150-year-old. They were eternalized by a gifted Hungarian poet, János Arany, in his late poems. The old poet loved spending his time on the island; at his time, these trees were really young. However, they are not the oldest living items there – this title concerns another plant: the Osage orange which is older than 200 years.
The various flora offers a home for many animals. Several species of butterflies, woodpeckers, robins, falcons, and owls live there. Carefully visitors may also see hedgehogs or squirrels.
Art and the Budapest Margaret Island
Lots of Hungarian artists were inspired by Margaret Island. Besides the former mentioned János Arany, we can also mention the writer Mór Jókai, Gyula Krúdy, or the painter Károly Lotz. Kornélia Prille and Mari Jászai actresses loved this pleasant region of Budapest, too.