Open-air outings in Budapest

October 13, 2011 by

Best Of Lists, Free Things to Do, Local Recommendations, Sightseeing

One of the statues at Memento Park in Budapest
- photo courtesy of Ferran Cornellà via Wikimedia Commons

Like many other cities in the region, the capital of Hungary is decidedly lacking in air-conditioning (for shame!). The following suggestions may help visitors beat the heat or simply enjoy the outdoors in an urban environment.

Memento Park
The so-called “Disneyland of Communism”, Memento Park houses an extensive collection of artifacts and statuary from the communist era. Within the confines of the complex are once-imposing icons of oppression that are figuratively turned on their respective heads. No longer testaments to Soviet superiority, the objects on display are equal parts history lesson, celebration of independence, and tongue-in-cheek mockery of the absurd scale and scope of Soviet propaganda.

The view from Avar
The splendors of a well-appointed beer garden need hardly be listed here. If you don’t already know, take it from me that a visit to the Avar beer garden on the terrace of Platán Pub near the Erzsébet Bridge is a fine way indeed to pass a summer afternoon.

Margaret Island
Though it is a little less than a mile-and-a-half long and roughly 600 yards wide, this island offers an array of recreation, viewpoints, methods of getting wet, and opportunities to either engage or evade the city’s resident population (depending on your prerogative). Travelers hoping to interact with Budapestians should visit the island during the weekend, when thousands of people swarm it. Those less socially inclined should take care to restrict their visits to weekday afternoons.

Whenever you visit, the island contains sports centers, boathouses, and a profusion of reputedly restorative thermal waters. The iconic water tower on the island is a protected UNESCO site, and offers great views of the city.

-John Reality

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