The Largest Park in the City
City Park is a favorite park in Budapest, district XIII.. where everyone will find something to do no matter young or old, single or have kids. Take your time, devote at least a whole day to explore this green gem of Budapest.
Getting there: the simplest way is to take the M1 Millennium underground line and get off at Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) or at Széchenyi Fürdő stations. The park lies behind the square.Quick Links: Attractions – Vajdahunyad Castle Tower Tours – Holnemvolt Park – History of City Park – Restaurants – Events in Budapest City Park
The area of today’s City Park used to be a swamp and was called Rákos mező where the Hungarian kings were elected between the 13th-16th centuries.
It was also a favourite hunting ground of noblemen. Later, trees were planted in the territory.
The swamp had been drained and the field was transformed into an English-style park in the 18th-19th centuries when the emperor ordered to establish a “National Garden” where people can relax and entertain within green environment.
Budapest City Park was among the first public parks in the world open to people for relaxation purposes.
The preparations for the Millennium Celebrations in 1896 brought by massive developments of the park and its neighbourhood.
The best way to explore the park is to take walk from its one end (Vajdahunyad Castle) to the other end (Zoo). Pack some sandwiches and refreshments, a blanket and have a picnic on the lawn under the shades of trees.
Numerous walkways run across Városliget, so you can leisurely stroll in the park and admire its attractions.
Families with toddlers can easily walk around with strollers, and the people with mobility issues or in wheelchair will have little problem to get about too.
Start your walk at Vajdahunyad Castle at the Heroes’ Square end of the park. The dream-like edifice constructed for the 1896 Millennial Exhibition is a mixture of several architectural styles (you won’t find two similar style turrets).
Today the Castle Houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture and hosts several events and exhibitions all the year round.
Opening Hours of the Museum: Mon-Sun: 10.00-17.00
Tickets to the Museum:
The current permanent exhibits include:
- The History of Hungarian Agriculture in the Carpathian Basin – from the beginning till 1945.
- The Horse – National Horse Exhibition – learn about Hungarian horse breeds and see the skeleton of the famous Hungarian race horse, Kincsem. Recommended for children!
- Domestication of animals – the domestictaion of wild animals in the Neolithic era was an important milestone in the establishment of farming and agricultural practices.
- From the Kingdom of Plants – an introduction to the Forestry and Natural Resources exhibit.
- Natural Resources, Nature protection in Hungary
- Hungarian grapes and wine in Europe
- History of Fishing in Hungary
- History of Hunting – in addition to the extensive historic record of hunting, you can see a 1 million year old antler graving, a 8,000 year old red deer antler, a trophy collection in the Gothic hall of the building.
As of spring 2015 you can climb up to two towers of the castle previously closed to the public:
The Gate Tower/Kaputorony opened on 15. March and can be visited without a guide. After climbing the 56 steps you reach the Ostromfolyosó where you’ll get to enjoy a fabulous vista of the whole park. Open: every day : 9.00-20.00. Tickets: 300 HUF (from age 6).
The Tower of Apostles (Apostolok tornya) can only be visited on a guided tour. Open: winter season: Tue-Fri: 10.00-16.00, Sat-Sun: 10.00-17.00.
150 steps lead to the top where you can admire a birds’ eye view of the park, the Gellért Hill, the Basilica, Heroes’ Square, the Széchenyi bath and can touch the Baroque statues of the castle. Guided tours in English and Hungarian start every hour between 10.00 and 16.30. Tickets: 600 HUF (from age 6).
Combined tickets (tower tour + the exhibitions of the Agriculture Museum):
- Gate Tower + Tower of Apostles: 700 HUF (from age 6).
- Museum + Gate Tower: full price: 1 400 HUF, discount (children, students, retirees): 800 HUF
- Museum + Tower of Apostles: full price: 1 500 HUF, discount (children, students, retirees): 900 HUF
- Museum + the 2 Towers: full price: 1 700 HUF, discount (children, students, retirees): 1 100 HUF
The enchanting Vajdahunyad Castle with the City Lake at its foot
The Gothic portcullis evokes medieval fortress atmosphere
Baroque facade, this part of the building houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture
The lake entices you for rowing in summer, in winter it’s overrun by ice skaters
The mighty sycamores witness many romantic moments.
The Széchenyi Bath, one of the largest spas in Europe, offers great relaxation for the whole family both on a hot summer day and in winter. Opposite the Széchenyi Baths you’ll find the Budapest’s top three places of entertainment for kids:
(on the site of the former Amusement Park that closed in September 2013): can be visited with a ticket to the Zoo or with a separate ticket that costs 500 HUF. 6 of the former Lido rides and toys can be still enjoyed. Rides can be used with 200 HUF tokens.
- the historic merry-go-round,
- the cave train
- the wooden roller coaster,
- the magical castle and a
- jungle train
There’s also an adventure park, go-kart, a wooden maze, puppet show parrot parade, animal petting and the House of Monsters.
The Grand Circus, the only permanent circus in Central Europe: circus performances, sport events, concerts, operetta and dance shows
Budapest Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world: wide variety of animals, remarkable buildings, lots of green.
More Attractions in City Park
In the southeastern corner of the park stands the Transport Museum (Közlekedési Múzeum) built in Romantic-Ecclectic style; highly recommended for children.
Unique, large scale (1:5) models of various historic vehicles and other vintage transportation models dazzle both kids and adults. The small aviation exhibit housed in Petőfi Csarnok next door the museum could also be of interest.
Its highlight is the space capsule of the first Hungarian astronaut, Bertalan Farkas.
Address: Zichy Mihály utca, Petőfi Csarnok Opening Hours: 1st May-30th Sept: 10.00-17.00 (18.00 weekends) 1st-15th Oct: 10.00-16.00 (17.00 weekends), Closed on Mondays
Admission: free, temporary exhibits: 20% off with Budapest Card
You’ll find three restaurants next to the Zoo, all three owned by George Lang the famous American gastronomy guru.
Address: Állatkerti körút 2., Tel: (+36 1) 321 3550
Price range: expensive, $$$. Perhaps the best known Hungarian restaurant by foreigners. Elegant and expensive place.
Bagolyvár (Owl’s Castle)
Offers home-style cooking, within less upscale settings than Gundel. Address: Állatkerti körút 3., Tel: (+ 36 1) 468 3110 Price range: expensive, $$$
Address: City Park Lake, Tel: (+ 36 1) 422 0222
Price range: expensive, $$$ An ideal place for romantic, candle-lit dinner on an island on the City Park lake.
Address: opposite Hermina út 47. next to Petőfi Stadium
A retro style place trying to bring back a bit of goulash-communism atmopshere with the checkered tablecloths, and other 70-ies, 80-ies paraphernalia.
The place was always some kind of restaurant under various owners and management in the last 40-50 years. Today it is quite popular and deservedly so because of the great burgers ( around a dozen named after big cities of the world, the Classic burger costs 1690 HUF) and other tasty meals (babgulyás, cigánypecsenye).
Some nice wines and good quality pálinka-s (traditional fruit distillate) from Hungary’s best Pálinka Manufactures (Agárd, Panyola) help you to get into a good mood as well.
Address: Állatkerti körút 9-11., Tel: (+36 1) 364 0190
Price range: mid-priced. This nice garden restaurant is within the Széchenyi Bath. Relaxed environment, tasty food, dancing and several bars provide for entertainment.
See also our list of Top Restaurants in Budapest.
Music Evenings in Budapest Zoo (end of July-August every year) Jazz and other light music concerts every night in the middle of summer.
See more Events in Budapest.Related: Margaret Island – Várkert Bazaar and Gardens – Children Activities in Budapest – Hungarian Railway Museum