Budapest City Park (Városliget)

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.

colorful rowing boat in the lake, vajdahunyad castle in the background
The enchanting Vajdahunyad Castle with the City Lake at its foot

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: AttractionsVajdahunyad Castle Tower ToursHolnemvolt ParkHistory of City ParkRestaurantsEvents in Budapest City Park

Brief History

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.

Heroes’ Square was established on the Northern corner of the park.

The elegant Andrássy Avenue flanked by fancy villas was built during these years too.

Attractions

Vajdahunyad Castle – Museum of Hungarian Agriculture

benches along a walkway in the aprkThe best way to explore the park is to take walk from

  • its one end, Vajdahunyad Castle, to the
  • other end the 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).

Museum of Hungarian Agriculture

the Castle/museum of Hungarian agriculture by night
Baroque facade, this part of the building houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture

Today the Castle Houses the Museum of 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.
  • Forestry
  • 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.

Tower Tours in Vajdahunyad Castle

the tower of the castleAs of spring 2015 you can climb up to two towers of the castle previously closed to the public:

  • The Gate Tower/Kaputorony 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

TIP: Vajdaunyad Castle hosts classical, klezmer and gypsy music concerts in July and August, starting around mid-June. Ticket prices: 2 500 HUF

portculis-entry to the museumThe Gothic portcullis evokes medieval fortress atmosphere

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 two places of entertainment for kids:

Holnemvolt Park

(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.

Note: The museum closed in April 2015 for a complete renovation within the Liget Projekt that also includes the reconstruction of the two museums (Art Hall and Fine Arts Museum) flanking Heroes’ Square.

Planned reopening: 2018.

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

Restaurants in Budapest City Park

You’ll find three restaurants next to the Zoo, all three owned by George Lang the famous American gastronomy guru.

Gundel Restaurant

Address: Állatkerti körút 2.,

Opening Hours: restaurant: every day: 12.00 – 24.00, cafe: 09.00 – 18.00

Tel: (+36 1) 889 8111

Price range: expensive, $$$.

an elegantly set table with a dish on white porcelain plate, a glass of white wine next to itPerhaps the best known Hungarian restaurant by foreigners.

Elegant and expensive place looking back to decades of tradition.

You can

  • eat a la carte,
  • choose from 2 daily lunch of 3 courses with a glass of wine ( 6 500 and 7 900 HUF) or
  • go for one of the 3 tasting menus (10 000 HUF, 14 000 HUF and 18 000 HUF).

They also offer a Sunday brunch served buffet style with unlimited drink and food consumption between 11.30 – 15.00.

Price of the brunch: 8 900 HUF, children: 4 450 HUF, free for kids under the age of 4.

Robinson Restaurant

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.

Pántlika Bistro

Address: opposite Hermina út 47. next to Petőfi Stadium

Opening hours: every day: 12.000 – 22.00

Tel: (+36) 70 376 9910

red-white checkered tables inside the bistro
Inside Pántlika Bistro

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.

Széchenyi Kertvendéglő

entrance to the restaurant, the yellow building of the Szecenyi bath in the backgroundAddress: Állatkerti körút 9-11.

Opening Hours: every day: 11.00 – 22.00

Tel: (+36 1) 364 0190

Price range: mid-priced.

This nice garden restaurant is within the Széchenyi Bath.

  • Relaxed environment,
  • tasty food, and
  • several bars provide for entertainment.

See also our list of Top Restaurants in Budapest.

Events in Budapest City Park or Nearby

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 IslandVárkert Bazaar and GardensChildren Activities in BudapestHungarian Railway Museum