Margaret Island (Margitsziget)

A Green Gem of Budapest

Margaret Island provides a peaceful hideaway from hectic downtown Budapest with large green areas, flowery gardens, old trees, and lots of entertainment.

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Best Time to VisitMap, LocationGetting ThereHistory Of Margaret IslandAttractionsMedieval RuinsPalatinus Water ParkMusical FountainWater TowerPlaygroundsSport ActivitiesRose GardenJapanese GardenRare PlantsHotels & RestaurantsBars & Clubs

Why Visit Margaret Island?

It is a great place for a leisurely stroll or a picnic in fresh air after the buzz of the city. Devote half a day or at least a couple of hours to explore and enjoy the serenity Margitsziget offers throughout the year.

It’s highly recommended for families visiting Budapest with kids. The island is easily accessible by public transport from any point in the city. If you get tired of walking take bus 26 that travels onthe island and connects it with the city.

The island’s attractions include:

people on green meadow on the island in late spring
  • Romantic walkways,
  • Medieval monastery and other ruins,
  • A small zoo,
  • A beautiful rose garden
  • Two musical fountains,
  • A historic water tower that hosts exhibits
  • Swimming pools and a water park,
  • Playgrounds,
  • Open air theatre and cinema, and
  • Some great clubs, pubs and places to eat.

Best Time To Visit

a jogging man on the island

The island is most beautiful in spring, perhaps in April-May when nature is green again after the long winter months.

It will also fascinate you in early autumn (Sept-till mid-Oct) when the foliage turns into a mixture of colours from yellow and orange to reddish-brownish.

Note that Margitsziget is very popular among Budapesti people especially on weekends.

Try to get to the island in the first half of morning on a bright, sunny day to find the park at its most peaceful.

This time you’ll meet mostly joggers. If you want to meet people, see Hungarians relax, visit the island on weekend.

Margitsziget is Joggers’ Paradise – there is a more than 5 000 m long jogging track around the island (5350 m/3.30 miles)

TIP: The musical fountain close to the northern tip of the isle hosts free mini concerts in summer performed by a women’s string quartet with a clarinetist. Concerts are every Friday, Saturday and Sunday till 12. August 2018 at 16.30., 17.00 and 17.30.

Location, Getting There

a big lawn with trees, a hotel building in the background

The 2.5 km/1.55 miles long and 500 m/0.31 miles wide Margaret Island stretches between Árpád Bridge and Margit Bridge in the embrace of the Danube.

Getting There

Public Transport

  • The best way to get to there is by tram 4 or tram 6, get off at Margitsziget lejáró stop then walk down to the island, or
  • Take bus 26, the only form of public transportation on the isle, from Nyugati tér for example (M3 blue metro, trams 4, 6) The bus travels across the island.

By Car

Only one motor way runs across the island, but only taxis and buses 26 and 234 are allowed to drive in and across the island.

Cars are not allowed to be used on the island. You can leave your car in the spacious, guarded parking lot. Parking costs 525 HUF/1 hour both on weekdays and weekends, holidays.

By Boat

TIP: A scenic, though a bit slower way to get to the island is by a public boat service that runs between Tuesday to Sunday, between 12.00 – 20.00 at every 2 hours.

You can get on the boat at Vigadó tér/Dock 5 in the city centre in Pest, from there the journey will take cc. 25 minutes.

A day ticket costs 1 500 HUF and is valid for unlimited number of travels for 24 hours (no discounts are available).

It’s inexpensive compared to sightseeing cruises offered by private companies and you’ll see many of the landmarks lining the shores of the river (depending on where youget on the boat: the Parliament, Buda Castle, Gellért Hill and of course the bridges).

See boat schedules at the BKK’s website.

Brief History Of Margaret Island

The isle was probably inhabited during the Roman era since the river Danube was the boundary of the ancient Roman empire.

The Middle Ages

the gravestone of princess Margaret surrounded with flowers

In the middle Ages it was called the Island of Rabbits (Nyulak szigete) because it functioned as a royal hunting reserve.

The Urak szigete (Island of Lords) name was also used.

In the 13th century King Béla IV. founded a nunnery on the island after the Mongol Invasion.

The king made a vow to sent her daughter, Princess Margaret to a Dominican nunnery if he could rebuild the country devastated by the Mongols.

The Mongols had to suddenly return to their homeland so King Béla had a chance to reorganize and rebuild the country. Faithful to his vow Béla sent the 11-year old Margaret to the convent.

Since then the island has bore her name.

See photos about the ruins of the Dominican convent below.

A marble plaque indicates Princess Margaret’s burial place at the ruins of the church’ nave.

17 – 18. Century – The Great Flood

József palatine (nádor in Hungarian) started a large landscaping project of the island at the beginning of the 19th century and most of the area was turned into an English-style park with many trees, bushes and flowers.

From 1870 the public could visited the park on the isle for a fee.

During the he Great Flood of 1838 the whole isle was under water (2.5 m deep).

The sludge left behind by the Danube had reached to 1.5 m height.

Until 1901, when the connecting walkway from Margaret Bridge had been built,  the island could have been approached only by boat or ship.

Richard Wagner had almost drowned during one of his visits when he fell into the river form his boat.

Part of the Margaret Bridge that now leads onto the island was constructed in 1901 while in the northern part Árpád Bridge was connected to the island only in 1950.

Margaret Island was declared a public park in 1908.

At that time hot springs were discovered in the area that facilitated many developments, like the Grand Hotel Margitsziget.


The island became a popular health resort. The II. World War left its marks on the island too, some scars still can be seen on the tree trunks.

Today the romance of the island attracts many couples and it’s a popular place for weddings.

Attractions on Margaret Island

Start your walk at the southern part of the island at the Margaret Bridge end (this part is better accessible by public transport from the city centre than the northern part, see above).

TIP: Rent a bringo cart or a boogie cart for smaller children if you don’t feel like walking. It’s also a convenient and fun way of exploring the island with kids.

Biking is also a great way to journey across the island

two orange colored bringo carts

You can also rent bicycles, roller blades, electric cars and motors there (see map for location).

If you don’t mind a bit of foot work then take a walk along the well-tended walkways running across the island.

First you’ll see the Centenary Monument (by István Kiss) made for the 100 anniversary of merging Buda and Pest in 1873.

Musical Fountain

water jet of the musical fountain on a clear, sunny morning

Next you will see a stunning musical fountain that was completely renovated in 2013.

It is no secret that the city leaders wants the fountain on Margitsziget to be as popular as the one in Barcelona.

The 35-m wide pool with its 1000 sqm water surface is one of the biggest public fountains in Europe.

The water jets are spouted as high as 10 m.

After sunset the fountain is illuminated by 250 colourful LED lamps making it one of the No. 1 romantic spot in Budapest.

Complete Playlist and Schedule

the musical fountain on a summer day

Children Music at 11.00 and 16.00

  • Song of Vuk: Kati Wolf
  • A cinege cipellője: Judit Halász
  • Ahogy csillan a távoli fény, from the Vaiana cartoon movie, by Fanni Faluvégi
  • Miki manó: 100 Folk Celsius
  • Frozen/Jégvarázs – Legyen hó by Nikolett Füredi
  • Micimackó (Winnie the Pooh): Zsuzsa Koncz
  • Legyetek jók, ha tudtok: Napoleon Boulevard
  • Zootropolis: Try Everything, Shakira

At 12.00 and 17.00

  • Franz Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody II.
  • Bizet: Carmen – Habanera
  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
  • Mozart: A Little Night Music

13.00 and 18.00

  • Chuck Berry: You Never Can Tell
  • Guns N’ Roses: Sweet Child O’ Mine
  • Mungo Jerry: In the Summertime
  • The Rolling Stones: 19th Nervous Breakdown

14.00 and 19.00

  • Leo Weiner: Rókatánc
  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
  • Vivaldi: Four Seasons – Spring
  • Verdi: Il Trovatore – Soldiers’ Chorus

15.00 and 20.00

  • Illés: Ne gondold
  • Dire Straits: Money For Nothing
  • Steppenwolf: Born to Be Wild
  • Ed Sheeran: Shape of You


  • Franz Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody II.
  • Dire Straits: Money for Nothing
  • Bizet: Carmen – Habanera
  • Chuck Berry: You Never Can Tell
  • Leó Weiner: Rókatánc
  • Guns N’ Roses: Sweet Child O’ Mine
  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
  • Ed Sheeran: Shape of You
  • Justin Timberlake: Can’t Stop the Feeling
  • Mozart: A Little Night Music
  • Mungo Jerry: In the Summertime
  • Vivaldi: Four Seasons – Spring
  • Illés: Ne gondold
  • Steppenwolf: Born to Be Wild
  • Verdi: Il Trovatore – Soldiers’ Chorus
  • The Rolling Stones: 19th Nervous Breakdown

Note: The isle has another musical fountain the Bodor kút close to the Japanese Garden in the northern tip. Actually that one is officially called zenélő kút/musical fountain and not the southern one.

Sport Activities – Running, Swimming, Biking

the Athletic Centre's outdoor tarck field

Several facilities welcome sport enthusiasts: the Alfréd Hajós Swimming Pool with indoor and outdoor pools.

Alfréd Hajós, Hungary’s first Olympic medallist designed the complex that opened in 1930.

The pool complex hosted the European Swimming Championship in 2006.

Athletic Center

The Athletic Center manages the extremely-popular 5,3 km long rufathleticalnning track, the city’s most scenic spot for runners.

The Center has

  • a 400 m running track,
  • 3 street ball courts,
  • a grass-covered football field,
  • a handball field,
  • 4 clay tennis courts.
two bikers on the green lawn of Margaret Island

You can also rent sport equipment, some of them for free, like various balls (handball, football, basketball, volleyball), table tennis and badminton set (racket+ball).

Next to the pool is a newly built playground perhaps the best on the island.

Near the toys in a small hexagonal building you’ll find a well-house (Magdolna I. spring) the water of which is channeled into the Palatinus’ pools and the Lukács Bath.

around 6 tourists on a Segway tour on Margaret isle

Next to the Palatinus is a tennis centre with several courts.

The largest sport facility of the island is the Athletic Centre with a football field.

They also look after the more than 5 km long running track (coated with soft rubber to dampen vibration to the knee) around the island.

Segway Tours

TIP1: Margitsziget on Segway – this self-balancing, electric vehicle with two wheels is sure a fun way to go round.

Guided tours are offered by several agencies.

In the northern corner (beyond Árpád Bridge) of the island there used to be a clay-pigeon shooting field.


TIP2: You can explore the island on a small train: tickets: 1050 HUF/adult, 605 HUF/children (6-12 years of age).

The train has two stops:

  • at the centenary monument at the Margaret Bridge end, and
  • at the Árpád Bridge and near the parking lot.

Palatinus Water Park- Pools, Giant Slides, Great Fun in Summer

one of the larger pools on Palatinus

Opening hours: 09.00-19.00 every day from 03. June till end of August 2017.
Tickets: cc. 2 100 – 3 800 HUF (different prices on weekdays and weekends)

There are family tickets for 5 200 – 8 100 (depending on the number of children and weekday or weekend)

See up-to-date prices on the official website.

On a hot summer day have a dip in the outdoor pools of Palatinus Beach.

It has three types of pools: a swimming pool, a beach pool and a fancy pool with neck shower, effervescence generator and whirling corridor.

There are several pools for children of all ages: shallow for toddlers and slightly deeper for older kids.

The two sides of the pool area are lined with fast food buffets, and ice cream sellers.

Prices are not too moderate: try the locals’ favourite,  lángos – yeast-based dough deep fried in oil then topped with sour cream and cheese or with just salt and garlic. The sour cream+cheese combo is around 600 – 800 HUF.

Opposite the bath you’ll find the island’s beautiful rose garden.

More Photos Taken on Palatinus

See more Outdoor Pools/Beaches in Budapest.


The island has three playgrounds.

our oldest son (11 yrs) on a balancing toy on the playground

The best-known, most popular one is near the Margaret Bridge end of the island, almost opposite the musical fountain.

The slightly hilly ground is packed with a wide range of swings, slides, climbing frames and other activity toys with which children of all ages – from toddlers to 10-12 year old teens – can play.

There’s a well if you get thirsty (no toilet though right on the playground but there’s one at a short walk toward the island).

The Kő büfé selling, hot dog, grilled sandwiches, pretzels, other snacks, and drinks is right next to the playground but the stall and the tables are facing away so won’t tempt you and your kids with its “unhealthy” offer.

The small playground is tucked away further in the isle so it gets found less frequently so there’s no hassle and queuing for the slide, swing or other activity. It is most ideal for toddlers.

Eco-Playground – For Kids Between Ages 5 -12

This play area that was designed and constructed with  an ecological approach in 2011 is close to the Árpád Bridge, right next to the parking lot.

The unusual and interesting toys here will improve the sense of balance and coordination skills of kids.

Lots of informational boards on various environmental topics too if your young ones had enough jumping, climbing, balancing activity.

Medieval Ruins on Margaret Island

If you come form the southern end of the island the first ruins you’ll encounter are the ruins of the Franciscan Priory.

They built their convent in the middle of the island towards the end of the 13th century. The buildings were destroyed during the Ottoman rule in the 16th century.

The knights of St. John had also had a centre here.

Dominican Convent

The remains of the Dominican convent from the 13th-16th century are the most notable ruins. King Bela IV founded the convent after the Mongol invasion (1241-42). He vowed that if  his country survived the Asian peril then – if God gives him another daughter (after loosing two in the war) – he would assign her to the service of God.

Margit, his daughter was born in January 1242 and was raised by the Dominican nuns as of the age of 11. The convent had evolved into a real powerhouse with vast estates in the area and was accountable only to the Pope.

Hungary’s most prestigious noble families sent their daughters to the convent that had functioned as an elite boarding school for girls.

The nuns left the island in 1540 during the Turkish invasion.

historic fountain margaret island
The reconstructed well-house at the ruins of the Dominican convent
monastery ruins margaret island04
Remains of the medieval Monastery
st michael chapel margaret island

To the north of the ruins you’ll see the medieval Premonstratensian chapel of St Michael .

The oldest bell of Hungary hangs in its tower.

The bell was cast in the 15th century and it was found under the roots of a tree torn by a storm a few decades ago.

Around the chapel runs the Promenade of Hungarian Artists (Művészsétány) with busts of the country’s prominent poets, writers and other artists.

The tranquil surroundings with groves, stately trees, flowers is ideal for leisurely walks.

János Arany (1817-1882), the great Hungarian poet wrote his most beautiful poems under the mighty trees of Margaret Island.

More Photos About the Dominican Convent

Water Tower – Exhibitions, Beautiful Panorama

the pale yello water tower surrounded with trees


  • 10.00 – 22.00 every day from May till end of October

In the middle of the island stands its the tallest building, an octagonal Water Tower (Víztorony), built in 1911.

The 57 m high, protected industrial monument has been nicely renovated and it houses exhibitions and events on the two levels of the tower.

The tower also offers a fine round panorama of the city and the Buda Hills from the cupola on top.

Open-Air Theatre – Budapest Summer Festival

(in June, July, August each year)

the entrance to the open air theatre

On summer you can enjoy opera, ballet, musical performances as well as light music concerts in the Open-air Theatre.

Find out more about the Budapest the Summer Festival.

The Bodor Musical Fountain

In the northern corner of Margaret Island, near the Japanese garden stands a water-powered musical fountain (Bodor kút).

A Transylvanian handyman, Péter Bodor, crafted the original fountain in the 1820 for the people of Marosvásárhely.

This copy on the island was made in 1936. The Neptun Statue perched on its top does a full circle in 24 hour and displays the exact time.

Every hour you can listen to different Medieval-inspired Hungarian melodies.

From spring till end of autumn you can sip drinking water from the three small fountains created on the ground floor.

Mini Zoo/Game Reserve (Vadaspark)

Location: Danube embankment, Pest side

Opening Hours: 15th Apr-23rd Oct: 10.00-17.00 every day

There’s pony riding for the little ones. A round costs 500 HUF. You can buy tickets at the buffet in the park.

There’s also a buffet selling snacks, sweets and drinks.

Rare Plants

The island gives home to several hundred tree species, bushes, colourful flowers.

The Dominican convent had already a garden in the 13th century for growing herbs.

Real landscaping of the island started in the beginning of the 19th century.

An English-style park was developed. The planes are at least 150 years old and were planted at that time.

Since then they have witnessed many great moments of Margaret Island.

Colourful flowers delight the eye all over the island. On of the most interesting plants of the island is the White cypress. Some fern pines stand near the medieval chapel ruins.

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is the most imposing spot located right in the middle of the island. The garden was created in 1927 with all types of roses then known having been planted on a 15 000 sqm area.

It’s a wonderful, romantic place for a leisurely walk.

The Japanese Garden

statue of a woman in the lake, Japanese Garden

A small Japanese Garden adores the northern peak of Margaret Island with dwarf trees, water lilies, ducks, an artificial waterfall and a rock garden.

Paths wind through the area lined with centuires-old trees and evergreens.

Nagyrét (“Big Meadow”)

The Nagyrét is a vast, landscaped green meadow at the northern tip of the isle, closer to the Árpád Bridge end.

It’s inviting for picnics, playing badminton, reading a book or having a little nap.

TIP: It is also a venue for yoga classes. Ashtanga and other yoga classes are held here at a large sycamore tree weekdays at 17.00 (May) and 18.00 (June -September) and  every Sunday starting at 11.00.

Hotels & Restaurants

Three excellent hotels provide for accommodation in the northern part of the island that utilize the three natural thermal springs discovered on the island at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries.

Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget (former Thermal Hotel Margitsziget) ****

One of Europe’s top spa hotels
Tel: (+36 1) 889 4700,

Room reservation: (+36 1) 889 4752

the 4 storey off white building of the Health Spa Resort

Platánus Restaurant offers Hungarian and international cuisine. It has a nice garden terrace.

Other facilities for eating and drinking:

  • Boróka Lobby Bar,
  • Neptun Pool Bar,
  • Kamilla Coffee Shop

Danubius Grand Hotel Margitsziget **** superior

Tel: (+36 1) 889 4700, room reservation: (+36 1) 889 4752

Danubius Grand Hotel Margitsziget's back facade from the Danube

You’ll experience turn-of the century atmosphere on the serene and picturesque Margaret Island.

The hotel is connected to the neighboring Danubius Health Spa Resort by a heated underground corridor.

The hotel’s Széchenyi restaurant has a garden terrace leading out to the park. You can taste Hungarian and international dishes and there are meals for people on diet.

Other facilities for eating and drinking:

  • Grill Terrace,
  • Gösser Brasserie,
  • Begonia Café
  • Victoria Drink Bar

See more Spa & Wellness Hotels in Budapest.

Selection of other 4 star Hotels in Budapest.

Hotel Margitsziget **

Address: Hajós Alfréd sétány 75.,
Tel: (+36 1) 452 0104
(+36 1) 452 0105

A budget hotel next to the Alfréd Hajós Swimming Pool complex. Admission to the pool is free for the guests of the hotel.

See more Budget Hotels in Budapest.

Island Hostel

entrance of the Island hostel

Location: on the southern part of the island on the Danube bank overlooking Pest

It is a good value hostel in beautiful location close to Hajós Alfréd Swimming Pool, the Palatinus Beach, and the river bank.

The hostel has a sport bar with large screens to watch sport programs, draft beer, pizza, pancakes.

There is

  • free coffee and tea all day,
  • free WiFi,
  • hot shower,
  • a good kitchen with modern appliances,
  • lockers in the rooms.

Eating Out

food vendor offering grilled meats, drinks

There a couple of food and snack vendors along the walkways offering grilled sausages, hot dog, cooked corn, ice cream and drinks.

The few restaurants offer food of varying quality

TIP: Avoid Margit Terasz Restaurant at the Water Tower. It’s very touristy which may not be a problem if meals were of decent quality, price are lower though than in the city centre.

Try the restaurant in Holdudvar (see below) or the Szigetklub Terasz Beer Garden.

You can enjoy your meal and drinks on a nice terrace in both places.

Hippie Island – NEW

Location: southern end of the island, near the Musical Fountain

Open: every day: 12.00 – 24.00

A new restaurant and pub that opened in June 2017.

  • Delicious cocktails,
  • healthy smoothies,
  • lemonades and
  • other drinks.

Simple, tasty meal. Spacious terrace with view of the Danube.

Stég Pub

Location: southern end of the island, near the Musical Fountain (next to Hippie Island)

Open: every day: 12.00 – 24.00

Stég Pub offers all sorts of drinks, including craft beers as well as local dishes.

Bars, Clubs on Margitsziget

Holdudvar Restaurant, Bar & Gallery – CLOSED

Open: 12.00 – 24.00 in summer

the White entranc egate of the Holdudvar garden club

Housed in a more than 150 year old Casino building designed by the famous architect Miklós Ybl,

Holdudvar offers versatile entertainment:

  • great music,
  • tasty food,
  • art exhibits.

It also has an open-air cinema (in case of rain the screenings are held in the ballroom) and a design club.

Art exhibitions showcasing the works of young painters, video and movie makers can be seen from mid-April till September.

The restaurant offers Hungarian as well as international classics at reasonable prices.

Zippp Club

a party at Zipp Club

Location: (at the Athletics Centre, Southern end of the island, tram 4. 6 Margitsziget lejáró stop)

Open: Wednesday – Saturday: 20.00- 05.00

Zippp is a fairly new open-air beach bar with funky parties during summer with live DJ performances on 4 days of the week, from Wednesday to Saturday.

Two dance floors, three bars, cheap drinks, varied music from local underground bands, to electronic, hip hop, d’n’b, and many international performers – a perfect riverside venue to chill out on a summer night.

According to news, a huge complex will open here under the Zippp Margitsziget name including 3 previously independently operating venues:

  • the Zippp Beach a place for beach volley and other summer sports,
  • Zippp Terrace and
  • the Zippp Club.