Places to enjoy the winter in Budapest
January 1, 1970
by Gabriella Dudás
There is not much snow in Budapest nowadays, but when there is, it’s stunning. It feels like you are in a winter wonderland and all you want to do is run around like a little kid. Here are some places where you can get the most out of this beautiful weather. Just make sure you have warm clothes on!
Probably one of the loveliest places to go on a hike and enjoy a gorgeous view of the city. You can simply explore the forest and the different routes, have a workout in the fresh air surrounded by nature, have a romantic walk or take beautiful photos. It is especially beautiful and peaceful in the winter so it is definitely worth an afternoon. The Elizabeth Lookout is also in walking distance which is the highest point of the city and is named after Queen Elizabeth who visited the mountain in 1882. You can reach this location in 20 minutes by bus line 21 from Széll Kálmán tér.
Városliget (City Park)
A huge green area in the middle of the city. If you’re in the city but you want some peace and nature, this is the place to go. This is also a popular spot for walking and running. In the winter you can also try the ice-skating rink which a great program with friends, family or even by yourself if you love skating or if you want to learn. Next to the skating rink you can visit the Vajdahunyad Castle or if you are feeling chilly and want to relax for a few hours you can walk to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths which is one of the biggest bath complexes of Europe and it has the most stunning and unique building among the trees of the park.
Right next to Városliget there is the iconic Heroes’ Square which is the biggest square in Budapest featuring important Hungarian leaders and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On one side of the square is the Museum of Fine Arts and on the other side you can find the Palace of Art so there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy some art, too. Hop on to metro line M1 to reach the square which is the oldest metro line in continental Europe and has a lovely retro vibe.
From Heroes’ Square walk along the beautiful road of Andrássy Avenue and have a look at the spectacular Neo-renaissance buildings and the lights at night. If you are feeling cold from all the walking and sightseeing visit one of the many cafés lining the road. My personal favorite is Ecocafe which offers a wide variety of coffees and teas to warm you up and you can also fuel your body with sandwiches, baked goods and cakes. Or have a meal in a restaurant such as Kozmosz. It is a cozy little place located on Hunyadi Square, just a minute walk from Andrássy, offering delicious vegan dishes that anyone would love.
A fairly big island with huge green areas, a running track, a swimming pool, statues, monastery ruins and a little mini-zoo with deers, ponies, and different birds. Some of the owls and birds of prey are injured and would not be able to live on their own. When we visited the island one of the parks was full of crows searching for food on the ground. The whole island is basically a huge park with only a few buildings so it does not even feel like you are in the middle of the city.
Being one of the symbols of Budapest the castle is a must-visit location whenever you are in the city. The castle itself is huge and beautiful but the Castle District surrounding it also offers a lovely place to walk and admire the Baroque buildings, houses and churches. You get a gorgeous view of the Pest side of the city and the Danube River from Fisherman’s Bastion which is neighbored by Matthias Church. Just walk around in the streets of this district to feel the vibe of this unique city.
The Liberty Statue and the Citadella
It can be seen from a lot of different places in the city but it is worth a trip to the top of the hill. Citadella is a fortification which was built in the middle of the 1800s. The Liberty Statue next to it is in memory of those who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Hungary.
The enormous building is probably the most beautiful building in Budapest. Although most of the time there are a lot of tourists taking photos and enjoying the view it is not crowded at all because the space around it is rather large. My favorite way to reach the parliament is by hopping on tram line 2 because it takes you along the river side and around the building so the journey itself is quite enjoyable.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Along with the Parliament the huge basilica is one of the two tallest buildings of Budapest with its height of 96 meters. The neo-Renaissance church gives place to the Holy Right Hand of St Stephen, Hungary’s first king. The dome can be accessed by elevators or by climbing 364 stairs for a stunning panorama of the city.
A hidden gem near Keleti Trainstation with a beautiful, neo-Gothic church which breaks the monotony of the surrounding houses with its high towers and its lovely garden. The name of the square comes from the name of the church as Saint Elizabeth’s attributes are roses.
If you just want to walk and admire the river of Danube, you can visit this unique place on the southern part of the city. In summer it is the perfect picnic location but in winter when it snows it becomes a magical peaceful spot. You can also grab a bite and warm up a little in one of the restaurants situated on this strip of land.