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Budapest’s lost island – explore Csepel, and the riverside promenade named after a tragic Olympic hero

Writers

  • Wágner Gábor

09/07/2020 12.25pm

For some reason, Csepel has never been as popular in Budapest as Margaret Island, the Pest park of Városliget, hilly Normafa in Buda, the Római embankment or, in more recent times, the island of Népsziget. Yet an idyllic stretch of riverbank awaits an easy hop from town – a promenade named after the late Olympian canoeist György Kolonics.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

There are various ways to reach Csepel, and riverside Kolonics György sétány. An easy one is to take the HÉV train from Közvágóhíd three stops to Pesterzsébet felső, then walk 500 metres over Gubacsi Bridge. Alternatively, the cycle path here is also smooth and convivial.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Charming Kis-Duna sétány was renamed after György Kolonics, the stellar canoeist who died in 2008 at the age of 36 while preparing for his fifth Olympics, aiming for his third gold. The much-decoration champion had spent nearly his whole career in the colours of Csepel SC. The sports centre here, just after Gubacsi Bridge, also carries his name.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

The area has not only been renamed but renovated and cared for ever since. You may see gardeners working away as you stroll beside the riverbank. The five-kilometre-long promenade runs south from Gubacsi Bridge, on the banks of the Danube. Unlike the Római embankment several kilometres north, there isn’t a pub or eatery here, but that’s perfectly fine. It would only spoil the atmosphere so close to nature. The essence of Kolonics György sétány is the tangible proximity of silence, lush vegetation, birds and water guarantee.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

With this in mind, those drawn here can be well defined: families, dogs, rowers, anglers, runners and cyclists, couples in love. In short, anyone tired of the city, its noise and heat, and want a little intimate atmosphere and calm – they can find it here.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

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