On early summer mornings or after the heat of the day has died down, nothing beats a healthy jog or a workout in the park. Fortunately, Budapest has plenty of green spaces well-equipped with rubberised running tracks, sports courts and outdoor public gyms. Here we pick the best five.
You’ll find the most active basketball community in Bikás Park, an open-air recreational complex in District XI, easily reached with its own station on metro 4. You can also play football, go for a run or do some street workout with the stationary bike, lat-pulldown machines and other contemporary facilities more typically found in upscale gyms.
Transport: Metro M4 or bus 7 to Bikás Park
Recently added outdoor sports courts at City Park are part of the long-term Liget Project to reconfigure this extensive recreational space behind Heroes’ Square. Set in the park’s south-east corner, where the main arteries of Ajtósi Dürer sor and Dózsa György út meet, the pitches are complemented by an outdoor public gym, a four-lane athletics track and an illuminated running course for safe exercise after dark. During term-time, local schools are given first priority on use of the courts and equipment. Football, basketball and streetball teams can also look forward to changing rooms, showers and drinking fountains being installed.
Transport: Metro M1 to Hősök tere or Széchenyi fürdő
Budapest’s most popular open-space oasis is a daily destination for many of the city’s most dedicated runners and joggers. The whole of Margaret Island is surrounded by a rubberised track stretching over five kilometres, offering panoramic riverfront views the whole way. At the island’s southern tip, a free street-workout facility welcomes everyone, while the island’s many paved pathways make this a beautiful destination for breezy bicycling, and the wide-open parkland is ideal for outdoor yoga.
Transport: Tram 4/6 to Margitsziget / Margit híd
Perhaps the most picturesque in Budapest, the top-quality rubberised running track at Buda’s Normafa parkland encourages fresh-air fitness as joggers negotiate an uphill path for slightly more calf-strengthening workouts. Stretching from Jánoshegyi út all the way up to the Elizabeth Lookout Tower at the highest point in Budapest, János Hill, the track is almost two kilometres long, taking in wonderful views of the Buda hills. At that same time as the track was installed, it also gained new benches and drinking fountains.
Transport: Bus 21 to Normafa
This forested parkland at the base of the Buda hills is a penniless sportsman’s paradise, with a wide variety of exercise facilities available to everyone. Along with free outdoor equipment, a modern parkour course provides athletes with a chance to practise their rooftop-running skills . This is also a hotspot for basketball and football on illuminated courts, while a rubberised track attracts runners and joggers, and a tennis wall welcomes anyone with a racket and ball. A huge €250-million-forint overhaul to Városmajor in recent years also saw surveillance cameras installed, as well as taps, washbasins and lockers.
Transport: Tram 56, 59, 61 or bus 5 to Nyúl utca