Despite the constant sunshine we needed a few weeks to be completely sure, that spring has arrived to Budapest. Those who spent their deep winter dreams in discos and pubs are woken up and headed to the outdoors, so the need for beer, wine and junk food are really high in stores nowadays. In case you caught the picnic fever too, we collected the best outdoor places and parks to chill out.
A few years ago we hardly knew anything about this place, but know it’s the essential cliché of dating, taking your dog for a walk, or just wandering around, making a picnic, even though it’s far away from the city center. On the other hand, maybe it gives a certain charm to this spot. The place kind of looks like Millenáris Park, and it lies at the prettiest part of South Buda – luckily you can be as lonely as a sparrow in the rain here.
Normafa is a perfect location in winter and in summer time as well. It is peaceful, quiet and even the journey to get up here is quite an adventure. You can use the libegő, which is a lot of fun especially for your girlfriend, or your kids. If you want to go hiking in the Buda hill, there are multiple paths available, so it is perfect for a walk or for a picnic as well. Before you leave, you should consider your limits, because the road can be pretty tough, and we would feel sorry if you had to throw away half of your food from the picnic bag, just to make the walking part easier.
The reconstructed Ganz Villamos Művek’s territory (mostly known as Millenáris Park) is a perfect spot to hang out and to relax, so it makes a great picnic place as well. Since it is only five minutes away from Széll Kálmán Square, you can buy everything in the nearby shops or supermarkets, so the sitting in the greens seems to be just like a spontaneous decision. Keep in mind a few rules though: you are not allowed to bring pets and any kind of drink in glass bottles. So if you want to share a bottle of wine with your friends, just pour it into a plastic bottle, no security guard can fine you for that. There’s nothing wrong with being creative.
The garden of the Hungarian National Museum is the non-official leisure park for the ELTE‘s arts & humanities students in good weather, whose university is only a few steps away from here. In the primetime hours (so all day long) it is quite a blast, only fire eaters and acrobats are missing from this spot. These historical steps witness deep and meaningful conversations about life or Jimi Hendrix-wannabes epic guitar solos every day, and the grass area invites you to have a nap in the guarding shadows of the surrounding bushes after a fine lunch. The store nearby could be the perfect source for beer and food supplies.
It is a less-known spot close to Múzeumkert, but it can be even more attractive for a picnic, because it’s a bit unrevealed, full of benches, with a dog park and a playground as well. Fun fact number one: it is the oldest park in Budapest; the aristocrat Károlyi family used to own it back in the day. And if you’re fed up with spending your time outdoors, you can always grab a beer in Csendes. Quick note for the young couples: this is the perfect spot for the first kiss. It doesn’t mean that we must make it happen here, but when it does, it’s always a nice memory.
Tabán is a place between Várhegy, Gellért Hill and Naphegy officially. It used to be a separate town, then it became a part of Buda, and now it is a part of Budapest. Until the 1930s the area was well-known for the two level buildings, but nowadays it is famous for the parks and the romantic atmosphere. It would be a great scene for an American romantic comedy, but still, it’s in the middle of the city, and easy to approach. When you’re up to some sandwiches, a bottle of lemonade and you want to enjoy life outdoors, this is definitely your location.
One of the most spectacular squares of Budapest lies between Deák Square and Szabadság Square, so basically it is in the heart of the downtown area. An amazing building, called the Újépület (designed by József Hild) is located here; the urban language usually calls it the HungarianBastille. Szabadság Square is a more mature version of Erzsébet Square without roller skaters and hipsters. So get your blankets and share those delicious grapes with your partner, because you don’t have to expect here the ‘hey dude, can you spare me some change’ line.
The ultimate spot for leisure activities is definitely the Nagyrét, since everyone likes to come here with a dog, without a dog, with a sweetheart, or with friends. The size of the place makes it perfect for football, ultimate frisbee, badminton, boomerang, but one time even a baseball game was held here, too. Only one thing, you should keep an eye on for nature, since many plants and animals here are protected by the law.
Every Hungarian knows this park from Ferenc Molnár‘s novel, The boys of Paul Street. At the same time, it was the first botanical garden in Hungary, and now it belongs to ELTE, it is supposed to preserve the rare and protected plants. You can find more than 8000 different kinds of plants in the park, and in the greenhouses they keep carnivorous plants, which consume insects. This place can be perfect for a first date, or a picnic, and if you’re so into flowers and plants, you can ask for a guide. It is heavily restricted to throw your garbage away or to cause any kind of damage.
The Philospher’s Garden is a bit hidden park on Gellért Hill, so only a few people come here, which is a mystery, because it is quite easy to approach. It is named after the group sculpture (created by Nándor Wagner) in the middle of it, which show philosophers. The sign on this piece of art says ‘For the better understanding of each other’. Of course these statues have nothing to do with the picnic, the place is quite big, the view is just amazing, and there are a lot of benches facing the landscape, so Budapest looks more astonishing, than ever. Don’t be surprised if you get inspired by it.
You will find Mansfeld Péter Park only a few steps away from Margaret Bridge in the 2nd district. To visit this spot, you will need a little bit of uphill walk, but the location is worth the hard work. You can see the city’s full landscape from here, and only a few dare to come up, so the peaceful environment is guaranteed. Gül Baba Türbéje is very close to this park that is the norhternmost Islamic pilgramage site in the world.