City Park (Városliget) is one of the most picturesque areas in Budapest, where the tranquillity of nature and the city’s architectural heritage are represented side by side.
Via Andrássy Avenue, it only takes around 15 minutes to arrive at this huge park in the heart of the city from the busy city centre. While walking, take some time to admire the beautiful mansions lining both sides of the avenue. Soon, you’ll get a glimpse of Heroes’ Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage site together with Andrássy Avenue.
The monumental Millennium Memorial represents the greatness of Hungary and the thousand-year-old Hungarian state. This monument was one of the many grand-scale, architectural and urban developments intended for the millennium celebrations in 1896, although it was only completed in 1906.
Facing the group of statues, you can see Kunsthalle on your right, which again and again hosts the most exciting contemporary visual art exhibitions. Owing to an extensive renovation, now visitors can admire the reliefs, plant-patterned ornamentation and renewed semi-circular colonnade at the historic monument in all their original glory. Permanent exhibitions are free for Budapest Card holders.
The Museum of Fine Arts, one of the most beautiful and most significant museums in the city, is located on the other side of the square. The museum houses universal and Hungarian art pieces from ancient times to the end of the 18th century. Prestigious temporary exhibitions attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. Talking about unequalled masterpieces, let’s not forget about the Roman Hall, the most richly decorated space in the museum. The hall was closed for visitors due to WW2 damage and served as a warehouse for 70 years, but the renovation in 2018 restored the original, breathtaking beauty of the room. With your Budapest Card, admittance is free of charge to the permanent exhibitions.
Having marvelled at the museums, it’s worth taking a tour in City Park. Crossing the lake over the bridge, you’ll soon catch sight of Vajdahunyad Castle between the trees. Walk through the castle gates and you’ll find yourself in a magical fairy tale. The Hunyadi family castle was already considered a treasure of Hungarian architecture in the 19th century, so a replica was built on Széchenyi Island in the City Park Lake for the 1896 millennium celebrations, organized to commemorate the arrival of Hungarian tribes in the Carpathian Basin. If you’re here, make sure to find the statue of the famous, nameless Hungarian chronicler, Anonymus, who lived at the end of the 12th century.
The area around City Park also offers great programmes for families. The Capital Circus of Budapest awaits children with wonders and dreams come true. The Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden is also worth a visit. Every family member will find their own fun when visiting the home of 8,000 exotic animals. Both family programmes can be visited at a 25% discount if you have a Budapest Card.
Top off the ultimate relaxation with an afternoon at Széchenyi Baths. This favourite thermal bath for both city-dwellers and tourists awaits visitors all year round, and you can also play a game of chess while bathing in the pool. Holders of a Budapest Card can purchase a ticket to the 21-pool spa complex at a 20% discount.
As one can see, the area around City Park has exciting programmes on offer for everyone. Whether you are in the mood for a romantic walk by the lake, cultural entertainment or family fun, you won’t miss out!
This article was published in cooperation with BFTK (Budapest Festival & Tourism Center)