Lake Naplás is an unexpected delight in a place few downtowners or tourists ever venture. The easiest way to reach it by public transportation is taking regional train S80 from Keleti station, and then walking straight along Naplás avenue. Alternatively, you can also walk from the opposite direction, the Cinkota HÉV (suburban railway) station, along the Szilas stream. The lake itself is artificial, set up as a reservoir on the Szilas stream in the 1970s. Before the damming, it had been a marshland, and many of its species have thrived in the newly formed lake. As such, it is one of Budapest’s most ecologically diverse areas and a perfect destination for interesting but not very arduous nature treks.
The lake’s most popular inhabitant is the European pond turtle, Hungary’s only endemic turtle species. Fishing is allowed with a permit, but both swimming and skating, in winter, are forbidden due to the lake’s protected status. For those on the lookout for fluffier wildlife, the lush vegetation of the lakeshore provides the opportunity to spot owls, dormice or deer in the warmer months.
Close by the lake you can also visit the Naplás lookout tower, which offers a bird’s eye perspective of the neighbouring Cinkota, Mátyásföld and Rákosliget areas, and, in an exciting twist for plane spotters, also lies under the takeoff path of Liszt Ferenc International Airport.