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Picnic in Budapest?

We'll be visiting Budapest for the first time in late April and, weather permitting, hope to enjoy a picnic or two with a glass of wine along the Danube or in another scenic location within the city. It wasn't a problem in Paris but I'm wondering if there are any restrictions besides common sense places to avoid due to local sensitivities such as churches and memorials.

Posted by
2089 posts

There's always City Park (varosliget), easily reached on the M1 line, very pretty with a lake and Vajdahunyad castle, monuments, the zoo, and Szenchenyi baths. Lots of trees and places to sit.

If you want to get away from the fray of Budapest proper, consider taking your picnic to Margit sziget, a lovely and serene little island smack dab in the middle of the Danube, beautiful views of Buda and Pest all around you. You can rent bikes or walk it, like I did last year. Rose gardens, a Japanese garden, medieval abbey ruins, and the best part--for me, at least--was the little zoo that had storks, and at the time I was there in May they were tending their newborn chicks. I am returning in late April and that's the first place I'm going. I'd give directions but I don't know where you're staying, just ask your hotel. For me it was an easy ride on tram #2 to the end of the line (goes past Parliament) then I rode a bus for a few blocks that lets you off in the middle of the bridge and you walk onto the island--no cars allowed, just buses that run from one end to the other. Sounds complicated but really isn't.

Posted by
10879 posts

There are a few varied places. A lot of people picnic in City Park (Városliget). Its not particularly romantic and it isn’t particularly aesthetic; but it’s a marvelous place for a walk among the trees. This is what I think of when I think of City Park: https://www.zuglo.hu/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/V%C3%A1rosliget-.jpg . There are more secluded places but there isn’t much that screams Budapest in the secluded areas.

My favorite places on Margaret Island (Margit-sziget) are not within sight of either Buda or Pest but are beautiful. These two places are within a short walk of the tram stop for the island located at mid span of the Margit Bridge: https://budafest.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/dsc03197.jpg and http://gomobility.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/margitsziget-3.jpg

Here is an idea I am going to pursue for my anniversary. This isn’t some sort of high dollar photo from a helicopter. This view exists: https://walkaboutphil.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/budapest-night-hill.jpg There is a small park on the way up to the Citadel where you can park and look down on the city. Here is the Google Maps Street View: https://www.google.com/maps/@47.4877248,19.0437731,3a,75y,38.32h,73.34t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sewXveDPgfEFwKoXY9SbbGQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en which is a daytime shot. The night time view was one of the very first views we had of Budapest and marked the beginning of our relationship with Budapest. So for the anniversary we are arriving after dark with a small folding table like people use to eat and watch tv, two folding chairs a candle and a bottle of wine. You will notice in the photo there are are couple of more remote viewing locations rather than the main one.

EDIT: I forgot the rose and a nice Bluetooth speaker and my cell phone loaded with music from Szentpéteri Csilla,
Tompos Katya and Illenyi Katica

Okay, back to reality. Sazabadsag ter is a good idea too. Right in front of the US Embassy and the Russian War Memorial. http://zoldkalauz.hu/sites/zoldkalauz.hu/files/szabadsag_ter-2006.jpg and https://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/381630.jpg and http://www.buddhabudapest.com/wp-content/gallery/budapest-downtown/szabadsag-ter-budapest.jpg

Of course there are some lovely cafes on the Pest Danube Corsa where you can drink and take in a beautiful view. http://www.dunacorso.hu/en/gfx/content/img_about_1.jpg

Posted by
140 posts

Margaret Island is a very nice spot for a picnic. I agree with the other commentators.
Rather than piggy back on the already very helpful locales, I thought I'd recommend some wines that might go well with your picnic:
My favorite Hungarian light whites are:
Badacsony Szurkebarat - (Pinot Gris) - pairs well with sandwiches, fruits, cold soups. A touch less dry than Italian or Oregonian Pinot Gris.
Leanyka - a grape variety near Eger, clean finish. Elegant.
Hungarian Gruner Veltliner - Similar to the more famous Austrian neighbor at half the price. Sometimes effervescent, flavors of green apple. A perfect picnic companion.
Many people enjoy Hungarian Furmints, I've not had one to my liking.
Reds:
Kekfrankos (Blaufrankish grape) - light-medium bodied red, slightly acidic.
Zwiegelt - Another Austrian variety grown in Hungary. Bolder than the Kekfrancos, if you are having something more hearty.
I have had some good Hungarian Merlots and Cab Sauv's but that might be too big for picnic fare.

I will add a off-the-grid spot to picnic: Memento Park, with all the old kitschy Communist era statues...it's in southwestern Budapest. Nothing like a stroll with the likes of Stalin, Lenin, Engels and an assortment of Hungarian Commie leaders whilst chomping on an apple and sipping some fine vino.

Posted by
10879 posts

Don, then you might appreciate that my favorite place to "Picnic" is a sidewalk table at Kadarka's wine bar.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks to all for the great suggestions. We're really looking forward to the trip. I gather having a bottle of wine with a picnic isn't an issue with the local authorities.

Posted by
10879 posts

I haven't been arrested yet, but that doesn't mean anything. One little oddity about most all Central and Eastern European countries is that they require you to have your passport on your person at all times.

Posted by
40 posts

Take Bus 27 from Moricz Zsigmond korter (off the M4) to the top of Gellert Hill. It has THE most gorgeous view of Budapest!!!

Posted by
6 posts

We expect to be there the week of 23 April. It's a work related trip so the itinerary is fluid.

Posted by
10879 posts

The Spring Festival ends on the 23rd, the next best thing is the Palinka Festival which begins on the 28th and lasts 3 days (we'll be there). Then on May 1st is the famous airshow over the Danube and the other assorted May Day celebrations around town (we'll be there as well - wave if you are still in town).

Posted by
110 posts

This is one of the best posts I have seen on the RS forum! Wine suggestions, places to drink wine, and photo opps while drinking the wine. We will be in Budapest in August and I can't wait.

Just a comment for the OP and question for those familiar with the city - When I checked out Margaret Island on Tripadvisor the recent reviews ranged from 1 star (huge construction project) to 5 stars. Does anyone know the best places to go to avoid construction and how long the construction will last?

Thanks for all your great advice.

Posted by
10879 posts

Of course its a good thread. How could you have anything else when talking about Budapest. August? Don't suppose you will be there on the 20th?

Posted by
2089 posts

Jennifer--re Margit sziget and construction--I think it all depends on what you want to do there. I just read a couple reviews on Trip Advisor (including my own from last June!) and it's hard to tell what's going on, but I was relieved to see one person mention the very thing I love to do there is open and unaffected--visit the little zoo and see the storks. I'll be there in a couple of weeks and can't wait to see them again. It's a big park with lots of paths, gardens and places to have a picnic and the view of Budapest all around you is spectacular.

Posted by
110 posts

James, we will be leaving on the 20th to head back to Munich. We have 3 nights in Budapest, but I am starting to think that is not enough :-(

Posted by
10879 posts

I haven't been there for St. Stephen's day yet. In 15 years of back and forth to Budapest I haven't been able to arrange it, but there is no way I would miss it by one day. The reason is I just don't travel much in August and wont until the Europeans develop a better understanding of air-conditioning. We put in our home in Budapest what would be sort of a marginal air conditioning system if it were in the US, and my Hungarian friends thought I had gone out of my mind over sizing the thing. Of course electricity is a bunch more expensive over there so.....

Wait, that's not true. I was in Budapest in late August / early September last year. I am sure you have everything booked, but another great holiday is August 24th in Kyiv. Its their independence day. We went last year (before going on to Budapest). One of the most magnificent holidays we have ever attended in Europe (if you are into old style Soviet military parades with tanks, and missile launchers and thousands of soldiers with loaded automatic weapons and cheering fans and spectators).