Underrated Margitsziget is Full of Surprises

A lthough the Park Inn by Radisson Budapest hotel property is located significantly north of central Budapest, I decided to walk because I read about the historic water tower on Margitsziget — which is known in English as Margaret Island — and its observation deck which is supposed to treat you to a view of Budapest.

Árpád Hid — hid is Hungarian for bridge — was only three subway stops from the hotel; so after I checked out, I walked south on Váci út towards the turn for the bridge…

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Árpád Hid, looking westbound towards the hills on the Buda side of the Danube River. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

…but not without taking a detour to see what the Danube River looks like north of central Budapest.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

750 Hungarian Forint — or approximately $3.10 — will get you on this public transit watercraft down the Danube River from about a 15-minute walk from the Park Inn by Radisson Budapest hotel property. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another view of the Danube River looking west to the hills on the Buda side north of the center of Budapest. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The north entrance to the island is located in the middle of Árpád Hid. I saw the water tower while I was on the eastern half of the bridge.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

A view of the east branch of the Danube River on a gray morning, with the Grand Hotel Margitsziget in the foreground on the right side and the top of the water tower behind it. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The Grand Hotel Margitsziget is in the foreground; while the water tower peeks from the background as viewed from Árpád Hid. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

I walked down the steps and through a tunnel with stairs before I found myself seeing everyday life in Budapest: mothers with their kids in a small playground; a man exercising near the river by the bridge; joggers puffing their way down a rubberized pale red path; and people passed by in four-person cycle cars or small electric cars which — in addition to bicycles — can be rented for use within the limits of the island. Trees were everywhere; and I enjoy trees. Although there were some dark clouds which were threatening rain, the weather was absolutely perfect for a good long walk.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The view of Árpád Hid from Margitsziget. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

All I decided to do was visit the water tower to see a view of Budapest; but the water tower was inexplicably closed when I arrived. I was not disappointed, though.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The only view I could get of the historic water tower on Margitsziget, which was closed when I arrived. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Unless you do your research — or read this article — there are many unexpected surprises which await you on this island. One obvious yet wonderful thing to do is to simply sit on a bench underneath a chestnut tree and watch the people go by, which I did on the east side of the island. The Grand Hotel looks like a beautiful hotel property which I had not known about until I passed by it.

The Thermal Hotel Margitsziget hotel has thermal spa and offers various medical services. It did not interest me. I strolled onwards south.

Zenélő kút is a small pavilion originally used for open-air concerts; but nothing was going on there when I passed by it.

Eventually I approached the ruins of the Medievel Dominican Nunnery and Royal Mansion on Margaret Island. Quite frankly, if you have been to places such as Malta, Romania and Italy like I have, you have probably seen more than your fair share of ruins; but this was a pleasant surprise just the same.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

A placard in Hungarian pertaining to the ruins of the Medievel Dominican Nunnery and Royal Mansion on Margitsziget. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

A section of the ruins of the Medievel Dominican Nunnery and Royal Mansion on Margitsziget. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Do you like flowers? A rose garden awaits you with plenty of places to sit and appreciate all of the flowers. I am not sure what a stork was doing there — at least, I think it was a stork — but it was funny watching it was pulling up flowers just as workers were planting them.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

This bird is “storking” the flower bed which lines a path, looking to select a flower to pull. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Note that some of the flowers on the right are missing. Could this bird be the culprit committing fowl play? Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The stork was pulling out flowers just as workers were planting them on Margitsziget. Who will win this battle? Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

A fish pond is part of a quaint little Japanese garden.

This bench looks like it is on its — er — last legs. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

This bench looks like it is on its — er — last legs. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

There is a petting zoo for children — and this zoo also has furry chickens known as Asian Silkies running around; as well as owls and birds of prey who were caged in a type of netting. Note that your olfactory senses will be assaulted.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The foliage on Margitsziget is beginning to indicate that fall is indeed here. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The fall colors were already starting on some of the foliage on the island. With the weather I experienced on my walk, it was difficult to believe that it was October.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

A couple walks south on one of several paths on Margitsziget. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

I suddenly hear classical music as I am walking. Is there a live concert nearby? Nope — there is a fountain which “dances” to the music being played.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

A fountain “dances” to classical music. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

I also passed an open-air theatre at which up to 3,500 people can be a part of the audience — but nothing was going on at the time when I passed it. There are also several clubs and restaurants on the island…

…and when I reached the south end of the island, I was on Margit Hid. Although I walked, both bridges have public transportation available to you for fewer than a couple of dollars per ride.

I would highly recommend a leisurely stroll on Margitsziget in the middle of the Danube River, where the original purpose was for me to visit the observation deck of the water tower — but I sure got a whole lot more out of it.

You would never believe you were in a city while on this island…

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