However, before and around the time of the change of regime it served as a venue for underground concerts and illegal parties. Today it is a decent public promenade with a wide range of recreational facilities, restaurants and playgrounds. It comes as a breath of fresh air, literally wedged between an otherwise particularly busy industrial district and a university campus in South Buda.
The park is exceptionally spacious and the prefabricated buildings at the site make you feel like it’s straight out of a Baltic or Scandinavian country. This is where we reach the border of the historical Budapest, so let’s hop over to Óbuda, the northern border of the city. This can be accomplished in many different ways, but if you want to take a single ride, chose the tram no. 1 which is the quickest on land, or you can also take the Mahart-BKV boats on the Danube. Although the latter is much slower, it offers great views and you can use the service with a single ticket.
Just as Római beach is the must-see site on the Buda side, Népsziget and its iconic catering facilities are the place to be on the Pest side. Római beach is incredibly popular among the residents of the capital, because this is the only part of the Danube bend where you can approach the river along its gravelly muddy banks. From here you can walk or, thanks to the bike path, cycle up to the town of Szentendre.
Népsziget, on the other hand, has the same to offer, but in an industrial environment. Heading north you’ll find Lupa Island and Lake Lupa. With its large number of Bauhaus-style weekend houses, Lupa Island serves as a time capsule back to the 30s, just as the place where we started our journey. It’s no wonder that nothing changes here, as the island can only be approached by boat. This still can’t tarnish its popularity as it takes you back to a bygone era with its slow and peaceful atmosphere.
Lake Lupa offers dazzling bright sandy beaches, palm trees, a promenade and an inimitable beach feeling. Just like on the Riviera. From here, we are only a few kilometres from Szentendre, which is the perfect destination for everyone from art lovers to those who wish to walk along the romantic waterfront promenade with its narrow cobble-stoned streets, handful of small churches and colourful houses.
The ArtMill, the Ferenczy Museum Center and the many galleries of the city always host superb fine art exhibitions, while you can always find some lovely souvenirs at its tiny handicraft shops, not to mention its Mediterranean-styled streets with a host of confectioneries tempting you with a lovely cup of coffee. On the far side of the island - at its northern end, as Szentendre itself is situated at the southern end of the island - you can find the tip of the island in Kisoroszi, which offers one of the most pleasant stretch of riverbank on the Danube with sand dunes and open beaches. It makes you feel like you’re completely surrounded by water, as the river splits into two here.
Opposite the tip of the island, you can spot Visegrád. The Citadel of Visegrád will take you back to the Middle Ages. The Renaissance palace of King Matthias I comes alive with knight tournaments and a host of authentic accessories. All of this is topped with the breath-taking views from the citadel, from where you can see the whole Danube Bend. As you can see from the sites listed above, it is truly worth going beyond downtown Budapest for more experiences. Let’s go!