Margaret Island: Budapest’s Green Oasis on the Danube

Nestled in the heart of the Danube River, Margaret Island (Margitsziget) offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city life of Budapest, Hungary. This 2.5 km long, 500-meter wide island is a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike, providing a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and recreational activities.

A Rich History

The island’s name pays homage to Princess Margaret, the daughter of King Béla IV, who lived in a convent on the island in the 13th century. Throughout its storied past, Margaret Island has served various purposes – from a royal hunting reserve and monastic center to a place of exile. In the 19th century, it underwent a transformation into a public park, with the addition of gardens, recreational facilities, and attractions that continue to draw visitors today.

Getting There

Margaret Island is easily accessible from both the Buda and Pest sides of Budapest. Visitors can take the Margaret Bridge from Pest or the Árpád Bridge from Buda to reach the island. Once there, you can explore on foot, by renting a bicycle, or by hopping on the small tourist train that circles the island.

Natural Beauty and Gardens

One of the island’s main draws is its lush greenery and beautiful gardens. With over 10,000 trees, including a 200-year-old sycamore, and a Japanese garden featuring a pagoda, Zen garden, and koi pond, Margaret Island offers a serene escape from the city. The Rose Garden, with its 100 varieties of fragrant blooms, is another highlight.

Historical and Cultural Attractions

While exploring the island’s natural beauty, visitors can also discover its rich history and cultural heritage. The ruins of the 13th-century Franciscan Church offer a glimpse into the island’s monastic past, while the Centennial Memorial commemorates the 100th anniversary of the unification of Buda and Pest in 1873. The Water Tower, standing at 57 meters tall, provides panoramic views of the island and the Danube River.

Recreational Activities

Margaret Island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of recreational activities. Visitors can rent bicycles, rollerblades, or pedal carts to explore the island’s numerous paths. Tennis courts, swimming pools (including a wave pool and thermal baths), and playgrounds cater to all ages and interests. During the summer months, the Musical Fountain puts on a spectacular show, with water choreographed to music and colorful lights.

Dining and Refreshments

After exploring the island’s attractions and activities, visitors can refuel at one of the cafés, restaurants, or food stalls scattered throughout the park. From traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash and lángos (deep-fried flatbread) to international fare, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Don’t forget to try the famous kürtőskalács (chimney cake) for a sweet treat.


Whether you’re seeking a peaceful stroll through nature, a picnic in the park, or an active day of outdoor recreation, Margaret Island offers something for everyone. With its rich history, beautiful surroundings, and diverse attractions, this green oasis on the Danube is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the captivating city of Budapest. Margaret Island offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Budapest’s city center. Margaret Island is conveniently located in the heart of Budapest and easily accessible by bridge, public transportation, or even a short boat ride across the Danube. With its winning combination of natural beauty, historical significance, recreational opportunities, and convenient location, Margaret Island truly offers something for every visitor to Budapest. This urban oasis provides the perfect respite and allows tourists to experience a different side of the city at a more relaxed pace.

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