Hungarian paradise on Margaret Island and Park in Budapest

Margaret Island or Margit-sziget is the main local recreation and recuperative centre for the people of Budapest. Thermal springs, feeding the medicinal and swimming baths, space for sports and games, carefully tended gardens and paths, and even the remains of buildings which play a significant part in the history of the town is another must visit in this beautiful city. The island – 2.5km (1 1/2mi.) long and up to 0.5km (1650ft) wide – got its name from the canonized Princess Margit (1252-71), daughter of the Hungarian King Béla IV; as the result of a vow made by her father she became a nun in the Dominican convent on the island.

We spent a whole day there and gladly take you with to some of the attractions. Let’s start with a view (click all pics to bigify and enjoy):

Budapest in Hungary - Margaret Island #1
Margaret Island in the middle of Danube with easy access from the famous bridge.

The Music Fountain:
The first you meet is Zenélő szökőkút, a fountain with integrated music and light shows. Could there be anything more recreational:
Budapest in Hungary - Margaret Island #5
These young ones have learned to maximise the experience :lol: I showed them my blog business card and when I told them the purpose, they willingly posed for me.

Bikes for rent:
Rent a bike if you don’t feel like walking. It’s also a convenient and fun way of exploring the island with kids. You can also rent bringo cart, roller blades, electric cars and motors there:
Budapest in Hungary - Margaret Island #7

Plants, fields and playgrounds:
The island gives home to several hundred tree species, bushes, and colourful flowers. The Dominican convent already had a garden in the 13th century for growing herbs. Real landscaping of the island started in the beginning of the 19th century. An English-style park was developed and the planes are at least 150 years old and were planted at that time. Since then they have witnessed many great moments of Margaret Island.
You could really feel recreation in the air and a lot of fun for kids in all ages:
Budapest in Hungary - Margaret Island #4

Medieval Ruins:
If you enter form the southern end of the island the first ruins you’ll encounter are the ruins of the Franciscan Priory. They built their convent in the middle of the island towards the end of the 13th century. The buildings were destroyed during the Ottoman rule in the 16th century. The ruins of the Dominican convent from the 13th century are the most notable ruins. King Bela IV founded the convent after the Mongol invasion (1241-42):
Budapest in Hungary - Margaret Island #8

Spa Hotel Thermal:
This hotel, completed in 1978, is extremely modern and has become well known far beyond the borders of Hungary. It was designed by the architect G. Kéry and is equipped according to the most recent balneological ideas. To us, this was the high point of the adventure, some relaxing hours at their SPA centre. Diane had a traditional massage, a rest in the salt cavern, and an herbal bubble bath – before going to enjoy the warm spring waters of the hot tub. And for me she recommended Thai massage; a combination of deep muscle massage and yoga, and the best health care experience ever. The masseur used her whole body to stretch out my sore muscles, was very professional and sweet too:
Budapest in Hungary - Margaret Island #9
For the purpose of my blog, she willingly posed too :-)

This is my forth post about our adventures in the beautiful city of Budapest. The next and last will be about Hungarian food and some restaurants visits – so stay tuned!

A collection of all my Budapest posts from our trip in June 2009:
#0: All pics from Budapest at my Flickr account.
#1: Budapest the capital of Hungary in the Heart of Europe
#2: House of Terror and Dohany Great Synagogue
#3: Andrassy Avenue with Heroes Square, City Park and Millennium Underground
#4: This post
#5: New York Café and Hungarian cuisine as food traditions in Budapest