In May, the coronavirus measures are going to be a bit more relaxed in Hungary, but that does not mean that you should stop being careful. The weather is starting to become nicer and nicer, so you can cautiously venture outdoors. You still need to keep the right distance and avoid the usual interactions, like handshakes, etc. What places are there in Budapest that are usually avoided by big crowds, but you can still enjoy the fresh air outdoors?
Szeretlek Magyarország has gathered some destinations for you.
1.The ruins of the Pauline monastery on Budakeszi Street
A chapel was built in the former Budaszentlőrinc in the Árpád era, and around 1301, the monastery of the Pauline order was built in the area next to the chapel.
After Lajos I’s campaign in Italy, in 1381, he brought to the monastery the earthly remains of St. Paul the Hermit. The Pauline monks built a separate chapel in honour of the saint, and pilgrims came here from all over the country. It was further expanded from the donations of Lajos I and was rebuilt in the 16th century. When the expansion of the Ottoman Empire reached Budapest, the monks fled to Upper Hungary, and the Pauline monastery in Budaszentlőrinc was ravaged and set on fire by the Turks. The buildings were not used even after the expulsion of the Turks, but in the 18th century, its walls were still standing. As time went on, the stone walls were carried away stone by stone to nearby constructions. The red marble altar was erected in 2001 in the main nave of the former church. The ruins are consecrated.
If you want to see the remains of the monastery, take a bus or car on bus line 22 on Budakeszi út (street) until the Szépjuhászné stop – there is a parking lot, as it is also one of the stops of the Children’s Railway. From the bus stop or the gravel parking lot, walk down a little as if you were heading back to Széll Kálmán Square, and you will see a brown fence (on the opposite side where it meets Jánoshegyi Street). Go through the trees and continue following the brown fence until you come up to the gate, then go through it. You should continue to go further, still among the trees, and then you should see an arbour, and behind it, the ruins themselves.
2. The bank of the Danube between Budakalász and the Római part (‘Roman beach’)
Római part is one of the most popular nature walks in Budapest. There is a lot of traffic here from spring to autumn – perhaps it is only empty on the coldest winter days. That is why you should choose the section of the Római part from Békásmegyer to Budakalász. A bike and walk path lead to the bank of the Danube opposite Lupa Island. You can also cross the Megyeri Bridge on the way.
3. Népliget (People’s Park)
The area unsuitable for agricultural cultivation began to be planted with trees in the 1850s, first only to bind the sand. After the Compromise, they began the landscaping. The first plans were made by Ármin Petz, the chief gardener of Orczy Garden, but there were financial obstacles. Tree planting continued in the 1870s, a dendrological collection was established in the 1890s, and walkways were made as well.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a small entertainment district in Népliget, the Mutatványos tér (~ ‘circus performer’s square’), with pubs, a cinema, a shooting gallery, a carousel, and a roller coaster. World War II had also caused damage here, but after the war, they tried to rebuild the area.
In 1973, the Centenáriumi Park (‘Centennial Park’) was built on the 100th anniversary of the unification of Buda, Óbuda, and Pest. Each county of Hungary has placed a characteristic work in Népliget. There was a small creek, a fountain, a rose arbour, a stone-paved sidewalk, and a sign reminiscent of the event, but since no one took care of it after a while, most of the structures are now ruined.
What makes it worthwhile to walk or bike here is the atmosphere. It is most beautiful in May when the whole Népliget is blazing green. There is never as much of a crowd here as on Margaret Island or City Park. One other thing worth coming here for is the Sétáló Naprendszer (‘Walking Solar System’), which is a 1 to 10 billion ‘scale model’ of the solar system. There are stone blocks that symbolize the celestial bodies in our solar system.
4. The bank of the Szilas-patak (stream) in Káposztásmegyer
Szilas Park is large enough not to be crowded, and you will also find a place suitable for walking dogs. The Szilas stream stretches through this park and connects several districts of Budapest until the stream reaches the Danube at Káposztásmegyer. Although an underrated place, it is actually very beautiful.
5. Népsziget (People’s Island)
Népsziget is another dimension, a separate world within Budapest. A final refuge that is not too far removed from civilisation, but not completely abandoned either.
At the Újpest Városkapu stop, enter through the Újpest railway bridge. Afterwards, take a short walk along the banks of the Danube, where Kabin and Wasser operate during the summer. If you continue walking on the “main street” of Népsziget, which is a simple asphalt road, you can see the former shipyard building and the once-populated resorts, along with some that still operate today. At the end of the island, from the Gyöngyösi Street metro station, you can walk out of Népsziget behind Duna Pláza (‘Danube Mall’) through the imposing footbridge built in the ’70s.