City Park - Budapest's Perfect Tourist Run
One of the many joys of running is putting your shoes on early on the first morning in a new city and going for an explore. In Budapest we have heaps of options, but one of the best is City Park (Városliget in Hungarian). In this blog post I explain why...
Each city has its own feel. Are the streets narrow or wide, straight and planned, or irregular and following a plan that only a deep dive into the area's history and an awareness of its geography could reveal? Secrets only locals seem able to unravel. Locals and, as I have found, runners who carve out time from busy travel itineraries to go and explore.
In Budapest, you could head to the river. Or simply meander through the narrow streets of Pest. Or, indeed, climb up to the castle. All fine choices. But my advice would be to run in City Park. Located 2.7km to the North-East of downtown Pest, it can be easily accessed along the wonderfully quaint M1 metro line from Deák Ferenc tér; European continent's 1st metro. Alternatively run up Andrássy út, the equally historical wide boulevard resplendent with beautiful buildings, cafes and multiple embassies. Andrassy is topped by the wide open space of Heroes' Square (Hungarian: Hősök tere) which showcases the seven chieftains of the Magyars; mythical/historical figures who led the Hungarian (Magyar) tribes into the Carpathian Basin. There are also two outrageously large and beautiful buildings both of which are dedicated to housing art.
City Park offers all the parky greenery one would expect: quiet paths, lawns and trees galore. And, for those less... good at orientation (I wasn't sure how to say that tactfully), it is a clearly self-contained unit with roads on all sides within which one can explore without fear of getting too lost. And explore you should, in a journey of discovery that may offer the following goodies: a castle, a boating lake which doubles up as a massive ice-skating rink in winter, a zoo, a disused amusement park with abandoned wooden coaster, a thermal bath, statues, soft-surfaced running tracks, restaurants by lakes and beer gardens kept cool by leafy trees... there is so much to stumble across, that you will lose all sense of time, pace and distance on the route.
Talking about the route, it is hard to offer any suggestion of specifics. I suggest to go early and run there along whatever route takes your fancy. Enter the park knowing the basic shape and plan, and with that just go nuts! If you need just that little bit more convincing have a look at the mini-gallery below of photos taken in April 2019. And if you do go on a run here leave us a comment below this post, alternatively on Facebook, Twitter or Strava.
Run easy and build strength. :-)