It’s time to relax at the beautiful, lush Margaret Island (a public space since 1908 in the heart of Budapest) with its amazingly well-kept gardens, medieval ruins, popular recreational area, and sprawling view of the Danube. The island belongs administratively to Hungary’s 13th district.
You can explore the island on foot, but I recommend getting some form of transport.
Explore the island on your own or get a professional guide if you want to make the most of what there is to see.
Anything is better on a camera in clear weather conditions, but you may want to go during the week when there is fewer people traffic, thus more relaxation in the open meadows of this peaceful hideaway.
The first few hours of a sunny day are when I believe the island is at its best to enjoy the large green areas, flowery gardens, and old trees. I guess my preference goes back to my childhood when my Mom always spent her most enjoyable hours in the garden during the first half of the morning.
April to May is Springtime and all the flowers get to show off big time.
Mid-September to Mid-October you will experience the most beautiful autumn foliage in a mixture of colors ranging from yellow to orange and to reddish-brownish.
Speaking from experience, the island is not to be rushed. She will charm you for at least a couple of hours. If you’re on a tight schedule, set aside at least a morning or afternoon.
After the Mongol Invasion, King Béla IV made a vow to God that if God gives him another daughter (by then he had lost two in the war) he would raise her in the service of God if the country could be rebuilt after the devastation caused by the Mongol Invasion (1241 to 1242).
The Mongols were returned to their homeland, so King Béla had a chance to reorganize and rebuild the country. After that, the 11-year-old Princess Margaret was sent to the Dominican convent on the island, as previously vowed. And that’s how the island got to bear her name.
Princess Margaret’s burial place is indicated with a marble plaque at the ruins of the church’s nave.
As you enter the island from the southern part, there is a large signpost that maps the various attractions on the island.
Let’s look at a few highlights…
Head over to the northern end of the island for some marvelous restaurants located in some of the best hotels and spas in Europe. Alternatively, buy from the street vendors or munch next to the pool, or relax at a tiny street café.
Pálinka is Hungary’s traditional fruit spirit and is essential if you want to warm a Hungarian’s heart. It was invented in the Middle Ages and never lost its glory.
Read more about Pálinka here.
Unless you are considered “service traffic” (a hotel, shop, or restaurant) you cannot enter with your car. In the instance of staying at the hotel accommodation, you may park in the allocated parking area on the northern end of the island.
The island is better accessible by public transport from the southern part (city center) than the northern part.
Tram: Margitsziget, lines 4, and 6 (Margaret Bridge).
Bus: Line 26