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City Park (Varosliget)

Budapest's diverse park features a pond that becomes an ice rink, a castle that is an agricultural museum and the largest spa complex in Europe.

Varosliget, or the City Park, is epic in every sense of the word. The largest park in Budapest, it stretches across much of the heart of District XIII. From the main entrance through the iconic Heroes Square (or Hosok Tere), you’ll head inside to find a castle, an amusement park, a zoo, a massive outdoor ice-rink, a world-famous spa complex and a grand circus. This is a city park that offers a whole lot more than a gentle stroll.

Add to that the fact that this is the oldest public park in Europe, and you'll understand why Budapest's citizens adore Varosliget. Three of Budapest's museums lie on its boundaries – the Museum of Fine Arts, Palace of Art and the Transport Museum of Budapest. But most of those park-bound are heading here for something less cerebral. The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath is one of the most popular attractions. Heated by underground springs, its 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools make it the largest medicinal bath in Europe.

It was built at the turn of the 20th century, as are many of the Park's attractions, like the famous Vidam amusement park, which has one of the few side-friction roller coasters left in the world, as well as a merry-go-round built in 1906, and a cave railway finished in 1912. A ride here really is a step back into the amusements of the past.

Another famous landmark of the park is the City Park Pond. This doubles up as an ice-rink in winter, when it becomes home to the Budapest sport of 'bandy', a traditional form of ice hockey. The entrance was built in a fabulously grand baroque style, so skating here in winter has a real fairy-tale feel. The zoo is similarly fantastical, built in an imaginative Art Nouveau style that turns the Elephant House into a temple. Throw in the Transylvanian aura of Vajdahunyad Castle, and you'll see why many call the Varosliget Budapest's wonderland.


Guide to Exploring City Park


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