Margaret Island

Experience serene tranquility amidst bustling Budapest at Margaret Island

Last update:

Situated in the heart of the Danube River, Margaret Island is Budapest’s green oasis, a hidden gem that is too good to be overlooked on your Hungarian adventure.

A tree-lined path on Margaret Island in Budapest, with sunlight filtering through the leaves and a paved walkway.


  • Engage your playful side with a visit to the century-old Musical Fountain, a delightful water show synchronized to classical tunes.
  • Feel the rhythm of Budapest as you catch a live performance at the magnificent Open-Air Theater, a cultural hub on the is land. 
  • Immerse yourself in the serenity of Margaret Island’s tranquil Japanese Garden, a true urban oasis. 

What to see and do

Margaret Island offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.

Explore the Musical Fountain

A large musical fountain on Margaret Island in Budapest, on a sunny day with people and trees in the background.

One of my absolute favorite spots on Margaret Island is the Musical Fountain, located near the southern tip. Imagine a grand water feature that dances in sync with music—it’s truly a feast for the senses! The fountain’s layout is expansive, with numerous jets shooting water high into the air, all choreographed to different pieces of music.

The performances run s several times a day, featuring a delightful mix of classical compositions, such as Strauss waltzes and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, as well as contemporary hits that might catch you by surprise. For the most magical experience, I recommend visiting in the evening when the light effects create a spellbinding atmosphere. Trust me, it’s an enchanting way to end your day on the island.

Discover the Japanese Garden

A pond with lily pads and tall grass, surrounded by trees and people walking at the Japanese Garden on Margaret Island in Budapest.

Towards the northern end of the island, you’ll find the serene Japanese Garden. This tranquil oasis is the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Picture koi ponds shimmering under the sunlight, small waterfalls cascading gently, and traditional Japanese plants offering a burst of color and serenity.

The garden’s layout is meticulously designed to promote relaxation and reflection. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, this garden is a must-visit. It’s particularly breathtaking in spring and autumn when the foliage is at its most vibrant. I still remember my first visit during cherry blossom season—the beauty was almost surreal.

Visit the Water Tower

A water tower surrounded by trees and flowers on Margaret Island in Budapest, on a sunny day.

One of the island’s most iconic landmarks is the Water Tower, built in 1911. This Art Nouveau beauty isn’t just an architectural marvel; it’s a piece of history. As a protected industrial monument, it has seen the island through many changes and now hosts various exhibitions.

Climbing to the top for panoramic views is an absolute must.  From the observation deck, you can take in stunning vistas of the island and the Danube River. It’s a bit of a climb, but the reward at the top is well worth the effort. Don’t forget to bring your camera—the photo opportunities are endless!

Relax at Palatinus Strand

A stone statue in front of the Palatinus Strandan entrance on Margaret Island in Budapest, with columns, flags, and people walking around.

If you’re seeking a place to unwind, look no further than Palatinus Strand. This popular outdoor bath complex offers a variety of pools, from thermal baths to wave pools and even dedicated children’s pools.

The layout is designed for maximum relaxation, with plenty of sun loungers, restaurants, and playgrounds to keep everyone happy. Be sure to pack your swimwear and a towel so you can fully enjoy the experience. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing dip in one of Palatinus Strand’s pools.

Walk or Run the Jogging Track

A view of a riverside running track on Margaret Island in Budapest, with trees, benches, and buildings across the water on a sunny day.

For the fitness enthusiasts among you, Margaret Island features a 5.5-kilometer rubberized jogging track that circles its perimeter. Running or walking this track offers not just a great workout but also some of the most scenic views of the river and city.

I always recommend visiting early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat and crowds. The track is well-lit and completely safe, making it ideal for runners of all levels. One of my fondest memories is running here at dawn, with the city slowly waking up around me—pure bliss.

Explore the Pet Zoo

Storks standing in a grassy area with people walking and a child riding a horse in the background at the petting zoo on Margaret Island in Budapest.

Traveling with kids? The island’s pet zoo is a fantastic family-friendly attraction. This small zoo features a variety of domestic animals, and the interactive experiences—like feeding and petting the animals—are sure to delight the little ones.

The best time to visit is in the morning when the animals are most active. It’s a small but charming place that offers a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. Plus, it’s a hit with kids, making it a perfect stop if you’re traveling with young children.

Stroll Through the Rose Garden

The Rose Garden field with green grass and colorful flowers in the foreground on Margaret Island in Budapest, with trees in the background.

Located near the Water Tower, the Rose Garden is a picture-perfect spot that’s sure to impress. The garden is meticulously laid out, featuring a stunning variety of roses that bloom in late spring and early summer.

This is the place to bring your camera; the vibrant colors and beautiful arrangements are a photographer’s dream. Every time I visit, I find myself lost in the beauty of the roses, snapping photos and simply soaking in the peaceful ambiance.

Enjoy a Picnic in the Park

People relaxing and having a picnic in a green park on Margaret Island in Budapest, with trees and a stroller in the background.

Margaret Island is dotted with green spaces that are perfect for a picnic. You’ll find plenty of food stalls and shops nearby where you can pick up supplies. Locals often bring a blanket and find a shady spot under a tree to enjoy their meal.

For a more peaceful experience, try visiting on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds. There’s something incredibly relaxing about lounging on the grass, enjoying a picnic while the world goes by.

Visit the Medieval Ruins

Ancient stone ruins with pathways and trees on Margaret Island in Budapest.

History buffs will appreciate the medieval ruins of a Dominican convent dating back to the 13th century. The ruins are significant, especially because of their connection to Princess Margaret, after whom the island is named.

Informative plaques and signs provide historical context, but for a deeper understanding, consider taking a guided tour. There’s something awe-inspiring about walking through these ancient remnants and imagining the lives of those who once inhabited the island.

Attend a Concert at the Open-Air Theater

Last but certainly not least, the open-air theater located in the center of the island is a fantastic venue for cultural events. The theater hosts a variety of performances, from concerts and plays to other cultural events.

The layout and seating create a unique atmosphere, especially during evening performances. Be sure to check the schedule in advance and book your tickets early, particularly for popular shows. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a performance under the stars—it’s the perfect way to cap off your visit to Margaret Island.


Getting to Margaret Island in Budapest is a breeze with the city’s efficient public transport system. Trams 4 and 6 stop at Margaret Bridge (Margit híd) on the Pest side, where a short walk across the bridge leads directly to the island’s southern entrance. For a direct route, bus number 26 serves the island with stops at key locations like Árpád Bridge (Árpád híd) and others within the island, making it easy to access various attractions. Metro travelers can take Line M3 to Nyugati pályaudvar or Line M2 to Batthyány tér and enjoy a scenic walk along the Danube River to the island.

For more active visitors, Budapest’s extensive bike paths, including routes leading to Margaret Island, make biking a great option, with rentals available through systems like MOL Bubi. 

Margaret Island ferries also offer a seasonal, leisurely approach, with stops at the island’s southern and northern ends. Pedestrians can use Margaret Bridge or Árpád Bridge, both equipped with paths leading directly to the island, perfect for those who enjoy taking in the city’s views along the Danube.

Nearby Places

Hungarian Parliament Building: Located on the Pest side of the Danube River, just south of Margaret Island, this Gothic Revival masterpiece is one of the largest and most beautiful parliament buildings in the world. Don’t miss the guided tours that include a view of the Hungarian Crown Jewels and visit both during the day and night to see its stunning illuminated facade.

Museum of Ethnography: Nestled near Kossuth Square and close to the Hungarian Parliament Building, this museum showcases Hungarian folk art, traditional costumes, and global artifacts. Explore its exhibits for a deep dive into Hungary’s cultural heritage and keep an eye out for special exhibitions and events.

Árpád Bridge (Árpád híd): This bridge connects the northern end of Margaret Island to both Buda and Pest, serving as a major transportation route. Walk or bike across for panoramic views of the Danube and Margaret Island – a scenic approach from the north.

WestEnd City Center: Located near Nyugati Railway Station, this shopping center offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Visit for shopping, dining, or catching a movie, and don’t miss the rooftop garden for a peaceful retreat from the bustling mall below.

Szent István Park: Situated on the Pest side and just a short walk from Margaret Island, this park features beautifully landscaped gardens, walking paths, and statues. Relax with a picnic and visit in the spring or summer when the flowers are in full bloom.

Did you know that: (5 Interesting Facts!) 

  1. Margaret Island, locally known as Margitsziget, is not just a simple park in the middle of the city, but it’s also a historical site with ruins dating back to the 13th century. The island was named after Saint Margaret, the daughter of King Béla IV, who lived in the Dominican nunnery on the island.
  2. The island is home to a small zoo and a Japanese Garden, surprising many visitors with its unique diversity. From exotic birds to exquisite plant life, Margaret Island truly is a natural oasis in the heart of the city.
  3. The Music Fountain is one of the island’s most popular attractions, where you can watch a mesmerizing water show synchronized to classical and contemporary music. And guess what? It’s free!
  4. Margaret Island also houses the Palatinus Baths, one of Budapest’s oldest and most popular open-air baths. It’s a delightful place to cool off in summer with several pools, including a wave pool, and thermal baths.
  5. The island is car-free and only accessible by foot, bike, or public transport. This makes it an incredibly peaceful spot amidst the hustle and bustle of Budapest. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely bike ride or a tranquil walk along the Danube.


Here are some key moments that have shaped Margaret Island into the captivating destination it is today:

  • 13th Century: Originally known as the Island of Rabbits, it becomes a royal hunting reserve. The area was sparsely populated and teeming with wildlife.
  • 1241-42: The Mongol invasion of Europe prompts King Béla IV to build fortifications across Hungary. His daughter, Princess Margaret, is sent to a Dominican convent on the island, which is later renamed in her honor.
  • 1541-1686: During the Ottoman occupation of Budapest, the island’s religious buildings fall into disrepair. It becomes a strategic military outpost due to its central location on the Danube.
  • 1790s: Archduke Joseph Anton Johann of Austria acquires the island. He initiates landscaping projects, transforming it into a picturesque English garden.
  • 1869: Margaret Island is officially opened to the public. The construction of the Margaret Bridge makes it more accessible, leading to its popularity as a leisure destination.
  • 1873: Budapest is formed by the unification of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda. Margaret Island becomes part of the new city’s park system, attracting visitors from both sides of the river.
  • World War II: The island suffers extensive damage during bombings. Post-war reconstruction efforts restore its natural beauty and historical monuments.
  • 1970s: Extensive renovation projects modernize the island’s facilities, including the construction of swimming pools, a sports complex, and the Palatinus Water Park.
  • Present Day: Margaret Island stands as a beloved urban retreat, blending historical charm with modern amenities. It’s home to the iconic Musical Fountain, medieval ruins, and lush gardens, drawing locals and tourists alike.


Is Margaret Island in Budapest worth visiting?

Absolutely! Margaret Island (Margitsziget) is a lush, green haven in the heart of Budapest. It offers a peaceful retreat with beautiful gardens, historical ruins, and recreational facilities. Whether you’re into jogging, cycling, or just relaxing by the Danube River, it’s a must-visit spot.

How do you get into Margaret Island?

You can easily access Margaret Island via public transportation. Trams 4 and 6 stop at Margaret Bridge (Margit híd), where you can walk onto the island. Additionally, buses 26 and 34 go directly onto the island, making it very convenient to visit.

Can you walk onto Margaret Island in Budapest?

Yes, you can walk onto Margaret Island. There are pedestrian pathways on both the Margaret Bridge and the Árpád Bridge, allowing you to stroll onto the island from either direction.

What is the story behind Margaret Island in Budapest?

Margaret Island has a rich history dating back to medieval times. It was named after Princess Margaret, the daughter of King Béla IV, who lived in a convent on the island. Over the centuries, it has transformed from a royal hunting reserve to a public park filled with cultural and recreational attractions.

What time does Margaret Island open?

Margaret Island is open 24/7. It is a public park, so you can visit any time of the day or night. However, specific attractions and facilities on the island may have their own operating hours.

Can you swim on Margaret Island in Budapest?

Yes, you can swim on Margaret Island. The island is home to the Palatinus Strand, a large outdoor swimming complex with pools, water slides, and thermal baths. It’s a great place to cool off during the summer months.

Can you get a boat to Margaret Island in Budapest?

Yes, you can get a boat to Margaret Island. Several river cruise companies offer boat rides that stop at the island. It’s a scenic and enjoyable way to reach this green oasis in the city.

How far is it around Margaret Island in Budapest?

The perimeter of Margaret Island is approximately 5.3 kilometers (3.3 miles). There’s a popular running track that circles the island, making it a favorite spot for joggers and walkers alike.

Map & Address

This idyllic getaway can be accessed from the Margaret Bridge (Margit híd) or the Árpád Bridge (Árpád híd).

Address: Margaret Island, Budapest, 1138 Hungary