With the arrival of good weather, it is always better to spend time outside than in the office or the house; likewise, when exercising or playing sports, people prefer nature to a gym. In the next installment of our Best of Budapest series, then, we have collected some of the best places for street workouts and outdoor sport activities, from cooling down in a cold swimming pool to extreme sports and an early morning yoga class.
When it comes to free, outdoor sport opportunities, perhaps none is more prominent than running. One of the best places to do so is on Margaret Island, where you can run around the island on the so-called ‘Island Round’ or ‘Margaret Round’’, a renovated, 5.3-km-long padded track. There are several running clubs as well, with free classes, all you just have to do is register a couple of days in advance for the events. For example, Adidas Runners offers community runs three times a week, 2 shorter and a longer in three different locations: one on the Margaret Island, one in the Buda Hills with amazing views and a longer one in the City Park. All of these groups have professional coaches to help with warming up and stretching, pacesetters and testing out running shoes.
An urban movement, street workout is also a great way to change up one’s workout regimen. As temperatures get higher, workout parks are getting more and more popular, with dozens of people around the equipment. A typical street workout park looks like a playground, but the usual routine often consists of hard physical exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, dips, sit-ups and squats. Since 2011, the sport even has its own world championship! In Budapest, there are more than 80 street workout parks – with two of them on the above mentioned Margaret Island, the paradise of outdoor sports, and according to Free Sport Parks, who collected all the free workout spots in the city, an especially great one located at Mechwart Liget, on the Buda side of the city.
In the hot summer months, swimming is perhaps the best outdoor sport activity. The Hajós Alfréd National Swimming Complex, located on the Margaret Island, awaits professionals and amateurs alike with two 50m outdoor swimming pools, one 33m pool, and several training pools for beginners. They offer swimming lessons, and the complex also includes a sauna, buffet and indoor swimming pools on site.
There are several free or donation-based outdoor yoga classes in the capital this summer as well. Outdoor Yoga organises yoga classes at two locations, on the Margaret Island, close to the Széchenyi Restaurant, and in the City Park, close to the Széchenyi Bath. They offer astanga and integral yoga classes for beginners and trained yogis. One of the best outdoor yoga flash-mobs of this summer is the Sun Salutation – Surya Namaskar, which is held four times on Heroes Square between May and August. However, it starts painfully early, as the main reason for it is to welcome the sun, which rises around 5-6 am in the summer months. Namaste!
The Nehru Coast, a park that hugs the Pest side of the Danube, was renovated in 2016. With an amazing view of the Buda hills and close location to the city centre and the bars of the Budapest Bálna Center, it has become one of the most popular sports parks among the young citizens of the capital. Besides a buffet and a playground, the park has a football pitch and a basketball court, a street workout park, and a great bike and skate park as well.
Lovers of the more extreme sports can also find outdoor parks for them in Budapest. There are several skate-bike-roller spots in and around the city, with full, half and quarter pipes, handrails, fun-boxes and bowls. The previously mentioned Nehru Park is a great place for such workouts, but the City Park and Erzsébet square also offers popular skate parks, and there is one a bit outside of the city, Görzenál.