news letterOur mobile application

Weekly newsletter

Winter – as a New Dimension of Wonder at Normafa

Polina Avramenko 2019.02.08.

The winter is upon us and the temptation to retreat to our homes (and distract ourselves by binge-watching that show on Netflix for the thousandth time) is ever present. Right when you might be thinking all is lost, we’re here to inspire you to get away! You won’t even need to step foot out of the capital.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

Normafa is located on Svábhegy (“hegy” meaning “hill” in Hungarian) close to Jánoshegy. It’s known not only as the highest point in Budapest but also as the area with the least amount of air pollution in the city. Over the last few years, the government has paid special attention to the renovation and refurbishment of the park. Tons of energy and financial support were utilized to preserve the beauty of this unique suburban landscape.

As far as accessibility is concerned, we recommend ditching the car and going green by taking public transport. You can reach the park by using a Cogwheel Railway—a unique means of transportation available in Budapest. If you took our advice and hopped on, get off at Városmajor stop. Here, you can climb aboard a lovely red train and relax while taking in an incredible view of the enchanting city.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

The third and perhaps easiest way to get to Normafa is by taking the direct 21/21A bus from Széll Kálmán square. After a 20 min ride, you will find yourself next to the ‘Síház,’ an authentic ‘hutte’ like restaurant, which is an adorable place to reward your belly with a hot meal at the end of the day. The park is typically quiet on weekdays and full of laughing and adventurous families during the snowy weekends.

Once passing the ‘Síház,’ you will be able to admire the city from the top of the Buda hills. Normafa Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Even when the temperature drops below zero, you can still see people jogging, working out and hiking all over the place. Nevertheless, the trendiest activity in the park is taking the kids sledding down the hills.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

This can be done with any sled-like item found in your home. Whether you choose to take to the slopes with a wooden sled, modern plastic toboggan or cost-efficient plastic bag from the nearest grocery store, you’ll be in for a good time.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

For those with a higher cold tolerance, I would also recommend going up with the ‘Libegő.’ The two-way chairlift system transports passengers between Zugliget and the lookout tower on János Hill. For a price of around three Euros for an adult ticket, it takes you to the Elizabeth panorama lookout located 528 meters high. If you get lucky and it’s a clear and cloudless day, you might even be able to admire the High Tatra Mountains from there. Bear in mind, Libegő’s opening hours depend on weather conditions and may even be shut down in case of inclement weather. Be sure to check or call before squeezing the route into your plan.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

Back to food, there are a couple of booths located just behind the ‘Síház’ mentioned above. At one booth you can sample a traditional Hungarian Lángos (a “must try” fried dough treat) and some sausages. At another, you can find mulled wines, hot beverages and homemade strudels sold by cute Hungarian grannies—the local business squad.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

I have to admit, this strudel has a special place in my heart; it’s better than even the fanciest ones found in the best coffee places downtown. The strudel comes filled with chestnut puree, cottage cheese mixed with berries, poppy seeds or salted cheesy cabbage. There’s something for everyone.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

All in all, a visit to Normafa guarantees fresh air, delicious homemade strudel, beverages so good only a grandma could make them and scenic views.

For families with children, a playground made out of natural wood is located five minutes from the bus stop.

Photo by Polina Avramenko

We can’t forget the Children’s Railway—an attraction in itself. It’s run by children under the supervision of adult railway workers. Children of all ages can enjoy playing the role of a train conductor by selling tickets and moving signs. All of this is accompanied by an enormous number of smiles, a friendly atmosphere and copious amounts of singing! A stunning experience we eagerly recommend.

Photo by Polina Avramenko