With Buda’s scenic slopes on one side, the bohemian streets of Pest on the other, and plenty of thermal baths in which to decompress, running is a rewarding way to explore the city. Our pick of Budapest’s best running routes range between 4-5km – and include the Hungarian capital’s most iconic sights along the way.
Northeast of Corinthia Budapest, City Park is a beautiful stretch of flat, leafy terrain that’s threaded with shaded trails and leafy walkways. From its main entrance, marked by the imposing thrust of the World Heritage Heroes’ Square, circumnavigate the park’s perimeter in just over 4km, or pick a shorter route and cut directly across it. The steamy waters of Széchenyi Thermal Bath are also located in the park, making the perfect finish line so you can embark on a well-earned, post-run soak.
Further south is Orczy Garden, where a duck-filled pond is skirted by a dedicated running track that weaves through a pretty woodland. It’s only a short five-minute jog from here to Füvészkert Botanical Gardens, a must in spring for its blooming cherry blossoms and magnolias, and in summer for its broad leafy canopies. Combine the two parks to clock up an easy 4km.
For a breath of fresh air away from the city’s bustle, Normafa in the Buda Hills has plenty of natural trails to choose from. One of them runs up János Hill, the tallest of the peaks. It might require a little more exertion than most, but all efforts are rewarded with phenomenal views across Budapest from the historic Erzsébet Lookout at the top, and a round trip adds up to 5km.
For something a little less hilly but equally picturesque, the paths around Kopaszi Dam are accompanied by idyllic views across the river. The flat routes are understandably popular among Budapest’s running clubs – tag along with one, or, beat the throngs and arrive as the sun rises to appreciate the area’s utter tranquillity.
For an easy running route that takes in Budapest’s iconic sights, head for the banks of its defining river, the Danube. Start at the impressive edifice of the Hungarian Parliament Building and follow the bank to cross the river at Chain Bridge, admiring the view out across the twin cities of Buda and Pest as you go. Pound the pavement up to Fisherman’s Bastion for spectacular views, and, to tot up the step count, head into the Castle district and loop back down to cross the Danube again at Elizabeth Bridge.
Appreciate the Danube from a different perspective on Margaret Island in the centre of the river. Encircling the island is a 5km track with a rubber surface, which makes it a popular choice among Budapest’s runners. Shaded beneath huge trees, it’s a rewarding way to break a sweat while admiring some spectacular views across the river.