Margaret Island - Paradise in Budapest
By Rick Chapo
The Danube River runs through the center of Budapest in Hungary. In the middle of the city chaos lays an oasis of tranquility, Margaret Island.
Margaret Island is one of the unique elements of Budapest. The island is located in the middle of the Danube River in central Budapest and is a little more than 1 mile long and 500 yards wide. With the exception of a hotel at the south end, the island is free of cars and buildings.
Historically, Margaret Island served as a private park for Hungarian royalty and you can see why. The island consists mostly of paths flanked by old growth trees, rose gardens and tailored lawn areas. Peacocks walk freely around the island and wild ducks nest throughout the island. At the south end of the island, you can visit hot thermal springs, walk on paths through peaceful ponds or relax in front of tiered water cascades. During part of the year, plays are undertaken at an outdoor theatre.
The island is named after Princess Margaret, the daughter of King Bela IV. If the beauty of the island is a reflection of the Princess, she must have been one impressive woman.
These days, the island is open to the public and serves as a recreation area. During the weekdays, workers in Budapest pour out of the city and onto the island for lunch breaks. Only in Budapest can you be in the middle of an active city, walk 200 feet across a bridge and be in a peaceful, forested area.
Traveling can be hectic and stressful. If you're feeling this way in Budapest, a visit to Margaret Island should provide a cure.