Walking the Danube

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This week, I’m taking you on a walk in Budapest, along the Danube and around one of its popular islands.

This is a reasonably long walk: 12 kilometres; 18,380 steps; level and good terrain on the whole.

So grab some comfy shoes and we’ll set off from the Buda side of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, close to the station at the bottom of the funicular.  We will head north along the riverside footpath and cycle track, with the main road and river below us to the right.  Then we’ll circle the island and come back down the Pest side of the river and back to the Chain Bridge.

 

 

 

The river looked very full and forceful when I was there, but it was way below the scary level that it reached in June 2013, when it hit its highest level for 500 years and threatened to damage the city.  The main road down below us was completely flooded.  On our side of the river, just opposite the Parliament building, is a sign to demonstrate just how threatening the waters were.

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Beyond this, we can see the yellow bridge that we are heading for.

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Margaret Bridge,  Budapest,  June 2016

Margaret Bridge, Margit híd, was designed by French engineer Ernest Goüin and constructed between 1872 and 1876, making it the second oldest bridge in Budapest, after the Chain Bridge. It is a V-shaped bridge, with an offshoot down to Margaret Island, where we are heading for the next part of our walk.

All of Budapest’s bridges were blown up in World War II , though for Margaret Bridge much of the original steel was lifted from the river and incorporated into the rebuild.  This very busy bridge also underwent a major reconstruction in 2009.

We’ll now negotiate a couple of roads to work our way round to the left hand side of the bridge, and head on over to the middle.  From here, there’s a road leading down to the southern tip of Margaret Island, a popular  recreation area for local residents.  It features sports facilities, a water park, health resort, attractive gardens, open air theatre, huge fountains with musical accompaniment and plenty of paths for cycles, segways and a variety of buggies.  It even houses the ruins of a Dominican Convent.

As we enter the island from the south, we are greeted by the Centenary Monument, by István Kiss, created in 1973 to mark the 100th anniversary of the merging of Buda and Pest.  Just beyond the monument is a large lake with performing fountains, often dancing energetically to music.

There is a path and running track around the island, which I suggest we follow to the northern tip, and then we’ll wander down through the gardens back to our starting point.  The views across the Danube from the island aren’t wildly exciting as we are away from the city’s main monuments now, but there’ll be a variety of boats to watch, varying from small private ones, to public transport to freight carriers.

Back at the main fountains and it’s time to grab a quick ice cream I think, and then we’ll head back up onto the Margaret Bridge, turn left and head down to the Pest side of the river.

A short walk along this side of the Danube, takes us to the massive Hungarian Parliament Building, a Gothic Revival style structure, with a stunning dome atop and monuments on each side.  Good interior guided tours are available, but are best booked in advance to avoid the queues.

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Hungarian Parliament Building,  June 2016
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Hungarian Flag Monument, east side of Parliament Building,  June 2016

From here we walk back to the Chain Bridge.  We can turn across the bridge to complete a circular walk, or turn left from here into the city centre, towards St Stephen’s Basilica, the Synagogue and the shopping areas.

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Chain Bridge from Pest side of Danube,  June 2016

 

aDSC_0636_ppCopyright Debbie Smyth, 13 June 2016

 

 

Part of Monday Walks

Map recorded on mapmywalk App

 

20 thoughts on “Walking the Danube

  1. Ah, brought back some memories, Debs! Margaret Island and some of the areas along the banks of the Danube, on a holiday above a decade ago….

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    1. I doubt that it has changed much, other than perhaps the renovation of Margaret Bridge. I used to go out to Budapest quite a bit on business about 10 years ago – we may have been there at the same time! But my trips were short and I didn’t get to look around!

      On Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 9:28 AM, Travel with Intent wrote:

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  2. What a lovely walk that was Debbie! That bridge is absolutely captivating and all such stunning captures! Thanks for taking us with you. 😀 ♥

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  3. I’m back for a proper look. I don’t think I’ve ever seen photos of Margaret Island in all of the Budapest photos we see, Debs, so I was pleased to be taken there. I really am going to have to move Budapest up my list (not that that will do it much good 🙂 )

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  4. Thanks your lovely walk has brought back memories of our trip to Budapest in 2014 – we were there in April that year and it was rather chilly but we still walked around a lot! I found the history fascinating and especially loved Buda and the old streets and buildings 🙂

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