- 27 Sep 2023 2:32 PM
The following are top outdoor workout options as they are set in the most picturesque locations around Budapest, in pretty parkland, by the Danube or alongside a scenic lake.
Plus you'll find all of the outdoor gyms below are accompanied by a suggestion about where's convenient for a well-earned drink to rehydrate after your alfresco exertions.
Take it easy if at first some gym features look tricky to use, often they have pictogram instructions on them or nearby on a sign, or wait and see how one of the regulars properly puts the apparatus through its paces.
1. Pope John Paul II Square - II. János Pál Pápa tér
It wasn’t that long ago that this square surrounding the equally revamped Erkel Theatre was a neglected expanse of grass with a little-used football court to one side.
Now, as Budapest becomes awash with public gyms, it’s where you find a cluster of contemporary fitness machines, set on the usual soft, springy surface, for you to work out amid urban surroundings.
Afterwards, you can reward yourself with a drink at one of the several bohemian bars nearby, perhaps Zsír on Kiss József utca or Susuka on Nagy Fuvaros utca.
2. Bikás Park
Even before the M4 metro station was plonked alongside it, making this south Buda spot easily accessible from Pest, Bikás park has long attracted sports enthusiasts.
Given this heritage, the exercise equipment here is superior to many in other public parks around Budapest, with clear instructions for those just starting out, and a stationary bike for easy riders.
Sports courts and a running track mean that there’s near constant activity, and players can pile into the Jónás Craft Beer bar after their game.
3. City Park
Nowhere in Budapest has undergone such massive change in recent years as City Park.
Much of this involving active recreation, either for humans – a fully equipped outdoor gym, sports courts, a running track – or for dogs, whose owners can take advantage of the exercise course especially designed for canines.
As for two-legged activities, there are all kinds of apparatus here, for many levels, although City Park’s popularity and proximity to the city via the yellow M1 metro line mean that you won’t have much privacy as you work out.
The new sports centre is in the south-western corner, where Dózsa György út meets Ajtósi Dürer sor, meaning it’s close to Piknik kert on that same side of the park.
4. Feneketlen Lake
This romantic oasis of greenery in Újbuda translates as Bottomless Lake, around which a rubber running track and outdoor gym bring fitness fanatics as well as canoodling couples.
Each apparatus here features detailed instructions as well as an indication of its degree of difficulty.
Again, the pleasant surroundings make this a winning choice for any would-be Olympian. Overlooking the lake, Hemingway has a lovely terrace and opens from noon every day.
5. Margaret Island
Budapest’s main getaway for sport and recreation can offer no fewer than three outdoor gyms: one at the northern tip near Árpád Bridge, one almost under Margaret Bridge at the other end, and one between the athletics stadium and the swimming pool.
You won’t find a more picturesque setting than this, surrounded by trees and the nearby Danube, and you can combine any gym workout with the popular jogging track that runs around the island for more than 5,000 metres.
After your strenuous morning, you may wish to pop into Champs Sziget afterwards, an open-air sports bar with match action beamed from several screens.
6. Nehru Embankment
This panoramic embankment close to Petőfi Bridge as central Pest gives way to south Pest has been used as a pleasant urban getaway ever since it was granted a major makeover in 2015.
Along with the brightly coloured benches and abundant greenery, you’ll find workout equipment and even walking machines here, ideal for outdoor exercise as you gaze across to the Danube.
There are sports courts, too, and tracks for cyclists and skateboard enthusiasts. The Pavilon Bar serves everyone using the park area – although not until it opens at 2pm.
7. Népliget Park
Népliget is actually the largest public park in Budapest, with its own outdoor gym where Soó Miksa sétány meets Vajda Péter utca, close to the stop for the number 1 tram.
While convenient – recently renovated Népliget metro station on the M3 line is also nearby – the perceived notion that the park is somewhat shady means that far fewer people will be using the equipment here than at City Park, for example.
This means that here you’ll often have the exercise area to yourself, so if you’re worried about how you look while you’re stretching or pulling, this is the place to come.
The new location for alfresco Kertem once a destination bar in City Park, is within easy reach, at the corner of Könyves Kálmán körút and Kőbánya út. Egészségére as they say in Hungary - for your health!
Follow this link for a map of all the outdoor gyms in Budapest
Words by Peterjon Cresswell for Xpatloop.com
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website liberoguide.com
Photos by MTI