Historically inaccessible in the middle of the Danube, Margaret Island was a retreat for religious contemplation from at least the 11th century onwards. Relics of the island's past include the remains of two monastic churches and the ruins of the convent home of Princess Margaret, daughter of King Béla IV, who gave the island its name.
Opened to the public in 1869, Margaret Island is today Budapest's most beautiful park. a car-free haven of greenery in the middle of the city and the ideal location for a peaceful stroll. On the western shore, the Palatinus Strand bathing complex makes use of the mineral-rich hot springs rising on the island.
Centenary Monument to Palatinus Strand
A nice walk begins amid the peace and greenery of the southern tip of Margaret Island. Proceeding to the north, the first landmark is the Centenary Monument, which stands in front of a sizable fountain.
Designed by István Kiss, the monument was made in 1973, to commemorate the centenary of the unification of the towns Buda, Óbuda and Pest. At night the fountain is dramatically illuminated. You can rent four-wheel familiy bikes here. Taking a left turn ahead, the Hajós Olympic Pool Complex is soon reached.
Built in 1930, the complex was designed by the multi-talented Alfréd Hajós. He won gold medals in swimming events in the 1896 Olympic Games and was also a member of the Hungarian football team.
A Rose Garden and A Fransican Monastery
Continuing northwards, there's a rose garden to the right before the ruins of the early 14th-century Franciscan Church come in view. Constructed in the Gothic style of time, the church was originally attached to a monastery.
Visible in the west wall is the doorway which once led to the organ loft, as well as a spiral staircase and a fine arched window. Further on is the busy Palatinus Strand. In front of the entrance to its pools stands a statue by the French sculptor Emile Guilleaume.
Water Tower to St. Michael's Church
Clearly visible to the northeast of Palatinus Strand, is the 57 meters (187 ft) high Water Tower. Built in 1911 and now protected by UNESCO, this graceful tower is currently used as an exhibition space for a variety of previously unexhibited modern crafts and artworks, ranging from puppets to paintings.
At the floor of the Water Tower is the Summer Theater, a large amphitheater seating 3,500 people, which hosts a summer season of operatic performances. To the southeast of the Water Tower are the ruins of a 13th century Dominican Church and Convent.