We came to Budapest looking to embrace the chilly weather and indulge in holiday cheer. The Christmas Markets are the perfect place to begin, but another great winter activity that we enjoy is Ice Skating in Budapest. There is very little that so perfectly exemplifies the season.
Budapest’s idyllic City Park (Városligeti) is a 302 acre playground for locals. It boasts large grassy areas, gigantic old trees, walking paths, the Széchényi thermal bath, a zoo, a permanent circus, a castle, and a lake. The park was established in the first decades of the 19th century, making it the first public park in the world.
Each winter, the lake is transformed into an ice rink (Városligeti Műjégpálya). This is the largest and one of the oldest ice rinks in Europe. It is truly massive.
Although, December in Budapest is every bit as chilly as you might imagine, we bundled ourselves up and walked the few blocks from our apartment to City Park and entered the building that adjoins the skating rink. Here we bought tickets and rented skates, we made sure to write down our European shoe sizes before we left the apartment.
They handed us each a plastic card rather than a paper tickets, these contained our ticketing and rental information and acted as the key to our assigned locker as well. We were told to scan our card and it would display the number of the locker that belonged to us. When we reached the locker we swiped the card and the locker door opened. Pretty fancy.
We changed into our skates and headed toward the rink. We enjoy ice skating, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re good at it. And of course, we were a bit out of practice, but even with our lack of grace on skates, we quickly adapted and began to glide around the rink… well, maybe glide is too strong a word. Nonetheless, we made our way around the rink.
We had a great time, but only lasted about an hour due to cold weather and sore feet. After, we went to the restaurant that overlooks the rink and warmed ourselves with cocoa. It’s one of the best memories from our time in Budapest.