Margaret Island is a green oasis for nature lovers and those looking for a quiet place to relax. Situated in the middle of the Danube in Budapest, this nature wonderland is among the many reasons for a Budapest holiday.
Originally known as Rabbits Island, Margaret Island is both a historical site and a tourist attraction on a Budapest holiday. The Knights of St. John were its first settlers during the 12th century. By the 13th century, it was home to a Franciscan church and a Dominican convent. During the 16th century, the entire island was entirely covered with religious cloisters—nunneries and churches. It served as the resort of the highest dignitary in the Kingdom of Hungary in the 18th century. And by 1908, it was transformed into an ornate public garden with loads of attractions.
Today, carpets of relaxing green meadows and trees, colourful flowers, and beautiful landmarks greet the visitors to the island. The Music Fountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, charms with its layers of water synchronized with the background music. Walking through the Margaret Bridge allows tourists to see the Centennial Memorial up close. It was created in 1972 to honour the 100th year of Buda and Pest’s unification.
Tourists in the mood for opera can indulge in the open-air theatre which also features ballet and other stage presentations. On the southern end of the island is an outdoor cinema.
The octagonal Water Tower is a major landmark of Margaret Island. Built in Art Nouveau style in 1991, the tower is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, serving as a watchtower and exhibition area today.
The ruins of the 13th Dominican century convent, the former home of Margaret (King Bela IV’s daughter after whom the island was named) can be found in the north. Nearby is the chapel of the medieval Premonstratensian monastery, which features Hungary’s oldest bell tower.
Other island attractions include a small Japanese garden with a thermal fish pond and a zoo with exotic waterfowls. Tourists can rent four-person cycle cars and small electric cars to tour the island. There are two hotels on the island.