Sports in Budapest
Dragon boat at South Pest on the Soroksari Danube. This sport is very popular 22 people sit in the Canoe and one additional people dictate the rhythm. Big fun, lots of people, water. Sometimes there are championships there as well, between different dragon boats.
Water sports in Budapest
The above picture were takes from the Romai bank at North Buda.
Budapest has very good conditions for example for water sports. The Dragon boat is for example very popular. The best places for water sports located in the South and North parts of the city, on the Danube, the Soroksari Danube branch, and on several lakes as well. The Soroksari Danube branch is a 53km branch of the Danube at South next to the huge Csepel island. In reality it behaves more like a lake, because there are flood gates at both ends. The South end of the branch (Fadd) was among the best fishing places in Hungary. In Budapest the branch is not wide, the width is 70-90m according to my estimation.
The North part of the city at Buda side a several km long area called Romai part (Roman bank) a nice place can be found with huge trees, restaurants, and many canoe places. Here it is possible to rent canoes and kayaks. At least one person who know the area is very helpful. It is possible to rent a boat, and start to North direction towards Szentendre, next to Szendrendre island. Backwards easier becasuse the Danube flows that direction. This is usually a whole day program. Usually 4 people can be in one canoe.
Popular sports in Hungary
Sport is very popular in Hungary. The most popular sports are the football (soccer), handball, water polo, swimming, kayak-canoe in Hungary. Bicycling, hiking, running are also very popular sports. In Budapest there are plenty of sports possibilities everywhere.
Most successful athletes and teams in Hungary
In Hungary there are several sports which is very successful. One of them are Kayak Canoe. Most European and World championships many Hungarian athletes won gold, silver or bronze medals. These sports are very popular in Hungary, and Budapest as well.
Other success sport is Water polo, where half of the Olympics medals won by Hungary.
Fencing is also a very successful sport here, there are lots of World Champions here.
Handball and basketball is also extremely popular especially locally at several parts in Hungary, basketball at Szolnok, handball at Veszprem and Szeged.
Other success sport is swimming. Hungary won many Olympics Gold medal in swimmming. Just recently Katinka Hosszu was elected the World’s best female swimmer of the year by FINA the World Swimming association. Katinka won three Gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the Berlin European championship and broke 5 World records at the World cup.
In the fifties Hungary had a “Golden team” in soccer, which had many memorable mathches, with Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Kocsis and many others, but today the situation is not so rosy. Last time was 1986 when Hungary could qualify to any international championships.
Around Margaret island a jogging line has been established. The length of the field is 5350m (1 lap around the island). Running around the Margaret island is very popular sports in Budapest. The size of the Margaret island is 500m x 2.5km. There is a Hajos Alfred swimmingpool there, and the Palatinus open bath which is only open at summer in good weather conditions. There are huge green areas there as well, for all kinds of outdoor sports like soccer, frizy or whatever we many prefer.
There are professional fields as well for soccer at the island, and for plenty of other sports as well.
Lots of Tennis courts can be found in Budapest. Not always easy to book a tennis court in Budapest, or I would say very hard especially after work hours and weekends, because tennis is very popular and many people play regularly.
See the links of tennis courts below.
Squash is also more and more popular in Budapest, but there are more Tennis courts, than possibilities for squash.
Romai Tennis Academy
Apart from Margitsziget which we discussed above at Varosliget there are also small soccer fields with smaller gates which can be accessed a bit further from the Heroes square, after crossing the bridge, pass Vajdahunyad castle several hundred meter walk. These field has concrete pavement, but it is possible to play on the grass as well there if there is enough empty space around.
Bicycling in Budapest
The best places to ride on a bicycle in Budapest are next to the Danube and in the Buda hills. Obviously the Buda hills are more challenging because sometimes the road leads upwards. For a longer tour can start at Buda side and possible to go out from the city in the direction of the beautiful Danube bend area. The bicycle road goes on the Upper wharf, next to the Danube, just two lanes separate this from the bank. (When the water not flooded the road, which can happen).
The dedicated bike road in the World Heritage Danube bend not starts immediately from Budapest, but from Dunakeszi. The other side of the Danube is also very nice. Here the 2850 km Danube river has a 90 degree bend from East to South direction. Nice hills, islands, beautiful nature can be found here.
The Danube at Szob. The most beautiful part of the Danube bend for biking is between Szob and Veroce.
Ski in Budapest
In cold winters it is possible to skiing in Budapest, in the hills. Little farer in the Pilis hills a place with a ski resort. Today snow is rare. Several years before the Soroksari Danube branch was frouzen and the people walked on the ice. In the 15th century according to some sources the whole army with horses crossed the Danube, there was no bridge there at that time. (The first bridge, the Chain bridge was built in 1839-1849 on the Danube).
Skating in Budapest
In the Varosliget city park the huge ice skating ring gives an excellent opportunity for skating. With music it is a lifetime experience to skate among many other people. Renting equipment is possible there as well. This is not the only place for skating in Budapest there are many others as well.
There are several places in Budapest for wall hiking as well.
Bercsenyi dormitory of Technical university for example it next to the Alley shopping mall in South Buda.
Soccer / football in Budapest
Soccer is extremly popular in Budapest. Many teams play football in the different sized football fields. The cheapest way to go to one of Budapest parks for example the Varosliget city park, Margaret island or in the Nepliget. There are huge areas there to play the sports usually, in the Varosliget there are some asphalt covered fields as well.
There are many “normal” sized football fields as well but these fields are most occupied by the professional clubs.
The Golden team
In the 50s the Hungarian Golden team or “Magical Magyars” as they called them were very successful. They won almost any match at that time expect the one in the 1954 World Championship Final. Many great players were in that team, and several of them was recognized among the best players in the World.
The most known Hungarian player of course is Ferenc Puskas. He was a top scorer 4 times both in Hungary and Spain as well.
This story was on the goal.com about Puskas, but there are many other.
“I was with (Bobby) Charlton, (Denis) Law and Puskas, we were coaching in a football academy in Australia. The youngsters we were coaching did not respect him, including making fun of his weight and age.
“We decided to let the guys challenge a coach to hit the crossbar 10 times in a row, obviously they picked the old fat one.
“Law asked the kids how many they thought the old fat coach would get out of 10. Most said less than five. Best said 10.
“The old fat coach stepped up and hit nine in a row. For the tenth shot he scooped the ball in the air, bounced it off both shoulders and his head, then flicked it over with his heel and cannoned the ball off the crossbar on the volley.
“They all stood in silence then one kid asked who he was, I replied, ‘To you, his name is Mr. Puskas.’”