Actively Outdoors in Budapest
The most popular and central running route in Budapest is the circuit around Margit Island. The roughly 5300 meter-long track has a professional standard rubber surface and running eight of them will give you a full marathon distance. There are changing and shower facilities at the Margitsziget Athletics Centre and combined running-swimming tickets are available at the nearby Hajós Alfréd National Swimming Pool.
To the south a modern development, Kopaszi Damn, offers a 2000 meter rubber-surfaced professional track in a beautifully maintained park. In Buda, Városmajor unveiled in 2014 a brand new 585-meter rubber-surfaced running track that is lit in the evening too. Orczy Park has a 1000-meter forest running track and a 400-meter clay track. The many parks and the Buda hills are great spots for runners. Óbudai Island is best known as the location of Sziget Festival, but the rest of the year it's a popular location for outdoor sports. Normafa offers nature trails accessible by public transport. You can run a 5km circle route from Normafa to the lookout point at János-hegy and back, and also be rewarded with spectacular panoramas of Budapest. The large area and complex system of paved roads of Népliget and City Park provide a variety of running routes. The 10km long section of the Danube known as Római is the last "wild" riverbank in Budapest. The recent proliferation of restaurants and residential buildings make very crowded in the summer to run or cycle, but it's a fantastically beautiful route in the off-peak season.
There are many organised running events to put into your calendar if you are competitive or just like the challenge. The Telekom Vivicittá Run takes place in April on Margit Island. The originally Italian Vivicitta movement promotes not only good health and wellness, but solidarity and awareness of the environment and the people around you, focusing on beautiful but crowded historical cities. The 30th SPAR Budapest Marathon will be held on 11 October 2015 and the stunning route includes UNESCO World Heritage sites. Coca Cola Wake Your Body Women's Runs are for women only and promote women's health issues. Half-marathons and family runs, like the costumed Santa Run welcome everyone who wants to participate in a social run regardless of age or ability.
When it's finally too cold to run, wrap up warm and head to one of the temporary open-air ice skating rinks around the city. Műjégpálya welcomes every skate lover since 1870, when Prince Rudolph opened its gates to the public. Ödön Lechner designed the skate hall, which has been recently completely renovated. The 600sqm Eiffel ice rink cannot be beaten for location, while the 1200sqm Jégterasz offers classes and parties. Christmas markets often set up temporary ice rinks for some festive gliding too, such as in front of Basilica and at Óbuda.
There are plenty of indoor opportunities to keep fit as well, Budapest has many high standard, English speaking gyms that offer classes, weights and cardio machines that are accessible with a daily pass, including Life1 Corvin Wellness, World Class Marriott, OXYGEN Wellness (Fáy, Újpest, Naphegy), F&M fitness and more, Templefit 1 & 2.