Favourite Running Routes in Budapest
When I first visited Budapest in 2011 and ran around Margit sziget, I remarked that “if I lived here, I’d be so fit because I’d run every day”. Now that I do live here, I can’t say I totally kept my word! But this city is certainly a great place for running.
It’s not always easy to find new routes in a city. Crossing roads, waiting at lights, navigating underpasses etc. all interrupt the flow and count against city-running when compared to countryside and trails.
Nevertheless, here I present a few of my favourite running routes in Budapest, which all provide a decent amount of interrupted running and interesting scenery. Whatever distance you’re looking for – from a few kilometers to a marathon route – you can find something here!
The Bottomless Lake
An easy start, this lakeside loop in the XI district has a small artificial track which is always popular with runners. It’s only around 500m so it can get quite congested, but the lake itself and surrounding park make it a pleasant place to knock out a few laps.
The University Loop
When I got into interval training, I wanted to find a loop that would take around 5 minutes at a brisk pace, without having to cross any roads or get in anybody’s way. This D shape at the ELTE campus fit perfectly, being 1.3km around. The campus is a popular place for runners given the proximity of the university sports club. They also have a 400m track available to use at 2500HUF for a monthly pass.
There are infinite options for running routes in Budapest’s City Park, although you may have to practice your sidestep to avoid the crowds! If you stick to the perimeter you’ll be running for around 5km. Alternatively, a lap of the lake is pretty close to a mile, or 1.6km.
This is unlikely to be new information for any runners in Budapest, but Margit sziget is a popular running destination for a reason. The padded track is 5.5km and almost completely encircles the island. It’s near-enough totally flat, and running under the trees next to the river means there is usually some shade and a breeze to provide some respite when it gets hot. There are even a few water stations en route so you can push on for that second (third, fourth) lap!
A Lap of Budapest
This route is slightly fiddly with all of the road crossings involved, and it’s certainly not the most picturesque. It is, however, rather satisfying to see your GPS trace a perfect loop around the city. It also lets you feel how much of a contrast exists across the various inner districts. While it’s mostly flat, you’ll have to climb for the bridges and tackle some unavoidable gradient in Buda.
Along the Danube
I found this one when searching for a route for the BSI’s Riska Virtual Half-marathon. As there obviously wouldn’t be any roads closed for this particular event, I wanted to find somewhere where I could really push and aim for a PB. From Dombóvári út there are minimal interruptions all along the riverside and the terrain is generally very good. I went as far as Háros before returning for a total of 15km, but the good stuff starts when you turn off Budafoki út onto Árasztó út beside the river.
All of the Rakpart
You don’t necessarily have to complete the entirety of this route, but it had always been on my Budapest running bucketlist to cross the Rákóczi and Árpád bridges in a single activity. Given that Budapest is know globally for its stunning river views, this is certainly not a bad place to run and enjoy the scenery. Choosing any two of the bridges and making a loop makes for an easy running route where you aren’t needing to worry about getting lost. Plus, other than the bridges themselves, it’s flat all the way.
During summer weekends the Rakpart is closed to traffic which makes it an ideal place to run, whatever distance you prefer.
For reference, the approximate distances between the bridges are as follows:
- Árpád híd to Margit híd: 2.8 – 3.0km
- Margit híd to Lánchíd: 1.6 – 1.8km
- Lánchíd to Erzsébet híd: 0.9 – 1.0km
- Erzsébet híd to Szabadság híd: 0.7km
- Szabadság híd to Petőfi híd: 1.0km
- Petőfi híd to Rákóczi híd: 1.0 – 1.3km
Let me know which other running routes in Budapest I should try!