Winter is coming, and brings seasonal sports within reach. Get your skates out of the wardrobe, the skating season is just about to begin. Here’s where you can enjoy the slide.
1) City Park Ice Rink
Budapest’s most renowned ice rink is in the City Park. The lately renovated neo-Baroque building is right next to Heroes’ Square. The artificial ice rink turns into a boating lake in the summer, but when winter comes, its 12 000 m2 ice rink opens to welcome 4000 – 10 000 skate fans every day.The City Park Ice Rink is the biggest open-air skating rink in Hungary, and it is one of Europe’s oldest ones (it opened in 1870). The remarkable view to Vajdahunyad Castle makes your rounds unforgettable, it is like skating next to the castle of a fairytale.
You can have hot tea, mulled wine, and snacks along the edge, but you can also step inside to the warm and vast changing rooms to get your heat back. A nice restaurant is open in the building as well, with amazing view to the City Park, and the crowded rink. The quality of ice is always good, and during its full renovation, not only the main building was restored to its 19th-century look, skating area was expanded and a standard ice hockey rink was set up, too. If you get here for a round, you can tell you’d been skating on the ice of competitors - it was the home of the 2012 European Allround Speed Skating Championships.
The rink opens on 14th November – which is the planned date, but you should check the official website for any delay because of weather conditions. If you don’t have a skate, don’t worry, you can rent a pair by the rink, and they offer education as well. The rink is only a small walk away from the Széchenyi Bath, so if you look for a whole day relaxing program, skating and a bath is a great idea.
2) Jégpalota – Ice Center
If you’d like to try skate dancing, or simply practice on the same ice as professionals, the whole year open Jégpalota is what you need. The building complex is unique not only in Hungary, but in Middle-Europe as well. The Jégpalota in Káposztásmegyer has two icerinks with international permission (1800 m2), various training rooms, and the arena is suitable for concerts, company and other events, too.
For further information, visit Jégpalota’s web-site.
3) Ice Terrace
In the last few years, the top of Westend City Center turned into a skate arena in the winter, but this year, Ice Terrace (Jégterasz) opens at Kerepesi Street, by Aréna Plaza. The rink is in front of the old grandstand that once overlooked Budapest’s horse-racing track. The opening will be on 30 October, with free skating opportunity and a Halloween party in the weekend. The rink is outdoors, and you can park free by Arena Plaza. On every Friday and Saturday, Ice Disco is organized between 18:00 – 22:00, where you can have fun to great music.
You don’t have to bring your skates with you, you can rent them on the spot, and you can even rent the whole rink, if you’d like to have fun on a special occasion.
4) Ice Garden (Jégkert)
Ice Garden is located in Széna tér, near Mammut II Mall, between Margit boulevard and the bus station. This is a good place to start skating with your kids, the rink is covered with a tent, and there are skating and hockey classes from age 4 and 6, from beginner level to advanced.
There is a tiny snack bar in Jégkert, and a reasonably priced restaurant above it, from where you can watch your children skating. There are various classes held in the rink, so before you go, always check this online timetable, which shows, when the rink is free for public use (marked with green).
5) Pólus Center Ice Rink
This rink is the odd one on our list, because it is the only one operating in a supermarket. The small rink is in the middle of the restaurant area, open since 1996. The prices are low, and it is open every day between 9:00 – 23:00. For availability and more information, call the following number: +36 1/419 4070
In addition to the options listed above, a lot of temporary ice rinks are installed throughout the city every winter. From Eiffel Square (next to the Nyugati railway station), to Main Square in North Buda (Fő tér), and sometimes even by the Parliament, we get to enjoy this funny winter sport. Keep your eyes open, and enjoy the slippery season.