We all know that an ample amount of physical exercise is mandatory for a healthy lifestyle. Many people shy away from these activities for one reason or another, for example, boredom or disinterest in the activity itself. One activity stands above the rest, and that is cycling: a good way to have fun, gain new knowledge of your surroundings, and get your body moving all at the same time. Read about a bike tour around Budapest below that will get your interest for sure.
Deák Ferenc tér
One of the busiest places in the city, Deák Ferenc tér, is where our downtown bike tour begins. This square has been the most popular place in the city for people to meet up ever since the 1800s. In those days, the square was used as a farmer’s market. To avoid confusion, people started to refer to the square by various names: Kholplatz and Kholmarkt, Jewish square, and even Cabbage market. Numerous name proposals arose up until 1876. In that year, one of Hungary’s greatest minds passed away: Ferenc Deák was one of the cornerstones of the nation’s liberal movements. With respect, the popular square was named after him. Ever improving, most notable are the three metro lines, which to this day make Deák Ferenc tér the most popular junction for citizens.
Hop on your bike, and let’s head down Andrássy út to see the most notable landmarks down the road!
Hungarian State Opera
A stone’s throw away from our starting position is a grandiose structure which needs little to no introduction: the Hungarian State Opera House. After the construction of Andrássy út in the 19th century, proposals for a state theatre began to spring up. The National Theater of the time could hardly accommodate popular dramas and operas, thus, efforts to build an all-encompassing theatre were set in motion. Designed by famous Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl and constructed by Frigyes Podmaniczky, the Opera House was constructed almost entirely out of Hungarian materials, with a couple of exceptions. On 27 September 1884, the magnificent construction opened its doors to a raving crowd. The opening performance, attended by Franz Joseph I himself, consisted of the plays Bánk bán, Hunyadi László, and Lohengrin, all conducted by Ferenc Erkel and his son.
Past the busy Oktogon, a more quaint area awaits us: we have arrived at Kodály körönd. Once nothing but a landfill, this square of Budapest is a testament to the brilliance of Hungarian architecture. During the booming infrastructural improvements of the 19th century, Kodály körönd was to be improved as well. The four symmetrical sides of the square can be overwhelming, and even small details on the sides of the ornate buildings stand out below. In front of these imposing structures are four tiny parks, each housing a statue: Bálint Balassi, György Szondy, Miklós Zrínyi, and János “Blind” Bottyán. These people were heroes, standing up against the Ottoman invasion of Hungary.
Make sure to go around in a circle to inspect all of these impeccable statues. Once you are done, continue forwards.
The final destination of our journey is one of splendour. To our left is the Museum of Fine Arts, and to our right is the Kunsthalle, or Palace of Art. We have reached one of the landmark destinations in Budapest: Heroes’ Square. Conjoining the two museums is the intricate Millenium Monument. In the centre we see archangel Gabriel, towering 32 metres above. In his hands, he holds the Holy Crown of Hungary and the apostolic double-cross. The monument was built in an eclectic style, resembling a half-circle. On each side, we see seven pairs of famous Hungarians.
While you take in the brilliance, think of where to go next. Why not take a stroll in City Park? Maybe a periodic exhibit in the Museum of Fine Arts caught your eye? Wherever your path might take you, make sure to absorb the culture around you.