Cool For the Summer: Outdoor Bars by the Danube
If you love water, but prefer chilling out over swimming, this list is for you!
On Népsziget Island: Kabin
Escaping to Népsziget is the best during the weekdays when everyone else is working. The surreal goat farm's scent in the air somehow smells like freedom, nature surrounds you, yet you're now and then reminded of the vicinity of the city by the trains crossing the bridge next to the beach bar that is called Kabin. Good food and drinks, no stress, beautiful views - this is how I would sum up this hangout. In 2018 a place called Wasser opened next door to Kabin, which looks nice, too, but this way it's not as chill as it used to be - for obvious reasons. Kabin has great music that fits the beach vibe and if you bring mosquito repellent, you can enjoy their open-air movie nights, too.
By Rákóczi Bridge: Valyo Kikötő
The name comes from city and river (város + folyó - first and last 2 letters), kikötő means harbor. It's worth biking down here or hopping on tram #2 and go till the Palace of Arts. Live concerts, a small booth for photo exhibitions, sandbox for the kids, yoga, djs, workshops for tired grownups :D, a BYO food possibilty for the barbecue station (call ahead if you want to reserve a spot) and being right by the Danube make Valyo feel like an urban festival going on all summer long. It's super laid-back with a kind of hippie vibe and great photo opportunities when the sun sets behind the bridge.
On the Shore: Nap Bácsi
Nap Bácsi is a lesser-known spot if you feel like spending some quality time by the shore. Right at the Danube on the Roman banks in Óbuda, this open-air lounge invites you to mingle on the waterfront and try the delicious food. There is a pebbled beach with plenty of bean bags to treat yourself to some time out. Nap Bácsi might surprise you: it looks fairly simple from afar, but the food and drinks – burgers, craft beer, homemade lemonade – know to impress, and there's so much space between the bean bags that you can freely exist in your own little spot, seemingly removed from the world while looking out onto the river and let the stress blow away with the breeze.
On the Shore: Fellini
This is as close as you can get to the river in Budapest - Fellini (next to Nap bácsi) is right on the beach. With the gorgeous backdrop of Népsziget island food and drinks already taste better. You’ll switch off here, 100%. Probably not the phone though - you’ll want to snap away, and I don’t blame you for that. Kick back, watch the kayaks from the sand, listen to the music, the waves, now it’s time to breathe..!
p.s It usually opens at the end of May and from July it's open from Mon-Fri noon - midnight, at the weekend from 10am already. The best is to come by bike.
Next to Chain Bridge: Pontoon
I'd say the most popular beach bar / club downtown is easily urban hangout Pontoon. With its leafy trees, hammocks and killer views it's where you'd wanna go for an afternoon drink, stay for the concerts and from where you'd be unable to leave because of the festival vibes of the night. If you go under the bridge through the tunnel you'll end up at fancy Raqpart that pumps out some hot reggeaton tunes and tropical pop hits during the summer. Their location is unbeatable!
On Margaret Island: Part
At the southern entrance of Margaret island you'll find Part, which used to operate as Raktár beach. The Hungarian word "part" translates to beach, this is the design and feel they are trying to bring you in the middle of the city. Part focuses on daytime chillouts and acoustic lounge music with a view, a comfy couch and volleyball courts from noon every day. Besides getting a fröccs (wine spritzer) you can grab some tasty food as well.
A bit out of the way with a retro vibe, yes, but a red double decker bus straight from London's busiest streets makes for insta-worthy photos. Its bright color stands out from the riverside beach sand and it's the center point of several beach tables and chairs beneath large umbrellas. This place offers everything from the famous must-try lángos (in 10 varieties), to 4 different kinds of beers and other street food. If you live in Budapest, are looking for affordable comfort food and don't mind travelling a few kilometers away from the city center and are looking for a different place, give this one a try.
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