It’s every traveler’s dream to visit Japan in cherry blossom season and stroll under exquisite canopies of pink petals.
But if you find yourself in Budapest instead of Japan in spring, you’ll also have ample opportunity to admire cherry trees bursting into glorious bloom. Read on to discover Budapest’s loveliest cherry blossom spots and the best time to visit them.
1. Toth Arpad promenade
Toth Arpad Setany is a beautiful promenade in Budapest’s Castle district, minutes away from Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. The entire promenade is lined with cherry trees that look unremarkable most of the year, but in spring they blossom into a pink spectacle.
With its gorgeous views of Buda, including Buda Castle, Toth Arpad promenade is the perfect place to go for a slow walk or sit on a bench, taking in the beauty of cherry blossoms and people watching.
My favorite time to visit Toth Arpad promenade is late afternoon or early evening when the crowds from Fisherman’s Bastion have dissipated and the atmosphere becomes quaint, with neighbors chatting and kids riding small bikes along the promenade. You can almost feel like a local in these moments.
2. Gellert Hill
If Instagram-worthy photos are your favorite souvenirs to bring back from trips, you won’t want to miss Gellert Hill in Budapest. The hill is popular with photographers because of spectacular views: you can get cherry blossoms, the river and bridges all in one shot.
One of the best photography spots on Gellert Hill is this: take public transport to Szent Gellert ter and walk up the hill where you see a large cross. There’s a cherry tree next to it that becomes the most popular tree in Budapest in cherry blossom season. The photo above was taken there. Thanks to @bendpix, a talented Budapest photographer, for sharing this location.
Note that this cherry tree, which has white petals, blooms 1-2 weeks earlier than most cherry trees mentioned in this post (which have pink petals). In 2019 it was in full bloom the last week of March. I’m writing this on April 6 and the pink-blossomed trees are just starting to bloom.
3. Fuveszkert Botanical Gardens
Fuveszkert in the up-and-coming 8th district is Hungary’s oldest botanical garden. Established in 1771, it’s now under the wing of Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE). Cherry blossom lovers gather in this botanical garden every April to celebrate the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Festival – see the link for this year’s dates.
During the festival you can enjoy a picnic under blooming cherry trees in Fuveszkert’s Japanese garden and discover Japanese culture at various accompanying events.
4. Margit Island
Margit Island is a small island in the Danube river north of Budapest’s center. It’s a popular running spot among Budapestians and a peaceful place to relax amidst greenery.
Margit Island has a Japanese garden and you can also find cherry trees elsewhere as the whole island is like a big park. I found the beautiful tree in the above photo near the Water Tower.
Like Fuveszkert botanical garden, Margit Island is another marvelous place to spread a blanket and have a picnic under cherry trees. Life really is a picnic when you can take a moment to unwind and admire silky petals from a comfy spot in the park, don’t you think?
When can you see cherry blossoms in Budapest?
It depends on the weather. If March is warm, cherry trees could bloom as early as mid-March. If March is cold – and it usually is – April is more likely.
To be sure, use the Cherry Blossom Festival dates as a guide (see #3 in this post). Just keep in mind that the trees are in full bloom only about a week.
Do you know another great place in Budapest to see cherry blossoms? Share it in a comment below and I’ll add it to the list! 🌸
Main photo by Daniel Olah