Sport in Budapest

Sport in Budapest


The Hungarians excel at kayak-canoeing, fencing, water polo, swimming and modern pentathlon, but flop in tennis, basketball and football. The most important annual event isHungaroring (the Hungarian Grand Prix), which draws fans from all over Europe. Népstadion, the national stadium, XIV. Istvánmezei út 1-3 (tel: (1) 251 1222), has a capacity for 76,000. Were it to have a roof, it could host major international sporting events.

Golf: Playing golf in Budapest is the sporting equivalent of owning a mobile phone. The best courses are a fair distance from the city: Hencse National Golf & Country Club (tel: (82) 481 245) near Lake Balaton, the Budapest Golf & Country Club (tel: (26) 392 465 or 463), 2024 Kisoroszi, Szentendre Island, in the Danube Bend, and the championship-course Birdland Golf Country Club (tel: (94) 358 060) in Bukfurdo near the Austrian border where a round costs about US$29.

Leisure centres: Plenty of glitzy new fitness clubs have replaced the Communist sports clubs. One such is the Marriott World Class Fitness Centre, V. Apáczai Csere János utca 4 (tel: (1) 266 7000; fax: (1) 266 5000), which has gym, aerobics, personal trainers, sauna, solarium and squash courts. English is spoken at BHSE on Margaret Island (tel: (1) 339 8672), but credit cards are not accepted.


Squash: The City Squash Club, II. Marczibányi tér 13 (tel: (1) 212 3110), has four courts. Racquets are for hire and English is spoken but credit cards are not accepted. The Hotel Marriott (see above) also provides squash facilities.

Swimming: Komjádi Béla Sportuszoda (Hungary’s national swimming stadium), III. Arpád fejedelem útja 8 (tel: (1) 212 2750), is named after the coach who guided Hungary to its first Olympic gold medal in water polo. Alfred Hajós, who won the gold in the 1896 Olympics, built the pool on Margaret Island, where the thermal pools of the Hotel Margitsziget (tel: (1) 329 2300) are also situated. Playing chess in the pool is an option at the neo-BaroqueSzéchenyi Baths in Városliget, XIV. Állatkerti körút 11 (tel: (1) 321 0310). Day tickets cost about Ft1000.

Tennis: There are about 30 tennis courts in Budapest, which tend to charge about Ft500-1000 per hour. Non-guests may play at hotel courts. English is spoken at the Hungarian Tennis Association, XIV. Dózsa György út 103 (tel: (1) 252 6687) and at the BHSE on Margaret Island (see above).

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