Lonely Planet Writer

You can now ice skate on a rooftop high above the city of Budapest

Budapest is beautiful from above, especially from rooftops of the V District, and the terrace at Hotel President is no exception.  The city’s latest winter attraction overlooks the green-and-yellow tiled rooftop of the Royal Postal Savings Bank (designed by Hungary’s most famous Secessionist architect Ödön Lechner), with the dome of the Hungarian Parliament and the Buda Hills in the distance. Panning to the left, the Royal Palace sits against the setting sun, and further on the dome of St Stephen’s Basilica dominates the skyline.

The ice-rink on the roof. Image by Hotel President

More than just a lookout point, Hotel President inaugurated the city’s highest ice rink on its rooftop Intermezzo Ice Terrace on 1 December. While the exclusive ice rink is free of charge for hotel guests, it’s open to the public with tickets on sale from the hotel reception for 990Ft (approximately US$3.71/£3). On the rooftop, skates can be rented for 490Ft(US$1.82/£1.38). The 110-square-metre skate rink fits up to 20 people and is made from synthetic ice, which means it’s a good option for beginners worrying about slipping too easily (although it’s still sufficiently slippery).  

The ice-rink by night. Image by Hotel President

To keep skaters fuelled up and perhaps a bit warmer, a small wooden hut next to the rink not only rents out boots, but also serves mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate and Hungarian festive pastries such as beigli (a dense rolled pastry filled with chestnut paste, plum jam or poppy seeds). Tables line the edge of the of the terrace with 360-degree views across Budapest.

Visitors enjoy a skate on the rooftop. Image by Jennifer Walker

The ice rink is open until 28 February 2018, so even if you don’t get here in time for the festive season, you can still enjoy that wintry feel by ice skating above the city between sips of mulled wine or hot chocolate. It’s open from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, and from 2pm to 8pm on weekends. While sunlight is in scarce supply, don’t worry – the fairy lights are turned on to create a magical atmosphere with illuminated monuments as the backdrop.   

By Jennifer Walker