The Hungarians are particularly characterized by kayaking and canoeing, fencing, water polo, swimming and modern pentathlon.
The most important annual event is the Hungaroring – the Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix (Internet: www.hungaroring.hu) that attracts fans from all over Europe.
Of the 16 first division soccer teams, eight are from Budapest. The MTK Budapest is the leader (Internet: www.mtkhungaria.hu). Nevertheless, football games rarely attract more than 5000 spectators. The Népstadion (People’s Stadium), XIV. Istvánmezei út 1-3 (Tel: (1) 251 12 22), has a capacity of 76,000 and could be the venue for important international sporting events with one roof.
Tickets for sporting events in Budapest can be found at the central ticket office (Központi Jegyiroda), VI. Andrássy út 18 (Tel: (1) 312 00 00).
There are numerous gyms in Budapest. The largest include the Astoria Fitness Studio (Tel: (01) 317 04 52), the Hotel Stadion (Danubius Premier) (Tel: (01) 889 52 82), the Moveland – Mamut 2 Shopping Center (Tel: (01) 345 85 44) and the Park Hotel Flamenco (Tel: (01) 889 57 61).
Most of the gyms have a sauna, sun beds, squash courts and offer aerobics lessons as well as advice from fitness trainers. In addition, almost all four-star hotels have fitness departments.
The best courses are quite far from the city, including the Hencse National Golf & Country Club (Tel: (82) 48 12 45) south of Lake Balaton, the Budapest Golf Park & Country Club (Tel: (26) 39 24 65/63), 2024 Kisoroszi, Szentendre Island in the Danube bend about 40 km north of the city, the Pannónia Golf and Country Club (Tel: (22) 59 42 00. Internet: www.pannonia-golf.hu) in Máriavölgy (with numerous others Leisure activities such as horse riding, swimming and tennis) and the first golf course in Hungary that has been recognized for international championships, the Birdland Golf Country Club in Bukfurdo near the Austrian border (Tel: (94) 35 80 60).
Membership of the above golf clubs is not necessary.
The City Squash Club, II. Marczibányi tér 13 (Tel: (1) 336 04 08. Internet: www.squashtech.hu) has four places and gives rackets. English is spoken here, but credit cards are not accepted.
The Lido Leisure Center, III. Nánási út 67 (Tel: (1) 250 25 65) has six seats, the Hotel Marriott only one.
In Hungary, 32 listed baths and facilities with a bath character are registered with the Office for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. Most of them are ruins or are not used as a bath. There is currently also a bathing facility in 13 listed baths, nine of them in Budapest. Three of these nine Budapest baths, the St. Lukács spa, the St. Gellért spa and the Széchenyi spa, have been newly restored.
The Komjádi Béla Sportuszoda (Hungary’s national swimming stadium), III. Arpád fejedelem út 8 (Tel: (01) 326 14 78), was named after the coach who helped Hungary to win the gold medal in water polo.
Alfred Hajós, who won a gold medal at the 1896 Olympics, had the large Palatinus Strandfürdõ swimming pool built on Margaret Island (tel: (01) 340 45 05), which also houses the thermal pools of the Danubius Thermal Hotel Margitsziget (tel: (01) 889 47 00. Internet: www.danubiusgroup.com).
Budapest is famous for its medicinal and thermal baths. Chess can be played in the neo-baroque Széchenyi thermal baths in Városliget, XIV. Állatkerti körút 11 (Tel: (01) 321 03 10).
The spas Király, Gellert, Lukács and Rudas date from the Middle Ages and were built in the so-called Turkish period.
The oldest beach in the city is the Csillaghegyi beach swimming pool (Tel: (01) 250 15 33). There are also numerous bathing beaches in Budapest.
Over 40 hotels, guest houses, youth hostels and campsites in Budapest have tennis courts – in total there are over 100. In general, hotel seats are not reserved for guests only. Further information is available from the Hungarian Tennis Association, XIV. Dózsa György út 103 (Tel: (1) 252 66 87).