For many locals in Budapest, including us, Normafa Hill is a haven in winter time (What am I saying? All year round!).
Normafa Hill is perfect for some real winter fun in the snow, and to feel the crisp fresh air. Here you can absolutely enjoy winter, the atmosphere is great, people are very relaxed, kids are having the best of their times on the slopes, on the hilltop playgrounds, on the sleds, etc.. To boot, you can enjoy some really nice meals and hot drinks in the old ski house turned Normakert Bistro, or the cafe of Hotel Normafa. The hill is about a 40 min ride from downtown Budapest (metro then bus).
Sledding / Sleighing / Sledging on Normafa Hill – real winter fun. Half an hour ride from Szell Kalman Square, 45 min from downtown Budapest!
Normakert Bistro, that is the old Normafa Ski House in Budapest with lots of goodies and reasonable prices
Normafa is also one of the stops of the Children’s Railway in Budapest (note to parents: Santa Claus will ride on the Children’s Railway in early December!)
Normafa is visited not only for its fresh air, but also for the wide screen panoramic views you can get of Budapest. You can stand on the 477 meter high hill, and play a guessing game, trying to spot some Budapest attractions from Normafa (there is also a small scale model showing which hill is which in the Buda Hills):
Normafa Hill got its name from a tree (‘fa’ in Hungarian means ‘tree’) that was called Norma. The characteristic beech tree atop the hill was planted in the 15th century, during King Matthias’ reign. The name Norma was only later stuck on the old tree, when the Hungarian National Theater visited the hilltop and performed Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma by the beech. The tree was about 5 centuries old, and inspired many a Hungarian artists, painters, writers, etc. Eventually the old tree gave up and fell in 1927. A new beech tree was planted in its place in 1962, and a memorial stone has been placed over the roots of the old tree.
There are many fun things to do and outdoor activities on and around Normafa:
- You can take the Children’s Railway for a nice ride on top of the Buda hills, in the fresh air and nice woods
- You can hop on the Chair Lift (Libego) on Janos Hill
- You can climb atop the highest and most beautiful lookout tower of the Buda Hills in Budapest: the Elisabeth Lookout Tower on Janos Hill
- You can try the Hungarian snack called Langos (sour dough bread with toppings), or embrace your sweet tooth and try a flavorsome Strudel (Retes)
- You can drink some mulled wine to keep you warm (eat bean goulash, etc.)
- You can enjoy nature photography at any time of the year (wonderful shades and colors in the woods, local birds spotted, etc.)
- You can do some adventure sports, skiing, sledding, snowboarding (and a lot more when there is no snow, biking uphill – downhill, etc.)