Római-part (Roman Beach) is one of Budapest’s most popular recreational areas, and the centre of water sports and boating. Its colourful history dates to the 1800s, as the first rowers appeared here already then, after which boathouses started opening one after the other. The clear water and the pleasant beaches of the Danube also began to attract city residents. During that period, many people built holiday homes and villas in the area, and the first restaurants opened as well—the oldest one, Bivalyos Vendéglő, closed its doors only last year after 223 years of operation.
In the 20th century, Római-part continued to develop, becoming the capital’s centre of water sports—consequently, dozens of boathouses were built at the riverside. In the twenties and thirties, it also became one of the most popular centres of social life, where people bathed, rowed, relaxed and, of course, met new people.
Mass interest in water sports began to wane from the end of the 1970s, and due to the deterioration of water quality, the beaches were closed in 1973. By the time of the regime change, the river shore and the boathouses were in a terrible state, and the once famously beautiful place was unrecognisable. Most of the boathouses and holiday homes were destined for closure or demolition. People no longer came here to holiday, instead, the construction of modern apartment buildings boomed. Although only a few of the boathouses survived, more and more catering establishments of ever-higher standards opened in the early 2000s. In the middle of the 2010s, grassroots groups started to develop the area, creating new community spaces and more opportunities for water sports.
In recent years, Római-part has become more and more attractive for new-wave restaurants—charming outlets open every year, taking advantage of the proximity of the Danube, thereby attracting crowds of young people. An excellent and diverse gastronomy, open-air cinemas, cultural events, and deckchairs await cyclists, rowers and those arriving on foot. In the summer, Római-part warmly welcomes those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With water quality having improved substantially, a new public beach is also open.
Római-part today is all about the dolce vita experience, and little by little it is regaining its former importance and role, which is more than promising for its future.
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