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Grinding up Budapest and Muscat

July 15, 2014 OTA News No Comments Email Email

With more than 20 million people riding skateboards worldwide, the skateboard culture has never been stronger. 
unnamedWhile you’d certainly expect to find skaters shredding in cities like Los Angeles, London and Sydney, the team at travel search and compare website looked further and discovered two seemingly unlikely places for skateboarding fun – Muscat in Oman and Budapest in Hungary.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, when skateboarding was all the rage in the western world, Oman was a place where the way of life for the vast majority of inhabitants hadn’t changed for hundreds of years. It was a country without electricity or running water, just two primary schools, two hospitals and only 10km of sealed roads.

Fast-forward 40 years and Oman has more than caught up with modern times.  Prompted by the swift development of infrastructure, including some spectacular parks and public areas, it’s little wonder that the burgeoning skate culture in Muscat is on the rise.

There’s a new generation of Omani youth populating places like Qurum Park in Muscat.

Seventeen year old Firas Asmed al Hinai has attracted international attention and admiration for some of his tricks, especially after winning the Red Bull Local Hero competition in April.

“It’s a really small skate scene here in Oman.  We don’t have any skate parks so we have to make do with what we have.  Qurum Park is really cool because there’s lots of stairs and rails.

“Skateboarding is popular in the park and people are cool with it.  They see it as a part of modernization and are supportive.  It’s not like other parts of the world where skateboarders are considered bad,” said Firas.

“It’s a great way for skaters visiting Oman on holidays to meet the locals.”

The best time to visit Oman is outside of the summer months where temperatures can soar to the high 40’s up to 50°C.  Cheapflights recommends visiting between November and March. has found flights in that time window from $1,544 return including taxes.

Hungary also has its own unique take on skateboarding culture. Throughout the 1990’s skateboarding was outlawed in Budapest – despite the city being home to Europe’s largest outdoor skate and leisure park, Görzenál, which for many years had lain derelict.

Professional skater Balázs Jassek has led the charge to put Budapest back on to the skate map.

With the help of a couple of hundred skater mates and a YouTube skate film called  “Take back the city”, not only has he revitalised the sport in Budapest, he’s attracted corporate sponsorship to restore the skate park to its former glory.

In the summer, you’ll also find skaters at a number of parks around the city as well as near iconic monuments and landmarks like Heroes’ Square, Egyetem Square and the stairs near Puskás Ferenc Stadium.

The best time to visit Budapest is from May until mid-September. has found flights for then from Sydney to Budapest from $2,010 including taxes.

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