Budapest is recommended as the perfect city for a weekend, and we think a weekend is not enough. What if children are traveling with us? Is Budapest worth considering as an interesting weekend destination?
We were in Budapest in January, when our daughter was slightly over a year and a half old. Surprised by how much we liked Vienna a few months earlier, which had plenty of attractions for children, we decided to find something interesting for the little ones in Budapest as well. Did we succeed? We invite you to read more.
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Budapest with child
Before each trip, we prepare ourselves a map with the places we want to see, recommended restaurants, cafes and places of interest for children as well. We try to plan the trip in such a way that exploring the city for Olive is not limited to moving around all day in a stroller or carrier, especially since she wants to run around on her own and discover new places on her own feet at all costs.
Unfortunately, in Budapest we had trouble finding suitable places for several reasons. First of all, because there are no typical attractions for children in the city center. Within the city limits or a little outside are an oceanarium or a large aquapark, but getting to these places is about an hour and a half by public transportation, which we know would not be met with enthusiasm.
So we decided to look for something closer to the center. We were counting very much on the thermal water pools, but unfortunately it is not advisable for toddlers to stay in the water for more than 15 minutes, so this idea also fell through in the long run (which does not mean that we were not at the pools at all). In addition, the weather was not in our favor, as it was quite cold, so both long walks and intensive time at playgrounds had to be limited. Arguably, there are more outdoor activities on warmer days.
So how did we manage on the ground?
In the following post, we present some ideas on how to make a city that has no outright attractions for children interesting for young and old alike.
In general, we do not expect much, we can manage in restaurants without feeding chairs, without changing tables. Also, we don’t assume that everywhere we go there are a multitude of attractions for the little ones, but since we are traveling with three of us we pay attention to it and post this information here, because it may be useful to you and make it easier to plan your trip :)
Playgrounds in Budapest
Our hit in Budapest! We were very, very sorry that it was too cold and we couldn’t spend more time in the playgrounds.
It is apparent that the entire city has undergone a revitalization of playgrounds – they are all new, clean, colorful, coolly arranged and encouraging children to play. Here we saw a lot of interesting solutions like small mazes, ships, trampolines, tunnels, and a lot of different tactile games to encourage children to learn and explore. Colorful murals are often painted on the walls of neighboring buildings, which even on winter afternoons add more color and joy to the place.
Playgrounds in the city center are located in small squares between tenement houses, are enclosed and very safe. There is a nice atmosphere here, the other parents are very open and everyone watches over their children, rather than coming just to chat. Despite the inclement weather, the playgrounds were full of children!
One of the most interesting we saw was the playground on the slope of Gellert Hill. A two-level playground with many slides, tunnels and even trampolines has been incorporated here. Fun for big and small :)
Olive fell in love with the places and we had a lot of trouble to encourage her to return to the hotel ;) As we explored the city, we couldn’t pass by any of them indifferently.
Budapest with thermal waters stands. There are many complexes with therapeutic hot thermal waters throughout the city. As we mentioned, they are not recommended in the long run for young children, but for a while at least it is worth going in.
We were at Széchenyi Fürdő, which are located in the Városliget City Park. Generally, you can walk in with a baby, but don’t expect any facilities for families with children like changing tables, shared toilets or ramps and stroller spaces. We simply left the stroller in the redeemed cabin (somehow it fit). There are also no attractions for children on site, but in essence, that’s not why people come to thermal pools to go down the slides, just to sit quietly in the water.
Surprisingly, the pools were very much to Olive’s liking. Warm water, descents with steps were just perfect and we really had a hard time obeying the mentioned 15 minutes ;) There were literally a few children inside, but the other bathers did not disturb the children, in fact, every now and then they smiled and chatted with them. This was another place that took us longer to leave than we had planned.
In close proximity to the thermal baths there is a zoo, a large park, an ice rink in winter and several restaurants.
As for other water attractions in Budapest, several people recommended to us the Aquaworld complex, located away from the center. We didn’t manage to get there, but looking at the photos, the place is probably more friendly for young children.
Places outside the inner city
As for children’s attractions that are away from the strict center, the youngest (and not only) will like them:
- Tropicarium-Oceanarium – which is an oceanarium with a rainforest > link.
- Aquaworld – a huge complex with slides, bridges, massages, water whips, etc. > link.
- Margaret Island – a recreational area, where there are parks, pools, gardens. An ideal place for active recreation for the whole family.
Cafes and restaurants
Here again we were very disappointed-very, very few places are suitable for families with small children. How on earth to look for something with a children’s corner, although feeding chairs could occasionally be found. Over the course of 4 days, we found 3 (that’s right: three!) changing rooms (including one at the airport).
We don’t expect unbeknownst to us, we can do without chairs and changing tables, but many places are very cramped or noisy, hence we had limited room to maneuver when choosing a place to rest and eat. Our exit map was full of interesting restaurants and cafes, but we managed to look at only a few, which we regret very much. In many there were either no seats, or we couldn’t get in with a stroller, or they were too crowded and noisy.
A place that may not be geared for children, but the little ones will definitely like it is Mr. Funk & Ms. Bagel – Fancy decorated donuts and very good bagels. In addition, you can peep through the glass as the donuts are made and decorated.
Hotel for families in Budapest
Of course, we don’t sit in the hotel for too long, as we spend every spare moment in the field, but it is extremely important to us that it is warm and clean when we return exhausted after a long day. We must have a place to ourselves, with a bathroom and a large space to run, because some people only start to gush with energy in the evening ;)
Also, we don’t like to twiddle our thumbs to come up with something for breakfast, so on trips we prefer when someone serves us these breakfasts, which means most often we just take the option of an overnight stay with breakfast. However, it is important that the breakfasts are fresh and that there is something that small, picky tummies will eat ;)
We stayed at the Ibis Styles Budapest hotel, which was a hit! In the lobby there were board games that could be rented, and in the restaurant area there was a playground with a large board wall, rides, a tent, a table and lots of toys. The square right next to the tables was perfect for breakfast.
(You can also read the article from our stay in Budapest on the Accor Hotel website).
Public transportation and infrastructure
Here, unfortunately, the dog is buried ;) Although there are several metro lines in Budapest, not all stations are for strollers (in fact, we can safely say that most stations are not adapted). There are no elevators at many stations, so the stroller has to be lugged up the stairs. Streetcars and buses running on the surface are often tall, run-down vehicles (including the now historic Ikaruses).
By the way, the situation is the same with underpasses, stairs in the city center, curbs – in this regard, both with baby carriages and wheelchairs can be difficult to move. We were a bit disappointed because, after all, Budapest is a European capital so we expected amenities of this type, however.
How to deal with it? So it’s worth taking a carrier or a sling with you and explore the city this way :)
Is it worth going to Budapest with young children?
So is it worth going to Budapest with children? In our opinion, yes, but only if you plan your trip well and provide attractions that everyone will enjoy. Much depends on what your children are interested in and how you intend to spend your time together here.
In retrospect, if we were to return, we would definitely choose a warmer season so that we could quietly spend as much time outdoors as possible, and we would also plan trips to more remote attractions.
So there will be something to do next time :)
We also recommend you our post what to see in Budapest?