Budapest is a really child-friendly place, but only if we are paying attention to some important details. This historical metropolis that is beloved by 4 million tourists each year, is a perfect choice for families as it offers many exciting activities for kids and it is easy to navigate in it thanks to the extended and well-organized transport system.
We have gathered you the most important informations, the best programs, and a Cheat Sheet to make unforgettable moments at Budapest with kids!
Public transport with kids
There are four metro lines and dozens of tramlines and bus routes across the capital that serve the passengers from dawn till night. Even there is a regular, direct bus line from the airport to the city centre. All stops of Metro line no. 4 and most of the buses and trolleys are accessible for buggies. Please check out the website of the public transport company for details. Tickets and travel cards are also available at main metro stations or at the bus stops that are equipped by ticket machines.
If you are looking for a budget sightseeing tour, go and get a ride with Tram no. 2, which goes along the embankment of Pest and let you admire the main sights of the city, including the Parliament, the Castle, the Promenade and Gellert Hill just for a price of a ticket. The kids will love the old-fashioned trams that are coated into sparkling light bulbs during Christmas time.
Budapest Card for city breaks
If you do not want to spend your precious time counting the remaining tickets or if you are looking for a smart choice, check out the Budapest Card, the best travel card that allows you not only to use public transport anywhere in Budapest for 1, 2 or 3 days, but provides you free access to a range of museums and art galleries, guided tours, entry to the Lukács Thermal Bath and the Buda Castle, discounts at certain restaurants.
Summer outdoor activities with kids
Beaches, thermal baths and aqua parks
If the sun is baking you, get outdoors and splash in one of the lidos or open-air baths awaiting your family. Palatinus Strand at the heart of the city, in Margaret Island can be a good option as it offers ten different pools, including children’s pool, wave pool or thermal pool. The Rudas Thermal Bath with Turkish origin lies near Gellert Hill iand offers a unique opportunity for the whole family to relax. Hot water baths, steams, saunas and rooftop pool with panoramic view are included in the tickets, but children are not allowed to use the thermal hot water. Or if you look further for a less crowded, and more exciting experience, head towards Mogyoród, half an hour from the city and spend a day in the Aquarena, the biggest aquapark in Hungary. It has a unique 1,5 km slide system with diving pools, Jacuzzis, sunshades and many more. Your kids will just love it!
There is another option to cool you down: plunge in the depth! Budapest is full with caves and grottos. 16 metres down from the surface the Labyrinth of the Buda Castle provide not only a unique exhibition for adults, but action-packed events for kids that include treasure hunts and creative games. For the bigger ones Harry Potter parties, for the little ones Pirate parties are organised. For a more serious cave visit, see the Szemlő-hegyi barlang that was discovered only in 1930. The mineral deposits, the crystals and calcite plates with their beauty will mute the visitors, who enter to another world under the capital. There are guided tours, but the cave can be visited individually as well. Even with baby buggy! Don’t forget to take your sweaters and jumpers, as the temperature is 12 degrees constantly.
Going to the nature
From March to October the Challengeland definitely makes the day of your kids with no age limits. Wall climbing, zip lining and other rope activities can be tried in the forests of Buda, just 20 minutes away from the buzz. And to reach the Challengeland, why not you try the Children’s Railway, which is running regularly only in summer between Széchenyi-hegy and Hűvösvölgy? Kids from 10 to 14, who not only print tickets and keep the passengers informed, but run the signals and switches, operate the unique railway line.
The jolly-joker spot of the summer is the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, with its 150-year-old history. The Zoo is opened throughout the whole year, but summer is the high season. With curiosities from the seven continents it presents a huge range of species of the animal kingdom, from ring-tailed lemurs, rhinos, hippos, lions and polar bears to piranhas and at least hundred types of butterflies. Besides, almost 2000 types of plants (including rare tropical ones) can be seen in the Botanical Garden. Budapest Zoo is in the neighbourhood of the City Park (Városliget), one of the biggest green area of Budapest, where ponds, groves, boating lake, castle and children playgrounds help to refresh the tired visitors.
Winter outdoor activities with kids
When it comes to windy, rainy or snowy, Budapest has still plenty of opportunities for the kids outdoors. One of them is the major attraction of the City Park, when the boating lake is transformed to an Ice Skating Rink. It’s ideal not only for professional skaters, but beginners too! Equipment and training are provided. Don’t miss the gorgeous hot chocolate at the bar!
Which child can say no to snowball fight, sledging or just sliding on the ice? And this is why local parents take their kids to the nearest mountain to Budapest. Just half an hour from the heart of the city, at Normafa, in the Buda Hills, all the classical winter activities are available. Take the bus no. 21, and enjoy the fresh air with your kids and the panoramic view, or have a hot tea and tasty apple pie!
At last, but not least on the winter list we recommend you a unique and less known attraction, which is in the centre of the city, just off from Klinikak metro station (line no. 3). It is the Füvészkert, the oldest botanical garden in Hungary. As part of the Cultural Heritage, it is a national conservation area and place for more than 7000 plants. The entire Hungarian flora is represented in this 3-acre-area, but tropical and subtropical species can be found there as well. They regularly organise thematic programme for kids, even is wintertime.
Indoor activities with kids
Museums and playhouses
Few miles away from the Zoo, the Hungarian Railway Museum can steal the heart of the kids, especially the boys. This is an interactive park, packed with old locomotives, steam engines, and different cars, even handcars. Kids can try lots of engines and cars, like the rail cars, horse trams or turntables. The main building displays the history of the railways and railway stations in Hungary and there is a building for model railways. From April to October vintage diesel shuttles run between the museum and Nyugati Railway Station.
There is no doubt that the Miniversum is one if not the best tourist attraction for kids under the age of 14 as it contains the landmarks of Budapest and Hungary scaled to 1:100 of the original size. The small sights are situated along a model train line that can be controlled by the little visitors, who are able to become instant firefighter or drive a miniature harvester. A playhouse is operating within the Miniversum, in which the staffs provide creative activities for the youngest according to their age.
If your kids loved the Miniversum, they will go mad to walk in to an interactive city dedicated to 3-12 years old kids! The MiniPolisz is not a typical indoor playground, but real life environment with shop, beauty salon, post, police station and hotel. The Danubius miniHotel, the smallest hotel in Hungary, with its 25-square-metre total territory is child-friendly, fully furnished and equipped hotel that has everything we expect from a top hotel: lobby, reception desk, bar, counter, corridor, bedroom and shower. The children can be staff of the hotel, but guests as well, so they will feel adult themselves for a while. No matter if they are tired and thirsty, the bar is having a selection of drinks, while they are watching fairy tales on the telly! Danubius miniHotel welcomes guests on five , from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm at the MiniPolisz children’s city.
For teenagers and adults the Centre of Scientific Wonder offers a great fun, while it helps to understand the science by doing experiments. On 5000 square metres more than 250 games are waiting the families, including magnetic field, Newton’s apple garden, logic station, illusion chamber and escape room. Besides the various kinds of physical experiments take a journey in the Solar System in 5D, or try the billiards soccer and table soccer!
Children under 6 every day, and all children under 26 on the first Sunday of each month can attend the Natural History Museum near Nagyvárad tér for free. Its vast collection displays not only the species and history of Hungary and the surrounding, the Carpathian Basin, but it gives an overview about the geo- and biodviersity of the planet, highlighting the importance of the environment protection. The most interesting attractions of the museum are the dinosaur and the mineral exhibitions.
In the suburb, near the border of the city another breathtaking experience is drawing the attention: the Tropicarium Budapest, the largest saltwater aquarium in the region. Hundreds of animals and a lush vegetation are promising a unique amusement within the walls of this magical world. Sharks, alligators, squirrel monkeys and tortoises are just some of the many species that can be seen in this extraordinary place, 30 minutes away from the city centre. If your kids have the guts, let them check out the shark feeding programme on Thursdays.
Theatres and circuses
Next to the Zoo that works around the clock the Capital Circus is surely a good choice either for gloomy or sunny days and cheers up the youngsters and their parents as well. This traditional circus, where jugglers, acrobats, clowns and animal trainers are entertaining the audience, hosts International Circus Festivals regularly, when famous masters of the genre take the floor.
And what about going to the theater with children? We suggest you to have a look at the repertoir of the Budapest Puppet Theater in the downtown! Their shows are addressed to all age group from 1 to 18. Though most of the programmes are performed in Hungarian, there are some in English as well. The theater uses handmade puppets in the plays, carfeully tailored to the stories. Classical tales such as Bambi or The Nutcracker are on the stage likewise Hungarian fables and fairies.
Relaxing and culinary experiences with kids
Sometimes it is better not to organise anything just enjoying the flow of the city. In Budapest you still have plenty of options to do that. Such as having a walk around the Parliament, cycling and picknicking at Margaret Island, gazing at the city from the top of the Castle or from the Statute of Liberty on Gellert Hill, or just hanging around in the streets of Buda, the wharves, or walk along the Andrássy Road.
Eating a traditional spicy goulash is a must, and there are plenty of restaurants that have this soup on their menu. But not all of them are child-friendly. According to the local parents the best restaurants, which provide excellent services for families are the Gundel Restaurant, the Kiosk, or the Vak Varjú. After a long walk or just to put a smile on the face of your kids, take them at one of the well-known pastry-shops, like the Szamos or the Auguszt.
Accomodation with kids
At last but not least the importance of where to stay is just as relevant as where to go or what to visit. To avoid nightmares and unpleasant surprises a well-prepared, child oriented hotel could be a good solution. The Danubius Hotels Group provides great accomodations for families at prime locations of Budapest with guaranteed best price. We kindly ask you if you decide to book a room in our hotel to let us know how many kids you will bring and with what age, so our colleagues can prepare to welcome you and provide you the best service. We have cots and highchairs in our hotels!
When to go?
Anytime of the year Budapest has plenty to do, but the best interval is from springtime until late autumn. Winter can be chilly, especially in January and in February, and late summer is very hot sometimes, with 33-35 degrees in July and in August. Before you go out for a walk with your kids in the warm weather, apply suncream to prevent sunburn.
Where to stay?
Hundreds of hotels and thousends of private appartments are hosting tourists throughout the whole year in Budapest. But just some of them offer comfortable place for couples with children. Danubius Hotels have a huge range of rooms in the city with affordable prices, starting from 52 euros per room.
Where to go?
Budapest is rich in attractions, and it is easy to reach any destinations with kids. Either you choose to visit the Zoo, the Capital Circus, the Miniversum or the Challengeland, the Normafa, the Children’s Railway in Buda Hills, you can be relaxed that your kids will enjoy the programmes. Don’t miss the beaches and caves during the summer and the ice skating rink on winter!
What to avoid?
Budapest is basically a child-friendly, safe place, even if you are with toddlers. But there are some destinations, where are higher risks to be robbed or attacked and it is better to be aware of them. Like parts of the 7th district, which is known as the party district („bulinegyed”), where during the evenings drunken people celebrating their weddings or birthdays. Crowdy places can be dangerous as well, especially buses or trams, like the tram no. 4-6, the busiest tram line in the city. To prevent unlikely event, please keep your children close to you at all time and take care of your belongings.
Extra tips for families with children
Visiting Budapest with kids is an ideal plan for a long weekend regardless of the weather. But if you have time to stay a bit longer, it is worth to visit the countryside as well. Just two hours away from the capital towards the west Lake Balaton is a source of recreation and joy during the whole year. Or the mountains, like the Bükk or Mátra in the northeastern part of the country gives great chances to organize further outdoor activities: excursion, skiing, camping and many more. Szentendre, where suburban railway goes regularly from Batthány Square in Budapest, besides its charming ambience, host of an open-air museum, where old farm houses, the rural lifestyle and the whole traditional cultural heritage of Hungary can be seen. Or if your kids feel lazy to move out from the capital, take them to a boat trip along the Danube River! These thrilling moments will definitely cheer them up!