Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a family-friendly destination offering a variety of parks, baths, exhibits, performances and indoor activities. Considered as one of the largest yet most affordable cities belonging to the European Union, it is a top choice for family vacations. Most travellers flock here during summer, but spring and early autumn are also ideal for a nice Budapest getaway.
Enjoy this beautiful city together with the whole gang!
Ready to travel with the kids? Here’s a list of suggested family activities to help you plan out your next fun vacation!
Traveling with kids can be super exciting and memorable, with the right travel itinerary. This Budapest “hop on hop off bus with boat tour” is one perfect example. With access to 26 bus stops and the freedom to choose where you want to go, the tour creates a personalized experience for the whole family. Marvel at the Gothic architecture of the Parliament Building or the Buda Castle from open-top buses that allow for 360° panoramic views of other Budapest’s main landmarks. Then hop off at the Jewish Museum and Synagogue or if you want to appreciate the city from afar, you may stay on the bus with audio guide in multiple languages full of interesting facts. To further excite your kids, add a boat tour to your bus ticket and enjoy more sights along Danube river!
Hop on Hop Off Bus with boat tour
Price: 24 USD
Regardless of age, the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is a must-visit for travellers coming to Budapest. It is the oldest of its kind in Hungary, and it serves as home to more than 1000 kinds of animal species. Meanwhile, approximately 2000 kinds of plants are also thriving in the area. Some of the top attractions inside are the Elephant House, the Palm Tree House and the petting area. These are great ways for kids to learn while having fun!
If you are going to be checking out multiple sights in Budapest, why not consider a Budapest card. It comes in 24, 48 or 72-hour options that will suit your schedule. The card provides discounts, tours and transportation while you explore the city independently. Enjoy free entry to top museums, two complimentary walking tours, admission to the thermal baths and more. Your card also includes discounts at popular restaurants, free public transportation and a guidebook with helpful information about the included services.
This card gives you 25% off Budapest Zoo entry prices!
Let the family appreciate the beauty of the outdoors by taking them on a hike at Gellért Hill. Standing 140 metres, it provides a panoramic view of the Danube, the second longest river in Europe. Please take note that there are steep areas on the hill which are not suitable for toddlers and their strollers. The place is more appropriate for the older kids as it features slides and playgrounds as well as historical monuments and exhibits. Meanwhile, the oldest and most famous baths in Budapest can be found at the base of the hill. It would be a perfect reward for the family after a hike!
Fancy the VIP Treatment at the Budapest Gellért Spa?
4. Check out the Hungarian Railway Museum
Over the years, the Hungarian Railway Museum has been a hit with kids and kids at heart. Filled with actual vintage trains and locomotives, it provides an interactive way of learning about the railway history of Hungary. Moreover, visitors can experience operating various rides like a steam engine and a handcar. Small kids can ride on a rail car and a horse tram too. Just make sure to wear comfy shoes because the museum is huge and you might also have a lot of walking to do.
Magyar Vasúttörténeti Park (Hungarian Railway History Park)
Opening Hours: Mondays: Closed, Tuesday - Saturday: 10am to 6pm, Sunday: 10am to 5pm
Access: Bus No. 30 and 30A and No. 230 (get off at Rokolya utca and walk two blocks east), Bus No. 120 (get off at Reitter Ferenc utca), By car: secure and free on-site parking
Address: H-1142 Budapest, Tatai út 95
Contact: Phone: + 36 1 450-1497, E-mail: [email protected]
Prices: Adult: 1700 HUF (6 USD), Child (0 - 4 years): Free, Child (4 - 18 years): 800 HUF ( 3 USD), Family Ticket: 4000 HUF (14.5 USD)
Note: Rides cost extra
5. Have fun at the Center of Scientific Wonders with science experiments
Learning about science and doing experiments doesn’t have to be boring. At the Center of Scientific Wonders, physics are taught to children through 250 well-planned and well-researched games. The science center spans 5000 sq m (53,819 sq ft), providing a great venue for kids to be engaged in fun learning activities. Included are illusion displays, escape rooms, and even a multi-functional space to hold exciting experiments. Even if your travel itinerary is jam-packed, a couple of hours would be enough for kids to enjoy at the Center of Scientific Wonders. Special mention: Physics show in English at 2:00pm every weekend and public holidays
Center of Scientific Wonders
Address: 1036 Budapest, Bécsi Street 38-44 (in the building of Buda Entertainment & Gastro, 1st floor)
Opening hours: 9:00am to 7:00pm every day (from September 2018)
Website: Center of Scientific Wonders
Up for an adventure? Take the family to the Labyrinth of Caves in Budapest Castle District and they’ll surely get wowed with the biggest exhibition of caves and cellars in Buda Castle — all located 16 metres underground. It would feel like you’re travelling back in time as you walk around and see examples of Medieval architecture. On Sundays, kids can even join a treasure hunting activity. For a more enjoyable and comfortable experience, bring some jackets or sweaters because the temperature inside the caves goes as low as 14 Celsius.
Don't get lost with this well-received Small-Group Budapest Caving Tour
7. Ride the Children’s Railway
If hiking is not your thing, you can go up the famed Buda Hill without a fuss by riding the Children’s Railway. Formerly known as the Pioneer’s Railway, the trains are not actually limited to kids as the name suggests. Grown-up companions can enjoy the scenic route along the 11.2-km line too. It was named Children’s Railway because kids operate it. No worries, they’re supervised by the railway staff to ensure everyone’s safety!
8. Head over to Challengeland to experience zip lining and wall climbing
Unod már a beltéri programokat? Várod a tavaszt? Akkor jó hírünk van. Márciusban minden hétvégén 10:00-17:00 óráig...Posted by Challengeland Kalandpálya on Wednesday, 26 February 2014
In a world where even little children are into smartphones and mobile games, it pays to give them a chance to go out and actually play. If you’re visiting Budapest between March to October, you can visit Challengeland, where both adults and kids can try fun outdoor activities. There’s no age and weight limit, plus there are many activities you choose from including rope courses, zip lining and wall climbing. It’s just 20 minutes away from the city center, and it makes for a great outdoor exercise, as well as a team building experience.
9. Be amazed by the Budapest Circus with its clowns, acrobats, and animals
Introduce the kids to the colorful land of clowns and acrobats! Open all year-round, the Budapest Circus showcases the world-class talents of various performers. It is a traditional kind of circus, with jugglers and even animals included in the shows. Every other year, the circus hosts the International Circus Festival. If you and the kids love the circus, it is something you shouldn’t miss when in Budapest!
10. Play with miniature models of sights and landmarks at the Miniversum
Álmosan nyújtózom még az ágyban, mikor kinézek a Miniversum ablakára. Látom, hogy az élet már elindult. Feri bácsi és...Posted by Miniversum on Sunday, 7 February 2016
A unique playtime experience awaits guests at Miniversum. As the name suggests, it features miniature city models of Budapest, Austria and Germany including their most notable landmarks and attractions. Kids will surely have fun taking charge of it, like controlling the traffic and choosing lights or sound effects. For small kids who can’t play with the miniature models yet, there’s a playhouse where they can stay and enjoy activities depending on their age. Meanwhile, for adults who want to let the kids play on their own, there’s a cafe where you can lounge and have a refreshing drink.
Thinking of a way to make your family lunch or dinner more exciting? Go on a cruise along Danube River and have your meal as you pass by a scenic route! Many companies offer this activity to families, and most of them allow kids aged 8 and above to ride the vessel. Wide range of food choices are available buffet-style, satisfying even the pickiest of eaters! This is also a nice way to simply relax and bond while you’re away from the bustling roads of Budapest. Some cruises last for hours, but if you wish to stay longer, opt for an overnight cruise!
Experience a perfect evening with the Budapest Evening Sightseeing Cruise
12. Take a stroll at the largest green area at the inner city
Budapest will never run out of vast spaces where children can run around, and adults can relax. One great example is Elizabeth Square, the largest green area located in Budapest’s inner city. During hot days, you can dip your feet in the fountain while eating ice cream. There’s also a skate park where adventurous visitors can give skating a try or simply watch others do their skating tricks. Cap off the day by riding on a giant Ferris wheel for some awesome panoramic views of Budapest.
13. Watch a puppet show at the Budapest Puppet Theater
The Budapest Puppet Theater offers entertaining shows of well-loved children’s stories like Cinderella and Snow White. There are occasional shows presented in English, but performances in Hungarian are also very easy to appreciate. The puppets used in the shows are already a work of art itself, as they are carefully made to suit every character. Book your tickets in advance to ensure seats, but you can also purchase them when you get there. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions on what specific performance to watch for non-Hungarian speakers!
14. Taste famous local sweet treats at the Centrál Kávéház
Kedves Vendégeink! Sikerült a műszaki hibákat elhárítani, az áramszolgáltató kijavította a kellemetlenséget okozó...Posted by Centrál Kávéház és Étterem 1887 on Wednesday, 3 February 2016
A visit to Budapest wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a bite of local Hungarian delicacies! Perfect for recharging after your family’s outdoor activities, you can go to at Centrál Kávéház, a quaint old-style cafe, and indulge yourself in their food offerings. Some of the most famous Hungarian sweets are Dobos torta, a cake with chocolate and cream layers, and piték or fruit pies.
15. Bike around the beautiful Margaret Island
Margaret Island, another one of Budapest’s most beautiful green spaces, is an ideal place for biking with kids. You can rent bikes and explore the whole place for half a day. Dotted with flower gardens and towering trees, the 2.5 km long island provides a hideaway for both tourists and locals looking to spend time with their families. You can also have a picnic here or try other activities like jogging, roller skating and swimming. The place can be crowded on weekends, so if you want the place to yourselves, consider coming during a weekday.
16. Shop for souvenirs and toys at the Central Market Hall
Going to the market might not seem so exciting for kids, but bringing them to Central Market Hall could make a difference. Located in the heart of the city, this is where you will find the best souvenirs to take home, including well-crafted toys! There are also food stalls offering delicious local food and seasonal products. If you would like to experience more culinary delights, check out the Central Market Hall’s schedule of programs for tourists where they feature other cuisines aside from Hungarian.
17. Make fairy tales come true at the Mesemuzeum
Fairytales do come true at ! Recommended for kids aged 10 and under, it is basically an indoor gallery and playground where children are taught about the elements of classic fairytales. Let them wear a crown for an added touch! Other activities at Mesemuzeum include art workshops, movie viewing and puppet shows. If you’re staying in Budapest for a longer period of time, the kids can join the weekly themed camps held in the museum — a great way to instill a love for literature and arts even at their young age!
18. Meet and greet with sharks at the Tropicarium Budapest
Tropicarium Budapest, Central Europe’s largest saltwater aquarium, is a family-friendly destination featuring hundreds of Hungary’s underwater creatures. Located in Budapest’s outskirts, it is home to different species of fishes, sharks and alligators. You can also walk through an artificial rainforest to see other kinds of animals like birds and squirrel monkeys. Another feature you shouldn’t miss is the glass observation tunnel featuring sharks. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can come here on Thursdays from 3 to 4 in the afternoon and join the shark feeding activity.
19. Visit a nice tea house
With its small yet picturesque tea houses one after another, the Jókai street provides an alternative for families who would like to have a relaxed morning or afternoon activity. Each tea house offers a wide variety of teas, some even sourced from other parts of the country or the world. If the kids are not fond of drinking tea, most of the tea houses also serve sandwiches that can cater to their taste.
If you’re tired of the same old walking or bus tours, why not try exploring Hungary’s capital aboard a Segway? Compared to walking, you wouldn’t need to worry about the kids’ feet getting uncomfortable while riding a Segway. Meanwhile, compared to bus tours, this actually provides a better learning experience as they would be able to see the attractions up close.
Budapest Segway Sightseeing Tour
21. Go swimming at the Palatinus Strand
Summers in Budapest are usually long. If you’re visiting from May until September, you should be prepared for the city’s very warm weather. On a hot day, it seems fitting to take the whole family to one of Budapest’s outdoor baths to freshen up. There’s Palatinus Strand for an instance, which has a dozen of pools, including kid pools and wave pools. However, if you feel like visiting during the colder months and taking a dip, Palatinus also offer thermal baths.
Budapest, the family-friendly city
If you’re planning to take your family on a vacation in Europe, Budapest would be one of the best choices. It provides real leisurely activities for the young ones while keeping the adults entertained too. One last tip: check the weather forecasts before you visit. It would help you pick the proper clothes and other travel essentials you and the kids might need!
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