So many of Budapest’s attractions are suitable for children, you will hardly need to tweak your plans to ensure the whole family is satisfied. Here are a few family-friendly suggestions for making the most of your visit.
Even young children will be impressed by the grandeur of the city’s famous
and Gellért are
perfect for all-weather fun, with multiple indoor and outdoor pools. Gellért
has a wave pool and Széchenyi has a whirlpool. Dagály
Strand have vast lawns for lounging or playing in the sun.
Budapest’s children’s dance houses have instructors who will put your kids
through their traditional paces to a soundtrack of live folk music. Check the
calendar at the Budavár
Cultural Centre and the Municipal Cultural House for upcoming shows.
The marionette and puppet shows at the Budapest
Puppet Theatre will mesmerise your little ones regardless of the
language barrier. Shows designed for children are performed twice daily.
At Széchenyi-hegy, you can board the narrow-gauge children’s railway, Gyermekvasút. Built in 1951
by pioneers, the line is now staffed almost entirely by schoolchildren aged 10
to 14. The little train chugs along for 12km, terminating at Hűvösvölgy.
Departure times vary depending on the day of the week and the season - consult
the website - but there
is usually one every hour or so between 9 am and 6pm. The line is closed on
Mondays from September to April.
When the sugar levels start to drop, head to one of Budapest’s ubiquitous cukrászdák
(pâtisseries). Hungarians love sweets and pastries such as Dobos torta,
a layered chocolate and cream cake with a caramelised brown sugar top, and piték
(fruit pies). These are usually consumed mid-afternoon, a perfect time to
revive flagging spirits. For a classic Budapest treat take the kids to Centrál Kávéház, which has been satisfying sweet
teeth since 1887.
Park is an attractive landscaped complex, comprising fountains, ponds,
little bridges, a theatre, a gallery and, for kids, the wonderful Palace of Wonders.
It is an interactive playhouse for children of all ages, with smart toys and
puzzles, most of which have a scientific bent. Next door in building B is the House of the Future Exhibition, which hosts some unusual
shows for kids.
Fun at the fair
Park is situated on 2.5 hectares and dates back to the mid-19th Century.
There are a couple of dozen thrilling rides, including the heart-stopping
Ikarus Space Needle, the looping Star roller coaster (alongside a vintage
wooden one from 1926), the Hip-Hop freefall tower, go-karts and a carousel built in 1906.
Where the wild things are
If the children are getting beastly, it is best to visit the City
Zoo and Botanical Garden. This large zoo and garden, which opened with 500
animals in 1866, has a good collection (big cats, hippopotamuses, polar bear,
giraffe), but most visitors come for a glimpse of the calves born to Lulu the
a look at the Secessionist animal houses built in the early part of the 20th Century,
such as the renovated Elephant House with pachyderm heads in beetle-green
Zsolnay ceramic, and the Palm House with an aquarium erected by the Eiffel
Company of Paris.
The article 'Budapest with children' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.