5 Things for families to enjoy in Budapest!
I have recently returned from a trip to Budapest for my birthday with husband and toddler in tow and it certainly did not disappoint. Some people would maybe not bring kids to this city in the understanding it maybe isn't that family friendly or much to do for the younger traveller, associating it with stag do's or adult spa weekends. This however is not the case!
We spent 3 nights in the eastern European city and we did so on a very affordable budget (blog post to follow!). As much as I have always wanted to venture here, I wanted to ensure that my daughter Ruby (aged 2) would additionally enjoy the trip and so I spent some time planning our weekend itinerary to include suitable activities for us all to enjoy. I decided since we had 2 full days to enjoy what the city has to offer, to split it into Buda and Pest - Yes, it really is split into two with the river Danube down the middle. This saved on travel and hopping back and forth from place to place with no set agenda, so I totally recommend doing the same. So here are my top 5 in no particular order of family friendly activities in Budapest, Hungary!
I really wanted to have a swim in the Szechenyi hot outdoor baths and was concerned that it wouldn't be suitable for children especially young kids. I thought that they maybe wouldn't be old enough to swim, that the water would be too hot or I would be frowned upon whilst the locals enjoy the steamy spa surroundings. I was totally wrong! Children are more than welcome to enjoy Szechenyi Baths! Admittedly, we had the youngest child there but there were a few others dotted about amongst the bathers enjoying the tropical water. They pay the same price as an adult and they should be toilet trained (Ruby is almost there but she wore a discreet swim nappy under her onesie suit so no one would know any different and no embarrassing accidents would occur!). The water is heated to 30 degrees during the warmer months and 34 during the winter, so it was around the same as her regular bath at home! I was worried about this as I didn't want it too be too hot but she loved it and kept dipping in and out to keep warm from the autumnal cooler air outside. The were three separate bathing areas, one and open area with steps going in, another purely for lane swimming and the third a similar open area with hot tubs. Ruby gets super excited when she swims and so we have to try to keep her slightly calmer as she would have been splashing all the Hungarian men trying to close their eyes and bathe in peace! We stayed around an hour or so and this was definitely enough with kids. Also as a perk, she tired herself out and napped in the buggy after, allowing us to relax a little over a cold drink!
Kind of a train, kind of a lift, maybe a cable car? Either way it will save you a long walk and give you a fun and historic experience for all ages to enjoy up to the Castle for its incredible views over Budapest. As pictured below its an old wooden Funicular that takes you up the hill and has impressive views on the way up. Its also been active since 1870 and is on a 31 degree incline! Buggies can squeeze on, they don't cram people in either so the queue tends to be long to wait but for a much more enjoyable ride up so worth the wait. Added bonus, Its free for children!
Ruby absolutely loved watching this (So did I!). It could almost be as impressive as a coordinated firework display or a mini Bellagio fountain from Vegas! Either way, it was a lovely way to enjoy an evening walk as we stumbled across it after dinner in the dark. The city have lots of benches and seats strategically around the fountain so you can wrap up warm, take a seat and enjoy the displays that regularly occur during the day and evening. I believe that they are hourly from 11am to 9pm and another added bonus, its a freebie! I personally think it makes a lovely evening attraction with its rainbow coloured lights and jets of water shooting up high into the dark night sky.
We literally stumbled across this park and spent a few hours here in the end. It is where the Budapest eye is located which is a huge ferris wheel that you can go up and enjoy, like that of our more local London eye at a fraction of the price. Its a park that was full of life, with bars, locals, dog walkers, bands, a skatepark and many other attractions nearby it is definitely worth a visit. We had the pleasure of having some very friendly locals that were happy for Ruby to play with their dogs in the park and so she spent a nice amount of time burning off steam running around with this gorgeous dogs! There was also the added bonus of an incredible brass band there playing up to date rock music such as nirvana! It really added to the atmosphere with the Autumnal sun beaming down. I bet this would be additionally good throughout the seasons, I highly recommend and another freebie! (Minus the Budapest Eye is you fancied that!).
5) A boat ride down the Danube
No trip to Budapest would be complete without a trip down the Danube River to see the stunning buildings located on its banks and to see Budapest from a different perspective. We opted for an evening trip as many of the incredible historic buildings are lit up so beautifully at night. This can be enjoyed for all ages and Ruby was once again free! There were headphones if you wanted to listen to information about the buildings that are seen as you cruise past, a bar on board (Always handy) and you can chose upper deck which is outside, or the lower deck with its panoramic glass windows so you get an unspoilt view on your cruise, in the warm. The temperature really did plummet at night for us so we stayed on the lower deck, I can highly recommend a boat trip, there are ones with dinner on board or just a simple one hour cruise like what we decided to do. Either way, I totally recommend this and again one that we all enjoyed together.
So there you have it! My 5 family friendly activities for you to enjoy if and when you venture to the beautiful city of Budapest! I told you it wasn't all stag do's and parties!