5 things to do with kids in Budapest, Hungary

10 Must-see Places to Visit in Budapest with a Baby

Somehow unexpectedly this year there was a brief moment of golden autumn. Running on the subway to work and, if nothing is dripping on your head and the wind is not blowing particularly nasty, you think, “How beautiful it is around, should we go for a walk sometime?” And… under the ground. In the evening it is already absolutely dark and you don’t feel like going for a walk. But I remember the beautiful city of Budapest and the fact that the red and yellow autumn lasts to the end of November.

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And then it flows smoothly into a Christmas fairy tale. And walk around this friendly city – rustling with leaves on Mount Gellert, several times a day to cross the Danube: from Buda to Pest, from Pest to Buda, to wander alone in Buda, to jostle in a busy Pest – somehow especially pleasant.

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If you have doubts about whether to take your child on a trip, whether he will be interested in the capital of Hungary, I can assure you. No one is bored or sad in this delightful city. And to make sure the trip was a success, here’s a list of the main attractions, interesting for both children and adults.

1. Bridges .

So beautiful and different that I can only compare them to the bridges of St. Petersburg. They beautify the city so much that you can’t believe there wasn’t a single permanent bridge in the city before 1849! The first to open was the Chain Bridge, aka Széchenyi Lánehíd (Chain Bridge). It’s a trademark of Budapest, the most publicized view of the city.

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I like the other two bridges better: the green Szabadság híd (Freedom Bridge) and the white, airy-flying Erzsébet híd (Erzsébet Bridge). Perhaps the bridge named after Empress Sissy (Erzsébet) is my favorite. On the Buda side of the bridge stands a slightly off to the side monument to this empress. You can think of lots of questions and assignments for the kids on the bridges.

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2. Gellert Mountain (Gellért hegy).

Every time I see this mountain, as someone who lives in Moscow and is plagued by housing problems, I am tormented by the question: “How is it possible to find a huge piece of land in the center of the capital, on which there is not a single dwelling?” Unless you count the cells of the monks. On the mountain must be climbed during the day and be sure to walk along it in the evening to feel the charm of the “Witch” mountain, as it was called in the Middle Ages.

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You can get to the mountain from the hotel “Gellert” and on the way you will find a cart with mulled wine and a playground. Or you can go from the side of the white bridge Erzsébet through the monument to St. Gellert. But this way is somehow not very reliable, the paths are not so visible, with a child it is better through the playground…

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On the way to the Citadel and the monument to the Soviet people-liberator (hello from the USSR) you can take great panoramic shots of the Danube and Pest. The Citadel itself on top of Mount Gellert is so-so, to be honest. Well a few statues, well a fortress with walls, it can be better, to put it bluntly. The road there is much more remarkable.

3. Baths

A place that your child is sure to love, for some reason is not recommended for children under the age of 14. I never figured out what the reason was. But everyone goes to the baths with their kids anyway, so I figured there wouldn’t be much harm in going once or twice. My plan was that we would walk through fall Budapest during the day and soak in the hot springs in the evening. The plan was good, but mostly all the bathing places close by 7pm.

The most popular spas in town are Széchenyi fürdő and Gellert. They are not just large spas, but also historical landmarks. In the Gellert bathhouse, you can admire an Art Nouveau masterpiece while Széchenyi is an excellent example of Neo-Baroque. The Szechenyi Spa has 15 indoor pools with different temperatures and three outdoor pools. By the way, the outside pools are open until 10 p.m., unlike the inside and the sauna.

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There is such a small detail. When you undress in Szechenyi, everything is very civilized, changing rooms with electronic keys, everything is clean, just fine. Here you change to bathing suit: you in a bathing suit, a child in swimming trunks, and the question arises, how to get into the room with pools? As a result of prolonged clarification, it turns out that you have to go there through the street. The temperature is 7-8 degrees, November month. And then all the time you have to run across the street from the indoor pools to the outdoor pools. But no one died or even got sick. People prepared bring bathing robes, drinks, snacks.

You can check in once at the tourist bathing areas, and then you have to move to where the locals graze. I personally really like the Lucacs center. Prices there are much lower than in Szechenyi and Gellert, there are few tourists, mostly Hungarians. It is located in Buda, right after Margaret Bridge.

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It is clear that thermal springs are very useful for health, it would be better to know how and in what quantity to consume them. And it is clear that from one, two times no one is cured. So just catch a buzz from bathing in healthy hot water. It’s especially nice to soak in water under the open sky and if it suddenly snows, and you’re okay, it’s not cold.

4. Unusual monuments of Budapest

Monuments are a must-visit, but no one likes them or remembers them, I’m sure. But what you accidentally stumble upon while wandering the streets is not what you would call a monument. They are sketches from life: a girl playing with a dog, Shakespeare bowing to the public, a boy or a girl sitting on a fence, girls hiding from the rain under umbrellas.

Budapest’s most poignant monument is an abandoned bronze shoe on the waterfront. It is not someone’s forgetfulness, but a reminder of the execution of the Jews by the Nazis.

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But even the “official” monuments are unusually heartwarming. I’ve already mentioned the monument to Empress Sissi, or the monument to Prime Minister Imre Nadj. He stands on the bridge for a reason; it symbolizes his defection to the people in the 1956 uprising against the USSR.

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5. Buda Hill

Buda and Pest are so different. Pest is bustling with life, full of restaurants, cafes, some eateries, store signs. Buda Hill is so medieval. Despite the crowds of tourists, it is easy to imagine how, when darkness falls, the streets are empty and all night silent mysterious Buda will look at the bright lights of Pest.

You can climb the hill in different ways: on foot up from the former Moscow Square, now Széll Kálmán tér, or from Clark Adám tér on the ancient little funicular railway. Adam Clark Square ends with the Chain Bridge on the Buda side.

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However, whichever way you get to the hill, it is worth a look:

– Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya).

The snow-white “toy” fortress. The practical purpose of the fortress – observation deck. Here do the most beautiful pictures of the Danube and the Hungarian Parliament.

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– Matyas Church.

If I had a girl, I would have made an itinerary in the footsteps of Empress Sissi, and mentioned that it was in this church that she was crowned. But I have a boy and all these stories about beautiful and sad empresses are not interesting to him.

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-King’s Castle.

I have to check it out. Children will be interested to see the huge mythical Turul bird guarding the entrance to the palace.

– Medieval streets.

The hilly location of Buda and the ancient streets will remind you that Buda is much older than Pest.

6. Labyrinth

I want to warn you right away, the red wine fountain is closed! There is nothing more for adults to do in the Labyrinth. Now this entertainment is only for children. A visit to the Labyrinth is a good ending to a day in Buda. You enter the underground and begin to wander through half-lit corridors to mysterious, horrifying music. From time to time you meet wax figures in medieval costumes.

There is an exposition devoted to Dracula. Where would one go without him? It turns out that he sat in Buda in the fortress.

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7. The zoo

Located near the Széchenyi baths, same metro stop – Széchenyi Fürdő

Let me be honest. We only spent an hour in the zoo, it was pouring rain, so I can’t describe in detail what animals are there. But what we saw in an hour we really liked. It was the lodge of the sloths. They were lazily strutting around their enclosure, right among the visitors. But stroking them is not recommended, they may get scared and attack. I am exploring the zoo site now and I can say that I will definitely go there again on my next trip to Budapest.

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The zoo closes very early by Moscow standards, in November you cannot enter later than 15.00. You can easily combine the zoo with a visit to the Széchenyi baths, which are still open after 4 pm.

8. Pastry

Budapest is a gastronomic paradise. But it is unlikely that a child will appreciate the abundance of pates, sausages, duck legs confit and other tokai. But to merge in a gastronomic ecstasy is quite possible in numerous coffee shops, pastry shops, and just about stalls with street food. The portions are huge and the prices will pleasantly surprise you.

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9. Children’s railroad

Where else, if not in Budapest, you can show your child a real pioneers? And not just like that, but in action. Pioneer, as they say, is an example in the work. At the same time you can indulge in a bit of nostalgia for the red-garland childhood and quote “Joining the ranks … etc.”.

In Buda, there’s a small, 12-kilometer-long Soviet-era railroad track where only children aged 10 to 14 work. They sell and check tickets, meet and dispatch trains. And the arrival and departure of the train is accompanied by a real pioneer salute. Those wishing to criticize may note the too low position and the practical parallelism of the arms to the ground.

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The Children’s Railroad operates year-round, with Mondays off, the train runs once an hour. In the summer, in good weather, there is probably some excitement. But in the fall, you can pretty much be the only passengers on the small train.

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I recommend combining the train on the children’s railroad with climbing to the highest point of Budapest – Erzsébet Tower (Erzsébet kilátó). You have to get off at the Janos hegy stop and follow the signs to go up for about 30 minutes.

In the fall and winter, when it gets dark early, it is better to take a trip through the hills of Buda before dinner, so to speak. Because the terrain, reminiscent of the entourage of the movie Sleepy Hollow, is not conducive to walking in the dark. However, the only signs of life in the woods are playgrounds and some children’s facilities. It’s a beautiful place

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How to get to the children’s railroad?

Not as easy and fast as the other attractions, but you can give your child a whole transport journey, changing from the usual streetcar to the cog railway, and then to the children’s railway.

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The Szechenyi-hegy end of the children’s railroad can be reached from Szell Kalman ter (former Moscow Square) by streetcar number 59 or 61. You must get to the Varosmajor stop. It is easily recognized by the tall Soviet-era building of the Budapest Hotel. Take streetcar No. 60 and take it to Szechenyi Hill. Then a short walk to Golfpalya utca.

10. Museum of Fine Arts (Szépmûvészeti Múzeum).

To tell you the truth, it is still a mystery to me how to accustom a child to big art museums, full of paintings of different styles and times. So I usually carefully avoid them.

But the Budapest Art Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of paintings by El Greco, Goya, Velázquez, originals by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. So you should definitely check it out. Plus, there’s a chance to catch some super famous exhibitions. For example, we went to see Caravaggio.

The museum is in a place where you will definitely go for a walk – at the end of Andrássy avenue (Andrássy út) on Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere). You can stop by to admire the paintings along the way.

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