Travelling with kids can sometimes feel like a daunting prospect, especially on city breaks where who knows if little legs will get tired, or if teenagers will appreciate art nouveau architecture the way you do? Budapest however, is the perfect destination for families who want to explore somewhere new without rushing around. Hungarian people are known for being welcoming kids with open arms, public transport is a breeze and there’s plenty of exciting things to do that your kids have probably never tried before! So what are you waiting for, check out our guide to the best things to do in Budapest as a family and get ready to enjoy an unforgettable trip together.
Photo credit: reflectionsenroute
You might be wondering what on earth this is, as the idea of children manning a railway is enough to set alarm bells ringing for most parents! But, it does exactly what it says on the tin (although really the trains are driven by adults and the kids are supervised at all times). The Children’s Railway is a unique activity that snakes its way through the Buda Hills, where children control the traffic along 11km of the railway line. There are 7 stops where you can hop off and enjoy a hike in the surrounding forests or refuel with a traditional Hungarian meal in a restaurant on the way. If you’d like to make an afternoon of it, get off the train at János-hegy and take the chairlift back down to the bottom of the hill, or at Norfama where you’ll eat the best strudel of your life, with the backdrop of one of the best views of your life!
If it’s pouring with rain, you’ll need to find something indoors that will keep your kids entertained for longer than an hour in a museum. That’s where Aquaworld comes in! Since Budapest is a city of thermal baths (more on that later), so we’re sure you didn’t forget to pack your swimwear, and this water theme park is a better option if you have very young children, as the high temperatures of the thermal baths are not recommended for little ones. Aquapark is one of the biggest covered water theme parks in Europe, with 17 indoor and outdoor pools, a surf pool, a wave pool, jacuzzi, diving facilities, saunas and 11 water slides. When you get hungry, you don’t even need to change - there’s a restaurant right by one of the pools so you can keep an eye on the kids as they play. The park is a little far from the city centre, but there’s a free shuttle from Hero’s Square, making getting there a breeze.
If your kids have ever wondered how it would feel to be a giant, or you’re all wondering how Budapest looks from above, then head for Miniversum. It’s all in the name, as Miniversum is a beautifully detailed model of a miniature Budapest, as well as models of German and Austrian cities. Using interactive screens, you (or really, your kids) control life in this mini city, calling the shots on the miniature traffic lights, buses, lights and sounds. Your little ones will love being in charge, but if they’re not old enough yet there's also a playhouse with creative activities to take part in based on age. With its relaxing cafe, it won’t just be the kids who don’t want to leave!
Since you’re on a city break in Budapest, we’ll assume you and your kids love to travel! And if they love travelling by plane, then the outdoor Aeropark museum is a great place to visit. Located next to the airport itself, you’ll be able to learn everything about airplanes, airport systems and ground handling as you explore the 12 aircrafts which are on display, and the kids can even play pilot and sit in the cockpits! The staff are friendly and happy to answer any questions you have, as well as telling you the story of the last 60 years of Hungarian flight transportation. At the end of the experience, which is around 3 hours long, you can also try a flight simulator free of charge, which your kids will be talking about for weeks to come! Aeropark is easily reached by the Airport-City shuttle or by bus line 100E.
Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden
Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest in the world, but age is just a number and this historic zoo and Botanical Garden is a must-visit while you’re in town. Home to over 1000 species of animals and 2000 species of plants, you’ll find plenty to do here, and as well as the four legged (and more!) attractions, there's a Japanese Garden, an aquarium, a Palm Tree House and an indoor interactive exhibit called the Magic Hill where you’ll find 3D movies and animal shows. Travel through the Savannah, India, Australia and Madagascar and discover the amazing animals who live there, before you arrive at the petting zoo - we’re sure you’ll be there for a while! Next to the zoo is City Park, and you can take a stroll along the lake after your exciting day out on the way home. The best way to reach the zoo is by Metro Line 1, a charming old railway.
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