If you are travelling in Budapest with your family check this selection of best things to do in Budapest with kids that adults will want to do too!
The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a great place to visit with kids. It is easy to travel with the public transport system and there is plenty of places for kids to enjoy. But not only that, it is a very cool place for parents too and many of the attractions can be done as a family. It is definitely one of our favorite cities to visit as a family in Europe.
Budapest is a city, like many, split by a river, the famous Danube. The hilly part is Buda on the West part and the flat part is Pest on the East. It is one of the only cities in the world to have its own thermal springs, and it makes good use of them, as we discovered.
So, what to do in Budapest with children?
There are many things to do in Budapest for families and we have listed our full itinerary below. The city has a lot to offer. We have written this complete Budapest family holiday travel guide to help you make the most of your visit.
But, just because this post was written for families in mind, you don’t have to have children to visit and enjoy the places we mentioned. These are amazing places to visit for solo, couple or group of travellers. We guide you through the best sightseeing and attractions, best parks and playgrounds, best hotels and place to stay. Just keep reading.
- 1 Things to see in Budapest
- 1.1 What to do in Budapest in 3 days
- 1.2 Budapest Itinerary Day 1:
- 1.3 Budapest Itinerary Day 2:
- 1.4 Budapest Itinerary Day 3:
- 2 What to see in Budapest, Hungary with kids
- 3 Best area to stay in Budapest
- 4 Things to do with kids in Budapest
- 5 Best parks in Budapest
- 6 Best playgrounds in Budapest
Things to see in Budapest
Here is a list of all must-see Budapest tourist attractions. Choose from this selection to plan your visit depending on your time availability. The good thing is that the top things to do in Budapest are great for the whole family. So dont hesitate to explore the city with kids in tow.
What to do in Budapest in 3 days
Budapest Itinerary Day 1:
Chain Bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd)
Take this day to discover the hilly part of the city (Buda) and cross the Chain Bridge on your way to Buda Castle. This well-known landmark is hard to miss. The Chain Bridge was the first permanent stone bridge connecting Pest and Buda. It is particularly stunning at night with its lights. It is likely you will cross it a few times during your stay in the Hungarian capital.
Buda Castle and district is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Budapest. It is a historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest.
Located at the top of the Buda hill, you can access it via public transport or hiking. Alternatively you can take the Buda castle Funicular to the top from the chain bridge station. This takes you to outside the Office of the President of the Hungarian Republic, which is heavily guarded. From here you have a great view the downhill to the chain bridge and across the river.
The medieval Royal Castle of Buda and the Buda Castle district in Budapest, Hungary host a number of museums. One of them is the Budapest History Museum but in the area you could visit the Military History Museum, Pharmacy Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery. Unless you are on a museum hop it is best for you to pick one.
We decided to visit the Budapest History Museum in the southern wing of Buda Castle. There is an admission fee but you can get free entrance with the Budapest public transport card. The exhibitions focus on the history of the 2000 years of Buda and Pest (aka Budapest). It was very interesting and we learnt much of the buildings and their destruction and renovation of the years, which was still going on when we were there (renovation not destruction!). Though mainly interesting for the adults there was also an area where the kids could be creative, so it was good for all.
From Buda castle you can walk to the Fisherman’s Bastion, which is also one of Budapest’s top attractions.
Firstly, the views of the magnificent Parliament building (third largest in the world, and certainly one of the most beautiful) from there are outstanding. Secondly the Bastion itself (situated near the Matthias Church), which was built between 1895 and 1902 to celebrate 1000 years of the Hungarian state, is a super piece of architecture.
We were there for a while taking in the views and watching the crowds. There is a small green area beside it that is also good to let the kids run their energy off.
From there we walked down the hill from the Bastion to catch a bus back to near the apartment, where we could give Victoria some time in the play area on the swings to blow off some steam after so much culture! We tried Hungarian goulash for lunch from one of the food tents around the Buda Castle. We also stopped in the afternoon for some Hungarian desserts and coffee. In the evening we ate at Getto Gulyas which served up some super dishes and made a great end to a perfect day.
Budapest Itinerary Day 2:
The next day we had decided to try out the thermal baths.
Although we could have gone to one of the smaller baths (Lukács spa) for free with the Budapest card we decided to go to the largest, Széchenyi Thermal Baths, where we also had a 20% discount with the Buda card.
We were not disappointed – these baths are outstanding. There are 21 outdoor and indoor pools and all sorts of other wellness services (saunas, pedicure, etc). They say the water has healing powers, but don’t drink it J.
If you want to go to Budapest baths winter is a great time to visit. The pools outside are great – the steam rises from the turquoise water and when it is cold outside (we were there in February), the 38oC water temperature is everything you need. There was even a flow part on the outside pool and fountains so we had plenty of fun. We could easily have stayed there all day but there were more things in our must-see list.
We have been asked if this is a child friendly bath. It absolutely is! However there are adult-only thermal bath parties at night which sound like a lot of fun but we haven’t been. During the day there will be people of all ages enjoying the thermal waters.
City Park Budapest
The Széchenyi Thermal Baths are located in a corner of the City park. We love public parks and always visit them during city breaks. It is a great for unwind and take a break from the busy city trip schedules we normally have.
Budapest was no different. The City Park is the largest park in Budapest. It has plenty of green spaces and attraction to see plus the playground by the lake, with slides, wooden castles and monkey bars, is great for children.
The lake is used for boating in the summer but becomes an ice skating rink in the winter which is great for the the whole family.
But that is not all!
Apart from the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, you will also find the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Budapest Zoo located within the City Park in addition to museums and the Hero Square very close by. There is plenty of things to do.
Within the City park we walk to the Vajdahunyad Castle, a replica of a Transylvanian castle of that same name. There was a food market at the time we visit so great opportunity to stop and enjoy some local food.
There is where you can find the statue of Anonymous, tribute to this nameless Hungarian storyteller. Anonymous’ work provides information about Hungarian history in the Middle Ages but his stories were signed as ‘the notary of the most glorious King Béla’, therefore making it hard to identify him and leaving him anonymous.
Heroes’ square was next on the list which was also an impressive piece of architecture featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars, and surrounded by the Museum of Fine arts and the Palace of Art. We did not have time to visit these museums but to summarise, if you head up towards the City Park in Budapest there is enough to do here for a couple of days at least!
Budapest Itinerary Day 3:
Citadel and Gellért Mountain
Day 3, and final day, was another day of exploration. It was back on the bus and up to the Citadel on the West side and a bit further south than the castle. We had a bit of a walk up a hill to get there but it was worth it – some nice statues and superlative views of the city. Definitely one of the top things to do for kids in Budapest because there is space for them to run and it doesn’t feel so much like sight-seeing.
Hungarian Parliament building
We walked down the Gellért hill to get a bus back and then walked along the river to visit the Parliament building. It really is an outstandingly beautiful building.
You can take a guided tour which we didn’t while visiting as a family. Instead we enjoyed the outside beauty of the building and the surrounding Kossuth Square. This is the square around the Parliament building and great are to let the kids walk freely too. The square is beautiful with its lawn and statues and not much of car traffic around.
After this we wandered down to Margaret Island to have a walk around and watch the locals on their runs and walks along the waterside. It is a nice spacious green area perfect for sports and with large playgrounds and good restaurants. If you like to have your morning walk or run while travelling, this is a good place to do it.
What to see in Budapest, Hungary with kids
The itinerary above is great if you have a 3 day break in Budapest but what if you have more time, or less?
We have made a collection of the best Budapest attractions for kids, so you can pick what is more interesting for your family in the time you have.
After reading this guide you will know all the fun things to do in Budapest with toddler or older kids.
Best area to stay in Budapest
If you are looking for a place to stay in Budapest that is in a great area, we can recommend this airbnb appartment we stayed while we visited. We have reviewed it is a separate blog post that you can read here. We loved it and think it was the best place to stay in Budapest for a small family like ours. The accommodation was great as it gave us easy access to the city with only short walks to public transport stops. The apartment is located in the best area to stay in Budapest; in the heart of the city very close to all the cool things to do in Budapest plus close to a market, supermarket and many restaurants, bars, shops and Budapest’s nightlife. However it is located in a quiet street with a public park and playground just around the corner. Win!
Things to do with kids in Budapest
Best parks in Budapest
Budapest is a beautiful city and well worth visiting with kids if you can. You will notice that we stopped at plenty of play areas for our daughter to just play. That’s because we know all kids need to burn off their energy and sight-seeing boredom while travelling.
These playground and park stops ensure that we can cover a lot during the our travel day without it feeling like “we hadn’t done anything fun” – yes, we have heard that before!
Budapest has a number of great playgrounds and public parks to pick from.
So, what to do in Budapest with kids? We have listed below some of the best places to take children!
Margaret Island (Margit Sziget)
The Margaret island is a public area in the middle of the Danube which provides peaceful green spaces, gardens and entertainment in the heart of busy Budapest. It is connected to the shore by two bridges, and it can be accessed by tram or on foot.
Needless to say, it is a great place to visit with children and we included it in our Budapest 3 day itinerary above. There is extensive green areas for picnicking, some great playgrounds for the children, cool attractions like the Music fountain Budapest and remaining ruins from a medieval convent.
A great way to see the most of the island is to rent bikes or the 4 wheels carts available in the park.
The Olimpia park was a lovely gem we found on the banks of the Danube on our way to Margaret island from the Parliament building. The playground is lovely plus the garden, fountains and benches makes for a perfect place to relax between sight seeing.
There is an Olympic ring painted in the colors of the Hungarian flag and plaques with the names of previous Olympic games medalists. A great area facing the river.
Liberty Square (Szabadság ter)
Very close to the parliament building, this is a well kept green space with a nice playground and memorials to the Soviets and to the Victims of the Holocaust. The square is surrounded by many beautiful buildings. It is on a great location, it has an interactive fountain and restaurants close by.
City park (Városliget)
City park as mentioned is the largest park in the city with lots to see around. So definitely take some time to walk and visit the nearby attractions plus let the kids enjoy the space and playgrounds.
In the winter, the ice skating rink is a great family friendly activity.
Kopaszi garden (Kopaszi Gát)
Kopaszi Gát is a green gem peninsula perfect for family programs. It has a sandy beach great for kids to play, many picnic spots, playgrounds and family-friendly restaurants with wonderful views. It is a popular area for outdoor activities such as biking and kayaking.
The Millenáris Park in Budapest is a cultural venue offering a variety of things to do with kids including exhibitions, concerts, playground and programs for children all year round, both indoors and outdoors.
The Zöld Peter Folktale is a Budapest theme park playground also located in Buda’s Millenáris Park. it features various toys based on characters from Hungarian folk story Zöld Péter. It is also the location of the popular Palace of Wonders and Millipop playhouse (both described below).
Steep hill with stunning panorama views of the city. You can hike up but we preferred taking the public transport.
A great public space for a stroll with a couple of good playground for the kids. On top of the hill you will find the the Citadella and the Statue of Liberty. Definitely one of the best places to visit in Budapest.
Best playgrounds in Budapest
Cerka-firka playground (“Pencil-doodling” playground)
On the top of Gellért Hill, Cerka-firka Playground is an exciting area for kids of any age. It is decorated with huge colourful pencils which make for the base of this jungle gym for kids. It has swings, monkey bars, a treadwheel and other activities such as the mini rubber trampoline in the ground. Visitors can also learn about recycling and compost process in the “useful waste” path.
The Palace of Wonders is a constant exhibition Millenáris Park. It is a scientific interactive playground explaining the physical “wonders” in a fun way. The Palace of Wonders is a favorite among children and family members. It is a great travel activities for kids, no one gets bored here.
Millipop playhouse is entertainment venue in Budapest for families. With its central location at the Millenáris Park it is a great place to take the kids on rainy days. It provides a range of fun activities for kids of every age from toddlers to big kid playhouse. Entertainment includes climbing frame, trampolines, huge slides, ball area and toddler zone for the little ones.
Mathias King playground (Budavári Mátyás király mesejátszótér)
Not as impressive as other playgrounds but it is beside Mathias Church in the Buda castle district. We stopped there to enjoy the views of the city and Fishermen’s Bastion. For our daughter it was just a nice break from all the seightseeing we had done that day.
If you like zoos the Budapest zoo and its botanical garden offer a lovely garden area for picnic spots and playground. The animal enclosures are spacious and natural-looking. It is nicely laid out and you can find many species there.
The Miniversum is an education and entertaining place for children and adults. It offers giant miniature landscape models featuring many sights and landmarks from Hungary, Austria and Germany with trains going every way. It is interactive and the kids can control the movement in the landscape.
Aquaworld Water Park
The Aquaworld is Budapest water park in the northern part of the city. The journey takes about 30 minutes but there is daily shuttle bus from Heroes’ Square. It offers many swimming pools, slides a playhouse. A great family program for hot days.