Budapest is a great city with kids. I love the fact that most people will give you a smile, give up their seats on the tram and help you with the buggy on the stairs. Now that spring is finally here, it’s time to head outdoors again and the city has so much to offer. I will be doing a series of my top ‘Day Out with the Kids’ in Budapest, starting with:
Number One – Margaret Island (Margitsziget)
My all-time favourite has to be Margaret Island, especially since the bridge was reopened to the public last summer and the tram is stopping on the bridge again. The island is the green lung of the city and lies on a small ca. 5 km long island on the Danube. No cars are allowed, just the public buses and taxis, so great whether you arrive by bike or on foot. The island has two very nice playgrounds, the most popular one is close to the Margit híd (Margaret bridge) entrance, just before the Olympic pool on the left.
Most of the time we don’t go to the playground, because my favourite place to hang out is the big tree, on the big field, with a blanket, some goodies and some booze for a picnic. A bit vague I know, but most people will know where I mean. Just head straight, staying on the middle path as you pass the the big, musical fountain and you will find it. This is so much more relaxing with a toddler than the playground and it really feels like you’ve left the city behind.
After a while, we would pack up and move on to the the little kids zoo located in the middle of the island. It’s still free and we walk through a beautifully kept rose garden admiring the flowers before going to look at the animals.
The island is too big to see all of its attractions in one day. Sometimes we arrive on bikes from the north entrance via Árpád bridge, play a bit at the newly opened playground there, then hang out a bit by the thermal pond to see the goldfish and feed the ducks. There is also a big field behind the Grand Hotel Margitsziget with the Water Tower in the background – a great place to play ball. From there we usually wander off to the medieval ruins for a bit of historical exploration. We haven’t tried it in a while but if you have bigger kids, the number one activity has to be going for a ride on a bringo cart.
If it’s a really hot summer day we are regulars at the Palatinus public lido, it has a kids amusement pool for an additional fee. When we go there, we live on lángos and ice cream all day. Most of the time though, we end up finishing the day with a meal at Holdudvar’s terrace, located near the Margaret bridge entrance. The food is really nice and reasonably priced. The place has enough highchairs and a changing table. There is plenty of space to run around even if the weather is not so nice. Last summer I was addicted to their catfish stew with cottage cheese pasta and it was always a hit with my daughter too.
To get there: take the 4-6 tram to the Margitsziget stop and walk in across the little bridge. There is a bike lane now from both Margaret and Árpád bridges. By car you can park on the island by the Árpád bridge entrance and pay by the hour.
Next time – Városliget (City Park)
Andi Lustak was born in Budapest and is a Freelance Technology PR consultant when she is working and a mom of a beautiful 2 years old daughter. Andi studied, worked and lived in London for 9 years before relocating back to Budapest to spend a big chunk of the year in her beloved home city with her British partner. She found Reka’s baby-mommy group when she was only 4 months pregnant in 2009 and met some great friends since through this great community. Baby-free time these days means watching a lot of box sets in the evening, she and her hubby are currently into Mad Man and can’t wait for the new seasons of True Blood and Fringe.