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5 trips with children within 50 km of Budapest


Budapest
Greater Budapest

There are numerous places near Budapest that offer a range of experiences and enjoyable pastimes with kids. In the following, we’ve included a few ideas that are perfect for day trips.

Lively and diverse metropolitan areas south to the city along the Danube

Let’s first set out to the south! The towns of Szigethalom and Ráckeve near Budapest offer many adventurous attractions. Visit Szigethalom to find out more about the everyday lives of the people living in the region 1,000 years ago. At Emese Park, within the former barracks, the organisers and operators of the park have created a settlement reminiscent of the times of Saint Stephen.

 

Naturally, the buildings would not be too interesting if they were empty, so the team of people at Emese Park don authentic period clothes to bring everyday history to life. You can learn more about Hungarian artisanal crafts and tasks related to animal husbandry and the cultivation of plants, while the men at the museum village also put on demonstrations of armed combat. You can also go horseback riding and even try your hand at archery! Once you’ve taken in the sights, head over to Ráckeve. Ascend the town hall tower, the Fire Tower Lookout to take in the views of the surrounding landscape. In clear weather, you can spot the hills of Buda from the 40-metre high tower, while those with eyes of an eagle can even see all the way to the Velence Hills.

 

Ráckeve is also home to Hungary’s only Gothic, Serbian Orthodox church – visit this stone-walled building situated between the townhouse as the next stop on your journey. Did you know that at one point, there were water as well as land mills operating here? Discover the only fully functional boat mill on the banks of the River Danube in Ráckeve, which exactly the same way as classic undershot watermills, apart from the fact that this structure is on water. Long ago, the location of the boat mill could be changed according to where the water flow was more appropriate. Since 2010, a growing number of families have visited this exception boat mill, which is also home to a highly entertaining museum.

 

Children can grind the wheat themselves to experience the difference between various types of semolina and flours and even purchase some of the flour ground at the site. At the end of the day, take a walk along the Danube in Ráckeve and admire the Savoyai Mansion, the very first non-ecclesiastical Baroque palace in Hungary.

Paddle, saddle up and go conquer the castle!

There are many exciting and interesting sights to discover around Lake Velence. First of all, there’s the lake itself where you can try your favourite water sports from SUP (standing up paddling) to wakeboarding. This latter is available at Venice Beach Cable Park. Then hop on your bike and ride around the lake with a total circumference of 33 km. Your first stop should be the Pákozd-Sukoró Arboretum and Wildlife Park. Go for a pleasant walk on the educational trail within the surrounding forest and grove, then take in the panoramic views from the tall lookout tower and finally you can even have a picnic on the meadow filled with wild flowers. The little ones will have plenty of fun at the playground reminiscent of palisade fort, then they can study emus, wild boars, roe-deer and red deer from a very short distance.

 

There is also an interactive museum that helps you discover the interesting sights and facts of the region and there is even a small romantic lake. Naturally, Pákozd is also famous for other things, for example this was the site of the first battle of the 1848-1849 War of Independence, where the Hungarians successfully stopped the enemy. The Military Memorial Park was opened in 2010 to commemorate the event, with the aim of presenting decades of military history. In the 1.6-hectare park, you can take peek into WWI officers’ barracks, hide in WWII trenches, and even find yourself face to face with a real T-55 tank at the 1956 memorial. The Don Riverbend Memorial Chapel, 500 metres from the park, is also a must-see feature of exhibition. If you’d like to have a drink or sip a cup of coffee, you can sit down and enjoy the terrace of the café and along with your refreshments. If you’ve visited all features open-air and indoor exhibition, head for Dinnyés, a village 10 km from Pákozd on the other side of the M7 motorway. This tiny village by Lake Velence is home to a Guinness World Record site.

 

The Castle Park and Open-air Ethnographic Museum are the works of Zoltán Alekszi, who brought his childhood dream to life in the area. The imposing open-air exhibition includes models of historical Hungarian castles that only exist as ruins today. The exhibition is unique in that there are 35 castles reconstructed in the area according to their original geographical location and, just like the original structures, they are made of stone, wood, brick, cane and mud. In addition to the exhibition, there is also an Árpád-period village museum. The open-air museum’s most interesting attraction is the 11th century wooden church, while the village is also home to craftsmen and quite a few domestic animals. The 15 km long Madárdal educational trail leads you all the way back from Dinnyés through Agárd to Gárdony and Velence.

 

It offers the opportunity of seeing and hearing rare bird species, such as reed warblers, egrets and great bitterns, but indigenous domestic animals such as grey cattle and racka sheep will also accompany you along the way. Once you have completed the bike tour around the lake and you’ve washed off the dust from the road with a swim in the lake, go and hike up to the lookout tower on Bence Hill, so you can look back and take in the view of the whole length of your trip.

The world of toys and an unforgettable palace

The town of Székesfehérvár is only a 40-minute drive to the west from the capital, and is a place where nostalgia will no doubt captivate you at the exhibition of the Hetedhét Toy Museum in the Hiemer House, with exhibits dating back several decades. The exhibition is an excellent opportunity to tell children about your own childhood and also to take a close look at each and every item of the Moskovszky collection. You might even come across some toy tableware made from stag-beetle antlers.

 

The exhibition also features the drawings and famous fairy tale illustrations of graphic artist László Réber. Once you have been enchanted and lured into the world of fairy tales and stories, visit Bory Castle on Öreghegy, in the suburbs of Székesfehérvár. The building complex, built by sculptor and university professor Jenő Bory over 40 summers, has been included in the Guinness Book of Records. What is truly impressive is the fact that the sculptor built the castle mostly on his own and was only guided by his imagination during the works. Today, the building is open to visitors as a museum, and in addition to the picture and sculpture exhibition, it’s worth a close look – children will be particularly thrilled by the spiral staircases, hidden paths and passageways leading to the towers.

 

After your detour to the museum, it is time to go outdoors. The brand new Sóstó Visitor Centre offers educational programmes, games and guided tours. The 218-hectare nature reserve has walking paths, educational trails, an interactive bird-watching point and a children’s playground to keep everyone entertained. You could even have a picnic here, as it is an ideal setting with clean air and lush natural surroundings.

Brunch with the cubs, adventure at the palace and galloping on horseback

After a 32 km drive east lies Veresegyháza, where you will find the only Bear Farm in Central Europe which is also the official premises of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). In addition to bears, the farm is home to wolves, racoons, coatis and reindeers. What’s more, unlike most other wildlife parks, you can actually feed the animals here. Bring some honey for the bears and use the wooden spoons available at the farm. This is a safe way to offer some sweet treats to your big friends, and even the children can try it. Your kids can go for a ride on kick scooters for free or visit the local petting zoo.

 

The town of Gödöllő is just a stone’s throw away, where Hungary's largest Baroque palace awaits to be discovered. This masterpiece from the 18th century is home to a number of thrilling permanent exhibitions that span several centuries of history. Follow in the footsteps of Queen ‘Sissi’ and find out how the legendary Queen Elisabeth spent her time here. Take a peek behind the scenes at the Baroque theatre, a building unique in Europe, then head underground to see the Horthy bunker. At the latter site, in addition to authentic WWII era furniture, you can watch old news broadcasts and listen to Katalin Karády's best known songs.

 

Children will surely be enchanted by the historical diversity that they encounter within the walls of the palace, but don’t forget to visit the magnificent park either, as it is well worth a stroll. In the picturesque Domony Valley, just 10 km from the palace, enjoy the inimitable Hungarian rural atmosphere at the nine-hectare Lázár Equestrian Park. Events and activities at the site include horse shows, a village yard and genuine Hungarian dishes, all of which ensure some time well spent for young and old alike. Naturally, all of this is surrounded by a picturesque environment, where it feels great to relax at the end of the day.

Castle of Visegrád

Bobsleigh track, royal heights, tip of an island and narrow-gauge railway

No doubt the most popular tourist attractions are definitely those that lie north of Budapest. Visegrád is always a good choice and you can get there in about an hour. The town is home to the Citadel, as well as a bobsleigh track and the King Matthias playground. There are often artisanal presentations (blacksmith, potter, stonemason) held near the playground. Take a little detour and visit the nearby Szentendre Island, where you will find a lovely beach at the tip of the island in Kisoroszi when the water level is low. 

 

The other parts of the island are also worth discovering: Lake Pázsit in Pócsmegyer, the villages of Surány and Szigetmonostor with several horse farms and bike routes. Alternatively, you can get on a boat and cross the river to Nagymaros where you will also find an open beach and number of quaint restaurants and confectioneries on the riverbank. While you’re there, you might as well go on to Kismaros and Királyrét, where you can hop onto the narrow-gauge railway or even go on a draisine ride.

 

The Királyrét Forest School and Visitor Centre offers a wide range of thrilling tours and family programmes. The visitor centre is situated at the head of the educational trail which is only 3 km long, so even smaller children will be able to complete it. The trail runs through diverse landscape, including a forest and past a lake, while the fauna is also highly varied, allowing you to spot some European pond tortoises and a range of bird species.

Bobsleigh track, Visegrád

The ravine of the country and the rhyming phone number

Are your children a little bit older? Then head over to the romantic Rám Gorge after you have seen all the sights in Visegrád. The most spectacular ascent in Hungary is an adventurous route filled with ladders and rails, that leads through a narrow rock canyon dotted with roaring waterfalls. Do not despair, even inexperienced hikers can get through the hike. If your children are 8 or above, they will have no trouble completing it and they will love climbing and discovering the diverse routes.

 

The gorge is only traversable upwards and takes your from the picturesque riverbanks in Dömös through the romantic Malom Valley, and as you leave the gorge, you turn onto Téry út under the Szakó Saddle. Just follow the road through the panoramic Körtvélyes glade back to the village. It is an almost 10 km-long hike, so it will take at least four hours to complete it.

 

On your way back, check out the rhyming telephones in the woods near Pilisszentlászló. If you find the public phone installed along the route of the Hungarian Blue Trail, pick it up and you listen to the recital of a contemporary poem. Thanks to the ‘Call of the forest’ initiative, you can listen to extracts of poems from Krisztián Grecsó, Lajos Áprily, Sándor Reményik and László Kollár-Klemencz, or even some passages from the Bhagavad Gita.

Move around like a Hungarian