Tuesday, 11 December 2018

72 hours in Budapest with a Toddler

Technically, we weren't in Budapest for 72 hours, but it made a better title with a round number and if you have a little longer there then I would suggest scheduling in a bit more rest because we came home exhausted! Last week Cora and I hopped on a plane though and flew to Budapest in Hungary arriving into the airport at 9pm on the Monday night

I had decided that we would stay in a hostel and it was a great choice for us.  I chose a small one in a great location and we had a private room.  They were really helpful with answering all my questions and our room was clean and comfortable.  It meant we had more money for enjoying the city and a kitchen to prepare our own food if we wanted to.

There is something magical and majestic about Budapest and I think it comes down to the Danube river which flows through the centre seperating Buda and Pest.  Being able to take in the architecture as a whole, the reflections in the water and the stunning warmth as the city lights up in the evenings make the city one of the most beautiful I have been in.

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

During our visit the day time temperature ranged from 2 to 10 degrees and nights were colder.  It was dry and the morning sunshine was so bright it created a hazy mist across the river that made everything look even more magical.  Everything I had read about Budapest spoke of it's beauty in the summer but I found it the perfect city to explore in the winter.  I was initially drawn in by the Christmas markets but I think my favourite thing about our visit was just wandering and enjoying the vibe, the life and the architecture.

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

I didn't see many tourists with toddlers but other that occasional stair issues, it was easy to navigate with a toddler.  Everything was in walking distance (if you have a buggy or sling for little legs) and the public transport system was vast and accessible with a Metro, busses and trams (they are pretty hot on ticket checks so make sure you buy before you board!)

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

On my first day in a new city, I like to get my bearings so we mostly just walked.  We headed down to the main hub of the city to discover the Christmas markets.  One half was situated in front of a majestic basilica and the other half in a central square and the smells and sights were beautiful.  Cora and I browsed the festive goods, tried a few Hungarian meals and snacks (be warned, being vegetarian is very limiting over there) and stopped for coffee. If you are sensible, it is much cheaper in Hungary than the UK but if you visit an international chain like Starbucks or Costa then you will be charged UK prices. We stuck to independent coffee shops and found it was closer to £1.20 for a cappucino.  As we had the buggy, we walked over one of the main bridges as the sun was setting and walked home on the other side of the river (crossing again further down).  The houses of Parliament are probably the most imposing building and rightly so. Not only were they spectacular by day but stunning at night.

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

Travelling with a toddler meant compromising on the day and in exchange for Cora staying in the buggy whilst I walked, I made sure we visited at least one park every day and we were so impressed with them.  On the first day we came across Olimpia park which was so well looked after and had clean toilets too! She loved running along the seafront, spotting the lights and we both loved finding Tram 2 which is lit up with fairy lights over December.  Unfortunately we didn't manage to get on it as it was so busy but I was recommended that at 4pm it is much quieter!

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

On the second day, we decided to head to Margaret Island, a small island in the middle of the Danube only a few minutes walk from our hostel.  It was quiet and probably much better in the summer but it was a lovely place to wander, taking in the sites and they had a couple of playgrounds.  After lunch and a little break at the hostel, we decided to try out one of Budapest's famous thermal baths in the afternoon and we chose the biggest, most tourist-y one as the location was easy for us and there was lots nearby to look at.

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

Szechenyi baths is a huge yellow building and we spent a while admiring the ceilings.  After paying our entry (it worked out about £14 as Cora was free but be aware that children are only allowed in if they are already potty trained and swim nappies are not allowed).  We went in about 12 different pools inside that were all different temperatures ranging from 28 to 38 degrees and it was so much fun looking around as the pools are all dotted around through different side rooms and corridors.  The main feature however was the big outdoor pool.  It was about 4.30 by the time we got out there and the temperature was about 4 degrees but the water was a warm 34 and it felt like a bath! The outdoor pool is lit with underwater lights that change colour and there is a swim circle with a current as well as lots of little nooks.  It felt like such a treat to be enjoying the views and the atmosphere whilst snuggly warm and we loved watching the steam rising off the water.  Cora thought it was the best swimming pool ever and as the only child we saw, she got a lot of attention!  

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, szechenyi bath, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com


We spent about 1.5 hours in the baths, flitting between the pools and it was amazing, definitely something not to miss if you find yourself in Budapest! Next door is Heroes Square which is beautiful and a huge outdoor skating rink in the winter.  We decided not to attempt skating but we did watch for a little while.

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

Near our hostel was a huge mall with a food court where we went for dinner as I did struggle in restaurants as a vegetarian.  Many places didn't do a single vegetarian item other than chips.

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

On our last day we were due to fly home at 3.50pm but as we only had hand luggage, there was no rush to get to the hospital.  I had read about a place called Fisherman's Bastion on the Buda side of the river and loved the idea of walking over there to watch the sunrise, but it turns out when my alarm goes off at 6am I am much better at turning it off and going back to sleep than I am at getting up!  We made it over there for about 10 am though and as it was low season, it wasn't nearly as busy as I was expecting.  Fisherman's Bastion has views out over the whole city and they were absolutely breathtaking.  Cora declared it her princess castle and I can see why! The turrets and windows were all made with instagram in mind it seemed and we found a little cafe at the top of one turret that was completely empty and perfect for a coffee and some juice!

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

Cora found a man playing jingle bells on the accordian and did a little dance show for all the tourists and she got so much attention (possibly as yet again she was the only child around).  I was really surprised at the lack of children everywhere as I found it a brilliant city to explore with a toddler.  The Bastion was free to enter and there were small parts that you needed to pay for but we didn't enter those.  You do have to pay for the toilets in most public places but it is usually around 70pence which we didn't mind as most things we did were completely free.

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

We absolutely loved exploring Budapest on a mini winter break.  The christmas market was wonderful, the city is stunning and full of interesting buildings and exploring on foot meant we saw so much more of it.  If you have a little longer then other things we would have loved to have done are

Another thermal bath (there are a few around the city)
Buda Castle
Ride the No.2 tram around the city
The Market Hall

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com

72 hours in Budapest with a toddler, budapest with kids, Hungary with kids, themummyadventure.com


72 hours in budapest, budapest with a toddler, travel with a toddler, themummyadventure.com
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