Budapest is the best place in the world to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday, said no one ever. Whilst Budapest is perhaps not your most obvious first choice of locations for a family holiday with a young child, I can highly recommend it. We jetted off to Hungary for my baby girl’s birthday and to celebrate the fact that we survived the first year of parenthood and guess what – we loved it! Its fair to say that it took a few days to find our feet, but once we got into the swing of the city I did not want to leave.
- Getting There | We drove to Manchester Airport and took a direct flight to Budapest with Vueling which was just under 3 hours. When we landed in Budapest we caught a taxi to our accommodation which was easy, inexpensive and would take about half an hour with no traffic. Whilst we were there we downloaded the FoTaxi App which allowed us to order taxis through the App. We found the street names a little difficult to understand and communicate, so it was much easier than trying to book a taxi over the phone.
- Accommodation | Due to the change of our travel plans at the last minute (notice a reoccurring theme with our holidays?), we stayed in 2 different places. I am often torn between whether to stay in an AirBNB or a hotel and this time I was lucky enough to stay in both – read about the pros and cons of each in my previous blog post ‘AirBNB vs. Hotels – Which is better with a baby?‘ For the first few days we stayed in an AirBNB in District 6. The same host had 3 apartments on one floor of the building and whilst we rented one, our family members rented the other 2. This made it really easy to wander between the rooms and in the evening we could put the baby to bed and still socialize with everyone without disturbing her. The host was extremely accommodating and provided a crib and high chair for the baby. For my final night I stayed at Brody House (in the Droga Room) which had come highly recommended by a friend. I absolutely loved this hotel and its quirkiness. Each room is decorated with different art and pieces from artists who have been residents in the accommodation at some point. Whilst the staff were really helpful with the baby and provided a cot in the room and a highchair at breakfast, the stairs to access the room were a bit difficult especially since I was on my own. As a couple it would not have been so much of an issue. And if we had had our swanky new travel pram at the time (see ‘6 Travel Essentials for your Baby‘) this would have made life much easier. I highly recommend both of our accommodation options to anyone looking for somewhere to stay in Budapest.
- Food | There are lots of fabulous places to eat in Budapest once you start looking as well as some great coffee shops. With the help of Google Reviews and Budapest Food Guide on Instagram we enjoyed these cafes & restaurants. All were accommodating to children and provided a high chair for our use.
- Vintage Garden Cafe – We stopped by this hidden gem for brunch on our final day. The fit out is idyllic and very Insta worthy. I had a delicious croque madame and coffee. Stop by if you are in the neighborhood.
- Mazel Tov Restaurant – I found this restaurant based on Google reviews. The food takes inspiration from Israeli culture and the main dining room is gorgeous with all of its greenery but we were swiftly put in a room to the side – I joked that we weren’t pretty enough, ha! Jokes aside, the food was great and did not disappoint.
- Menza Restaurant – This restaurant is around the corner from our AirBNB and serves excellent local cuisine. I was worried it might be a bit pretentious for a first birthday dinner but I was proven very wrong. Mackenzie was given lots of attention and coloring in to do whilst we waited. We bought a cake from a shop down the road and the staff went next level with sparklers and candles and putting a happy birthday song over the restaurant speakers. Obviously the birthday girl wont remember, but we will never forget that celebration.
- Activities | There is actually heaps of things to see and do in Budapest which I hadn’t realized until I started researching. We barely even saw any of the usual tourist sights so we will be returning at some point to see everything we missed the first time. Here are a few things that we particularly enjoyed whilst we were there:
- Grand Prix – The reason the trip to Budapest came about was to attend the Hungary F1 Grand Prix. We bought tickets online in advance and took a taxi to the circuit. Public transport was available but it all seemed a bit difficult and given we had a group we didn’t mind splitting the cost of a cab. We didn’t take the baby to the track, mainly because it was almost 40 degrees on the day, but it is a very suitable track for children in the General Admission area. There were plenty of food and drink options available at the track and we found it to be reasonably priced. Unfortunately the Aussie didn’t get a win that day – Hi Dan!
- Thermal Baths – Budapest is famous for their thermal baths. We went to Palatinus Strand which is on Margaret Island. This was EXCELLENT for children and if the baby was a bit older we definitely could have spent an entire day there. They had all sorts of pools, slides and a wave pool as well as spa facilities. Again, we caught a cab to and from the island which is accessible by bridge. There are lots of thermal baths in Budapest however some have age restrictions on them due to the natural occurring minerals in the water which are deemed not safe for children.
- Budapest Zoo – I thought it would be nice to take Mackenzie somewhere she would enjoy on her birthday, so I opted for the Budapest Zoo. The zoo had all of the usual suspects animal wise and was nice for a couple of hours to wander around. It is on the smaller scale and is not the nicest zoo we have been to, but I think it is worth a visit if you have a child whom likes animals. Mack’s fave thing appeared to be feeding the camels and there was a play area towards the end for the kiddies as well as some small rides (at an additional cost).
- Fave Things | Budapest is a great city all round. The accommodation is trendy and inexpensive, there are lots of good places to eat if you are a foodie and you could try a different thermal bath each day of your trip. My other favorite thing about Budapest is the ruin bars. These are buildings which were condemned during World War II – they had been left to rot for years and in the early 2000’s they began to be recommissioned and turned into cool bars. We visited the first ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, and it just has so much character and vibe. If you are travelling with a family you can check these out during the day or perhaps in the early evening before they become too rowdy. The ones that we visited were so interesting that I think kids would enjoy a (short) visit there just to take it all in.
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