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Search any travel site for recommendations of things to do in Budapest and you’ll undoubtedly be directed towards things like the Parliament, Fisherman’s Bastion, and St. Stephen’s Basilica. While excursionologist recommends these sites as well, hopefully this post will give you just a few extra ideas you might not have otherwise known about.
We stumbled upon this excursion in the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide for Hungary, excursionologist’s highly recommended choice for travel books. Located on the site of a former Depot of the Hungarian State Railways (MÁV), this day trip was very reasonably priced, easy to get to, and fun for the whole family. We took a bus there (click the link above for routes), which was only about 40 minutes and then a short walk. At certain times, there is also a vintage diesel train that will take you straight there, so be on the lookout for that! There are a plethora of trains here. And when I say plethora, I mean the likes of which will make your child’s dad and grandpa leave your kid in the dust whilst they run towards the field of trains arms wide open.
There’s even an inside section with more trains, including a super cute dining car.
Walking around the park gives you a lot to see, but you can also step inside some trains, ride on the turntable, check out the model railway, and watch your kids or be a kid by taking a trip on the 340 meter Garden Railway, a miniature train pulled by engines. See……
Kids having fun:
And when dad and grandpa need more energy to keep running around, there’s a cute little restaurant replete with all of your favorite fried childhood meals like mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets.
Our entire family also recommends you try the Elderberry Fanta, especially if you don’t live in Europe. Please, have one for us.
Note that their season runs from 4/11 until 10/29 and they are closed on Mondays, so just make sure you plan your trip to the train museum accordingly!
Want to get away from the hustle and bustle and annoying tourists for awhile (because of course you aren’t one of them)? Take a hike up János Hill to the highest point in Budapest! Click the link on the title above for some directions as there are two ways to get there, one providing a longer walk than the other. We chose the longer walk as we wanted a hike and a chance to burn off some of the amazing food and drinks we had been consuming. A little added benefit of taking the bus (291) is the chance to see the cute neighborhoods and houses along the way.
See that teeny tower peeking up over the mountain there in the distance? It’s called the Erzsébet (Elizabeth) Lookout Tower, and that’s where you’ll be heading. I know, you’re thinking you deserved to have more of that yummy Hungarian goulash last night right? Don’t sweat it, it’s a well paved path and not a very difficult walk that took us only about an hour. If you have children with you, there’s a playground along the way, so decide if you want this option or to avoid it by going the shorter way haha.
Once you get to the top you’ll find amazing views of the city and surrounding towns.
It’s free to go up the tower, but bring some coins for the viewfinders if you want a closer look. There’s also a cafe with some drinks and a few snacks if you need some energy for the walk down, or you can choose to ride the chairlift. Let us know what you thought of this walk in the comments below!
Another excursion for a little peace and serenity is a trip to the little island located on the Danube between Buda and Pest. It’s about a mile and a half long, so prepare for a good bit of walking if you plan to go from one end to the other, although there are also carts you can rent or a little tram you can buy tickets to. There’s plenty to keep you occupied here all day, including musical fountains,
convent and medieval ruins with Princess Margaret’s grave (whom the island was named after),
a Japanese Garden (with my family in the background chilling on the benches),
and some beautiful walkways with some glorious flowers (and maybe a little bit o’ lovin on the side – see if you can spot Adam and Eve there in the garden).
You also won’t be hurting to find some restaurants/bars to eat and grab a beer. Click the link on the title “Margaret’s Island” for more details on this day trip and directions for how to get there.
If you’ve read some of excursionologist’s posts before, you know we like to take public boat rides to tour the city. A ride down the Danube will cost you 750 HUF or roughly $3. If don’t feel the need to be given a spiel about everything you pass, you can see all of the same things for a fraction of the price.
One extra little tibit: We just did walk-by’s of these two, but you might consider visiting the Museum of Applied Arts and the Hungarian State Opera House And if you do the latter, do yourself a favor and get coffee and dessert at The Artist Cafe (Müvész Kávéház). Everything is fantastic and the place is absolutely stunning.
What are your favorite lesser known excursions around Budapest? Tell us in the comments below!