Parks in the City
Budapest has many municipal parks and most of them have playgrounds for kids. The largest park is City Park. There are many seasonal activities like skating in the winter and boating in the summer, so you can easily spend a full day here. The Budapest Zoo & Botanical Gardens are also located within City Park. Access from the city center is quick and easy with the Millennium Underground.
Margaret Island is another great place to spend some time outdoors. This huge park is in the center of the Danube River between Margaret Bridge and Árpád Bridge, accessible from both. Vehicles are prohibited, so the island is a great place to rent a bike, work out or go for a run. Margaret Island is also home to the Palatinus water park, a popular place in the summer, especially on the weekends.
There are several other charming parks scattered throughout the city. A couple of notable ones are Károlyi Gardens (Károlyi kert), Füvészkert Botanical Gardens, Millenáris Park, Orczy-kert and the Bottomless Lake (Feneketlen-tó). Kopaszi-gát, a beautifully landscaped narrow peninsula next to Rákóczi Bridge, is a favorite picnic spot. The park offers lots of outdoor activities from biking to ball games and it's a great place with kids.
The Buda Hills
The Buda Hills offer a variety of adventurous outdoor activities, along with some spectacular views. A popular place frequented by locals is Normafa, offering activities for all seasons. With a modest ski run, it is also a winter favorite for skiers and snow boarders if there is enough snowfall. Sledding and cross-country skiing are also popular. Normafa is known for its beautiful scenery, fresh air and panoramic views. It is in close proximity to János Hill (János-hegy), the highest point in Budapest. The Erzsébet lookout tower offers panoramic views of the city and the Buda Hills. For a unique experience take the Libegő, a two-way chair lift system, down to Zugliget from János Hill. For an out-of-town alternative to the zoo, check out the Budakeszi Vadaspark, located in a large protected forest. It has a petting zoo, a lookout, a play area and several tracks ideal for hiking.
A fun way to get to Normafa and János Hill is to take the Children's Railway. All the stops along the Children's Railway route are popular recreation spots such as: Széchenyi Hill (Széchenyi-hegy), Normafa, János Hill (János-hegy), Wildlife Park (Vadaspark) or Hűvösvölgy (which means Cool Valley). Hűvösvölgy is also home to the popular restaurant called Náncsi Néni, famous for its excellent Hungarian food and frequented by both locals and tourists.
Challengeland, a huge playground with several zip-lines, is also located in the Buda hills.
Aside from its abundance of thermal springs, Budapest is also famous for its natural underground caves. These caves were formed by thermal waters over millions of years and some of them remain open to the public: the Pál-völgyi Cave and the Szemlő-hegyi Cave in the Buda Hills and the Hospital in the Rock and the Buda Castle Labyrinth in the Castle Cave.
The Pál-völgyi Stalactite Cave is the longest cave in the Buda Hills, stretching more than 7 km (4.3 miles). The Szemlő-hegyi Cave has several beautiful crystal formations. Guided tours are available for both caves.