Budapest and Hungary are on the top of the list for Jewish travel and tours, but generally these also include a greater scope of travel that includes Prague, Krakow, Warsaw, and Vienna. For Jewish travel within Budapest or Hungary, contact Chosen Tours or Underguide Tours.
With no doubt, Budapest is safe and a child-friendly city. There are plenty places to entertain young ones. Hungarians tend to be welcoming to kids without making them the centre of attention as you might experience it in Italy.
Facilities are a bit patchy, though; while the network of playgrounds is marvellous, nappy-changing facilities (pelenkázó in Hungarian) are hard to find (but we find more & more in last years) – they’re mostly concentrated in big shopping malls. Buildings with their huge gates don’t tend to be very accessible if you’re pushing a buggy, but help is usually quickly forthcoming when for example you’re trying to negotiate stairs.
On public transport people will readily give up seats to pregnant women and to parents with babies. You will also find signs at speacial seats for parents with babies on buses and trams.
Shopping for babies has become much easier in recent years – the big malls are the best bet for nappies, baby toiletries and clothes. Many malls also have indoor play areas for children.
Restaurants usually have high chairs and some even put on activities for children, and although there isn’t a culture of whole families dining out in the evening. In many restaurants you can ask for small child’s portions – called "kisadag" in Hungarian.
Viking River Cruises (www.vikingrivercruises.com) proposes travel opportunities via the Danube, including Budapest and other smaller towns along the way as part of their expanded country tours starting in Germany, continuing from here to Bratislava and Vienna.
If you love food and wine as an introduction into a culture, you may want to try the tours offered by Taste Hungary (www.tastehungary.com), co-owned by American Carolyn Bánfalvi, author of A Food and Wine Lover’s Companion to Hungary: with Budapest Restaurants and Trips to the Wine Country. They only have a website presence and all bookings are through their site.
Wine Time Hungary, Budapest, I. Budapest, Várfok u. 8. (00 36 1 786-9161; www.winetime.hu) specializes in wine tours to the regions where the grapes are grown. In Budapest, they offer virtual food and wine tours.
As humorous as it may seem to include dental or medical tourism in a tour guide, Hungary has been known for decades for its high-quality and low-cost dental services. Many Austrians and Germans have been coming here for years and the good word has extended through the rest of Europe and over to the U.S. The dental tourism industry here has complete staff who speak English. Services include whitening, root canals, dentures, and cosmetic implantations. Most have labs on the premises, so there is little waiting time for dentures and if an adjustment is needed, they are on the spot. Some agencies have teamed with plastic surgeons to create a whole new you.
Pasarét Dental Budapest, II. Pasaréti út 8. (00 36 1 488-7919; www.pasaretdentaltours.hu) has been around for a long time and has a good reputation for all things dental.
Meditours Hungary Budapest, VII. Nagydiófa u. 19. (00 36 1 787-5564; www.meditourshungary.com). The only medical tourism program owned and operated by a medical doctor, American-Hungarian Dr. Randy Simor, takes great pride in arranging the most competent services in the city for medical tourists. Meditours will assist in making all of the necessary arrangements once you arrive, airport meet and greet, accommodations, and handholding every step of the way. Not only do they offer cosmetic dental services, but also cosmetic surgery, anti-aging, and IntraLasik eye sight correction surgery as well as others. Their hosts are on-call 24/7 for any needs you have with the mobile phone they provide for your use during your stay.
Kreatív Dent (www.kreativdent.eu) is a New York-based agency that arranges dental tourism packages to Budapest. Outside of Budapest, in the town of Mosonmagyaróvar, close to Sopron, you have your choice of over 150 dentists. They don’t assist with transportation, but they will help with a place to stay.
Diamant Dent also in Mosonmagyaróvar at Régi Vámhaz tér 11. (00 36 96 579-067; www.diamantdent.hu) has its own hotel and shuttle to pick you up and transport you to the clinic.
Much of Hungary is located over natural spring waters allowing many of the towns and cities an opportunity to create wellness oasis spots. You should be aware that the mineral content of the water is believed to have healing properties for diseases and ailments related to skin conditions, respiratory, muscle, or bone problems. Due to this, a good number of the “wellness” centers are also medical centers providing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. Large spas have doctors on the premises for diagnosis and treatment on the spot. Thermals generally have natural spring pools of different temperatures, wet and dry saunas, and whirlpool baths. As part of the medical treatment, massage is included in the list of services, but other services have been added such as manicures and pedicures.
However, if you are looking for a luxurious pampered wellness opportunity, look over the options of services provided before deciding on a location as the term “wellness” has broad-based usage. Thermals in Hungary are covered in this post: “Thermals.” Lake Balaton is also popular in wellness spas of the relaxing and luxurious varieties in Budapest, Eger, Héviz, and Sopron with plenty of options and last-minute discounts.