A downpour needn’t dampen your visit to Budapest. Teeming with flamboyant architecture, historic sites and those legendary thermal baths, the Hungarian capital has plenty to unearth under cover. From subterranean caving to exploring Hungary’s exquisite Parliament Building, find some precipitation inspiration with our most rewarding things to do on a rainy day in Budapest.
Deep within the Buda Hills side of the city, a warren of tunnels and caves invite exploration. Formed naturally by thermal water over millions of years, these atmospheric caves were accidentally discovered in the 1900s. Stretching more than 7km, Pál-völgyi Cave is a multi-level labyrinth with spectacular stalactites and plenty of narrow passages to navigate. Alternatively, the Szemlő-hegyi Cave shimmers with beautiful crystal formations and famously clear air – indeed, the lowest level is used as a respiratory sanatorium. Pull on some sensible footwear and head underground on a guided tour of Budapest’s ancient caving system.
While Hungary may not share the fanfare of France or Italy when it comes to wines, the country is hot on their heels and produces some of Europe’s finest drops. After making wine for centuries, Hungary’s wine scene is gradually earning recognition on the world stage. The best way to get acquainted with the country’s 22 wine regions is at a tasting. From historic cellars to cosy wine bars like DOBLO, there’s an abundance of places in Budapest to treat your palate with the likes of Tokaji Aszú white and Egri Bikaver red. For a truly atmospheric wine tasting, head into the bowels of Buda Castle’s Faust Wine Cellar.
Every visitor to Budapest cannot miss the city’s landmark Parliament, its unmistakable Neo Gothic silhouette rising proudly on the bank of the Danube. Not all venture inside, however, and admiring its palatial interior on a guided tour is one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Budapest. Red carpets sweep up the gilded Grand Stairway while decorative frescoes adorn the ceilings of the opulent Upper House Lobby. As well as gaining an insight in to Hungary’s rich history, the Hungarian Parliament is the keeper of the country’s greatest treasure: the Holy Crown of St Stephen and you’ll see this bejewelled treasure on a tour.
Budapest and bathing go together like cheese and wine. The Hungarian capital is famed for its abundant thermal baths and, come rain or shine, locals will bathe in them outdoors. Taking a dip al fresco at Szechenyi is a one-of-a-kind experience as rain pitter-patters on the hot steaming pools. Alternatively, the city’s pretty indoor baths make an alluring attractive option. With its Moorish architecture, Rudras Bath is among Budapest’s most beautiful. Let the therapeutic thermal waters ease your muscles as you admire the historic interior.
Make the most of a drizzly evening at one of the city’s cultural landmarks. Budapest is riddled with esteemed arts centres and theatres that showcase world-class performances and concerts. A modern culture hub on the Pest banks of the Danube, the Palace of Arts (or Müpa Budapest) presents everything from avant-garde contemporary opera to caberet-inspired ballet and Norwegian jazz. All elegant stairwells, shimmering chandeliers and ornamental columns, the 19th century Vigadó concert hall is a romantic location to witness a classical concert. Catching a show here is one of the most rewarding things to do on a rainy day in Budapest.