Budapest isn’t always sunshine and flowers, it has its fair share of cloudy days as well. But you shouldn’t let a little rain spoil your holiday mood. Between the city’s beautiful baths, museums, shopping malls and restaurants, Budapest has enough to offer even when the weather is bad. Below, we have collected a few things to do in Budapest on a rainy day.
Try the Local Cuisine
One of the best elements of Hungarian culture is its cuisine, often causing a pleasant surprise for tourists visiting Budapest for the first time. Some of the local foods include gulyásleves (goulash), csirkepaprikás (chicken paprikash with noodle dumplings), halászlé (fishermen’s soup), hortobágyi húsos palacsinta (pancakes stuffed with minced meat and covered with sour cream) and mákos guba (sweet poppy seed bread pudding with vanilla custard).
Visit a Museum
Budapest has many museums and art galleries. The most well-known ones include the Kunsthalle (Műcsarnok), the Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum), the Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galéria) and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Arts, while notable art galleries include Knoll Galéria, Vintage Galéria and 2B Galéria. They all have English language websites and can be enjoyed in bad weather as well.
Visit the House of Terror
Located in Andrássy Avenue near Oktogon Square, the former headquarters of the brutal communist secret police called ÁVH are one of the most visited museums in Budapest. The heart-breaking exhibition gives a very concise and true presentation into the darkest days of the communist era.
Book a Dinner Cruise on the River Danube
A popular program in Budapest is an evening cruise on a sightseeing boat. Budapest dinner cruises can be enjoyed in bad weather as well because the ships have closed cabins. Have a delicious dinner and a glass wine in the company of your friends or family while live piano music plays in the background and some of the most beautiful landmarks of Budapest along both sides of the river Danube light up for the night.
Enjoy the Baths
Budapest is the perfect place to relax and is often called “the city of baths”. There are over 120 natural thermal springs in the city. Most of these thermal waters contain valuable minerals and can be used for medicinal purposes. The most well-known baths are the Széchenyi Bath, the biggest bath complex in Europe and the beautiful, Art Nouveau style Gellért Bath, but the Turkish baths attract a great number of tourists as well.
Visit an Indoor Lido
Located in the northern part of Budapest, Aquaworld Resort is one of the biggest indoor water theme parks in Europe offering unforgettable entertainment to any visitor with its giant water slides, abundance of pools like wave and surf pools, thermal baths, and a massive sauna world. They also offer programs such as fun water games, aqua fitness face, and water mini disco for children.
Visit the Hospital in the Rock – Nuclear Bunker Museum
Located in the natural cave system beneath the Buda Castle, the Hospital in the Rock is a fascinating place to visit in Budapest. Built underground so it could operate during air raids, the facility served as a secret emergency hospital during the second World War and the 1956 Hungarian revolution. It was later turned into a nuclear bunker, and operates as a museum since 2007.
Visit the Tropicarium
In this tropical indoor zoo, you get to meet alligators, birds, reptiles, monkeys and many other interesting animals. The main attraction however is a 1,4 million liter fish tank with a 12-meter long tunnel where sharks literally swim above your head. A shark feeding show is organized every Thursday at 3 p.m. where visitors get to observe divers feed the sharks by hand. There is also a sting ray touch tank where you can get closer to these wonderful sea creatures.
Go Shopping at the Great Market Hall or Budapest Shopping Malls
Budapest has an abundance of indoor markets, the biggest and most famous one being the Great Market Hall. It’s a great place to visit on a rainy day for any culinary enthusiasts. Did you know that Budapest has the most shopping malls of any city in Central Europe? Checking out a sale near you can be a fun way to spend a cloudy day.
Attend a Concert or Explore the Nightlife
Are you a classical music fan? Then don’t miss out on the enchanting organ concerts organized regularly at the St. Stephen’s Basilica. If you are more into contemporary music, book a concert at the Palace of Arts. The attractive facility hosts a wide variety of contemporary or world concerts, opera and dance performances. For a fantastic jazz night, visit Opus jazz club or Budapest Jazz club, both feature exciting musicians of the local and international jazz scene. The world-renowned live music scene of Budapest awaits you with open arms even in inclement weather conditions with all kinds of music genres you can think of.
Watch a Movie in English
Although in Hungary most films are dubbed, there are some places that screen films in the original language. These are the Cinema City movie theaters located at shopping malls such as Allee, Western or Aréna Plaza or CINEMApink at Mom Park shopping mall. English language films are marked with “ANG” (English), or “OV” (original audio) or “F” (original audio with subtitles).
Bar-Hop the City’s Famous Ruin Pubs or Craft Beer Bars
Budapest is well-known for its unforgettable nightlife experiences. In fact, several young tourists visit the city mainly for its unique ruin bars and amazing night-time atmosphere. The area of Kazinczy Street with its great density of bars and clubs such as the famous Szimpla kert is the perfect location to go on an improvised pub-crawl. Don’t miss out on the superb craft beer pubs of this region either!
Escape from a Room
Budapest escape rooms have become quite popular over the last years as they offer well-planned, exciting and quite realistic games for small groups. The aim of these games is to escape from a room following a series of clues.
Go Caving under Budapest
If you’re looking for a unique experience while in Budapest, then go adventure caving in Budapest’s longest underground cave system. If you are less brave, you can also join a cave walk into two caves, both paved and equipped with artificial lighting. Cave walks are organized for small groups in English and German.