Budapest offers a lot of programs even in bad weather. Here are some of our suggestions for what to do and see in case you visit our beautiful city on a rainy day.
1. Caves under Budapest
There’s not just the Cave Church at the foot of Gellért Hill (on Buda side of the Szabadság híd / Liberty Bridge) and the Labyrinth under the Castle District (entrance: Úri utca 9). You can also visit Szemlő-hegyi Cave and Pálvölgyi-Cave.
To visit Pál-völgyi stalactite cave, walk to Astoria metro stop, take bus number 9 to Kolosy ter (10 stops) and change to bus no. 65 to Pál-völgyi cseppkőbarlang stop.
If you have small kids with strollers I recommend Szemlő-hegyi cave. To get there take metro 2 from Astoria to Batthyány tér stop and then change to bus number 11 and get off at Vend utca stop. Within a short walk you are at the cave.
Some parts of the cave systems can be visited without previous caving experience, as they have a concrete path and are lit by artificial light.
See also my previous post about the Hospital in the Rock museum that is located under the Castle District area in Lovas utca.
2. Hungarian Folk Dance Houses
These events can be joined without any dance experience. Most of them are not organised with foreigners in mind, but you can take part without speaking our language.
They are held every Wednesday and Thursday at two different venues.
at Fonó Budai Zeneház Sztregova u. 3. . From Astoria, take 10 stops with tram no. 47 in the direction of Városház tér and get off at Kalotaszeg utca.
Every Thursday evening at Marczibányi Community Center Marczibányi tér 5/ A. From Ferenciek tere, take 9 stops with bus number 5 in the direction of Pasaréti tér and get off at Nyúl utca. From there, it’s a short walk to Marczibányi Community Centre.
3. Aquaworld Waterpark
The waterpark features 11 slides, adding up to a total length of almost 1 km, and lots of attractions including indoor and outdoor adventure pools, a wave pool, kids pool, Jacuzzi, plunge pool as well as a huge playhouse that offers slides, a climbing wall, a ball court and an obstacle course to entertain the youngsters.
It’s a bit outside of the city but a free shuttle bus runs between Heroes Square and Aquaworld 4 times a day: 9:30, 13:30, 17:30 and 19:30
Opening hours: every day from 6am to 10pm
Tropicarium awaits visitors with animals from all around the world such as lazy alligators, exotic reptiles, small monkeys, free flying birds, sharks and thousands of colourful fish species. The stingray petting pool is one of the highlights as well as a shark feeding once a week.
To get to Tropicarium, take bus 133 from Ferenciek tere in the direction of Nagytétény, Erdélyi utca and get off at at 11th stop, Lépcsős utca.
Close to the Tropicarium you can also visit the Palace of Wonders.
5. Palace of Wonders
An interactive scientific playhouse, where you can try out over hundred exhibits each showcasing physical phenomena. All exhibited games are interactive installations, so you are not only allowed, but also encouraged to touch, feel and try all of them. Live physics shows are held daily.
As it is located in the same place as Campona Entertainment and Shopping Centre, and Tropicarium. Take bus 133 from Ferenciek tere in the direction of Nagytétény, Erdélyi utca and get off at at 11th stop Lépcsős utca.
Close to the Palace of Wonders you can also visit the Tropicarium.
6. Shooting Club
Countless models of pistols, shotguns and assault rifles (20-30 minutes away with a taxi)
7. Yoga classes
There is a yoga centrum (5 minute walk) that was tried out by our previous guests.
Address: Károly körút 1, near Astoria metro stop
Sightseeing with Public Transport
8. Take a ride with a public boat on the Danube.
Closest stop is Petőfi tér (Erzsébet híd) a 5 minute walk away from the apartments. Here is the timetable of the boats leaving from Petőfi tér (Erzsébet híd) stop on working days.
These boats take you quite far down the river and go pass all the nice buildings on the riverfront including the parliament building. You can sit inside or outside and there is also a small bar on board so you can have a few drinks during the journey.
9. Take a ride on tramline number 2
It was voted the nicest tramline in Europe. The closest stop to our apartments is Március 15. tér (5 minute walk from the apartments). Take the tramline number 2 in the direction of Jászai Mari tér.
Try to get a seat on the left hand side so you can better see the river Danube, the Buda side including the Castle district area with the Royal Castle, the Matthias Church, the Fisherman Bastion, the Funicular railway and the bridges that connect Buda and Pest. Later on the tram will also pass along the Parliament building.
Inside parliament you will be guided through the most beautiful rooms of this magnificent building. The tours take approximately 50 minutes.
I highly recommend that you buy your ticket online in advance, as the tickets, mainly the English language tours, are usually sold out weeks before. However, you can take a chance and buy tickets on the day and hope that there are some left. (10 minute ride with tram no. 2. or a 15-20 minute walk)
11. Opera House
Address: Andrássy út 22. (15 minute walk or take the metro line 1)
As an introduction check out their virtual tour here.
Other sights close to Opera House: Lotz Café, Miniversum, Saint Stephen’s Basilica
12. The House of Hungarian Art Nouveau
This stunning collection is a gem to any fanatic art lover. What you should expect: As the building is packed with furniture, statues, paintings and household like items, pottery and art nouveau style clothing, it’s more like a warehouse than an exhibition. Unfortunately there are no descriptions of the items in English, but if you are a fan of this style you’ll absolutely love the collection. Read also: Art Nouveau Buildings in Budapest
The building itself is great from the outside too.
Have a drink and a homemade cake in the cosy café downstairs. The café is accessible without paying the entrance fee to the collection.
Address: Honvéd utca 3. It’s 20-minute walk from the apartments or take metro no. 3 from Ferenciek tere in the direction of Újpest-Központ. Get off at Arany János utca stop and with a short walk across Liberty Square (Szabadság tér) you will reach the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau.
Other sights close to the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau: The Parliament Building and also you can look at the on Szabadság tér the only Socialist statue left from those times.
There are some huge, great ones not so far from the city center. I suggest you to visit Minipolisz, a unique interactive exhibition for children aged 3-12 where they get inside the heads of the adults in a city of their size. For a few hours they can try being merchants, cashiers, doctors, mechanics, stars, etc.
Address: Király utca 8, about 10 blocks away from Katona Apartments
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10-19
Other sights close to Minipolisz: Lotz Café, Opera House, Miniversum, Saint Stephen’s Basilica
An enormous, beautifully detailed and elaborately decorated model of the city including many sights and landscapes from Budapest and Hungary and even a bit of Austria and Germany.
For detailed information read my previous post about Miniversum.
To get there is just a 15 minute walk from the apartment or take metro no. 1 from Vörösmarty square and get off at Opera stop.
Other sights close to Miniversium: Lotz Café, Opera House, Minipolisz Play House, and Saint Stephen’s Basilica
15. Classical music concerts
16. Thermal bathes
Hungary is a land of thermal springs. In Budapest we have lots of baths where you can relax, take a dip, and enjoy a unique spa experience.
– Rudas Bath is a traditional Turkish bath with some modern parts including the roof top terrace overlooking the river Danube (10 minute walk from Ferenciek tere or one bus stop with bus no. 7)
– Art Nouveau style Gellért Bath (20 minute walk or 2 bus stops from Ferenciek tere with bus no. 7.) Read more about Art Nouveau architecture in the city.
-neo-baroque Széchenyi Bath with inside and outside pools (15 minute ride with metro 1 from Vörösmarty tér to Széchenyi bath stop)
Here you can read more: Which Bath to Choose During Your Stay in Budapest
17. Café Houses
Most of the cafés were opened at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries so they are very unique and never-to- be-forgotten. Our suggestions:
– New York Café The café is built in eclectic Italian Renaissance-style and was opened in 1894, its not the cheapest option in Budapest, but probably the most beautiful one. The dishes recall the multicultural cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
How to get there: 20 minute walk or from Ferenciek tere or take bus no. 5 to Blaha Lujza tér (3 stops) in the direction of Rákospalota, Kossuth utca or take bus no. 7 (3 stops) in the direction of Újpalota, Nyírpalota út.
– Gerbeaud (since 1858) The interior decoration of the café were completed in a few years after 1910 using fine woods, marble and bronze. The ceilings are decorated with rococo plasterwork in Louis XV style; the chandeliers and wall lamps were created in Maria Theresa Style.
Gerbeaud Café has greeted many famous people. A few impressive names are: Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Franz Liszt: King George of Great Britain; Edward, Prince of Wales; Josephine Baker, Princess Diana, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Elizabeth II, Madonna, Ralph Fiennes, Melanie Griffith, Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt http://www.gerbeaud.hu/
Suggestions from a friend of mine who used to work in Gerbeaud:
– The traditional Gerbeaud pastry is prepared according to the original recipe. Sweet-pastry is filled with apricot jam and a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and ground walnuts, topped with chocolate icing.
– Esterházy slice is a traditional walnut cake filled with vanilla cream and topped with fondant.
– Royal Chocolate is a crispy caramel wafer, hazelnut praline and white Valrhona chocolate on a chocolate sponge base, crowned with a topping of bitter chocolate mousse.
Address: Vörösmarty tér 7-8.
Address: Andrássy út 39 Look for the Alexandra Bookstore and take the escalator up to the first floor.
– Additionally we recommend a confectionery called Ruszwurm in the Castle District. It’s a tiny place and it’s usually packed, but it is worth a visit. They have a nice selection of home made cakes in a 19th century interior. (30 minute walk from the apartments or take bus no. 16. from Erzsébet tér and get off at Szentháromság tér stop)
Address: Szentháromság utca 7.
Last but not least, there are more than 200 museums in Budapest.
A few smaller museums out of many:
Pharmacy Museum (30 minute walk, cross Erzsébet híd (Elisabeth Bridge and head north, direction of the Royal Castle)
Hungarian Jewish Museum (5 minute walk)
Lutheran Museum (5 minute walk to Deák tér 4.)
Underground Museum (5 minute walk)
Kossuth Museum Ship (10 minute walk to the Chain Bridge)
Ambulance Museum (20 minute walk or metro no. 3)
Police Historical Museum (take bus no.7)
Museum of Medical History (take bus no. 16 to the Castle district or walk)
Stamp Museum (take metro no. 2 from Astoria stop to Blaha Lujza tér or walk)
Visitor Center of the National Bank (10 minute walk direction north to Szabadság tér)
If there is a specific topic that interests you, let us know and we will try to find you a museum about it. Send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org we will be more than happy to help.
About the authors: Virág and János
Virág, a native of Budapest, and János, who’s been living in the city since 1999 are real fans of the capital of Hungary and try to awake the enthusiasm of others. They are dedicated to helping tourists to make most out of their stay.
Here you can read more about them: http://katonaapartments.hu/