Only a handful of people know that there are world-class diving sites in the heart of Hungary.
If you hear about scuba divers who like to submerge and explore underwater, most of us usually think about the famous dive spots in tropical seas. But there is a different kind of diving which is becoming more and more popular. I can tell you, Budapest is one of the capitols of so-called technical diving!
The Molnár János Cave
There is a tiny little lake in the middle of Buda, close to Margaret Island. From time to time you can see surprised tourists who walk in this part of the city and stop by the glass walls to watch the divers who go underwater there. They dive regardless of the weather, as the water is 23-24 degrees warm year-round!
The visibility in the shallow lake is incredible, and it is a good place to practice even for beginners. But it’s even more interesting where the warm water comes from: a Hungarian scientist, János Molnár discovered the water-filled caves in the 19th century. The regular cave diving explorations started 100 years later in the cave which was named after its discoverer. Now the Molnár János Cave attracts technical divers from all around the world: there are more than 7 kilometers of passages under the city! And the water is 20 degrees even at the deeper parts.
Kőbánya Mine Diving
You may say, it’s sad that all the great dive spots are on the Buda side. But what about Pest? Well, there is a special dive site too! Under the buildings of the Kőbánya brewery, there is a really old cellar system. In the past, there was a limestone mine here and many of the famous buildings of Budapest was built from those limestone blocks. Later the brewery used these cellars, but after they abandoned them. Now they make horror movies in this eerie place- and some of the rooms are filled with water!
You guessed it, sometimes divers explore these places what no one else can see. The water is clear but much colder than the water of Molnár János Cave: you need a thick wetsuit to spend an hour in these freezing conditions. The divers can see the old walls, the tools, the staircases, and so on. Only experienced cave divers can visit the deeper parts of this limestone labyrinth. Not an ordinary dive site!
As I’m a scuba diver I always wanted to visit these dive spots in Budapest. And luckily I dived all of them! The Malom-tó is easy to dive, while the size of the passages and the rock formations are amazed me in the Molnár János Cave. Kőbánya was the district where I grew up so diving in the Kőbánya Mine was even more exciting.
Are you a diver too? You can learn about diving in the Molnár János Cave and Kőbánya Mine in the mjcave.hu website. And after your underwater explorations join me in one of the tours to see the best of Budapest on the surface as well!
(Maybe you can’t recognize me, but I’m the diver in all of these photos. It’s one of my favorite outfits!)