Adventure Sports in Budapest
Pál-völgyi-barlang is the country's longest cave system and its developed routes make it accessible to the public at large. There are great elevations, spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations that turn this cave into an unforgettable underground adventure for the whole family. The cave system has been open to the public more or less continuously since 1919, and today there are two routes, one shorter and one longer that can be undertaken by anyone. Both tours start from the Explorers' entrance by the ticket office and end at the exit in the old stone quarry. Mátyás-hegyi-barlang is hiding in plain sight under Rózsadomb in Buda, and part of the Pál-völgyi cave system. It is a great setting for team building and underground geography lessons. The route is undeveloped, which means crawling on hands and knees and squeezing through small passages. No previous experience is required and protective clothing and headlamps are provided, all you need is a sporty attitude. Szemlő-hegyi-barlang is 500 thousand to one million years old and it's often called Budapest's underground flower garden. So far 2200m of passages have been explored richly decorated with mineral formations, making it one of Budapest's most valuable natural treasures. A developed section can be visited by anyone in normal street wear, and the high humidity, dust free atmosphere is very beneficial to people suffering from respiratory illnesses.
According to a recent survey, Hungary has the third largest number of daily bicycle users in the EU. You can go on sightseeing tour on bicycle, hop on a Bubi bike from the public bicycle system, rent a bike from one of the many bicycle rental services and take it for a spin on Margit Island or along the Danube at Római-part.
For a bigger challenge, however, take the Danube Cylce Path, part of the international EuroVelo 6 route, one of Europe's most popular routes crossing four countries, from the Black Forest to the Black Sea, following a picturesque route along both sides of the Danube. If you're not ready for that distance yet, you can cycle to Szentendre on a well-marked route in about two hours. The Buda hills are a perfect setting for adrenaline junkies for trekking and downhill cycling.
Római-part has long been the heart of water sports on the Danube for over a century. Recent developments have changed the face of the river bank, but you can still find a few boat houses to rent a Canadian canoe, kayak or row boat. Rowing upriver towards Szentendre is an easily accomplished daytrip. The Szentendrei branch of the Danube is separated from the wider river by the 32km long Szentendrei Island where the current is weaker and it's a pleasant paddling experience even for beginners. Rowing around the Szentendrei island is a popular weekend trip, rowing upriver on the smaller branch, camping on the island and comfortably floating back down to Budapest on the main branch. To the south, the Ráckevei-Soroksári branch of the Danube is regulated by a lock, its calm waters are free of shipping traffic, therefore ideal even for beginners and the romantically "wild" reeds along the banks are home to many water birds. For longer trips, there are several organisers that provide boat pick-up at your final destination, so you don't have to make a round-trip and many camping sites along the Danube are dedicated to welcoming rowers.