23. Diving in Budapest
Many people do not know that there are really special dive sites in Hungary's capital.
As a Hungarian company, local diving spots are particularly close to our hearts. Several lakes, water-filled caves, flooded cellars offer diving opportunities. Some of these can be said to be world-class.
The cave dive sites are really interesting to us because we have been able to test the Spark Action Light diving and video lights perfectly in them. In a cave you really need a reliable source of underwater light, so we tested Spark Lights products while we were diving in Budapest.
The majority of the tourists who visit Budapest never heard about these places. It's not a surprise: you can't see them when you join an ordinary sightseeing trip. In the heart of the city, on the Buda side, there are several kilometers of cave passages below the surface. However, nowadays more and more cave divers arrive here: the Molnár János cave is became well-known throughout the world. It's easy to understand why this cave became so popular amongst them. The water is crystal clear, its temperature is 20-27 Celsius degrees regardless of season, and there is a well-equipped diving center.
There are plenty of passages and rooms to discover, and all divers are surprised to see this incredible underwater world just a few steps away from a busy road. Exciting rock formations, fossils and crystals are illuminated by our lamps, and the Spark Action Light 7F's UV mode comes handy when we try to find the small shrimps in the cave which live in the perpetual darkness.
The water from the cave fills a small lake, the Malom-to, where even open water divers can dive. It is not a big challenge to dive in the shallow water, but it is interesting too. The water is warm all year round and its flora is surprisingly rich. Although the spectacular cave attracts more people, many divers had nice diving experiences in the lake.
There is also a place on the Pest side which attracts divers. The history of the cellar system in Kőbánya district dates back to centuries. A lot of limestone was mined here- they used it when they built many of the iconic Budapest buildings. Later the cellars were used by different companies, for example the Dreher Brewery. Now this huge, abandoned limestone labyrinth is hidden under the surface.
Some rooms and passages of the cellar system has been filled with water, so it is worth to dive. Some spots are quite deep and accessible only for experienced technical divers. But one of the spots can be dived with a recreational diving certification.
What to see here? It looks like as a time capsule, once-used rooms are well preserved, we can dive into a staircase, see the underwater tools, the carriages. The visibility is incredible, in the light of our dive lights we can examine all parts of the cellar system. There is only one thing which makes the Kőbánya Mine diving a bit less popular: the water is colder than in the Molnár János cave, you can expect only 13-14 degrees.
Many experienced divers travel to Budapest because they would like to dive in both locations. There is an interesting contrast between the two places. The passages of the Molnár János Cave has been developed for millions of years and still many researchers work here to learn more about its past, water, endemic species. The Kőbánya Mine cellar system is an industrial monument, a huge man-made structure. Those divers who travel here for a few days usually come back to Budapest when they recognize there is so much to explore under water.
We should talk about the plenty of attractions above water which attract visitors to Budapest, but it would be too long to mention all of the interesting places. There is no other European capital which offer great sightseeing, wonderful views, historical places and world-class dive sites too.