Budapest lies on a almost 125 thermal water springs and on a geological fault line. Combine the two and you get cave passages close to the surface carved by the ascending thermal water. In the XIX century Janos Molnar, a local pharmacist, was fascinated by the sources of thermal water. He discovered a dry entrance to the system and reached an underground chamber partially filled with water but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the underwater exploration started and continues to this day. So far there are more than 7km marked with guiding lines down to 90m in depth. And a diving center now occupies the entrance and the dry cave
Location: Frankel Leó út 48, 1023 Budapest
Depth: up to 90m
Currents: Tide independent
Type of bottom: Limestone with stone and crystal formations
Interests: Cave dive
Water Temperature: 20-27°C
Visibility: about 20m
The access to the underwater cave is via the dry one where the Molnar Janos Cave and Dive Centre is located. To dive this site you need to get permission and liaise with them. If you are not a qualified cave diver you can still dive but accompanied by one of the staff on what they call their Cave Intro dive. This dive lasts about 50min and will take you to 20m and no more than 200m into the cave. You start at the main entrance and then go out then back to the start then out following a different line and then again following a third line. The dive is done on a manifolded twin set. Along the dive you see beautiful rock formations and everything is very soothing. In one spot you also see the resident critters (two types of amphipods and a type of water snail).
To dive the cave you need to go through the Molnar Janos Cave and Dive Centre as it is set up at the entrance to the cave and also they regulate the diving there so you will need to get permits to dive with them even if you are a qualified cave diver.
Molnar Janos Cave and Dive Centre
Phone: +36 1 247 6036 (Opening times: 8.00-16.00 weekdays or weekends, depends on the bookings)
They are very well organized and can provide everything, it does get busy though especially on weekends.
Their updated price list can be found here.
I paid €60 for the Cave Intro dive and €10 to rent tanks.
Another dive site in Budapest is the Kőbánya Mine. It isn’t a typical mine dive but rather flooded rooms and cellars of a factory. As these natural limestone passages under the city were used by winemakers as cellars, then Dreher Brewery owned the place and during WW II a hidden plane engine factory was here. Although most of these underwater industrial remains can be dived only with cave certification, one of the spots is accessible for all divers.
Access to the the Kobanya Mine can be arranged either with MJ Cave or with Paprika Divers.
Phone: +36 20 341 3998