The sun is teasing us with longer days, and we're itching to soak up some rays between two unpredictable showers and storms. If you are a fellow sunshine seeker, fear not, this article is here to help you navigate these fickle few weeks. We've got ideas for outdoor activities and some rainy-day inspiration to keep your spirits high. So, embrace the (almost) summer vibes, and let's make the most of this season, rain or shine!

Freshen up by the boating lake

Craving a perfect early summer day in the capital? Look no further than City Park! This vibrant hub offers something for everyone. Explore the wonders of the Zoo, be amazed by the Circus, or delve into fascinating exhibitions at the Museum of Ethnography. Don't miss the panoramic views from their rooftop gardens! If you want to soar high, take a bird's-eye view of the city at the BalloonFly observatory. For some fresh vibes, head to the boating lake and rent a pedal boat or SUP for some refreshing fun on the water. Soak up the sunshine and feel the summer vibes! Before, after, or even on a rainy day, find refuge in the charming Városliget Café, housed in the historic building overlooking the ice rink and boating lake. Escape the hustle and bustle on the renovated terrace. Imagine yourself surrounded by flowers, sunshine, and the soothing sounds of live guitar music, creating a magical ambience (Wednesdays to Sundays). Venture inside the restaurant, especially the second room – a true wonderland with stunning floral motifs of water lilies and willows. For a truly memorable experience, reserve the 12-seater table with a central armchair – crafted from a real boat! Whether you choose to relax indoors or soak up the sunshine on the terrace, you're sure to find your perfect summer moment in the heart of the city.

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Cosy terrace in the Buda Castle

Another must-visit spot for early summer is the Buda Castle, not just for the sights but also for the breathtaking Budapest views. Imagine everything lush and green, bathed in sunshine! And if a little rain falls, you might even be treated to a rainbow over the city. Don't worry about getting caught in a drizzle – the cobbled streets are lined with terraces offering shelter under umbrellas. One of our favourites is Baltazár, a true foodie paradise nestled in a less busy part of the Castle District. Here, you can indulge in gourmet street food, delicious creations cooked on their special Josper charcoal grill, mouthwatering burgers, and a fantastic selection of vegetarian options. Their dishes are simple yet bursting with creativity and passion. Baltazár even encourages sharing plates, making it the perfect place for an early summer lunch or dinner filled with good food and great conversation. Forget stuffy restaurant rules – Baltazár welcomes you anytime, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a quick snack, or just a drink. It's a place to relax, work, meet friends, or simply soak up the sunshine on their lovely terrace.

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Cocktails and the 'Pavlova of the Year' at the foot of the Bugát Steps

Nestled at the foot of the Buda Castle stairs (Bugát Steps) on Attila út, Marischka is a hidden gem offering a romantic or simply relaxing early summer escape. This charming spot not only boasts delicious Hungarian cuisine but also sparkling cocktails, chic champagnes, and friendly service. While the extravagant interior is tempting, the true star of the show during early summer is the plant-filled terrace. Imagine a jungle atmosphere where you can soak up the sunshine surrounded by lush greenery. The menu features classic Hungarian dishes with a creative twist, including homemade ajvar, spring green pea soup with noodles, squash pottage with salmon meatloaf or falafel, oyster mushroom paprikash with buttered noodles, beef cheek stew and, by popular demand, coconut milky rice. And you won't want to miss the guest-favourite 'Pavlova of the Year' with pistachios, raspberry ragout, and crème Chantilly. Of course, no outdoor experience is complete without a refreshing drink. Marischka offers over 10 gin and tonics – the quintessential summer beverage – alongside a delightful selection of signature cocktails. Our recommendations include the Summer Salad with homemade sesame gin, dry vermouth, and cucumber, and the Sunkissed featuring Absolut Vanilla, homemade tea syrup, lemon juice, and cranberry juice.

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A Culinary Adventure by Kristóf Steiner

Looking to tantalize your taste buds and kick-start your summer? Look no further than Axis Café & Lounge in Budapest's city centre! This season, they've welcomed the unique culinary perspective of Hungarian media figure and self-made vegan chef Kristóf Steiner onto their menu. Kristóf, known for his free spirit and love for simple living, has spent time in various corners of the world with his partner Nimrod Dagan. A few years ago, they embraced a more natural life in a Greek village. While the restaurant already boasts a seasonal menu brimming with energising bistro fare, Kristóf has partnered with a member of the local culinary team, Simon Rotter, to create two must-try options. The first is a perfect summer starter: a shareable Middle Eastern platter featuring chunky hummus 'masabacha', creamy eggplant 'mutabal' with tahini, roasted red pepper 'muhammara' cream, a refreshing tabbouleh salad with quinoa, sweet potato chips dusted with zaatar spice, and tofu shawarma pita. Craving Hungarian flavours with a vegan twist? Look no further than Kristóf's second dish – a vegan take on chicken paprikash, featuring a plant-based sour cream. And to perfectly complement your meal, Axis Café & Lounge offers a selection of signature mocktails and cocktails. Try the Cherry Dream with non-alcoholic gin, or the Budapest Mule featuring a twist on the classic with Hungarian apricot pálinka.

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Kick off summer with a yoga session

Indulged in a summer feast and feeling a touch sluggish? Don't let the pre-summer chill hold you back! It's the perfect time to awaken your inner zen at Birds of Paradise yoga studio, nestled near Széna tér in Hattyúház. You don't even need experience, Birds of Paradise offers a vibrant sanctuary for yogis of all levels. Whether you crave dynamic flows to strengthen your body or deeply relaxing sessions to soothe your soul, they have a class to match your mood. Intrigued by the heat? Dive into Bikram yoga, where music or candlelight sets the mood. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, crank up the intensity with Inferno Hot Pilates – a high-energy workout guaranteed to get your heart pumping. These heated classes not only help you loosen up but also give your body a head start on adapting to the coming summer warmth, all while sculpting your dream physique. Prefer a more introspective approach? Yin Yoga offers deep stretches and a chance to reconnect with your inner self. They also have a creative Vinyasa Flow class that blends stretching and strengthening postures for a well-rounded practice. Birds of Paradise is a welcoming community where lingering after class and connecting with others are warmly encouraged. Throughout the summer, they'll be hosting exciting pop-up events and workshops, so be sure to stay tuned! Starting in the second week of June, Birds of Paradise unveils discounted summer season tickets

Find out more here.

(Cover photo: Bódis Krisztián – We Love Budapest)