Rainy day activities to do in Europe
It's a rainy day in Europe and your plans to wander the old, winding streets are toast. Try these rainy day activities the next time you're caught in a storm.
Jul 08, 2019
Allyson quit her corporate marketing job in July 2018 and has been traveling the world through work exchange ever since. The highlight reel include...
The weather forecast looks as gloomy as your mood, but you're in Europe and ready to explore. What to do inside on a rainy day in Europe?
I'm here to help with a lengthy list of Europe-specific activities during rainy days.
Many of these rainy day activities can be done anywhere in the world, but I hope that you'll feel particularly equipped with creative things to do on a rainy day in Europe after reading on.
Rainy day activities to do in Europe
- Visit the biggest museum you can find
- Now visit the smallest museum you can find
- Head underground
- Find an indoor market
- Find the weirdest attraction in the area
- Go to the big outdoor sites anyway to beat the crowds
- Find a bookstore or library to read in
- Find the most unique theater around
- Make it a wine and cheese night
- Give yourself a much needed lazy day
- Catch up on your laundry (or any other errand)
- Take a walk in the rain anyway
1. Visit the biggest museum you can find
They say that seeing every piece in the Louvre for 30 seconds each would take you 100 days. Hopefully, it won't rain for that long during your trip (that's one long trip!), but you'll know what to do if it does.
It's no secret that Europe is filled with museums big and small. Make the most of your rainy day in Europe by discovering every nook and cranny of the largest museum you can find.
Even if you aren't typically a fan of museums, there are some creative things to do on a rainy day to make them more interesting.
Keep it fun by making a scavenger hunt for yourself. Look up what the smallest painting in the place is, then try your best to find it. Do the same for the biggest, oldest, newest, etc.
Seeing more sculptures in the museum? Try to mimic the poses (and snap a photo, if allowed).
Don't forget to talk to museum staff. Ask them what their personal favorite piece is and seek it out. After all, they've spent a lot more rainy days exploring this museum than you have.
2. Now visit the smallest museum you can find
There is something really special about tiny museums, especially in Europe. This makes a great rainy day activity for Europe because you'll end up somewhere you may never have even known about.
Let's give a few examples in case you're having a hard time imagining the fun in store for your rainy day in Europe.
If you're in London, visit The Cartoon Museum that has only two rooms filled to the brim with cartoonish art.
Florence? Head to the Museo di San Marco, a former convent full of exquisite frescoes.
My personal favorite museum in Paris is much, much smaller than the famous Louvre but just a walk through the Tuileries garden away. The Musée de l'Orangerie houses two oval rooms featuring a 360° experience of Monet's water lilies and a basement of a small but powerful collection of other impressionist paintings.
In Berlin? Visit the obscure Museum of Unheard of Things (Museum der Unerhoerten Dinge). It's basically a wide hallway of interesting stories that could, one day, be famous.
As a bonus, if you're traveling Europe on a budget, these small museums are often great free rainy day activities or at least cheap rainy day activities.
3. Head underground
If you think Europe's history is always above ground, you'd be wrong. There are plenty of fully covered tours that take place, well, below the surface.
Struggling to see how an underground tour could be rainy day fun?
Let me shed some light in the dark (pun intended).
You could tour the Hospital in the Rock in Budapest. In preparation for World War II, Hungarians constructed this underground hospital and treated as many at 600 wounded soldiers at a time.
Get an up close look at London's famous Tube transportation system with an underground tube tour or see a different perspective on Berlin's history with a tour of the many tunnels and networks built during World War II.
The dreary rain will add an extra layer of creepiness to an already eerie experience, and you might stay more dry in the process.
4. Find an indoor market
Plenty of Europe's markets are at least partially covered.
If you find a food market, go on a self-made food crawl to try as many dishes as possible. This can often be a much cheaper way to experience some of the best food in the city anyway, so it can be a great cheap rainy day activity too.
If you find a clothing or housewares market, use this rainy day as an opportunity to get your souvenir shopping done at the same time.
5. Find the weirdest attraction in the area
So it's rainy and you're bored. If you're in Europe, you only have yourself to blame for the boredom part. There are so many off-the-wall attractions in most European cities.
Visit The Snail House in Sofia, Bulgaria, which is, you guessed it, a house shaped like a psychedelic mollusk.
Take Zagreb, Croatia's Museum of Broken Relationships dedicated to the best breakups in the world. A great, and maybe slightly depressing, activity for a rainy day.
Up for a game of pinball? Visit Budapest's Flipper Museum all about the game (which is my perfect idea of what to do inside on a rainy day).
6. Go to the big outdoor sites anyway to beat the crowds
Let's be honest. Everyone is going to flee the rain and head to the most well-known museums in the area. That means that those epic outdoor sites are going to be ghost towns.
Use it to your advantage and have the most famous outdoor site all to yourself.
7. Find a bookstore or library to read in
For an introvert like me, this is the ultimate rainy day activity anywhere in the world. It's also a great cheap rainy day activity. Find the nearest bookstore and settle in. You might even find a meaningful souvenir in the process.
If you're traveling alone in Europe and looking for the perfect free rainy day activity, find a library. Libraries in Europe are often sightseeing destinations in and of themselves. Use the rainy day to your advantage and sniff that old book smell.
8. Find the most unique theater around
Whether it be a movie theater or a playhouse, a unique theater could be just the ticket for a rainy day in Europe.
Treat yourself to a show and save the sightseeing for a sunnier day.
9. Make it a wine and cheese night
Almost every European country has amazing, high quality wine and cheese. Head to the nearest wine shop and closest cheese shop.
Before long, you'll have all you need for a classy European style indoor picnic.
10. Give yourself a much needed lazy day
When you're traveling, especially when traveling longer term, it's easy to forget that you still need to rest. Consider this rainy weather a sign that you need to slow down.
Catch up on your Netflix list. Read a book. Order takeout. Do all of those lazy day activities that you love to do when you're back home, just with a European twist.
11. Catch up on your laundry (or any other errand)
A rainy day is a great opportunity to knock out some of those lingering tasks and errands that you have to do anyway.
It's not exactly a fun rainy day activity, but you have to do laundry sometime. Make it on the rainy day when you're stuck inside.
12. Take a walk in the rain anyway
Just don't let the rain stop you, you ambitious explorer you. Dance in the rain. Take a walk around your European neighborhood. Jump in a few puddles. Just get out there and experience the rainy day for what it is.
Europe's old and winding streets can be beautiful in the rain. Rainy days tend to make even the biggest cities in Europe feel a little quieter. Use that to your advantage.