When Your Plans Get Rained Out...

Elisabeth Bolton Headshot
Elisabeth Bolton
July 2, 2024

Taking weekend trips to other cities or countries throughout my time abroad has been one of the most fulfilling experiences for me! But, unfortunately you can’t always count on the weather cooperating with you. Sometimes, you book an overnight train and an airbnb only to find that it’s going to be raining all day from Friday to Sunday. Or at least that was one of my experiences in Zürich. Thankfully, there is still so much to see and do even when the weather rains out your plans!! With that, here are my top tips on what to do when your plans get hijacked by the weather.

One of the best things about cities in Europe is that the public transport can take you virtually anywhere, so you don’t have to walk through the rain everywhere. So my first (and maybe worst) recommendation is that you do what you want to do anyway. Put on your rain jacket and your most waterproof shoes and go sightseeing and experience the city anyway! Take the trains or buses where you can and go see what you want to see, because you may not get to experience it again. This is what me and some of my friends did in Zurich when we realized it was going to rain the entire weekend we were there. We walked around the old town, saw the main churches and sights, and took breaks in between for chocolate and coffee. It was truly a perfect weekend.

Maybe walking in the rain is not on your travel bucket list… In that case, I would book some sort of food tour or do one yourself. You could just eat your way through Europe and still have a blast and experience so much of a city’s culture. Depending on what city you go to, there are different local specialties like wine, cheese, or chocolate, and you could spend a day going to the best shops and cafes to taste them all. Again, in Zurich, we went to probably 4 or more chocolatiers and tasted a couple of their specialties from each shop, and it was lots of fun. Another option is to pick a famous local cafe, bring a book, order a coffee and pastry, and stay for a few hours. It’s totally acceptable to do that here in Europe, and it’s a great way to pass some time if you’re waiting for the bad weather to pass. Here in Vienna, you can visit a renowned cafe like Cafe Central or any of the newer local cafes and have a perfect day in.

I fear I have to mention the obligatory museum tour option. There are just too many history and art museums in Europe to not visit at least a few of them! And, museums are a perfect place to spend the day to escape the weather - hot or cold. On a truly outrageous 90 degree day here in Vienna, I escaped the heat by visiting the Leopold art museum for a couple of hours and it was so fun and refreshing. I personally believe art museums are best enjoyed with friends to prevent museum fatigue and so that you can talk about which pieces you like the best and laugh together at the most outrageous ones (because let's be real, sometimes it’s just funny). 

Take a boat tour. I don’t think I have been to any city in Europe that hasn’t had some type of boat tour for whatever reason. Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest are along the Danube, Zurich has Lake Zurich, Nice is a beach town, and Como is literally on Lake Como. If you can’t find a boat tour, take one of those funny tuk tuk tours. Chances are, you will be under some sort of shelter and you will still get to see some views of the city you’re in. Although, you might have to shell out some extra cash for these tours, so if you’re balling on a budget you may have to choose something else. 

Europe in the rain is still beautiful, and you will still have a great time no matter what the weather is like. If you want to get the most out of your time here, I truly recommend just sticking with your original plans if possible (and safe). You might get soaked in the rain, but at least you will have a funny story and have experienced the city you paid to visit! Moral of the story: keep your rain jacket or umbrella on you at all times, and keep an open mind!

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Elisabeth Bolton Headshot

Elisabeth Bolton

Hi! I'm Elisabeth, and I'm a psychology major and neuroscience minor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This is my first time traveling abroad! My favorite things to do in my free time are journaling, taking walks, and scrapbooking!

2024 Summer 1
Home University:
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
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