What to do when in Budapest photo

Budapest Month by Month – What to do when?

Budapest is always a good idea. – It is a true statement, but not very helpful, is it? 🙂 

What month would be the best time to visit Budapest? Let’s find out!

Here is some help for you to plan your trip. This post also offers some information about events and weather in Budapest throughout the year. 

First, let’s have a quick look at…

Hungary, laying in the Carpathian Basin has four distinct weather seasons.

Not surprisingly, the highest tourist season is summer.

The best time to visit Budapest is from March to early June and from early September to November, but no matter when you come, this city has so much to offer.

Spring in Budapest

View of the Royal Palace

Between March-May.

1.7°C – 21.4°C – yes it varies greatly.

The most beautiful season in Budapest.

The weather is quite changeable. Especially during in March, you can experience four seasons in one day. So get prepared with water resistant boots and coats or you may get soaked to the skin.

15th of March is a public holiday, and Easter is another great time to visit during the spring.

April and May are warmer and brighter, the parks and gardens are blooming (go for a bike ride on Margaret Island).

Great season to attend walking tours and have picnic around the city. Many cafes and restaurants start to open their outdoor terraces and gardens.

There are no crowds yet and the prices are lower.

You can find great deals for flights and hotels.

Summer in Budapest

Dog is bathing in a fountain in front of the Hungarian Parliament

Between June-August.

13.9°C-26.5°C

The heat and the prices are on their maximum. Sometimes it is 40-42°C (107 Fahrenheit) in July and August. Sunscreen should be your best friend.

Summer can also be quite wet in Budapest.

It is a very popular time to come to Budapest and there is no shortage of things to do. We have festivals for pretty much everything – you will not stay hungry, for sure. There are also many outdoor evening performances to enjoy music under the stars.

In August you can attend Sziget Festival, and the 20th of August is a national holiday when there is a spectacular fireworks that can be best seen from the bank of the Danube in downtown.

Crowds flock the streets and baths.

Be sure to book your flights and hotel rooms early. Also check if the hotel has air-conditioning.

Fall in Budapest

Fall in Budapest

Between September-November.

2.1°C-22.1°C

Summer heat finally cools down, crowds go home.

The weather can be described as Indian summer or crone’s summer as we call it in Hungarian. The autumn is very colorful.

Budapest is beautiful in every season but visiting the Hungarian capital in autumn is a superb idea because this is the time of the year when you can see how many faces this beautiful city has.

Warm and chilly days follow each other. Prepare with clothing.

The hotel and flight deals are getting cheaper.

Planning to visit Budapest in fall? Check out my blog post: Best things to do in Budapest in Fall

Winter in Budapest

Budapest in winter

Between December-February.

Average weather: Low -4°C High 6°C

Winters are typically cold and wet with significant amount of snow.

You might not be able to walk around outdoors as much as in other seasons, as we know, every (snow) cloud has a silver lining: this is the cheapest season, except Christmas time…

But Christmas is also the best time to visit Budapest during winter so now I am not sure about that silver lining… 🙂

Do not forget to wear grippy shoes during winter, the pavements are slippery.

If you are lucky, you will see Budapest blanketed in snow. If you are not, in puddles.

During the whole month of December there is a Christmas Fair in Vörösmarty Square and in front of the Basilica. They are perfect places to try mulled wines.

Try the steaming hot Chimney Cake. It is famous for its crispy outside and soft middle. You can choose from lots of tasty toppings, the most common tastes are cinnamon and vanilla but even the plain one is delicious. Our newest favorite is the raspberry flavoured one. The dough is sweet, the dried raspberry on its side is a bit sour. Perfection!

Chimney cake Budapest

Also, the cold season gives reason to try the heavier Hungarian foods, like pörkölt, harcsa paprikás (paprika fish stew), and sausages.

There are a lot of “pop up” ice rinks throughout the city. These are free or cheap and you can always rent skates on the spot. The biggest ice rink – actually it is Europe’s biggest outdoor ice rink – can be found in the City Park, right behind the statues of Heroes’ Square. Take to Millennium underground (Line1) to get there easily.

After Christmas the prices drop everywhere: hotels, shops, etc. Hunt for these bargains.

Budapest is relatively cheap anyway so with the price drop (especially in January and February) you can stay and shop here as a queen or king. Your will be able to afford a few more stars on accommodation. You will be surprised how cheap rooms can be this time of the year.

As price drops and Valentine’s day arrives, it is perfect time to have a luxury weekend-away at the Four Season Gresham Palace and dinner cruises on the Danube.

The carnival season gives opportunity to seriously stuff yourself with sweets and doughnuts.

Planning to visit Budapest in winter? Check out my blog post: Things to do in Budapest in winter

Guide to the months in Budapest

Budapest in January

Normafa

If you are not afraid of the cold (and you should not be!) start the new year in Budapest.

There are a plenty of things to do: try our coffee houses, and the spas. If you are interested, visit some of our museums, we have several for every taste and interest.

One more thing: tourist usually have a huge smile on their faces when it starts snowing.  Especially if they are happen to sit in a hot outdoor pool. Why would you be an exception?

Budapest in February 


February is still cold in Budapest, you can still experience snow and wind, so the indoor attractions and programs will be your best friends. Does it mean that you cannot do anything interesting outside? Hell, nooooo!

Try ice skating on the City Park Lake, hike to Normafa and drink mulled wine while tasting a fresh strudel. Or just visit Fisherman’s Bastion and take great pictures of the snowy city.

February is the season of carnivals, “farsang” as we call it. It begins on Epiphany on 6th of January and lasts until Ash Wednesday.

Farsang is the perfect season to eat as many doughnuts as humanly possible. We call our carnival doughnut “fánk” and it is simple but delicious, with powdered sugar and (apricot) jam.

Budapest holds farsang events to give you a sneak peek into the “Busó” parade of Mohács, where scary-looking men chase women, while wearing wooden masks and horns.

For those who like romantic relationships more than the horror of Busó relationship building, I have good news: Valentine’s Day is also celebrated in Hungary.

The possibilities to buy sweets and teddy bears are given. For something more memorable, a romantic dinner – maybe on a boat – or a concert, or just trying the rooftop pool of Rudas Baths while watching the lively city around you are always great options for celebrating.

Rudas Baths

Hungary’s prize pig, Mangalica has it’s own festival held also in February. Here you can taste the products made from this pig while chatting with breeders and farmers.

Budapest in March

Finally a warmer month. We celebrate the beginning of the spring with the Budapest Spring Festival. The center of the street events is right in the middle of downtown, Vörösmarty Square (except for 2019 because the square is under reconstruction).

15 March is a Public Holiday, the commemoration of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, to honour Hungary’s revolution against the Austrian overlords. On this day, shops are closed but historic Budapest sites welcome visitors.

Strolling in the city starts to be a great option. Explore the Jewish District, or the area near the Parliament building and be sure to visit the Castle District

Castle area in winter

Everywhere you go, you will find great cafes and restaurants

Budapest in April

April is one of the best months to come to Budapest. Usually the sun shines this month, but shovers are not uncommon. The trees start to bloom and everything starts to come alive. Tourists still not flock the streets, everything is much calmer than during summer.

Budapest Art Week is held 9-14 April in multiple locations. With a wristband you get with your ticket, you get access to museums and art galleries, about 100 exhibitions and cultural events.

On Margaret Island the Telecom Vivicittá Spring Half Marathon calls everybody who would like to move their body.

It is a great time to visit Margaret island or/and the City Park.

Vajdahunyad Castle

Budapest in May

A favorite, perfect month. The real spring with the scents of flowers in the air.

Be sure to visit the Castle District as on Tóth Árpád promenade the cherry trees blossom.

Also, climb Gellért Hill either from Gellért Square or from Tabán, you will not regret.

If you visit Heroes’ Square and the City Park, I recommend to visit the Zoo, too. The animals are out of their indoor territories, enjoying the rays of the sun. I still recommend visiting their houses as they are architectural gems.

Budapest Zoo Elephant House

If you get hungry between 3-5 May, head to Kincsem Park and feast on juicy burgers and barbecues on the Food Truck Show.

Between 16-19 May, we have a Gourmet Festival in Millenáris Park. Here the top Hungarian restaurants show they knowledge.

Budapest Beer Week is between 20-26 May, with meet-the-brewer events and music shows at multiple locations. Nor a beer person? Then try Rosalia Rosé and Champagne Festival in the City Park between 31 May and 2 June.

Budapest in June

June is one of Budapest’s rainiest months, but its event calendar is full.

Budapest Summer Festival starts on 7 June and lasts until 23 of August at multiple locations. There is festival market and several live shows in the city’s parks including the open air stages of Margaret Island and Városmajor.

Erzsébet Square

Budapest in July

If you love hot weather, July is a good month in which to travel to Budapest. Summer festivals attract visitors to the capital from around Europe and the world.

Vajdahunyad Castle Summer Music Festival is a month long music festival that is held also in July.

Last two years Liberty Bridge was closed to car traffic for 4 weekends and the bridge became the best picnic spot of the city. Hopefully this year it will return.

Budapest in August

The Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix where world’s top drivers race is held 2-4 of August.

Sziget Festival, one of the largest music festivals in Europe, takes place between 7-13 August in Budapest. During this event Budapest is full of young and young at heart visitors.

20th of August is the day of the Foundation of Hungary, so the birthday of the country.

At 9 pm a huge, colorful firework sparkles above the Danube. Best place to observe it is from the Danube promenade.

20th of August is also the day of Saint Stephen, first king of Hungary. The procession of his naturally mummified right hand starts from the Basilica.

The Jewish Cultural Festival is also held in August.

Visiting Budapest in late August is a great idea as this period is full of programs.

Budapest in September

Budapest’s September events calendar offers a Jewish festival, a Wine festival (5-8 September) and a Food Truck Show.

During the international wine festival local and other wines will be available to be sampled. Hungary’s wine regions produce a good variety of different wines that deserve to be tried.

Great Synagogue of Dohány Street

Budapest in October

Fall arrives to Budapest during October, but the beginning of the month still offers nice weather for sightseeing.

Consider a visit to the thermal baths to stave off the autumn chill or take a drive through the countryside to see the fall leaves.

The Art Market Budapest between 3-6 October will show a huge collection of contemporary paintings, sculptures and installations.

On the Pig Slaughter and Sausage Festival you can sample varieties of pork-based dishes and the Hungarian fruit spirit, pálinka, if you are ready to pilgrimage to the Hungarian Railway History Park. If not, we also have a Pálinka Museum in the center of the city. How convenient. 🙂

23 October is a public holiday, commemoration of the Hungarian Revolution agains the oppressive Soviets in 1956. This day historic Budapest sites welcome the public with programs.

Budapest in November

November in Budapest is a great time to wander around the streets below the colorful leaves and enjoy cozy dinners at restaurants serving Hungarian traditional cuisine.

11th of November is St. Martin’s Day, when festivals and restaurants serve gourmet goose dishes and new wine.

At the end of November opens the annual Christmas market, a great source for souvenirs and traditional crafts.

Budapest in December

Santa Claus Budapest

6th of December is one of the favorite days of Hungarian children as Santa Claus delivers them presents. They just have to clean their shoes and boots the night before and place them on the windowsill and sleep deeply as Santa sneaks in to put sweets in their tiny shoes.

Of course December in Budapest is a perfect time for celebrating Christmas and the arrival of the New Year. The streets and squares are dressed in festive lights.

The Christmas markets offer great opportunity to purchase homemade crafts and gifts, and hot mulled wine is a favorite beverage served. The biggest market is held at Vörösmarty Square, but be sure not to miss the one right in front of the Basilica as light show is projected onto the facade of the church. Also, this fair has an ice rink in its middle.

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