When you’re planning your trip you might ask yourself: What is the best time to visit Budapest? The answer is not simple, of course. It really depends on your preferences! But here’s a post to help you navigate the different months of the year.
The climate of Budapest
For most of us the weather is definitely a big part of the decision! Hungary is a small country, so the weather is pretty similar in the different corners of it. The climate of Hungary is the so called continental climate, and actually a moderate version of it. We get influences even from the Atlantic Ocean, and a bit of Mediterranean touch as well (especially if you go to the southern regions).
The most important thing about the continental climate is that we have four seasons. And they all show a very different face of the country! You have to be prepared for very hot summers and pretty cold winters, but it’s rarely in the extremes. If you click here you can see the detailed monthly averages. The hottest days are around 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit), perfect for a GelaTour, and the coldest winter temperatures are around -15°C (5 °F). Don’t worry, this last number is pretty rare! It’s more normal to have between +5°C and -5°C (41-23°F) from December till February.
It does snow sometimes in the winter months, but it’s quite unpredictable. Most years it snows more after New Year’s than before, but in the city it melts quickly. Refreshing spring showers, rapid summer thunderstorms and melancholic fall downpours are common, but we don’t have a rainy season. In fact the yearly average rainfall is just 563 mm (22.2 in).
Altogether imagine something similar to the weather of New York, just half as much rain.
Things to do
Every season has its perks! Let’s see what are the typical activities in each.
We recommend January and February if you don’t particularly like people but also don’t mind cold weather. It is the best time to avoid the crowds! This is the perfect season to soak in the thermal baths, visit concerts, go ice skating, and sip mulled wine in a cozy ruin bar. If you’re lucky you can catch the Busójárás (a special carnival) in the town of Mohács.
In March and April nature is waking up, and it’s just lovely to see the people of Budapest smiling more and more in the sun. The days are getting longer and a bit warmer, and we celebrate Easter. It’s the time to eat cooked and smoked ham with horseradish, paint eggs, and eat chocolate bunnies. You might even bump into a nice spring fair on Vörösmarty square, and the Budapest Spring Festival offers tons of cultural programs.
From May till October the city is filled with terraces on the streets where locals are probably sipping a cold wine spritzer (fröccs). You can always run into public events, especially on the weekend. Design fairs, farmers markets, concerts, flash mobs, art installations – it is the most vibrant period for sure. Don’t forget the famous Sziget Festival in August!
In November and December the Christmas markets open, the festive lights are decorating the streets, the smell of cinnamon is lingering in the air coming from the kürtőskalács vendors. The ice skating rink opens again, and the opera house plays (among others) the Christmas classic: The Nutcracker.
If we had to pick one month it would be May. It is not too hot yet, but mostly sunny, and even showers don’t bother us that much. Nature is as green as it gets, perfect for a quick hike on the Gellért hill! The markets are full of colorful fruits and veggies, and our chefs are also coming up with new seasonal menus full of freshness. The semester is not over yet, so the students who mainly come for the nightlife are still not around. (Sorry, we know we are getting old…)
But no matter what month you pick, we know that you will love, love, love Budapest! And we are always ready to be your tour guide. (Except for the three days of Christmas. Our moms would kill us.)
Don’t hesitate to drop us an email if you have any questions about the endless possibilities in Budapest. We can’t wait to see you here!