Budapest is a true treasure trove of delightful experiences and breathtaking landmarks, ranging from ridiculously beautiful architecture to a nightlife that would put most of Europe to shame. The best time to visit Budapest is from March to May and September to November. This is for two reasons. The first is the traveler-friendly weather, which hits the sweet spot between hot and cold. The second is the many festivals and events that are organised in the city in these two months. Read on to know all about the best time to visit Budapest, a month on month guide, a carefully curated Budapest itinerary and more hacks for visiting the Hungarian capital.
Best time to visit Budapest - Know Before You Plan Your Trip
Depending on the kind of traveler you are, Budapest has something in store for you year-round.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: The first factor for any person looking to sightsee is the weather. Keeping Budapest's weather in mind, the summer months of June to August would be a great safe bet. The sun is out but you can still go around the city exploring every nook and cranny to your heart's content. This is as opposed to the harsh winters the city witnesses, making travel a little difficult.
- Best Time for Backpackers: Backpacking involves a fair (or large) bit of walking around and you would need to weather to be great for a comfortable journey. The pre-summer months of March to May are great for a little backpacking adventure in the Hungarian countryside since the average temperature falls in the range of 6 degrees Celsius to 17 degrees Celsius.
- Best Time for Honeymooners: A honeymoon is the perfect opportunity to laze around all day with a little bit of sightseeing during the day. The weather in the months of October and November is perfect for just that. While it does get quite cold during the night, there's a hint of the sun during the day, allowing the perfect window of opportunity for sightseeing and exploration.
- Best Time For Festivals in Budapest: If you're visiting Budapest with the sole purpose of reveling in its many festivals and events, July and August are the months you would want to make that trip. From St. Stephen's Day, Sziget Festival, the Samsara Festival, Strand Festival, Campus Fesztival, Rockmaraton, Veszprem Street Music Festival, O.Z.O.R.A Festival, Festival of Folk Arts, B.My.Lake and countless others.
Budapest Through The Year
Travel season in Europe is divided into three main sections, each with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Here's a handy look at each:
- High Season in Budapest : Starting from June and ending in August, the high season sees the most number of tourists for a variety of reasons. The temperature is great, the hostels are full of young and vibrant people, the days are long and most attractions are open. There are certain disadvantages as well, including the obvious crowds, the heat, crowded public transport, and higher cost of accommodation.
- Shoulder Season in Budapest : The shoulder season falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to number of tourists. The months of September, October and early November and Easter to early June are considered part of the shoulder season. The great thing about visiting Budapest during the shoulder season is the nice weather, limited number of tourists, lower prices of accomodation and a general influx of travelers in hostels. The flip side is that some attractions are closed during the shoulder season, the weather can be unpredictable, and the days are shorter.
- Low Season in Budapest : The low season in Budapest falls around November to March and sees the least number of visitors. There are many reasons why this particular season sees the lowest visitor count, including the cold and dreary weather, shorter days, closure of certain attractions, and the constant rains. It's not all bad though as there are some advantages of traveling to Budapest in low season including the absence of crowds, lower prices for hotels and plane tickets, the opportunity to celebrate Christmas in Europe and the snow all around.
Best Season To Visit Budapest
If you're wondering what Budapest looks like in each season, let's paint a pretty picture for your sensory delight.
Budapest in Spring
With the end of the long and cold winter comes the onset of Spring season. The months of March, April and May make the Spring season and you can sense the city coming back to life after the dreary winter months. The sun is out and about more often and outdoor beer gardens and terrace bars open early. Specifically, there's something magical in the air that imbibes everything with a cheery wide.
Budapest in Summer
While the Spring season is a teaser of sorts, the real flurry of activity begins in the month of June, officially marking the beginning of the summer season. The sun's out pretty much throughout the day and it can get pretty hot so you would be better off with accommodation that has an AC. The summer months of June, July and August also see an increase in events and festivals, which in turn brings in more crowds.
Budapest in Autumn
The beginning of autumn is a delightful surprise. The summer season is coming to a close and the heat is slowly fading away, making way for colder days. The desired spot between peak summer and harsh winters is beautifully met during the autumn season. There's a fair bit of rain in the autumn months of September, October and November but the city is still lively and joyous before the onset of the winter slumber.
Budapest in Winter
As is typical to most of Europe, winters in Budapest are generally cold and dry. The months of December, January and February are classified as the winter season and witness incessant snow and even some occasional cold snaps. December also marks the arrival of Christmas season and city gears up for the festival with beautiful lights along Andrassy Avenue and the parliament building. There's also a special Christmas tram which goes around the city, spreading some festive cheer.
A Month-By-Month Guide To Visiting Budapest
Follow our detailed guide to pick a month for your Budapest exploits.
Budapest In January
Average Temperature: 2.9°C to -1.6°C
January is the coldest time of the year in Budapest and honestly, not the best time for people looking to engage in extensive sightseeing. But if you happen to be a snow lover, well, this is literal paradise. The entire city of Budapest is blanketed in a thick cover of snow and there many snow-based activities you can participate in. You can try your hand at ice skating on the City Park Ice Rink or make your way to the Buda Hills to toboggan. You can also head to local dance house and party to Hungarian folk music! January is also the peak season for opera and theatre.
Budapest In February
Average Temperature: 5.5°C to 0°C
While not as cold as the months of December and January, February is a decidedly winter month where the temperature is perfect for mulled wine and traditional, 'heavier' Hungarian food like hurka (a type of blood sausage). The month of February also sees a number of craft markets and food festivals, such as the fish festival and the mangalica festival. If you're looking forward to a trip with your partner during Valentine's Day, Budapest is the perfect choice. You can go on a romantic dinner cruise on the Danube or a weekend getaway at one of the resorts in the Buda Hills.
Budapest In March
Average Temperature: 10.6°C to 3.5°C
March witnesses a significant change in the weather with the arrival of Spring. There's a general increase in activity and chatter around the city with the first of the warmer days and both locals and tourists are out and about in the city in larger numbers. While museums, theatres, and art galleries are still a good option for when the days get slightly cold, you can head to outdoor attractions like the Botanical Garden and Budapest Zoo to bask in the pre-summer sun during the day. The Hungarian city celebrates Memorial Day on March 15th to commemorate the 1848 Hungarian revolution.
Budapest In April
Average Temperature: 16.4°C to 7.6°C
Spring is out in full force in April with colours all around, blooming flowers, numerous spring festivals and a plethora of outdoor activities to boot. Witness the grace and grandeur of European spring at the Cherry Blossom Festival or head to the Japanese Garden on Margaret Island to admire the spring bloom. You can also participate in the Easter celebrations and traditions, including painting eggs to get the authentic Hungarian experience. Since April is still officially part of the shoulder season, you don't have to worry about the city being overrun with tourists.
Budapest In May
Average Temperature: 16.4°C to 7.6°C
The last of the spring season, May experiences a considerable increase in temperature, but nothing too hot to handle. Despite the rise in heat, there are unexpected rain showers you need to be wary of. Given the pleasant weather, you can participate in a variety of outdoor activities including an exhilarating climb to Gellert Hill for a panoramic view of the city, take a chairlift to the top of Buda Hills, or enjoy a leisurely picnic on Margaret Island. You can also opt for a guided tour of the city or go on a bar-hop of the city's best pubs. The city also hosts a variety of spring festivals in May that you can participate in.
Budapest In June
Average Temperature: 24.6°C to 15.1°C
Summer is officially upon Budapest in June and while the average temperature is lower than that of July and August, there are occasional rains you need to factor into your plans. Still, the overall weather is extremely pleasant which is why June sees the most number of tourists visiting the city. With the onset of summer, many outdoor and rooftop cafes and pubs also open their doors where you can enjoy your Hungarian beer and relax. June is also the month of countless festivals and events. The Danube Carnival and Night of the Museums are must-visit events. There are many music festivals in the city in June that celebrates a range of genres.
Budapest In July
Average Temperature: 26.7°C to 16.8°C
July can be best described as the most summer months, both in terms of the temperature and the sunny disposition of the people around. While a good majority of locals head out on a holiday, the city is teeming with tourists from across the globe. Summer is celebrated in the city with a large variety of outdoor performances scheduled for the evening. You can also make your way to City Park and Margaret Island to enjoy live music under the stars. The city also hosts a large number of festivals for everything from street food to beer. The Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix is also organised in the month of July, adding another reason to visit Budapest in this month.
Budapest In August
Average Temperature: 26.6°C to 16.5°C
One of the most popular months for tourists, August in Budapest is pretty similar to July but the temperature is slightly lower. One of the biggest events, the Sziget Festival takes place this month and brings a massive crowd to the city. While the Sziget Festival is targeted towards a younger crowd, there are other events like Festival of Folk Arts and St. Stephen's Day celebration targeted at a broader audience. Apart from all the events and festivals, August is a great month for sightseeing as well since the temperature is tolerable and the days are long.
Budapest In September
Average Temperature: 21.6°C to 12.8°C
Straight off the crowded tourist season of June, July and August, September in Budapest features the perfect spot of just the right amount of crowd. Most of the tourists have left the city but there are still enough left for the city to not feel dead. The weather in September can be best described as an "Indian summer", with a slightly cold spell followed by a couple of days of increased temperature. There are many special events and festivals that grace Budapest in September, including the Hungarian horse tradition at the National Gallop Festival. With the arrival of autumn, a whole new season of theatre, opera and ballet also starts.
Budapest In October
Average Temperature: 15.4°C to 7.9°C
With the arrival of October, autumn spreads its beautiful wings in Budapest. Autumnal leaves make their presence felt by covering every park in the city and every tree-lined street. There's nothing quite like a peaceful walk around Budapest in the month of October when the weather is not quite cold and the sun isn't as harsh. October is also one of the most popular months for visitors due to the Oktoberfest beer festivals. You can also expect to attend a killer Halloween party if you visit the city at the end of the month.
Budapest In November
Average Temperature: 7.7°C to 2.9°C
November is the official start of winter season in Budapest with the days getting darker much sooner and people bringing their coats out. Despite the slightly cold weather, there are still certain days of beautiful fall in November. The month sees a wide number of craft markets and night markets where locals engage in early Christmas shopping. The outdoor cafes and pubs are less popular in this month, but still available on days when the sun is out. You can also participate in the All Saint's Day activities on November 1 and St. Martin's Day festivities on November 11.
Budapest In December
Average Temperature: 4°C to 0°C
Christmas is floating throughout the month of December in Budapest. If you're looking to do some gift shopping, there are plenty of cute markets located all around the city. The Christmas markets at Vorosmarty Square attract a huge crowd, both locals and tourists. Some of the special Budapest Christmas delights include mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, kurtos kalacs and the very likely possibility of a white Christmas. There are also countless Christmas and New Year's parties that you can head to for a gala time.
Budapest 3 day Itinerary
Whether you're visiting Budapest in May or November, here's a handy 5 day itinerary to experiencing the best of Budapest.
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The best time to visit Budapest is in the spring or fall. The weather is mild and there are fewer tourists. However, if you're looking for a more festive atmosphere, Christmas time can be magical in Budapest.
3-4 days is a good amount of time to explore the city. If you're interested in doing day trips outside of Budapest, you could stay for 5-6 days.
The Parliament Building, St. Stephen's Basilica, the Budapest Zoo, and Andrássy Avenue are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Budapest.
There are a number of bars and nightclubs in Budapest that cater to tourists. You can also find live music venues and casinos.
The best way to get around Budapest is by public transportation. The city has an extensive network of buses, trams, and metro lines. You can also walk or ride a bike within the city centre. If you're planning on doing any day trips outside of Budapest, renting a car is the best option.