Budapest is a popular European destination. But when should you book your trip? Apparently, the best times to visit Budapest are between March to May and September to November. But what might be the best time for someone else might not be the best for you?
I’ve asked 11 travel bloggers when they decided to visit Budapest and what the pros and cons of travelling to the city during that month of the year. Don’t worry I’ve not missed a month out but I visited in January last year so I’ve included why I think January is the best time to visit!
Do you want good weather for your trip? Maybe you’d like to experience some of Budapest’s many festivals (or maybe you’d like to avoid the busy crowds)? Scroll down to find the best month for your perfect Budapest break.
To keep it simple, it’s in order from January to December, so pick the month you want to visit or take a read of them all to decide when to book those flights!
Visiting Budapest in January
By Becky from Becky the Traveller
Weather in January: Minus 4 to 2 degrees
January was a great time to visit Budapest. It’s not very popular with the majority of tourists due to it being winter but I found it the perfect time to visit. For starters, I managed to get a cheap flight from my local airport with a budget airline. It’s perfect to give you that little boost after Christmas when some people struggle with post-holiday blues.
Yes, it’s cold but with a lovely warm jacket and hat, you’ll be lovely and warm doing all that site-seeing. I was lucky enough for it to snow during my January trip which turned the city into a mini winter wonderland, great for those Instagram shots!
You can also go ice-skating on the frozen lake near the Castle, which is a wonderful experience and of course, will keep you warm too!
The city still has a lovely buzz although it’s quieter than the busy months there are still plenty of people about. I was lucky enough to book on the Budapest Caving Tour, last minute but during peak season these tours fill up very quickly. You might think the caves would be really cold in January but they are actually warmer than outside and stay the same temperature the whole year round.
Visiting Budapest in February
By Adelina at Pack Me To
Weather in February: Minus 3 to 4 degrees
One of the best times to visit Budapest is in February especially if you’re okay with a bit of chilliness in the air. The city is quieter with fewer tourists during the winter and you can find yourself exploring the city in relative solitude.
It’s a great way to experience the city the way a local would see it. On a bright winter day, the city is equally as stunning as it would be in the summer. After spending all day wandering around the city, you can warm up with a hot bowl of goulash or enjoy a soul-warming plate of lecsó (vegetable stew) or pörkölt (meat stew).
February is also an amazing time to visit the famous baths of the city. There’s nothing like soaking in the warm thermal waters with the cooler air around you. Or if you’re looking for a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day, Budapest offers the perfect backdrop. Take a romantic cruise down the Danube river or go skating under the lights at the Budapest City Park Ice Rink.
Further reading on Budapest
- What to do in Budapest – 3 days itinerary
- Best thermal baths in Budapest
- Top 5 cocktail bars in Budapest
Visiting Budapest in March
By Emma at Travel Face Blog
Weather in March: 1 to 10 degrees
We were initially swayed by the cheaper flights, but visiting Budapest in March offers many other benefits. As a transitional season between winter festivities ending and Easter on the horizon, crowds were minimal. Do not be fooled by this though, as you still get the benefits of spring beginning to rear its head. With temperatures increasing (but remaining unpredictable), March strikes a pleasant balance between cosy cafes still being enticing and the ability to explore the city by foot.
Unpredictability is March’s middle name, as you may catch the cultural Spring Festival at its end, or the winter festivities such as ice-skating at its beginning. One event is for sure: the National day on 15th March. Expect plenty of celebrations, and free entry to some attractions, such as a free tour of parliament. However also be aware of potential demonstrations on this day.
For us, a highlight was the Szechenyi Baths. Plus the famous Budapest bath parties move back here this month if you are into this. I also recommend buying a transportation ticket to take a public boat down the river. Try Gelato Rosa for flower-shaped ice cream, and the cosy ‘For Sale’ pub for a Hungarian dinner; whatever the weather.
Visiting Budapest in April
By Gemma at Two Scots Abroad
Weather in April: 5 to 16 degrees
Budapest is a vibrant city with the Pest area becoming increasingly popular with tourists, stag and hen parties. One of the best ways to avoid the big crowds and scorching summer heat is to plan a trip in April. Although there is more chance of rain in April, there are also lots of dry spells too.
Shoulder season means that the ruin bars in the Jewish Quarter will have fewer partygoers drinking there, the hike to The Liberty Statue on Gellert Hill will be less crowded and you can get served quicker at the Central Market Hall. Try the langos or any of these other Hungarian dishes.
Visiting Budapest in May
By Cris at Looknwalk
Weather in May: 10 to 21 degrees
The average high temperature in Budapest in May is a balmy 21 C. What does it mean for you? That you need to pack layers. It may be hot enough to wear t-shirts, but you may also get caught in a downpour. And while I never suggest packing an umbrella, I had to buy one from Budapest (n.a. this year!). I’ve been to Budapest in May more than one time and there was always this pattern of great weather mixed with early summer storms.
In terms of crowds, May is starting to be quite busy in the past years. And although the prices don’t rival the ones in July and August, expect to pay at least 30 euros per night in a basic double en-suite in a guest house. If you are looking at hotels, you’d easily part with 65 euros a night for a double.
The great thing about visiting Budapest in May is that summer activities are already in full swing. The fountain on Margaret Island is dancing, there are the lights show and the music; Aquincum is open; and there are plenty of ruined bars, milongas, and other things to check out.
May is a special month for me and I travel every year for our wedding anniversary. Budapest has often been a hub for checking out places la Esztergom, Szentendre, Eger, or Bratislava; or a layover on the way back from Athens.
Further reading on Budapest
Visiting Budapest in June
By David at Travel with the little one
Weather in June: 13 to 24 degrees
Budapest can be very hot during the daytime in June, so it’s not somewhere to walk around much in the middle of the day. However, there is the chance of cooling off at two different beer festivals in the city.
The first, focusing on Hungarian beer, is held in early June at Szabadsag ter, near the Parliament building. The Czech Beer Festival then takes place in late June – this year it was on the rooftop of the WestEnd shopping mall.
The Budapest Summer Festival also begins in June, running until the end of August. It takes place on Margit Sziget (Margaret Island), with a programme of concerts, musicals, dance shows and theatre performances to choose from.
Visiting Budapest in July
By Sue at Travel For Life Now
Weather in July: 15 to 27 degrees
March to May and September through November are considered the best times to visit Budapest. But what about July, is that a good time to visit? I think July should definitely be added to this list.
The summer, and July, in particular, is a fantastic time to see the capital of Hungary. The days are long, the sun does not set until almost 9 pm. We were able to take photos without a flash until 8:30 pm.
The weather in July is hot, in the mid-80s (or 30 degrees Celsius). It can also rain in July, but we did not have any. If it rains or gets too hot, there are plenty of indoor activities in Budapest to keep you busy.
If you love warm weather, how about visiting Madeira Island, Portugal?
July can also be quite crowded as there are many Festivals in the month of July. Gay Pride is early in the month (last year it was July 7th). The Vajdahunyad Castle Summer Music Festival takes places all month. For only 12 Euros, you can see a variety of performances from classical to chamber to klezmer and music in an amazing setting in City Park. The month ends with the Liberty Bridge Festival (Szabihid).
For three weekends in July, the chain bridge is closed to vehicles and becomes a pedestrian walkway with performances. You can also catch the Budapest Summer Festival that starts in June and runs through August. This festival has over 100 performance for children and adults, including comedy shows, concerts, dance and theatrical performances on Margaret Island and in Buda.
Visiting Budapest in August
By Melinda at Meet Mel at the gate
Weather in August: 14 to 26 degrees
Do you like heat, delicious food, beautiful but slightly crowded sights, people, and party? Then August is the right time for you to visit Budapest.
Sziget Festival, meaning island festival, takes place on Óbudai Island in the Danube river – just a stone throw away from the city centre. The annual multicultural music and arts festival attracts both party people and artists from around the world.
Sziget Festival has been named one of Europe’s best music festivals and artists like Lana Del Rey, Imagine Dragons, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Kendrick Lamar, Pink, Rihanna, David Guetta and Sia have all graced the stage on the island. Ed Sheeran is scheduled for Sziget Festival 2019!
Visiting Budapest in September
By Jennifer at World on a Whim
Weather in September: 10 to 23 degrees
September is such a fantastic time to visit Budapest. The tourists’ crowds have dissipated and the weather is still in the 20s (80 degrees Fahrenheit). Annual September events include the Budapest Wine Festival, Jewish Summer Festival and the National Gallop.
The National Gallop is a horse riding race and large-scale cultural festival which is essentially a summer Christmas market. Local vendors serving traditional food like goulash and langos and homemade palinka line the famous Andrassy street from Heroes Square all the way to the Budapest Eye. Sure, you won’t be sipping mulled wine just yet, but there are plenty of fun milkshakes and lemonades to try instead!
Looking for another reason to visit Budapest in September? You can still participate in all of the activities that are open specifically for summer. For example, you can watch the magic fountain come to life hourly on Margaret Island or go down the water slides at the Palatinus Strand amusement park.
All of the restaurants still have outdoor plazas where you can relax outside from a long day of sightseeing with a glass of affordable Hungarian wine or a litre of beer. Plus, there are so many bodies of water in Budapest. You won’t be doing any pedal boating or open-air cruising until spring of the following year, so make sure you get your boating in during the month of September!
Further reading on Budapest
Visiting Budapest in October
By Lavinia at Continent Hop
Weather in October: 5 to 16 degrees
Visiting Budapest in November
By Sonja at Migrating Miss
Weather in November: 1 to 8 degrees
November is a great time to visit Budapest. The temperature does drop down to highs of 8 degrees and lows of 1, but it’s not quite as cold yet as the other winter months in Eastern Europe. When I visited Budapest in November the days were sunny but crisp, and I was able to wrap up and still enjoy seeing the sights of the city. You can always warm up at one of the many thermal baths too!
November is also part of the shoulder season in Budapest, between the busier summer months and the Christmas season. Prices of flights and accommodation can be lower and there are less other tourists around, which is great for visiting popular places like the thermal baths and Fisherman’s Bastion.
However, the Christmas markets in Budapest do start from the second week in November, which means you can enjoy them early without as many people! Head to Vörösmarty Square for the main market, where you’ll find a central stage with lots of shows and activities happening, as well as stalls with hand-crafted products and delicious Hungarian food.
Warm up with a goulash and be sure to try a “Kürtőskalács”, or chimney cake, one of my favourite things about November in Budapest!
Visiting Budapest in December
By Eniko at Travel Hacker Girl
Weather in December: Minus 2 to 4 degrees
Visiting Budapest in December is a great choice as the whole city is in the Christmas spirit at this point. You can visit Christmas markets, go ice skating at a pop-up ice rink or enjoy the beautifully decorated shops and streets.
The evenings are the most magical when the Christmas lights are switched on throughout the city. Andrássy street is the most beautiful in my opinion.
Although one of the most popular Christmas markets is at Vörösmarty Square. You can try traditional Hungarian food here. Don’t miss the famous lángos and chimney cake! Of course, you will need to drink as well. Hot chocolate and mulled wine are my favourite options in the winter months! You can also wander around the stalls and buy some presents for your loved ones. All the products sold there are handmade, making them very special and unique.
The downside of visiting Budapest in the winter is how chilly it is. The temperature can often drop below zero. To warm yourself up I suggest going ice skating in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica or visiting the 360 rooftop bar. They install heated see-through igloos for the winter, so you can enjoy the gorgeous views.
Still trying to plan your Budapest trip and wondering when the best time to visit is? Ask me any questions in the comments below