Budapest is well known for being fun, affordable, and packed full of beautiful scenery, which is all the more true in winter. From the famous spa baths to the biggest ice rink in Europe, we’re covering all the best things to do in Budapest in winter.2023 January 18
When it comes to planning a winter city break in Europe, Budapest is one destination that needs to be considered. This stunning historic city sits on the River Danube and as the capital of Hungary, there is so much to see and do at any time of year. Budapest is well known for being fun, affordable, and packed full of beautiful scenery, which is all the more true in winter. From the famous spa baths to the biggest ice rink in Europe, we’re covering all the best things to do in Budapest in winter.
In this Budapest holiday guide, we are sharing all the great things that can only be done in the city in winter. Not only that, but we will also explore the activities and sights you can see despite visiting in winter, and all the wonderful parts of Budapest that are better when the weather gets cold!
Many Budapest travel guides focus on how to explore the city in the sunshine, but we believe Budapest is one of the best European cities to visit in January and February. There are two main reasons we think the Hungarian capital is perfect in the winter: less crowds and surprisingly nice weather.
During January and February, Budapest temperatures are between 1°C and -1°C, but can reach as low as -25°C in a cold snap. Budapest in winter is much colder than the weather in the UK, so be prepared to pack plenty of layers and wrap up warm! The weather in Budapest in winter can be extremely cold, but there is very little rain. It actually rains less in the winter than in the summer in Budapest, and the driest months of the year are February and March. There is always a chance of light snowfall in Budapest in winter, which only adds to the magic of the city.
As well as the surprisingly bright weather, Budapest is also much quieter in winter as it is the low season for most European destinations. You can take in the sights of the city and visit the top attractions without huge crowds and queues that you can expect in the summer.
The famous Hungarian Parliament building is one of the top sights to see in the city and pretty hard to miss! It’s a whopping 96 metres tall and 268 metres long and can be seen from most of the best viewpoints in Budapest such as Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, and Fisherman’s Bastion. Many tourists are satisfied taking in the beautiful building from the outside, but in winter it is a great time to explore the stunning interior. Escape the cold and spend some time looking around the intricate building on a guided tour which will head through the session room, the magnificent staircase, and past the Holy Crown.
There are various thermal baths around Budapest and an absolute must when visiting at any time of year. The great thing about visiting in winter is that the warm spa baths are even more delightful when the weather is cold. We recommend heading to the Szechenyi thermal baths which are the largest in Europe. Located in the Budapest city park, these thermal baths have 15 indoor pools, 3 outdoor pools, and several steam baths and saunas to enjoy. The Szechenyi thermal baths are easily the most crowded attraction in the city, and when you visit in the winter you can enjoy the famed baths with far fewer people.
One of the best ways to see the city of Budapest is with a river cruise down the Danube. While this is a great activity in the sunshine, a river cruise can also be enjoyed in the winter. Wrap up warm and choose a closed boat for your trip. We love a night cruise on the river, which is a fantastic way to see the twinkling lights of Budapest from a unique view. There are loads of evening river cruises to choose from in Budapest, including party boats and romantic dinner cruises. If you’re travelling to Budapest on a budget, you can take your own river cruise during the day by using the public transport boats and enjoying the beautiful views for a fraction of the price.
If you’re heading to Budapest for the nightlife, you need to check out the ruins bars, which are a firm favourite among partygoers of all ages. The ruins bars became a huge trend in the city a few years ago and are still going strong today, making for a truly unique drinking experience in Hungary. Many abandoned historic buildings in the old Jewish Quarter have been kitted out with street art, funky furniture, and makeshift bars. There are many ruins bars to choose from, so we suggest spending an evening exploring a few on a bar crawl around Budapest.
No Budapest travel guide would be complete without mentioning the biggest church in the city. St Stephen’s Basilica is one of the main attractions in Budapest and can be found right in the centre of the city. Outside, you can enjoy the beautiful neoclassical architecture, but it is the interior which is truly a sight to be seen. Warm up by heading inside and marvel at the beautiful stained-glass windows, intricate sculptures and stunning frescoes.
Buda Castle was once home to the Hungarian kings, and today it is one of the best sights in Budapest. Also known as the Royal Palace, Buda Castle is an unmissable building which is now home to the Budapest History Museum and National Gallery. Even if museums and galleries aren’t your vibe, we suggest you take the time to visit this landmark anyway, as you can enjoy some incredible views across the Pest part of the city. The old streets around the Castle District are great to explore in the winter when the crowds are sparse. This part of Buda is very different to the rest of the city, with quaint cobbled streets and picturesque alleys.
The fun of visiting Budapest in winter doesn’t stop there, and there are plenty of other wonderful sights to see and things to do in the Hungarian capital when the weather is cold. Book your stay at easyHotel Budapest Oktagon to be in the heart of the action. You can enjoy comfortable beds, in room heating, and ensuite bathrooms, all just a few minutes’ walk away from major Budapest attractions. Book now.
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