Budapest will welcome you any time of year, but autumn is one of the top travel seasons. The summer heat fades, Hungarians celebrate national beverages and food with annual festivals, most of the tourists have returned home until the following year, and, as always, plenty of attractions and activities await.
A nip in the air in the evenings or during rainy weather signals the end of summer in the first part of fall. Temperature averages gradually drop the closer the calendar moves towards November. Even if you travel towards the beginning of the season, remember a sweater to keep off the chill in the evenings. You'll need long sleeves and jackets for travel deeper into autumn.
If you love Hungarian food, autumn travel will not disappoint you. Some fall food-related Budapest festivals include the Budapest International Wine Festival (September), the Szeptemberfeszt, a festival of food and entertainment, including a stew-making competition (September), Palinka and Sausage Festival (October), and the Festival of New Wine and Cheese (November)
Also catch the Jewish Summer Festival, the Budapest Baroque Festival, the Budapest Autumn Festival, and All Saints' Day. Remember that at the end of November, when winter weather may have already settled into the bones of the city, the annual Budapest Christmas Market opens. Vendors at this market sell food and drink, handmade gifts, and holiday decorations.
Fall Budapest Activities
If you've never been to Budapest, do make a point of seeing its major sights, including Buda Castle, the Parliament Building, St. Stephan's Basilica, and Heroes' Square. Autumn is an excellent time to tour the Hungarian capital!
If the day is wet or cold, consider moving indoors. Spend a couple of hours in a Budapest cafe, shopping for souvenirs at the Great Market Hall, or perusing art at one of the excellent Budapest museums.
When night falls, attend a performance or enjoy dinner at a restaurant serving up local food. The most common Hungarian recipes can be sampled at almost any restaurant specializing in national cuisine. Seasoned with paprika, meat-heavy dishes with vegetable accompaniments make delicious autumn fare. They'll ward off any chill in the air even if you choose to dine outdoors.
For dinner, or after you've eaten your fill, order a glass or a bottle of Hungarian wine. Rich reds, such as Bull's Blood and sweet whites, such as Tokaji, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Hungarian wine varieties. If the restaurant's wine menu is meaningless to you, ask for a suggestion from your server, specifying that you would like to try a Hungarian wine.
Still need more ideas for how to spend your time in Budapest? Things to Do in Budapest will whet your appetite for fun activities you can enjoy year-round in the Hungarian capital city.
Hotels for Fall Travel to Budapest
Budapest is a large city, so consider the location as well as the budget when you research hotels for your visit. Public transportation is plentiful, but you may want to be within a short distance of shops, eateries, or attractions. Also remember that Budapest has two sides, Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube River. Sights such as Buda Castle are on the Budapest side, while Heroes' Square and the Parliament Building are on the Pest side of the city.
Getting to Budapest
Flights to Budapest arrive at the Ferihegy Airport. There's an airport minibus with service to your hotel, or you can take public transportation. Taxi drivers take advantage of unseasoned tourists at the airport, so these should be avoided.
It's also possible to reach Budapest by train from other European destination cities, as well as by bus, and, from Vienna, hydrofoil.