February in Budapest: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Mangalica festival
Derzsi Elekes Andor/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-3.0

Perched on the Danube River, a visit to this Hungarian city is like two trips in one: Buda, and Pest. While the city has a history that dates back to Roman times, it wasn't officially formed until 1873, when Buda, Pest, and Òbuda combined. Since then, the city has become Hungary's largest and most popular.

The historic city boasts incredible architecture, museums, cafés, and restaurants that make it a great destination year-round. While winters are cold, for many residents of Budapest, February is all about discovering fun ways to avoid the cold while soaking in the culture of the city, and one of the best ways to do this is to visit one of the many quirky pubs, bars, and restaurants in Budapest.

Read on for more information about the weather in Budapest, what to pack, and what events you shouldn't miss.

February Weather in Budapest

Budapest enjoys slightly warmer temperatures than some other popular destinations in East Central Europe, but a chill still lingers in the air during February. Across the board, winter, which runs from December until early March, is the coldest and gloomiest time of year. Budapest receives a lot of snowfall every year, with sometimes as much as 15 inches falling in a single day. Nighttime temperatures of 5 F (-15 C) are typical.

Average Temperatures in February

  • Average High: 39 F (4 C)
  • Average Low: 28 F (-2 C)

What to Pack

As with travel in most of Eastern Europe during this cold season, you should pack accordingly for Budapest's unpredictable winter weather. Sweaters, base layers, and other items of clothing that can be layered are a good idea for the freezing cold, in addition to waterproof clothing. A down coat which can be compressed in your suitcase is a good option. In general, you will want to pack:

  • Thermal underwear
  • Long-sleeved tops
  • Jeans/pants
  • A very warm jacket/coat
  • Wool socks
  • Warm boots
  • Winter accessories, such as a hat, gloves, and a scarf

February Events in Budapest

  • Celebrate Valentine's Day in Budapest on February 14 with a romantic dinner, a concert, or a trip to the thermal baths.
  • Budapest's annual Mangalica Festival takes place at the beginning of the month. It celebrates an indigenous breed of pig that Hungarians make into tasty dishes.
  • Farsang, Hungary's carnival season, starts on Epiphany (January 6) and it ends on Ash Wednesday, which typically occurs in mid-February. The celebration includes many festivities, masquerades, and other festive events.

February Travel Tips

With all of Budapest's museums, castles, famous bridges, and cafés, you'll stay busy in Budapest—even in January. Stay warm, and follow these tips to make the most out of your trip:

  • There's a Buda, and a Pest side of the city as the Danube River cuts right through the middle. Completed in 1849, the chain bridge connecting the two is now considered to be one of the city's significant landmarks. Hilly Buda is more traditional and quaint. The flatter Pest side is more modern.
  • Budapest is known for its coffee house culture. Spend some leisure time in a cafe, which used to be the place to hang out for artists and writers.
  • Go to a "ruin pub." Ruined and abandoned buildings, often in the Jewish area which was ravaged in World War II, are now popular bars and clubs.