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.

  • Average high: 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius)
  • Average low: 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius)

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 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) are typical.

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

With all of Budapest's museums, castles, famous bridges, and cafés, you'll stay busy in Budapest—even in February.

  • 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.
  • The Budapest Fish Festival, also called Budapesti Halfesztivál, takes place in mid-February. Families and fish fans gather to eat tons of crispy fried sea bream.
  • 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.
  • Hungary celebrates a holiday similar to Groundhog Day on February 2. However, rather than a groundhog seeing its shadow, in Hungary, the question is whether or not the bear sees its shadow.

February Travel Tips

  • Budapest has several ice rinks that are still open in February. This is a great way to spend an afternoon of nice weather. The two most popular rinks are the rink at the refurbished City Park (Városligeti Műjégpálya) and the rink at the Whale/Bálna Shopping & Cultural Centre, which is along the Danube River in Pest. The latter is free, except for the cost of skate rentals, whereas the former is Europe's largest ice-skating rink.
  • The Budapest Opera House offers high-level dance and musical performances. The February calendar typically includes classics like Madama Butterfly opera from Puccini, the Carmen from Georges Bizet or the Onegin ballet by Tchaikovsky.
  • Seeing the city's sights from the river is an excellent outing, but if you do so in February, be sure to choose a tour that offers a heated panorama boat.
  • February is an ideal time to take the waters. There are 15 thermal baths and spas in Budapest; the most famous are Gellert and Széchenyi Thermal Bath.
  • Budapest doesn't have true skiing nearby, but you can take a trip to Normafa, a nearby hill in Buda where you can ski the bunny hill or sled down.
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