Budapest boasts incredible architecture, museums, cafés, and restaurants that make it a great destination year-round. While winters are frigid, for many residents of Budapest February is all about discovering fun ways to avoid the cold while soaking in the culture of the city. Fortunately, between all of the local pubs, thermal baths, and cozy restaurants, it isn't difficult to fully enjoy this historic city even when the temperatures drop.
One of the highlights of visiting Budapest in February is for the Carnival celebrations, called Farsang. While most cities around the world celebrate Carnival for a day or a week, Hungarians stretch the party out to more than a month, giving you plenty of opportunities to join in on the debauchery.
February Weather in Budapest
Budapest enjoys slightly warmer temperatures than some other popular destinations in Central Europe, but a strong chill still lingers in the air during February.
- Average high: 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius)
Warm spells and cold spells often set upon the city, meaning you could get lucky and enjoy an unseasonably sunny trip or temperatures might plunge even lower than normal. Even though the weather varies drastically, the daily high rarely exceeds 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius) or drops below 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius).
Budapest receives little precipitation in February, so even though it's frigid outside, it's usually dry with clear skies or overcast. However, storms do happen on occasion, potentially blanketing the city in a thick layer of snow and ice. When that does happen, it doesn't tend to last long.
What to Pack
As with travel in most of Eastern Europe during the cold season, you should pack accordingly for Budapest's unpredictable winter weather. Sweaters 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
- A very warm jacket/coat
- Wool socks
- Warm boots
- Winter accessories, such as a hat, gloves, and a scarf
February Events in Budapest
Winter weather can be depressing, but the people of Budapest don't let the cold stop them from having a good time. Carnival is the main event, which is made up of several different parties and galas rather than being a singular event. Other festivals highlight local foods, a delicious way to distract yourself from the icy chill.
- Farsang, Hungary's Carnival season, starts on Epiphany (January 6) and it ends on Ash Wednesday, which typically falls sometime in mid to late February. You'll find masquerade parties and themed balls happening throughout the month, and don't miss out on trying one of the seasonal Farsang doughnuts from a local bakery.
- Budapest's annual Mangalica Festival takes place at the beginning of the month, during February 7–9, 2020, in the centrally-located Szabadság Square. It celebrates an indigenous breed of pig called the Mangalica, and the festival features cultural music, local products, and lots of tasty pork.
- The Budapest Fish Festival also called Budapesti Halfesztivál, takes place on February 15–16, 2020. Families and fish fans gather to eat tons of crispy fried sea bream.
- Celebrate Valentine's Day in Budapest on February 14 with a romantic dinner, a concert, or a trip to the thermal baths.
February Travel Tips
- The best way to combat the cold is to spend the day in one of Budapest's thermal baths. There are several of these naturally occurring spas throughout the city, so you can "take the waters" just as the locals do.
- Take advantage of the winter weather by putting on your skates and heading out to one of Budapest's ice rinks. The City Park rink located in the main park, Városligeti, is Europe's largest ice rink.
- Hungarian cuisine was made for cold winter days. Find a cozy restaurant and try one of the many soul-warming dishes, like goulash, fisherman's soup, and chicken paprikash.
- 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.
- 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.