Visiting Budapest in January

Weather and Events in Hungary's Coldest Month

The Danube River is full of drift-ice because of the frosty weather at the Hungarian Parliament on January 11, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.
••• Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

If you're planning to travel to Budapest in January, be sure to pack for winter conditions as the average January temperature in this area of Hungary is 30 F (-1 C) with an average high of 36 F (2 C) and low of 27 F (-3 C).

As with travel in most of Eastern Europe during this cold season, you should follow tips for winter clothing, including packing a comfortable winter coat, warm walking boots or shoes, and hats, gloves, and scarves.

Also, since January 1 is New Year's Day in Budapest and throughout Hungary, Budapest turns into a giant party on December 31, and many people will be recovering from Budapest New Year's Eve revelries on this day, so expect the city to be quiet and shops and sights to be closed.

January isn't the most popular month for travel to the Hungarian capital city, which means you'll be able to enjoy entry into important sights without the press of fellow tourists. Landmarks such as the Fisherman's Bastion will be less crowded and therefore more enjoyable—if you can overlook the chilly nip in the air.

Events and Attractions in January

There are a number of seasonal events and popular attractions open in Budapest in January each year, but the most popular destination for Hungarians and tourists alike might be the thermal baths across the city. Check out Gellert Spa or the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest for a true winter treat.

Budapest also hosts an annual Wedding Fair and Exhibition in late January (Jan 27 to 28, 2018), where you can see all of the latest in wedding dresses, decor, accessories, and destinations around the country at the Papp Laszlo Budapest Sports Arena.

If you're okay with fighting the winter cold, you can always try ice skating in the city park or shopping January sales at Budapest shops—even after the Christmas Markets close January 2, many local shops offer special discounts in the off-season.

You can also still check out many of the city's most famous attractions all month long including the Liberty Bridge, the Citadel on Gellert Hill, and concerts at St. Stephen's Basilica.

Avoiding the Cold but Experiencing the Culture

For many residents of Budapest, January 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.

Among these bars, "ruin bars" are generally the most popular among locals. Ruin bars were originally founded in Budapest around 2001 inside dilapidated buildings that were transformed into friendly dive bars where drinks are typically less expensive than elsewhere in the city. Szimpla Kert was the first ruin bar, but it relocated in 2004 to the Jewish Quarter of Budapest's seventh district.

Alternatively, you could also enjoy a coffee or warm pastry at one of the city's many cafés. These social hubs offer a respite from the cold where you can immerse yourself in conversation with some of the locals. Among the most popular of these cafés are My Little Melbourne, Printa, Tamp & Pull, and Espresso Embassy.