Budapest, Hungary straddles the Danube, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. These three elements, Buda in the hills, Pest on the plain, and the timeless, storied European river dividing the two, are the essence of the Hungarian capital. Budapest is known for its stunning art nouveau architecture of the turn of the 20th century, thermal baths and spas, remarkable views from the bridges over the Danube and music that fills the air.
One of the best ways to take in the scene is sitting at a cafe table with a coffee, cocktail or glass of wine. March weather makes that a bit of a challenge, but if you have packed for the weather, hey, no problem.
Budapest Weather in March
Bad news first: Nighttime temperatures in March stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, ranging from 30 to 38 degrees. The good news is that toward the end of March, after spring officially arrives, daytime highs edge close to 60 degrees, with 57 degrees being the average.
March sees a big warm-up in daytime temperatures, with highs early in the month more than 10 degrees cooler, averaging 47 chilly degrees. Spring might be in the offing, but it feels a lot like winter for most of March. March is also a cloudy month in Budapest, so don't expect a lot of sunshine warmth.
On average, Budapest gets about 11 days of rain during the month and the 9 hours of sunlight each day before nightfall.
What to Pack
The weather in Budapest in March is not what you call delightful, but there is loads of relaxation and warmth to be found in the city. Try soaking in the thermal baths and spas, an educational tour of the Hungarian Parliament and many museums, take a day trip, or just hunker down and watch the world go by at any of the multitude of cafes and pubs.
Having the right clothes to stay comfortable is key. The trick is to pick pieces that will all work together to keep you warm no matter the temperature. Start with a warm leather jacket, peacoat, warm winter jacket or knee-length walker coat. (You will most likely be wearing this if you depart from many U.S. locations at this time of year. If you are leaving from a warmer place, choose the coat that packs the easiest.) Add a scarf to wrap around your neck with a European-style knot for extra warmth that doesn't take up a lot of space in your bag. This scarf can also be worn with a lightweight jacket or sweater on warmer days without a coat.
The rest of your bag should hold the usual pieces for layering: jeans, medium-weight pullover sweaters, a cardigan sweater and tops to go under the sweaters for warmth and layering possibilities.
All these items should be in the same neutral palette to get maximum use from a minimum number of them. Ankle boots are the perfect footwear for March; shoes supportive enough for walking also are a good option.
March Holidays and Events
- Budapest Dance Festival: This appreciation of all things dance showcases performers and styles from around the globe at various locations across the city. You can catch the last day of the 10-day festival on March 1st.
- Revolution Day: March 15th is a national holiday in Hungary. It celebrates the uprising of 1848 with parades and other events. Budapest's Spring Festival marks the arrival of the season with concerts, performances, and a traditional fair.
- International Macaron Day: Mark the calendar for March 20th to get your sweet tooth on. The celebration of the tasty dessert originated in Paris but has spread to other major cities across Europe. Pastry shops and bakeries are likely to have specials and deals on the sugary treat.
- Budapest Spring Fair: The annual festival is an appreciation of the arts and culture of Hungry. The city hosts over 200 events that highlight the best of dance, music, art, and cinema. The performances run over two weeks and kick-off on March 30, 2019.
Tips for Travel to Budapest in March
- Finding accommodations for most of the month should not be an issue, but if you are traveling during or before the start of a festival like the Spring Fair, plan ahead.
- As Revolution Day on March 15 is a national holiday, check ahead if major public attractions have limited hours or are closed before scheduling your day.
- Look for colorful aspects of Hungary's culture, such as decorated Easter eggs, Hungarian folk costumes and Hungarian Easter traditions during the Budapest Spring Festival.