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

Trench coats and umbrellas are must-haves

Budapest Skyline and Parliament Building, Hungary
Paul Cooklin / Getty Images

When traveling to Budapest in May, you'll find this historic city hugging the banks of the storied Danube a welcoming place with pleasant weather and still relatively free of the crowds of tourists that summer brings. While it may rain when you are there, it won't keep you from getting out and about enjoying the sights.

It's a good time to enjoy Budapest's famous mineral baths, or thermal pools, in cooler weather since they can be as warm as 100 degrees Fahrenheit—not too appealing in the heat of summer. In May, lines for attractions will be shorter and reservations at popular restaurants are not essential. An added plus—hotel rooms are slightly less expensive than during the high summer season.

Budapest Weather in May

Afternoon highs in Budapest in May average between 67 degrees and 74 degrees Fahrenheit, rising as the month progresses. Nighttime temperatures are still on the chilly side, with averages from 47 to 56 degrees. These temperatures are a bit cooler than in a large swath of locations in the U.S. and will feel more like April weather to many Americans. These are perfect sightseeing temperatures—not too hot and not too cold, and the days are getting longer.

On the flip side, it is cloudy most of the time, with the chances for rain touching the highest levels of the year. The deeper into May you go, the higher the chances ​of significant rain.

What to Pack

The high possibility of rain during May in Budapest is the main thing to consider when you're packing. A short-length trench coat, preferably with a hood, is a must-have. A longer one also works, but it takes up twice the room in your bag. Or take along a rain poncho. Take an umbrella for everyone traveling; with the amount of rain likely while walking around the city you don't want to be sharing. The trench can double as a lightweight jacket on cooler days and at night.

Otherwise, take jeans, long-sleeved tops or shirts, lightweight pullover sweaters and a cardigan or two or a lightweight jacket or blazer. The point is to be able to layer clothing as needed depending on the temperature. It's still pretty cool during the day, so take closed shoes that are supportive enough for walking and a nicer pair of flats for an evening, if desired.

May Events in Budapest

  • May Day, on May 1, is a national holiday in Hungary. This day celebrates spring with concerts and other outdoor events in the major parks. Expect most businesses to be closed in honor of the holiday. While businesses will be closed, museums and baths in Budapest will be open.
  • The Gourmet Food Festival takes place May 16 through 19, 2019 in Millenaris Park. It's an opportunity to taste local cheeses, go wine and beer tasting and savor the work of famous chefs.
  • The Rosalia Festival takes over City Park May 31 through June 2, 2019 with tastings (in a crystal souvenir glass) of new rose and sparkling wines along with live musical entertainment.
  • The Belgian Beer Festival, held annually in mid-May, is an opportunity to taste hundreds of Belgian brews from many breweries.
  • The Budapest Folk Fest, held May 22—25, 2019, is an opportunity to learn about Hungarian folk heritage through traditional music and dance performances.
  • Budapest 100 is a celebration of the art and architecture of Budapest's buildings that are 100+ years old. It's an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at over 50 historic buildings which include offices, businesses and homes. The tours take place on May 5 and May 5, 2019.
  • On May 20 and 21, 2019, 100+ museums are represented in the garden of the Hungarian National Museum for the Festival of Museums. Museums and galleries will present their offerings at the festival and visitors can take virtual tours of each one. There is live music, theater, and dance entertainment as well as activities for children throughout the days of the event which runs 9 a.m.—9 p.m.
  • May Concerts take place at venues throughout the city during the month. There are folk concerts, Gypsy concerts, concerts in a beautiful basilica setting, classical music in a concert hall, and even folk dance demonstrations.