If you're thinking of traveling to Budapest in May, you'll find this 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. Plus it is better to enjoy Budapest's famous mineral baths, or thermal pools, when the weather is a bit cooler since they can be as warm as 100 degrees Fahrenheit -- not too appealing in high summer. Lines for attractions will be shorter, waits not as long as restaurants with reservations not essential, and hotel rooms possibly slightly less expensive than during the high summer season.
May Weather in Budapest
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 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.
Now for the negative stuff: 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 Holidays and Events
May 1 -- May Day -- is a national holiday in Hungary. It celebrates spring with concerts and other outdoor events. Expect most businesses to be closed in honor of the holiday. The Jazz Spring concert series brings in renowned names from the jazz world and is held at the Palace of Arts.
There are good libations to be had at Budapest's Rosalia, where you can taste rose and sparkling wines and Champagne all day long to the background accompaniment of jazz. If an ice cold one is more to your taste, you'll be in paradise at the Belgian Beer Festival, where you can taste hundreds of Belgian brews from many breweries. The Budai Gourmet Festival is like a giant gastropub, with producers of sausages, cheese, ham, honey and chocolate showing off their wares and giving taste treats.