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 and 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 coat 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
By May, spring in Budapest is in full swing and many people are looking for an excuse to enjoy the warmer weather. From outdoor food and drink events to festivals that celebrate Hungarian culture and history, there is plenty to do.
- 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 typically takes place mid-May in Millenaris Park. It's an opportunity to taste local cheeses, go wine and beer tasting, and savor the dishes of famous chefs.
- Budapest Beer Week, held annually in the middle of the month, is an opportunity to taste hundreds of brews from breweries around the world.
- The Budapest Folk Fest, held generally during the last week of May, 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 over 100 years old. It's an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at over 50 historic buildings which include offices, businesses, and homes. Tours are typically held on the first weekend of May.
- Towards the end of the month, over 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, dance entertainment, and activities for children.
- May Concerts take place at venues throughout the city throughout 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.
May Travel Tips
- Because of the fair weather, May is a great month to take advantage of the sightseeing cruises that will take you up and down the Danube.
- May is a good month to take a day trip outside the city to Gödöllő, a royal palace with gardens that will be in full bloom.
- If the weather is really nice, consider grabbing some sajtos pogácsaat, cheese scones, at the Great Market Hall and making a picnic for yourself on the banks of the Danube near the Hungarian Parliament building.