Budapest's very nature is defined by the Danube River. The two parts of the city, Buda, and Pest sit on either side. Buda has rolling geography, and Pest is flat. Together they form a striking panorama on one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. This relatively undiscovered Central European city is known for its thermal baths, early 20th-century architecture, and music of great variety, from jazz and folk to klezmer and Gypsy tunes. If you're going to Budapest in October, get a handle on what the weather will be like and what you should pack before you go.
October is, in general, a good month to visit Budapest, weather-wise. Afternoon highs average 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) with average nighttime lows around 45 degrees (7 Celsius). Mild days like these are perfect for sightseeing in a walking city. Because October is a month of rapidly falling temperatures, expect both of these numbers to trend downward as the month goes on and be higher in early October. There are also likely significant deviations from these averages as a result of fall cold fronts. October is relatively sunny, although the chances of rain are on the rise. But all in all, you'll still have plenty of chances to sit outside at the cafes, especially in early October.
What to Pack
Dressing in layers is key to being comfortable and prepared for the changing weather in Budapest during October. Good bets are jeans, long-sleeved cotton blouses or shirts, a medium-weight cotton sweater or two, and a lightweight jacket like denim or heavier sweater or poncho. If you are going toward the end of October, a leather jacket could be switched out for a lightweight one. A short trench coat with a hood is a useful alternative and if it rains, a cashmere wrap is great for evenings out at restaurants or cultural events. As always in Europe, you'll need comfortable walking shoes. Ankle boots are the perfect choice in October and work with jeans or a more dressed-up outfit. If it gets really chilly, buy yourself a splendid scarf that adds warmth; a piece of clothing from a place you've visited is one of the best souvenirs ever.
Holidays and Events
Note some of these events have been canceled or altered for 2020; check official event websites for details. Budapest offers interesting and fun things to do in October, from art and beer events to hot tub parties with live music.
- The Day of Open Breweries: This bash celebrates local breweries that produce the beloved beverage in small batches. Enjoy beer tastings, shopping, and other events on October 10, 2020, from 2-9 p.m.
- World Press Photo Exhibition: On display in Budapest every October, this traveling show features award-winning news photos from about 25 countries. In 2020, look for the event from September 24 to October 25 at Hungarian National Museum.
- The Café Budapest Contemporary Art Festival: A cultural tour-de-force, this event highlights contemporary music, theater, and dance, featuring about 110 programs at over 40 venues. The festival is tentatively scheduled for October 2-18, 2020; confirm official dates on the event website.
- Late-night pool parties at Szechenyi Bath attract tourists from around the world. The bashes happen on Saturdays starting in late October of 2020. Think of this as a European hot-tub experience extraordinaire with laser visual effects, food, music, and more.
- Halloween parties happen all over the city in pubs, at Szechenyi Bath, and on a boat on the Danube River that includes a DJ and a bar as well as an afterparty. Costumes are optional.
- There's a full and diverse concert calendar every October in Budapest, which includes organ and folk shows, string orchestras, piano productions, and others.