Best time to visit Hungary


Winter can be cold here, dropping to -3°C in Jan. Bird watching vacations still run then, but for non-twitchers, the best time to visit Hungary is spring and early autumn, when it’s mild. Jul-Aug are hottest, at between 15-25°C – not too hot for a cycling vacation, especially if you pedal out in the early mornings. If you’re only heading to Budapest, though, avoid these mid-summer months, when it’s flooded with tourists. Most rain falls in spring, particularly May, but showers are a feature of summer, too, so take an umbrella. Dec-Jan offer Christmas markets and the chance of snow.

Things to do in Hungary

What to do in Hungary, & what not to

Things to do in

Quiet, undulating roads and proximity to a clutch of central European countries makes Hungary a great location for cycling, so get on your bike. Point-to-point guided and self-guided cycling vacations follow routes through Austria, Germany and Slovakia, or from Prague to Budapest, through rolling countryside and rural villages. You can cycle alongside the Danube in certain places, a highlight being the famous ‘Danube Bend’ beneath the wooded hills of Visegrád, where the river turns south towards Budapest.
Bring some binoculars. The birdlife in Hungary is abundant, from raptors to wetland and woodland birds, and it’s ruffling its feathers all year round. Even if you’re not a fully fledged twitcher, the flutter of a barred warbler in Bükk National Park or a great bustard in Hortobagy may have you hoping for a closer look.
The Danube is Europe’s second longest river (after the Volga) and marks a neat, east-west divide down the middle of Hungary. It’s a key feature of the country, with many lovely towns scattered along or even spanning its banks, so spend some time appreciating the river . Walk its bridges, picnic on its banks and take a cruise through Budapest, for close-up views of the spectacular Neo-Gothic Parliament building on the waterfront.

Things not to do in Hungary...

Forget your swimsuit. Many of Hungary’s towns have thermal baths, Budapest sits on a patchwork of 125 hot springs, and taking the waters has been part of life here since people wore togas. Today, baths range from authentic Turkish bathhouses to art nouveau palaces and something more sanatorium-ish! They usually feature indoor pools of various temperatures, with steam rooms, saunas, plunge pools and massage rooms. Some have outdoor pools, too, and often open year-round.
Ignore the rest of Europe – it’s on Hungary’s doorstep! Consider taking a road, rail or cycling trip that adds in some neighbouring countries. Many small group guided vacations wander through the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia before dropping into Hungary, bagging key central European highlights along the way, from Vienna and Prague, to Bratislava and the Tatra Mountains.
Come over all abstemious. Budapest is known for its bars where a pint or a glass of wine can cost less than a pound, and these days it’s enjoying a craft beer revolution, with micro-breweries popping up in the city and beyond. To mark this, Budapest’s Főzdefeszt celebrates Hungarian beers and street food for three days in June. Hungary also produces wonderful wine, from four major regions. Best known is Eger, famed for its big reds, and the celebrated Tokaj, home to sweet and dry whites.

Hungary travel advice


Kelly Reid, from our supplier Exodus, shares her Hungary travel advice, from when to visit to what to expect:


“Hungary is a great destination for people who like cycling vacations and want to see a bit of real life along the way. In Hungary, you can cycle through rural villages and rolling countryside and get a glimpse of this country from a different perspective. It’s a good way to experience the culture and landscapes away from busy towns and cities. Cycling is becoming more popular, but the roads are generally quiet and the route we use from Prague to Budapest is focused on cycling through rural areas on Tarmac or gravel routes.”

Tips on when to come

“During the height of summer, there can be quite hot temperatures, so people should be prepared for this. If you plan to cycle, make sure the trip is a mix of cycling, culture and seeing other sights as well, so you aren’t on the bike all day every day!”

Tips from our travelers in Hungary


At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Hungary travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation – and the space inside your suitcase.

“Be sure to book an extra day in Prague and Budapest.” – Pia Valeriana

“Be prepared for the weather. It was very hot at the end of July! Try the local soups! Visit the town of Eger and see the library ceiling and the Pelots museum. Don’t be put off by a bird watching vacation that you think might be too intense. I am a novice and was encouraged and helped all the way by Roy who was a simply wonderful and knowledgeable guide. He caters for the birders at both ends of the spectrum!” – Susan Day

“Prepare for changeable weather. We were there from May 9th for a week and the weather was very hot one day and really chilly the next. Learn a little bit of the language. Try the local food.” – Lorna Chantrell

“Check the weather: when I went in September the temperatures varied from 30°C down to 5°C so packing was a challenge. Take an umbrella anyway!” – Fenella Williams
Photo credits: [Tempchart: Jorge Franganillo] [Best way to see hungary: Scott Wagers] [Tips on when to come: Elin B] [Tip1: Thomas Depenbusch] [Tip2: Hu Totya] [Helpdesk: Andy Morffew]
Written by Joanna Simmons
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