December is the festive season in Budapest when the crisp air is filled with the unmistakable aroma of winter spices cooked into poppy seed rolls and chimney cakes. The brightly lit streets and the buzzing city will provide you with an unforgettable Christmas time. December is cold with temperatures below zero or a couple of degrees above zero and the likelihood of snow is 50-50%. But what is worth knowing about the Budapest weather in December?
DECEMBER WEATHER FACTS
Cold, Christmassy and aromatic. These are the adjectives that describe Budapest in December the best.
The average min. is 0⁰C/32⁰F and the average max. is -3⁰C/27⁰F.
Average rainfall: 40 mm
December is the first real winter month, with all the coldness, darkness and occasional snow. There are some sunny and freezing cold days as well, the sunnier it is, the colder it gets. The weather in Budapest in December is perfect for getting into the festive mood.
ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES OF THE BUDAPEST WEATHER IN DECEMBER
We have collected all the advantages and disadvantages for you why you should visit Budapest in December.
1. You can do your Christmas shopping in one of the most beautiful and unique Christmas fairs in Europe. The buzz of people, the Christmas lights and the aroma in the air are so very attractive and addictive that you will want to come back.
2. The temperature drops to 0–2⁰C during the day which provides you with a great opportunity to soak in one of the many baths of Budapest. If you want to spice up your spa experience, try a late-night pool party. Do you love music, people and fun? If yes, do not miss out on a night dip
3. You can hop on the Christmas tram, which operates on line 2 and is fully lit with Xmas lights. The tram looks like a vehicle in a fairy tale. It looks magical from the outside and the panoramic view from the inside will take your breath away. Tram 2 runs along the Danube, offering a spectacular view on the Buda side.
4. You can try the traditional chimney-cake and poppy seed roll. The chimney cake is usually served hot, so it is not only a sweet treat but also warms your hands up.
5. The ice-skating season is on! It is compulsory to check out the super cool ice-skating rink in the City Park, next to the Hero’s Square. Should you ice-skate or not, this place offers a lovely view especially at night
6. Surprise your family or friends with tickets to the must-see Christmas show, the Nutcracker in the Ballet or Opera.
The weather can be icy cold and snowy and the public transportation vehicles are either overheated or are freezing cold. The Christmas Fairs are overcrowded.
– 25-26 December are religious holidays, when all the shops are closed and only a few restaurants and bars operate and on 24 December the shops close around 2 pm.
– Do not leave your swimming costume at home and visit a thermal bath (start the New Year with a spa experience, come to Budapest in January too)
– Pack plenty of layers of clothes including a hat, scarf and gloves
– Wear boots with warm, comfy socks
– Do your Christmas shopping in Budapest and buy something unique or hand-made in the Christmas Fairs. NOTE: there are 2 big Fairs in Budapest (at Vörösmarty Suqare and in front of the Basilica, check out both).
– Try the famous Hungarian chimney-cake and drink a mug of hot mulled wine in the market. EXTRA TIP: keep your mulled wine mug and drink a second serving from it and take it home as a souvenir
– Enjoy the traditional Christmas menu in the best restaurants
– Try something new at the food court in the Fairs
– Taste the traditional liquor of the Hungarians, the so-called Pálinka, which is so strong that it will warm you up from the inside out for sure
-Check out the video about Christmas in Budapest:
DID YOU KNOW?
In Hungary, the traditions in terms of the Santa Clause and Christmas are different compared to Anglo-Saxon countries. On the evening of December 5th, kids would give their boots a good clean and would put their footwear either on the windowsill or just leave them in the hall where Santa Clause would be able to find them during the night. By the morning, when they excitedly run out of their rooms, their boots would be filled with chocolate, sweets, mandarins and in some cases smaller toys. This occasion has nothing to do with Christmas, Santa Clause is an old, white-beard man who only operates during the night of December 5th.
Christmas traditionally starts on December 24th and is celebrated within the close family only. People would decorate their Christmas trees (when the kids are small, without them, later the family do it together) cook a typical dinner consisting of fish soup, fried fish or turkey and potato salad and bake the classic festive cake, the “bejgli” filled with poppy seeds or walnuts. After or before dinner the family gather in the living room in front of the tree, where they open the presents that have been placed there by Baby Jesus. Yes, we do it on December 24th, lucky us, we get our gifts earlier than kids in the UK or the USA. On December 25th and 26th families start visiting their relatives and travel around the country in the hope of spending quality time with all their loved ones.
Budapest weather in December is quite cold and can be snowy but the feeling of the festive season including the gorgeous Christmas lights and aromatic scent in the air make up for the unpleasant weather. Put your hat and gloves on (buy a pair that works with smartphones) and immerse in the magical atmosphere of Budapest.