10 Things to Do in Budapest in February

Are you considering visiting Budapest in the month of February? Don't be intimidated by the cold winter weather, as you will see below the city is full of fun activities to do throughout the month.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

8 min read

10 Things to Do in Budapest in February

Budapest | ©Elin B

Budapest is a magical destination to visit at any time of the year, but those who handle cold temperatures well can take advantage of the off-peak season to enjoy the city free of crowds and tourists.

While there's plenty to see and do year-round in the pearl of the Danube, February is a month loaded with food festivals and winter activities you won't want to miss. Take the following itinerary of activities as your guide and enjoy a perfect vacation.

1. Celebrate Valentine's Day in Budapest

Gyertyafény Expressz Train| ©JojoJackson
Gyertyafény Expressz Train| ©JojoJackson

If Valentine's Day surprises you in the wonderful Budapest, or you travel with the intention of celebrating it with someone special, you should know that this city joins the traditional celebrations and offers all kinds of activities; most of them can be combined with each other to have a totally magical Valentine's Day trip.

Keep in mind that Valentine's Day is one of the busiest nights of the year so I recommend booking in advance any of the paid plans.

The Csokoládé Museum organizes a dinner on board a train

Budapest' s Chocolate Museum is offering a Romanesque dinner for two aboard the Gyertyafény Expressz, a gorgeous train carriage that travels between Nyugati and Gödöllő. The romantic evening is accompanied by an atmosphere of candlelight and live music.

Attend a spectacular opera evening

The Budapest Opera offers its traditional Valentine's Day concert every year. In addition to admiring the talent of the fabulous performers you will be able to see the interior of one of the most beautiful neoclassical buildings in Budapest. Reservations and plans can be viewed on the official website.

Valentine's Day dinner in a restaurant in the city

Another good Valentine's Day plan in Budapest is to book at some of the many restaurants in the city that traditionally offer special plans on Valentine's Day. Remember to book in advance as tables sell out quickly.

Save with the Budapest Card tourist pass

If you want to save while enjoying the day of lovers in Budapest or any other, with the Budapest Card tourist pass you can get on the transport, take guided tours and buy tickets to the main monuments of the city at much more affordable prices.

Book the Budapest Card

2. Get on board of a panoramic cruise with heating

Danube Cruises| ©Raimond Klavins
Danube Cruises| ©Raimond Klavins

One of the best things to see and do in Budapest is to board a cruise ship to enjoy panoramic views of Budapest. In the winter months this activity becomes much more interesting since the boats are heated inside, so you will have the opportunity to see the most important monuments without suffering the cold of the streets in winter.

  • Duration of the excursion: between 1.5 and 2 hours. If lunch or lunch on board the cruise is included, it may last a little longer.
  • Price: from 20€ per participant.

Route of the Danube Cruises

The classic Danube cruise includes a tour to see the most important monuments and buildings of the city, including:

Types of Danube Cruises

  • Night cruise with drinks: from 21€ you will enjoy for 1 hour an excellent excursion on the Danube while you have a drink of your choice.
  • Night cruise with dinner: from 58€ you will taste dishes of Hungarian gastronomy while admiring the illuminated monuments of the city.
  • Daytime cruise: lasts a total of 70 minutes and its price is around 16 €. It is the cheapest option and you will also enjoy a refreshing drink.
  • Cruise with pizza and open bar: from 32 € you will enjoy a delicious pizza on board and all the drinks you want in a 70-minute tour.

Book the best cruises in Budapest

3. Visit the best thermal baths and spas in Budapest.

Széchenyi thermal waters| ©Hindol Bhattacharya
Széchenyi thermal waters| ©Hindol Bhattacharya

If you travel Hungary you will realize that the culture of the spas is something serious, considered in addition to a leisure activity, as a therapeutic way to treat certain conditions and physical ailments.

To go to a thermal bath is one of the best activities that you will be able to do in the city to escape from the cold climate of the winter.

The best Spas of Budapest

Gellert Spa At international level it is possibly the best known of all.

  • Location: the Hotel Geller.
  • Schedule: from 06h to 20h.
  • Price: dproximately 13,50€ the entrance.

Rudas Spa Until the early twentieth century women were forbidden to enter, today it is admitted at specific times.

  • Location: near the Elizabeth Bridge.
  • Hours: from 6 am to 8 pm; Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays exclusively for men; Tuesdays exclusively for women and mixed on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Price: approximately 13,50 € the entrance.

Széchenyi Spa Considered among the best spas in Europe.

Book tickets to the spas of Budapest

4. Take a photo and coffee tour through the winter Budapest

Buda Castle in the snow| ©Zsolt Kácsor
Buda Castle in the snow| ©Zsolt Kácsor

Until mid-February in Budapest it is possible to enjoy occasional snowfalls that dye the beautiful buildings of the city with a spectacular white blanket.

If you like photography, snowy landscapes and historical architecture, dedicate a snowy February afternoon to enjoy the spectacle and take beautiful pictures. On the way, stop at one of the beautiful Hungarian cafes to enjoy the famous Somlói sponge cake.

Another option is to take a tour of Budapest so that a guide will show you the best places and you can photograph them with the certainty that you will not miss any of them.

Best spots for winter photography in Budapest

Some of the places and monuments of Budapest that are worth photographing in the snow are the following:

Best cafes in Budapest

The capital of Hungary is one of the most beautiful in the world in terms of architecture. When the weather outside becomes very cold it is worthwhile to take a tour of its cafes not only to taste some delicious dessert, but also to marvel at the impressive interior decoration of these spaces.

Among the Hungarian cafés with the most sumptuous and elegant interiors, the following are worth mentioning:

  • Lotz Hall Terem
  • Gerbeaud Café
  • Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest
  • Szamos Gourmet Palace

Book a tour in Budapest

5. Enjoy free museums in Budapest.

National Gallery| ©Civertan
National Gallery| ©Civertan

February is an excellent month to enjoy museums and escape the cold winter weather in Budapest. Additionally, you can take the opportunity to visit the most important museums of the city on their free admission days, but in most of them you can only see the permanent exhibitions.

But undoubtedly, the best museum to warm up is the Palinka Museum, as the visit includes a tasting of different varieties of this typical alcoholic beverage of the country.

Calendar of free museums

  • Third Saturday of the month: The National Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Applied Arts, the Hungarian National Museum and the Nagytétény Palace.
  • Last Saturday of the month: Petőfi Museum
  • First Sunday of the month: Museum of Ethnography and Hungarian Natural Museum.
  • Third Sunday of the month: Skanzen Museum.
  • Last Sunday of the month: Museum of Military History, Ludwing Museum.

Book entrance to the Palinka Museum

6. Join the Mangalica Festival if you like meat

Festival food stall| ©Top Budapest
Festival food stall| ©Top Budapest

The Mangalica Festival is a traditional food fair dedicated to the famous Hungarian curly-haired pig known as the Mangalica breed. The meat of this domestic pig is used as the basis for numerous dishes and sausages.

During 3 days in February (usually between 05 and 11) you can taste and buy in the center of Budapest mangalica ham, chorizo, sausage, salami and other meat products. The festival is set with an animal exhibition area, a craft fair, cooking competitions and concerts of folk and modern pop music.

  • Location: in Szabadság Square, located in the Parliament Quarter, District V of Budapest.
  • How to get there: 5 minutes walk from the following stations or stops: Arany János utca and Kossuth L. tér.
  • Price: it is a free event.

7. Go to the Fish Festival if you are more of a seafood lover

If there's a meat festival, there has to be a fish festival too, right? Hungarians say of course. Between February 10 and 12, the Fish Festival is held, where attendees can learn about the large number of fish that live in the country's most important lakes and rivers.

But, obviously, the best thing is that you can try typical dishes made with fish, but not only from Hungarian cuisine, but from other parts of the world, from sushi and fish and chips, to French fish soup.

Cooking competitions, fishing, programs... This festival is very complete and you will have fun.

  • Location: Vajdahunyad Castle.
  • Price: free of charge.

8. Take advantage of the discounts for the Gluttonous Thursday celebrations.

Ristorante Krizia| ©mechas becky
Ristorante Krizia| ©mechas becky

To end the Carnival celebrations throughout Hungary, Gluttonous Thursday or Torkos Csütörtök is celebrated; a food feast just before the start of the Lenten celebrations which includes preparation for the traditional 40 days of fasting.

The official day of celebration is the Thursday following Ash Wednesday which usually falls between February 15 and March 5.

However, restaurants all over the city start the celebration a week before offering special menus and discounts of up to 50% on their dishes.

Where it takes place

Literally all over the city. Some recommendations of restaurants that offer delicious special menus during the celebrations are:

  • Concerto Café: located at Dob utca 33, District VII.
  • La Doggeria: located at Egyetem tér 5.
  • Ristorante Krizia: located at Ristorante Krizia, District VI.
  • Trattoria Mamma: located at Hercegprímás utca 3, District V.

9. Enjoy the ice-skating rinks

Ice rink in Budapest| ©Themightyquill
Ice rink in Budapest| ©Themightyquill

One of the unmissable activities during the winter in Hungary is to go out and enjoy the ice skating rinks. And in Budapest they have the most traditional and beautiful of the whole country. This rink opened its doors in 1870, so if you visit the Hungarian capital in February, you can not miss it.

I'm talking about the Városliget ice rink, surrounded by emblematic buildings that color the experience of a picturesque landscape.

  • Location: in the Municipal Park of the city, Városliget, between the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Heroes' Square.
  • Price: from about 6 € for adults and free for children under 6 years. The entrance ticket is purchased directly at the ticket office.

Városliget ice rink schedule

  • Monday to Friday from 09h to 13h and in the afternoon from 17h to 21h.
  • Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm; in the afternoon from 4 pm and 9 pm.
  • Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and in the afternoon from 4 pm and 8 pm.

10. Take a trip to the Carnival of the Buses

At the end of February, and to end the winter, takes place in a city in southern Hungary, in Mohács, the Carnival of the Busós, a festival in which people dress up in wooden masks and wool cloaks to look a little scary and parade through the streets of the city.

In addition, coffins are burned in a bonfire in the main square and concerts are organized throughout the city. In total, it is a two-hour drive from Budapest to this city, but this Intangible Heritage of Humanity is well worth seeing.

Originally, this carnival was one of the traditional festivals of the Croatian minority in the country, but today it is an emblem of the city.