What to wear to a walking tour in Budapest?
The key characteristic of wearing clothes in Budapest – or Hungary for that matter – in any month, any season, morning, afternoon or late at night is L-A-Y-E-R-S. Especially if you’re easily cold, or prone to sweating. Since you’re planning to go on a walking tour in Budapest, I will assume you have something to carry that extra layer in. Right next to your emergency snack, umbrella/raincoat, water, medicine and any personal items you prefer. So let’s see when you should wear which layers?
What to consider before you go on a Budapest walking tour?
When you start dressing up in the morning and know you’ll be going on a walking tour in Budapest, make sure to note local characteristics of seasons, your own preferences, the time of day, and what the forecast for that day is. It’s better to have one extra layer ready to take on or off, and you always have room for an umbrella or rain coat.
In which season are you taking that walking tour in Budapest
This is quite an obvious one, but in case of Budapest it is worth getting into in detail. Let’s start with spring, possibly the most whimsical of Hungarian seasons. March can still have snowstorms, classical sunny spring days, eccentric rain. All the extremes. Yet more often than not springs are windy, and hence cloudy. Being in the Sun feels warm, while walking under shade feels icy cold, like jumping from Summer to Winter with each outline of a shadow. Summer is when you look out the window, think miniskirts and instantly regret them. If you catch a cold easily, this is the time to show off your scarf collection, and resist the urge of open toes for your own sake.
Summer is equally eccentric, though in different ways. Most of the time, we’re blessed with beautiful, sunny, hot weather. And in the concrete capital, that is Budapest, this is even hotter, even 100 F / 38 C in some cases. Most of the time, you’ll be attending a walking tour in Budapest in the summer months, so be prepared with lots of fluids, shades and light footwear.
Heat waves are then abruptly ended by thunderstorms, a lovely time for anyone suffering from migraines. June may still bring hay with such storms. Storms either pump down temperatures all the way to 59 F /15 C, or do nothing to ease heat at all. So make sure to check weather forecasts: you might be enjoying a hot natural shower, which can be kind of fun, or will be shivering by the end of it.
Autumn is seasonably wet, no surprise there. Though September in itself still has more in common with summer, with its warm temperatures. Sometimes even October has a whiff of Indian summer to it, before November goes full on British Isles style. Wet, rainy, foggy. When that happens, bring out your water _proof_ – not merely resistant, waterproof – footwear. And have your umbrella ready at all times.
Winter starts out by continuing the wet trend of November until that first cold wave from Siberia hits the Carpathian basin. Lately this unfortunately comes only after Christmas. But with that cold front, the first snow usually arrives. Due to global warming lately temperatures keep creeping back up above freezing point until the next cold front arrives. So the winter months can be a strange mix of rainy, snowy, melted snow, refrozen melted snow.
It’s warmer in Budapest so snow usually melts almost instantly. Yet if you leave the capital, you’ll need those snowshoes for sure. Why you need layers if it’s either cold, or colder? Because you’ll probably be using public transport. Heated public transport. Not undressing in a steaming hot metro cart full of people in the rush hour, then walking a few blocks in the cold is the perfect method to catch a cold in Budapest.
What time of day are you going on a walking tour of Budapest?
Early morning might still be cold, but after about 10 am, the Sun starts to heat up the city air. 11 to 3 pm can be scorching in the summer, so if you have sensitive skin, you’ll need sunblock for sure. But in the wintertime, this will be your favorite time to be out in the open, and not at all a horrible time to take a walking tour in Budapest.
You should also make sure to note when the Sun sets if you want to take advantage of daylight. In wintertime, it can already be dark at 4 pm, while you can watch the Sun still gracing the horizon even at 9 pm in the summer. For that reason summer late evenings can still be hot enough, that you need nothing more but a tank top at 11 pm. Needless to say, that is one of the many appeals of local music festivals.
Make sure to always check the weather forecast before a walking tour in Budapest!
Checking forecasts that morning is usually the best, earliest the day before. Since many of the seasons are whimsical and possibly eccentric, forecasts have a hard time actually forecasting anything beyond 2-3 days properly. If you want to know about a weather front passing the country, especially if it will rain, the weather radar of OMSZ (National Meteorology Service) is a great tool.
So wherever you’re coming from and whatever the time you’re visiting, remember that Hungary and Budapest have many of the extremes in their arsenal. It is very rare though that your walking tour in Budapest needs to be postponed. But even if it should come to that I can promise that there will be something fun to do in the city!