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Following the hordes of Christmas market tourists in December, Hungary in January is a far calmer affair, replete with snow and chilly temperatures. It’s a great time to check out the traditional spas in the capital of Budapest or head out of the city to go ice skating on the frozen Lake Balaton with the locals! This is also the ideal time to bag a deal on hotels and enjoy the indoor attractions that this amazing country has to offer. Read on to find out what your trip to Hungary can shape to be like.

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Hungary Weather in January

A frozen Lake Balaton with snow around it in Hungary in January.
Lake Balaton is amazing in summer, but the winter is no push-over with skating opportunities in the area.

The weather in Hungary in January is generally cold, snowy, and gray; a true winter month. Average temperatures sit between highs of 2°C (35°F) and lows of -3°C (27°F). When you add in the fact that January is Hungary’s snowiest month, with an average of 70mm snowfall in Budapest across the month, you’ll want to wrap up warm and bring plenty of waterproof clothing!

If you’re visiting Lake Balaton in January, you can expect lows of -2°C (28°F) and highs of 5°C (41°F). It is slightly warmer here than in Budapest, but as it’s a lot more exposed, the winds can make it feel colder than it actually is.

For a seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Hungary.

Weather in Hungary in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)314
Avg Nightly (°C)-1-3-2
Avg Daily (°F)383440
Avg Nightly (°F)312729
Avg Rainfall (mm)404030

Why Visit Hungary in January

Fireworks in Budapest to welcome the new year in Hungary in January.
It is tradition to welcome the new year in Hungary loudly with parties and celebrations.
People ice skating in a ski park in Budapest.
You can get the opportunity to try winter sports in both city ski parks and the snow-covered hills.

So, with less-than-ideal weather conditions, why should you tour Hungary in January? Well, let’s dive in and find out more.

  • Winter activities: If you love ice skating and wintry hikes, you’re in luck in Hungary in January, as it’s the coldest month with the most snowfall. Many of the country’s lakes freeze over, offering a picturesque skating experience. Want something more challenging? Head to The Matra, Hungary’s largest mountain and ideal for winter hikes. If you want a winter activity holiday, January is the best time to visit Hungary.
  • New Year: If you book your trip to Hungary right at the start of January, you can participate in New Year celebrations with all the fireworks and dancing that come with it! Fair warning: Hungarian New Year traditions are super loud, meant to scare off demons for the year to come!
  • Better rates: After the expensive rates of December, the prices across Hungary tend to come down, meaning that January is the ideal time to bag yourself a deal on your flights, accommodations, and any excursions.
  • Less crowds: With the cooler months, fewer tourists are descending on the main sites across Budapest and Lake Balaton. You won’t have to jostle for prime position in the spas or on river cruises, and you might even have some spots all to yourself!

Where to go and what to do

A thermal spa in a cave lit brightly.
The thermal spas in Miskolctapolca are much more soothing during winter.

Hungary might not be as famous as its European neighbors for its skiing scene, but if you want a less crowded and cheaper experience, head to Matraszentistvan Ski Park in the north. While it’s not the biggest resort in the world, it’s definitely affordable compared to Alpine resorts, with adult day passes and early bird tickets also available.

Known around central Europe for its healing salt waters and geothermal spas, Miskolctapolca is a popular vacation spot with locals and tourists alike and is the perfect antidote to the cold and dreary January weather. You can swim or relax in the thermal cave baths, a natural marvel and the ideal place to sit back and relax!

If you’re touring Budapest in January, there is lots to do. If you’re in town in the first few weeks and want to see one of the most famous operas in the world in person, then book tickets to see The Nutcracker at the Hungarian State Opera. It’s a grand affair where you can dress up, feel festive, and have a cultural night on the town. Other great things to do in Budapest in January include touring the markets (we recommend Gozsdu Weekend Market, the GoArt! Gozsdu Art Market, and the Saturday market at Sziklakert, the city’s most famous ruin bar), dinner and cruise on the Danube, or grab a coffee to warm up in one of Budapest’s famous coffee bars.

Need Help Planning A Trip to Hungary?

So, there you have it! Hungary in January is pretty cold and snowy, but you do get rewarded with cheaper rates, fewer crowds, and some fun wintry activities! It’s also a great month to explore the famous hot springs and spas that are ideal for warming yourself up after being out in the colder conditions.

If you need help with planning a tailor-made trip to Hungary in January, you can always reach out to our local travel experts who can devise a customized itinerary for you.

Published by Tim Green, updated on February 5, 2024

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