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Climate and Weather

Hungary - Climate and Weather


The weather in Hungary is generally described as a continental. Winters tend to be extremely cold, while summers become dry and bright. The Hungarian climate is also affected by three major climates whose effects are felt interchangeably throughout the year.

Hungary is located in western Europe and centrally placed between the north pole and the equator. Its position forms a convergence point for three climate zones, namely Mediterranean, continental and oceanic climates. These three zones have significant effects on the general climate of Hungary. The dominant factors affecting Hungary’s weather is its distance from the Atlantic Ocean and the prevalence of the westerly winds.

As you move within the country, be prepared to experience different climates. Being a landlocked country, differences in Hungarian weather patterns will be largely determined by the altitude of a region. For example, Debrecen – at an altitude of 397 feet – may experience a colder winter when compared to Budapest, which is 315 feet above sea level.

Hungary goes through the four seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn. Weather extremes are apparent during winter and summer. Spring and autumn tend to remain mild and pleasant through the year.

Winter

Winter in Hungary starts in December and lasts until February. The weather during this time is characterized by grey skies, with occasional fog and mist. January tends to be the coldest of the winter months. Chilly winds from Iceland sweep through the country, bringing precipitation and low temperatures. Average temperatures during the day drop to zero and may continue falling until evening.

During winter, cold air masses leave Russia and converge with those from Iceland. Cold winds, known as Bora, from the mountain regions of Hungary also sweep through the cities. It will become extremely cold, with temperatures falling further down to minus 20°C. Snowfall becomes frequent, sometimes snowing for as many as 40 consecutive days. Up in the mountains, snow falls may be longer won’t last for more than 100 days.

Spring

Spring is a great time to visit Hungary if you want to see the cities bloom with flowers. The harsh, cold weather of winter fades away, and the warm temperature of spring kicks in. For tourists, this is the best time to go out and visit the great parks within the city. Budapest is a haven for parks, botanical gardens and zoos. With the weather warm and pleasant, you can go out and read a book or visit the picturesque botanical garden at the Budapest City Park. There is also a zoo in the area which is worth a visit.

Other beautifully landscaped parks within the city include Millenaris Park, Bottomless Lake and Karolyi Gardens. Alternatively, you can take a day trip to Margaret Island on a ferry. Along the way, you can see popular landmarks such as the Margaret and Arpad bridge.

Summer

Summer in Hungary begins in June and lasts until the end of August. The temperature is affected by north Atlantic anticyclones also known as the Azores High. During the Azore High, pressure shifts towards 35°N, gaining ascendance and causing a heatwave through Europe. Hungary becomes sunny and dry during this time with the average temperature oscillating between 25°C and 30°C.

July is the hottest month in summer. Eastern Hungary becomes extremely hot, and average temperature can rise to 35°C from the prevailing hot air masses. Sometimes the summer season will stretch until September before signs of autumn begin to show.

Autumn

Autumn is the best time to visit Hungary. The weather is warm, but not as uncomfortably hot as during summer. The average temperature during the day is 17°C, with the potential of reaching a high of 22°C. It gets cooler towards the evening, but never drops below 12°C. This temperature will gradually drop, making the weather favorable for tourist activities.

Autumn is also marked with light showers along with the occasional thunderstorm. However, the rain will not last for more than 11 days. The rest of the season offers warm sun and breezy evenings.

Tourists visiting Hungary during autumn can visit the Budapest International Wine Festival, which is an opportunity to sample the best wine brands from Hungary. Other cultural festivals happening during this time include Festival of Chocolate and Sweets, and the National Gallop. The Baroque Music Festival, which starts in summer, extends into autumn as well. For those who love food festivals, September Fest or Szeptemberfeszt is a popular national event to attend.

During the day, you visit some of the attractions to be found in Hungary. Budapest alone has a host of tourist sites that teach the history and cultural heritage of Hungary. Popular landmarks within the city include the St. Steven Basilica, the Chain Bridge, the House of Parliament and the Central Market. For an amazing evening experience, the Steven Basilica and National Opera House are ideal for orchestral and musical performance.

What to wear

Although Hungary has its weather extremities, it never gets too hot or too cold, like some countries in Europe. You travel light so long with a few essentials. During summer, dress in light and breathable clothing made from cotton or linen. It may get cold in the evening, so a jacket or a sweater would do. Have an umbrella or raincoat with you for the occasional rainfall during summer.

Winters can get cold thanks to the chilly winds blowing into the country from different directions. Carry warm clothes with you, a few scarves, and perhaps a hat. Waterproofs are important too, especially during the day when can be foggy and rainy.


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