30 Jan How to survive winter time in Budapest?
Budapest is no stranger to cold snaps. While the years of feet-worth of snow seem to behind us thanks to global warming, a bitter chill descends on the city from January until about March every year. Don’t let that put you off visiting, though. With years of experience, Hungarians have found plenty of ways to survive and indeed enjoy themselves, despite the sub-zero temperatures.
Here are some ideas for you.
You might have read, sitting under the city are luscious veins of hot spring water, and since the time of the Ottoman Empire, they’ve been readily tapped to bring that hot water to the surface for everyone to enjoy.
Today, ornate baths can be found all over the city, many still in the same buildings they were when they were built. Some are large and touristy, some are cute, locals-mostly sort of places. Some have indoor parts, while others have outdoor pools as well (heated, of course, so you can still enjoy them in winter).
The most famous thermal baths are Rudas and Gellért but they are pretty expensive and touristy, so you should visit Lukács which has much more of a local feel.
Location: Lukács Thermal Bath, 2 nd district, Frankel Leó street 25-29.
Lángos is the Hungarian comfort food of choice – deep fried dough, covered in generous amounts of sour cream, cheese and garlic sauce if the accompanying bad breath is desired.
High in calories, some may consider this more a meal than a snack, but whether you decide to share or not it’s guaranteed to warm you up – and also serves quite well as a pre or post-hangover cure for any of you that might enjoy Budapest’s legendary nightlife just a little too much.
Speaking of drinking, Hungarian’s certainly don’t stop come winter – they simply pack up the terrace bars and retreat to a cellar which, luckily, can be found in just about any building in the city.
This being so, you won’t have trouble finding one, two or perhaps even more on just about every street in the city. Some are rather run-down places filled with a few locals holding court, while others are more spruced-up places, made to look classy for tourists. Whichever you pick, expect a warm welcome and the chance to try some of Hungary’s favourite tipples including great local craft beers, wine and the famous pálinka.
Check this article we wrote about some of the best.
If you’re the sort of person that likes to keep moving to keep out the cold, you might be interested to learn that Budapest has Europe’s largest ice rink located next to Hero’s Square in City Park. It’s open until it’s not cold enough to keep frozen and busy with a lively, energetic crowd most days of the week. With a bar and food options, it’s perfectly possible to make a night of it there.
Location: Ice Rink in City Park, 14 th district, Olof Palme street 5.
Sticking with record breaking venues, Budapest also houses Europe’s smallest cinema, Cirko-Gejzír which feels more like someone’s living room than an IMAX, and has all the charm you’d expect from a shabby-chic, out the way cinema.
Tickets sell fast given the venue’s intimate size, and it shows European independent films mostly. If you’re not sold yet, you should also know there is a pay-what-you-want tea stand up front and the place is dog friendly!
Location: Cirko Gejzir Cinema, 5 th district, Balassi Bálint street 15-17.