Budapest is full of life even in the really cold and snowy months, but you need to research a bit on the current February events. Our handpicked list for things to do in Budapest in February only enlists the annually recurring festivals and fairs, for the February current events. You will surely find something exciting to do even if there are not many events promoted towards tourists in English in February.
Things to do in February – Winter Events in Budapest
Festivals in Budapest
There are some nice February festivals in Budapest the highlight of the festival list, we think, are the following events:
Mangalitsa Festival – i.e. Furry Pig Festival. Mangalitsa Festival (or in Hungarian Mangalica Fesztival) is an annual gastronomical and cultural fest in February in the city centre, on the beautiful Szabadsag square in Budapest. The festival is not only about mangalitsa food, you can buy artisan crafts and listen to lots of music too. And drink. Just to keep warm. If you like fish, check out the Budapest Fish Festival in February.
Festivals with kids: the Bear festival in Budapest Zoo, and the National Pet Expo in the City Park Hall. More about Budapest festivals here.
Thermal Bathing in February
Taking an open air warm bath in the Szechenyi Spa Bath – the beautiful main pool outside is kept warm as the natural warm waters with lots of minerals thrush through from the underground. While the weather in February is cold, you can feel great in the warm healing waters. If the snow starts to fall, you will feel that your Budapest trip was well worth, no matter what: it can be truly magical to see the softly falling snowflakes on top of the bath through the steam over the pools. Like a rare moment, a gentle stroke or blessing. Of course, the snow is not provided by Szechenyi Bath, it is still a fantastic winter thing to do in Budapest. The bath has long opening hours, so you can also see the stars if the February sky is clear. How gorgeous is that? See the photo of Szechenyi Bath minutes before snowing.
Bath Parties in Winter Magic – Lukacs Baths is the venue of the winter Budapest bath parties. The bath party season usually starts in the middle of February, so if you visit Budapest at the weekend, enjoy a spectacular laser thermal spa party on a Saturday night (10.30 pm – 3 am) in a swim suit. Both outdoor and indoor, natural hot spring baths keeping you warm. Cocktails, beers, electronic music, laser lights, smiling folks.
Valentine’s Day Weekend in Budapest
Valentine’s Day in Budapest: despite the cold weather, love is in the air. You can definitely celebrate Valentine’s Day (Bálint nap) in the romantic city of Budapest (romantic and affordable, which is a nice thing when you want to splurge on a special occasion like the day of lovers) – put February 14 in your Budapest trip calendar if you do not mind cold winter days. One of the most popular things to do on Valentine’s Day in Hungary is to take a Budapest river cruise, like the top notch candlelit dinner cruise in Budapest. Off the beaten path options are also available room escape games, caving, skating in the open air rink between two palaces, what have you. The Feb bath party usually has a Valentine themed edition, but romantic concerts are also on offer in the Opera House or the Budapest Palace of Arts. Don’t miss out on the nice cafes in Budapest for a lovely sweet treat with your better half.
Parties, Carnival, Celebrations
The parties are most intensive on Fridays and Saturdays, including the special Budapest bath parties or the carnival season parties in the various clubs, bars and ruin pubs.
Carnival in Budapest (Farsang) – fancy dress parties are thrown all over Budapest: get dressed, eat Hungarian doughnuts (fánk) some filled with cottage cheese, others topped with home made apricot jams (or possibly both). If you want to see the most spectacular Hungarian carnival, you will need to make a day tour to the countryside and see the Mohácsi Busójárás in Mohacs where devil faced masked shepherds scare away the winter cold.
Chinese New Year is celebrated with a one day series of festive events, usually set in Budapest Millenaris Park.
Note: the Budapest Opera Ball – formerly a spectacular end of carnival event thrown each year in the Opera House in Budapest on the last Saturday of the carnival season – is no longer organized as a ball (instead, there is a charity Gala Concert).
Winter Sports in Budapest
The easiest and most special option for a good February workout is to take a few rounds on the big open air ice rink in the City Park of Budapest. The ice rink is flanked by a nice domed Ice Rink Palace and the romantic Vajdahunyad Castle. Beautiful scenery, rental skates, hot drinks and snacks.
Skating in the City Park – in winter time you can skate on the more than 140 year old open air artificial Ice Rink in the City Park of Budapest (the lake is a boating lake in warm months and in winter it turns into a popular ice rink, where skates can be hired.
Skiing is not a serious option in Budapest, although there is a nice, and kid friendly slope on the Normafa Hill, a perfect place for nature lovers, just a short ride from the city.
Bike tours are available in winter weather, and swimming is a pleasure in the thermal baths in Budapest. Those who would prefer running should try the running tracks on the Margaret Island.
Concerts in Budapest in February
Concerts in the Palace of Arts in Budapest feature some of the finest classical music, jazz concerts in Hungary, often with foreign musicians giving full house concerts. Programme of the month:
Concerts in St Matthias Church
Organ Concerts in Budapest: Organ Concerts in St Stephen’s Basilica Budapest
The Budapest Opera House is a must see and must experience place, well known in Europe for its high quality opera and ballet shows, there is every reason to spend a nice night in this fascinating place. The February programme of the Opera House includes The Barber of Seville opera, the Elixir of Love (after all it is the month of Valentine), Mefistofele opera show, Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, Puccini’s Tosca or the Onegin ballet by Tchaikovsky.
For light concerts in February, do check out the cool A38 Music Bar, a standing ship turned into a music club and concert hall. Other choices include the Black Noise Alternative Music Festival in Budapest Cafe Durer (February 8, 2014)
Here are some winter photos of Budapest, Hungary – snowy, windy and chilly weather can be a challenge for taking good photos, but not a true obstacle:
The Christmas Market on Vorosmarty square, Budapest (the Xmas Fair at the Basilica is open until Jan 2) – photo by Budapest Moments
Views from the Citadel on Gellert Hill in winter time Budapest – (photo by Neil Howard):
The Liberty Bridge, Budapest in winter time (photo by Frantisek Fuka)
The St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest in winter time – photo by Neil Howard:
The Lions in a snowy cap at the Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary – photo by Neil Howard: