Are you in Budapest after the holidays, with nothing to do? This city is always exciting and fun, with no off season, so if you are at a loss for things to do in Budapest in January and February, this is the guide for you. January in Budapest is a time for indoor activities, for cultural events, music, exhibits, movies, and of course, sampling the world famous Budapest nightlife. February is usually about self care, quirky local traditions and lots of eating out. The busiest time for cultural events is upon us, and this guide will help you navigate it!
Music & Parties
There is no shortage of gigs, recitals, shows and concerts in the winter. Touring bands, techno marathons and festivals of sometimes popular, sometimes obscure and beautiful music are what is on the table this January and February.
MüPa, or the Palace of Arts, is the place for classical music lovers with a whole range of performances to start off the new year in class. Aside from concerts by Hungarian Symphony orchestras such as the Dohnányi Orchestra on 1st February the large circus tent set up next to MüPa hosts interactive circus performances throughout January. Browse through their calendar for more information.
Opus Jazz club will host local favorites, Bujdosó Trio on January 15th and emerging UK jazz talents Let Spin on February 7th. Just two highlights from their fully-packed schedule with something on close to every day.
Techno enthusiasts will be happy know that Larm, the esteemed Hungarian electronic music hub, will be throwing non stop parties this season. Suck my Moustache is going to feature the best of the East on January 9th, while Technokunst club on the 17th bringing the international heat with Adam X and lots of local talent.
Barba Negra Music Club treats rock music fans to delicious curiosities such as Hungarian rock legend Charlie on January 17th, British “Symphonic Power Metal” band, Gloryhammer on February 7th or the legendary Hammerfall sowing Scandinavian heavy metal seeds in Budapest soil on the 20th.
Usually, winter isn’t associated with sports, especially in the city. But Budapest has many sports activities to keep you healthy and energized. Feel the burn!
There is an Indoor Mini Golf course in Budapest that provides much needed physical activity even when the weather is downright foul. Best place to go and tire the kids out!
There are several ice skating rinks in Budapest, and we even wrote an article about them. They are the go to light physical activity in the cold months, and we can highly recommend them.
Indoor rock climbing is also a great activity for outdoorsy people in the winter. There are several places throughout the city, as this is quite popular now. Caving and spelunking is also popular, and the caves stay the same heat (more or less) all year round.
Food & Dining
One of the best things to do in the winter is to get a bite to eat. People tend to eat more when it’s cold outside to provide more heat to our bodies. So here are a few places to get some sustenance.
Corvin Gastropub is a great place for affordable, high quality dining. They have it all, and no one will leave unsatisfied. A great place to get a feel for Hungarian cuisine, but with many international dishes, too. Book a table early, though, they are quite popular.
Kés-Villa-Buda is a network of restaurants in Buda. They wish to propagate the richness of restaurants on the less frequented Buda side. There are some really good restaurants over in the hills, and we strongly recommend checking out this exciting new collaboration.
Bestia is a restaurant centered around meat. The joy of ripping flesh from the bone, but with super high quality ingredients, and natural, fine dining elements presented in a raw and easy to digest manner. One of the best places to eat out in the city. Get your hands dirty!
Wellness and Beauty
In the City of Baths, wellness is a way of life. Winter is a great time to go to a spa or bath, and warm yourself up, and shed some dry skin cells. There are many other self care options to keep you pepped, it’s one of our specialties, after all.
Rituale Beauty Salon is a wellness and beauty salon rolled into one. They have many ways to rejuvenate and even heal the body. Check out their therapeutic massage, and get a pedicure while you’re at it.
The only Balinese day spa, 5 Elements Spa is a great place to get your body and soul fixed up. Bali has a special kind of wellness that is holistic, medicinal and must be seen to be believed. Children’s massage and sauna options, too!
The original wellness in Budapest is definitely one of the many Baths that have been around for millennia. It is among the most popular activities in the city, and the thermal waters have scientifically proven healing properties, besides being warm and relaxing.
The cold season is a great time to travel. Get on a nice, warm train or bus, and take a day trip to one of the magnificent regions in Hungary. Go and see some of the important rituals that take place at this time of year.
Busójárás is an ancient tradition from Mohács. Herdsmen dress up as demons (the Busó) and scare away the bad spirits of yesteryear, while making licentious jokes. This all ends in a huge celebration where you can really feel alive. Busó Carnival in 2020 is held from 20-25 February. Mohács is a bit far away, but the experience is unforgettable.
Like many Catholic countries, Hungary celebrates carnival, here it is called Farsang. This is a time of great festivities and folk traditions, which lasts from Epiphany to Lent (January 6- February 25, this year). Farsang is associated with balls, Carnival (the last time to get busy before Lent), dressing up in costumes, and Children’s celebrations.
Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary, and is located all the way out East. They have a Farsang celebration that is uniquely Hungarian, and LOUD! They also have a Philharmonic Orchestra who will perform some favorites during this time, reminiscent of both folk music and classical.