Do you want to know what to wear in Budapest in December? Then you have come to the right place. December sees Budapest in the full grip of Winter but it is an amazing time to visit because of all the festive activities. In this guide we tell you everything you need to pack for Budapest in December for sightseeing, the weather, Christmas, dress codes, dinner and more.
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Weather in Budapest in December
Budapest in December is definitely classified as Winter. And as you would expect from any Northern European country in Winter, Budapest can get VERY cold in Winter. But how cold is it?
Note: if your European Winter vacation includes more destinations why not check out some of our other posts:
- What to wear in Germany in Winter
- What to wear at Christmas Markets in Europe
- What to wear in Prague.
How cold is Budapest in December?
Budapest in Winter is very, very cold. However December is actually not the coldest month to visit Budapest, that honor actually goes to January. But make no mistake, December is still a very chilly month to visit.
Generally speaking the average highs and lows in Budapest in December range between
4°C/39.2F to 0°C/ 32F.
With these temperatures, you expect there to be some snowfall in December but how much?
Does it snow in Budapest in December?
As the temperatures just hover above freezing, the conditions are perfect for snowfall.
Typically speaking there isn’t a lot of heavy snowfall in Budapest in December, however the snowfall will increase towards the end of the month.
How rainy is in Budapest in December?
Generally speaking there is only about 6 days of rain in Budapest in December, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about waterproof wear for December vacations.
Note: we always recommend checking the forecast at your destination(s) 7 days out from travel to make sure there are no expected weather fronts i.e. heatwaves or cold snaps.
How do local people dress in Budapest in Winter?
The locals in Budapest know how to rock a Winter Capsule Wardrobe. On the streets of Budapest you are going to see lots of stylish top layers and of course practical Winter coats and accessories.
So if you want to dress like locals in Budapest you should prioritise dressing for the weather first and foremost.
What to Wear in Budapest in December
Generally speaking layers are the key to packing for Budapest in Winter.
We always recommend not overpacking when traveling however this can prove trickier in Winter due to the layers required and the heavier shoes required for cold weather vacations.
Also finding the perfect Winter travel outfit can be tricky so check out our handy guide for picking stylish but comfortable Winter airport outfits.
What to Wear in Budapest in December for Women
Thick Coat / Jacket
A coat is my number one pick for any Budapest in December packing list. In fact it would be impossible to sightsee in Prague in December without a thick insulating coat given the weather.
When looking at the best coat for Budapest I would say don’t be tempted to pick your smartest coat. Instead you should pack your thickest and warmest coat for the weather.
This is required for the weather and also will be most in keeping with the locals who know how important a practical coat is in Winter.
Some of our favorite brands of coats for Budapest in Winter include:
and we always try to select something that has both some waterproofing and wind resistance.
Winter Accessories (Hat, Scarf and Gloves)
Winter accessories are a must for Budapest in December. Again you will be doing lots of outdoor activities in Budapest and as the Christmas markets are in full swing, you are likely to be outdoors at night too which adds to the chill in the air.
I would recommend taking with you a matching scarf and gloves set that match your winter coat to finish off the look. But be sure to get gloves that are touch screen compatible.
Without a doubt you will be taking lots of photographs in Budapest and there is nothing worse than constantly having to be taking your gloves on and off to use your phone.
Also as the temperatures are so cold in Budapest and the wind can be quite gusty I also recommend packing ear muffs to protect your ears from the cold too!
It can seem strange to be recommending taking swimwear on a winter vacation but it is an essential for Budapest for me. While Iceland has the Blue Lagoon, Budapest has the Szechenyi Baths.
This thermal spa was built in 1913 and is open year round. But there is something about visit a spa and thermal baths in Winter. Therefore be sure to remember to pack your swimwear for Budapest in Winter.
Depending on exactly what your Budapest itinerary looks like will affect the type of trousers you require.
However generally speaking I would pack a mixture of trouser types. This would include jeans, cordouroy trousers, fleece lines leggings or even some thick wool pants depending on the length of your stay.
I would recommend picking smarter jeans such as black jeans or dark blue jeans that are more fitted or skinny jeans however you will see all sorts of styles of the streets of Prague so pick the style you are most comfortable in.
However I personally don’t think you can go wrong with a pair of fleece lined jeans in Northern European cities in Winter.
Skirts and Dresses
Although Budapest in December is probably too cold to be wearing dresses and skirts for sightseeing during the day I still like to have a dress with me to change into for dinner.
As the nights in Budapest can be very cold, I recommend wearing a sweater dress or a jumper dress for warmth and pairing it with thick tights or fleece lined leggings and boots with a good sole that can cope if there is ice on the ground.
Generally speaking there aren’t dress codes in relation to dresses in Budapest so pick the style that is most in keeping with your day to day dress sense.
Although a blouse on its own is too cold for Budapest it is a great layering option.
Although it will be too cold for t shirts on their own, they are a great base for Budapest in Winter.
T-Shirts that are plain or are lightly patterned are easier to make work as part of a capsule wardrobe but you will see all sorts of styles on the streets of Budapest.
After a good Winter coat, the next most important thing for your Budapest December packing list is layers and lots of them.
Personally for a week in Budapest to visit the Christmas Markets I would pack 3 top layers. Generally speaking I would normally pack a cardigan, a hoodie and a sweater.
Hoodies are a great casual top layer for sightseeing in the day at places such as museums and galleries. However I like to have something smarter for evenings.
I personally never travel in Winter without a merino wool sweater. Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics to include in a Winter capsule wardrobe.
The reason for this is because it provides extra warmth as it is an insulating fabric but is also compact unlike a thick knit. Therefore it is easy to pack and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your case and is much layer to layer with a thick winter coat.
It doesn’t matter where I am traveling to in Europe a pashmina is always on my packing list. A pashmina can be used as a scarf or lovely accessory but can double up as an added extra layer.
For those traveling to Budapest in Winter we recommend packing thicker, flannel pjs.
We definitely recommend packing a thermal base layer or thermal Long Johns for Budapest in December. Even when the thermometer reads as above freezing you may still want a base layer. That is because the wind makes it feel extra cold and you will be spending lots of time outdoors at night when wandering around the Christmas Markets.
Underwear and Socks
This really goes without saying. However it is worth talking a bit more in depth. We recommend packing either thicker hiking socks or thermal socks such as those made of merino wool for Budapest in Winter as these just cope with cold conditions better.
Also if you plan on wearing a dress you will also need thick fleeced leggings or thick tights to pair with it.
What to pack for Budapest in December for Men
The packing list for men is quite similar as the ladies packing list for Budapest in December. Overall the travel essentials for men we recommend are:
A practical warm coat with some insulation is absolutely an essential. We would never dream of visiting Budapest in Winter without one.
T Shirts and Shirts
Long sleeve t shirts are a better pick for Budapest in Winter.
But on top of t shirts you may also want to pack a long sleeve button down shirt for visiting restaurants in Budapest with a dress code.
Jeans are great for sightseeing in December. Again if you can find a fleece lined pair these are a great pick.
On top of jeans we also recommend packing a pair of chinos / dockers or smart wool trousers to the packing list too for nights out and fancier dinners.
Cords and wool are actually great fabric choices for men in Winter.
A hoodie, jumper and sweater alongside the jacket are the perfect layers to pack for a 7 day vacation in Budapest.
Underwear, Socks and Pjs
Including thicker socks and potentially some thermals if you feel the cold.
Best Shoes for Budapest in December
It is easy to overpack on the shoe front for Winter vacations. However for Budapest there are really only two types of shoe that you need in December. They are:
Ankle boots are my number one pick for Budapest in December They are easier to pack than knee high boots and if you select the right pair are waterproof and come with good soles which is good if you get an icy day.
Note: hiking boots are only really necessary if you plan on going on hikes outside of the city and ankle boots are way easier to pack compared to knee high boots.
For tips on how to pack boots in a suitcase check out this post.
Sneakers are the perfect shoe for Budapest all year round. That is because they offer good arch support and cope well with hills and cobbled stone streets of which there are many in Budapest.
However given the weather in December something with waterproofing can also be useful as it can cope with snow, ice and rain best.
One of our favorite waterproof sneaker brands is Ecco. These have many waterproof and water resistance versions but we like this one, the Ecco Soft 7, as we think it is the most versatile and works best in a capsule wardrobe.
What to pack for Budapest in December (Non Clothing)
- Crossbody Bag – unfortunately any tourist site attracts pickpockets and Hungary is no different. A crossbody bag with lots of zips is the best way to protect your belongings.
- Backpack – for storing items on your day trips.
- Travel adaptor
- Power Pack / battery packs
- Hand Warmers – as the weather is so cold in Prague in Winter we recommend packing a plentiful supply of hand warmers with you to add into your gloves especially for evening visits to the Christmas Markets..
- Sun screen
- Lipbalm – the cold weather can chafe your lips so add some lip balm to the packing list.
- Compact Umbrella
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Blister plasters
- Toiletries – for our essential toiletries packing list click here.
How to dress in Budapest in December for Special Events
The main special event in Budapest in December is the Christmas Markets. The most popular Christmas market in Budapest is in Vörösmarty Square. It usually starts in November but runs up until Christmas Eve.
The best time to visit the Christmas Market in Budapest is in the evening. The weather at night is significantly cooler than in the day so thermals and extra layers are good for going out in the evenings.
Budapest December Packing List
So just to recap here is our complete list of what to add to your Budapest Packing List
- Waterproof and Wind resistant Coat or jacket
- Scarf, Gloves, Hat and ear muffs
- Thermal base layers – preferably merino wool (optional)
- T shirts
- Thicker weight trousers such as jeans (preferably fleece lined), woolen trousers or corduroy trousers.
- Merino Wool Thermal socks
- T shirts
- Layers such as sweaters, fleeces, jumpers and hoodies
- Warm Nightwear
- Ankle Boots with a good sole for icy conditions, waterproof and fur lined interior
- Medication and Documentation
- Back Pack
- Travel Adaptor
- Battery Pack
- Travel first aid kit including blister plasters
- Lip Balm
- Hand Warmers
FAQs About Budapest in December
Can you wear jeans in Budapest?
You can absolutely wear jeans in Budapest in December. In fact I would always pop them on my Budapest Winter packing list. However it is worth spending time thinking about the best jeans to pack for Winter. We personally think that fleece lined pairs as better for the weather.
And I would have one other type of trouser with you such as a thick wool trouser for nights in very smart restaurants.
Have you been to Prague in December? What did you wear? We would love you to tell us in the comments below!