Hungary has a mainly humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm to hot summers and cold winters. The central region in the interior of the country displays a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with hot summers and cold winters. A few areas in the southwest and south-central regions are under the oceanic influence (Köppen Cfa, Cfb). Hungary lies in Central Europe and shares borders with Romania in the east, Serbia in the south, Croatia and Slovenia in the southwest, Austria in the west, Slovakia in the north, and Ukraine in the northeast. The country's location in the temperate latitudes between 45°N and 48°N chiefly influences the climate. Westerly winds and the considerable distance from the Atlantic Ocean also affect the climate.
Hungary is a mostly flat and landlocked country, approximately 600 miles from both the North Pole and the Equator. The country lies in the Carthapian Basin, and the Carthapian Mountains shield it from winds and other climatic factors. Tisza and Danube are the most significant rivers. The Great Hungarian Plain lies to the east of the Danube. The Transdanubia is a hilly region to the west of the Danube that extends to the Alps' foothills. The North Hungarian Mountains is a mountainous region in the Western Carthapians, north of the Great Hungarian Plain. Among the climatic factors, the Icelandic Low brings cold weather and rain. The Azores High is responsible for bright and dry days. The Siberian High brings cold air masses from Eastern Europe. Mount Kekes is the highest peak in Hungary at 1014 meters. Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe, with a surface area of 230 square miles. Lake Heviz is the largest thermal lake in the world.
The average annual temperatures in Hungary range between 7.8°C (46°F) and 11.1°C (52°F). Summers are warm to hot and wet. The average high temperatures during the hot season are between 22.8°C (73°F) and 27.8°C (82°F). Summer highs reach up to 42.2°C (108°F) in the interior. Temperatures are the highest in July and August under the influence of warm air masses from Southern Europe. The Atlantic air masses bring cold and rainy periods in the summer. The average low winter temperatures are between -7.2°C (19°F) and -2.8°C (27°F). Winter troughs plunge to -35°C (-31°F) during the onslaught of Siberian cold air masses. Cloudy skies are prevalent in the cold season. Fog and mist are standard along with rain. Snowfall is frequent in the winter but moderate. The average temperature difference between north and south is little but varies by the season. Overcast days average between 70 and 190 in the year. Spring and autumn have unstable weather, and are mild, with frequent changes in temperatures.
The annual average rainfall in Hungary registers a moderate 609.6mm (24"), ranging from 508mm (20") in the dry east to 990.6mm (39") in the wet west. Precipitation occurs throughout the year. Late spring and summer are the wettest periods, while October sees the second maximum in the southwest. Rainy days measure between 80 and 100 in the year. Thunderstorms are standard in the summer. Snowfall occurs between November and March. Snow cover is the thinnest in the eastern Great Plain. The relative humidity is the highest during the summer. The annual sunshine varies from 1700 hours in the north to 2100 in the south. The average wind speeds are between 8km/h (5mph) and 16.1km/h (10mph). An average of 122 windy days in the year register strong wind speeds over 35.4km/h (22mph). Gales above 53.1km/h (33mph) occur for 35 days annually.
The highest temperature on record in Hungary is 41.9°C (107.4°F) in Kiskunhalas, set on July 20, 2007. The lowest temperature on record is -35°C (-31°F) in Gorombolytapolca, set on February 16, 1940.
The best time to visit Hungary
The best time to visit Hungary is during the spring and autumn seasons. May and June are sunny, with moderate temperatures, although a bit wet. September is a beautiful month in the autumn, with a colorful landscape and comfortable temperatures. The average temperatures in Budapest, the capital in the central region, are in the comfortable zone of 11.1°C (52°F) to 23.9°C (75°F) during late spring and early autumn. The summer is a good period in the mountains, and the days are often bright on the plains. However, in the interior regions, the temperatures often cross 35°C (95°F), and the humidity increases the heat index.
The worst time to visit Hungary
The worst time to visit Hungary is in the cold winter from December to February. The average temperatures are in the cold zone of -3.9°C (25°F) to 4.4°C (39.9°F) in the country. The skies are dark, and daily sunshine barely registers over 2 hours. Nights are below freezing in most regions, and days are cold. The short days hardly have 8.5 hours of daylight in December. Snowfall occurs in most places, and fog is standard. Mist and rain further worsen the conditions. Skiing enthusiasts, however, rejoice the snow-clad landscape to the north of Lake Balaton in the winter.
Hungary faces natural weather hazards in the form of cloudbursts, waterlogging, floods, droughts, wind erosion, and earthquakes. Floods affect an average of 200,000 Hungarians every year, with an average cost of $2 billion. The deadliest flood in Hungary post-1900 occurred in 1970, with approximately 300 fatalities and $500 million of damage. Earthquakes affect 80,000 people annually, with a cost of $1 billion to the exchequer. The worst earthquake in Hungary post-1900 occurred in Kecskemet, with 10 fatalities. Csongrad is the province with the highest risk of floods, while Budapest has the greatest risk of earthquakes. Droughts mostly occur during extended dry periods in the central plains.
Weather in January
January is generally the coldest and driest month of the year in Hungary, with average temperatures in the -4.4°C (24.1°F) to 2.8°C (37°F) zone. The skies are dark for more than 60% of the time, and the atmosphere is cold and dull. The daily sunshine limits to 2 hours, but the daylight increases to 9.5 hours by the end of January. Budapest, the capital in the central region, is cold between -3.9°C (25°F) and 2.2°C (36°F). The precipitation is less than 38.1mm (1.5") in most regions, a mix of snow and rain. The snowfall measures less than 12.7mm (0.5") on the plains and is moderate in the mountains. The mountainous north of Lake Balaton is a hotspot for snow lovers. In the northwest, temperatures in Turje are usually in the cold range of -2.8°C (27°F) to 3.3°C (37.9°F). The daily average wind speeds are in the 13.7km/h (8.5mph) to 15.3km/h (9.5mph) range in most of the country. Hungary is short of visitors during the cold days of January.
Weather in February
February is cold and snowy in Hungary, with a slight increase in daily sunshine to 3 hours over the month. Nights are below freezing in many regions, even though the cold recedes from the peak. Budapest registers average temperatures in the zone of -2.2°C (28°F) to 5°C (41°F), with cloudy skies up to 61% of the time. The northeast is the driest region, with hardly 30.5mm (1.2") of precipitation in Debrecen. Snowfall is light, and the landscape is devoid of snow cover in most regions. Temperatures in Ebes are in the cold range of -3.9°C (25°F) to 6.7°C (44.1°F), with most nights below freezing. Much of Hungary sees daylight of 11 hours and relative humidity between 55% and 60% in February. The daily average wind speeds remain below 15.3km/h (9.5mph) in much of the country and are the highest in the mountainous regions of the northwest. February is a slow season for tourism in Hungary as the conditions remain harsh.
Weather in March
March transitions into the spring season in Hungary, with a gradual rise in temperatures. The weather is unstable, as cold fronts from Eastern Europe are standard in the month. Occasional light snowfall occurs, but the average precipitation is short of 40.6mm (1.6"). The average temperatures in central Hungary, including Budapest, are in the range of 2.2°C (36°F) to 10°C (50°F). The daily sunshine lasts for 4 hours, with clear skies for 45% of the time. Temperatures in the Northern Great Plain are generally in the range of -1.7°C (28.9°F) to 12.8°C (55°F), with few freezing nights. The daylight lasts for 12 hours by the March equinox and improves rapidly. March is the windiest month of the year, with daily average wind speeds between 12.9km/h (8mph) and 16.1km/h (10mph). The relative humidity is in the comfortable range of 55% to 60%, and the conditions are cold to mild. Expect a drizzle now and then, and carry a rain jacket during outdoor visits in March in Hungary.
Weather in April
April brings mild to warm weather in Hungary, with nights rarely below freezing. The average low temperatures are above 4.4°C (39.9°F), while the average high temperatures reach up to 19.4°C (66.9°F). Baj registers average temperatures between 4.4°C (39.9°F) and 18.3°C (64.9°F), while Debrecen is in the zone of 4.4°C (39.9°F) to 19.4°C (66.9°F). The skies are clear up to 52% of the time, and the daily sunlight lasts for a reasonable 6 hours. The daylight grows rapidly to reach 14.5 hours by Easter. The days are comfortable, with relative humidity between 58% and 62%. April sees a slight rise in precipitation to 45.7mm (1.8"), with a chance of a rainy day between 19% and 24% over the month. Snowfall is absent in most regions by the second half of the month. Long pants and a light jacket are useful during the day and a sweater at night. The weather gradually warms with each passing day in Hungary in April.
Weather in May
May brings the best weather of the spring season in Hungary, with warm temperatures everywhere. The average temperatures in Budapest are in the comfortable zone of 11.1°C (52°F) to 21.1°C (70°F). The sun shines brightly for 8 hours during the 15.5 hour long days. Ozd registers average temperatures in the zone of 7.8°C (46°F) to 22.2°C (72°F), with clear skies for 54% of the time. Szeged, in the south, averages between 11.1°C (52°F) and 22.8°C (73°F), and is generally pleasant. The atmosphere is comfortable, with relative humidity below 65%. The daily average wind speeds register between 9.7km/h (6mph) and 12.9km/h (8mph) in much of the country. Wind direction is predominantly from the north in most regions. A light jacket is useful, with the average precipitation at 71.1mm (2.8") in the month. Afternoons are prone to thunderstorms, especially by the second half of May. Sweaters bring warmth during cold nights in the mountainous northwest. Expect an increase in tourist footfall, with fair weather in May in Hungary.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the warm to the hot summer season in Hungary, and usually the wettest month of the year. The average temperatures range between 13.9°C (57°F) and 23.9°C (75°F) in the Great Plains. Temperatures in the Transdanubia region average in the warm 12.8°C (55°F) to 23.9°C (75°F) zone. The skies remain clear up to 65% of the time, and the daily sunshine lasts for 8 hours to 9 hours. June 20 is the longest day in Budapest, with 16 hours of daylight during the summer solstice. The average monthly relative humidity spikes up to 70%, with at least 12 wet days in the month. The average rainfall is between 71.1mm (2.8") and 76.2mm (3") in most parts of Hungary. The daily average wind speeds register a significant drop and are between 8km/h (5mph) and 12.1km/h (7.5mph) in much of the country. June is one of the best times to visit Hungary, with the summer yet to reach its peak.
Weather in July
July is the sunniest and hottest month of the year in Hungary. Much of the country registers daily high temperatures in the 21.1°C (70°F) to 32.2°C (90°F) range. Temperatures cross 37.8°C (100°F) in the interior and the arid sections of the south under the influence of heatwaves. The average temperatures in Turje register between 15.6°C (60.1°F) and 26.7°C (80.1°F), while Budapest registers between 15°C (59°F) and 27.2°C (81°F). Nights are mild in much of the country. The daily sunshine lasts for 9 hours, and the daylight recedes from 16 hours to 15 hours over the month. Lakes and mountains are popular spots for escaping from the summer heat. The average rainfall is 55.9mm (2.2") to 63.5mm (2.5"), as July sees a trough in the precipitation in the summer. Wet days register between 8 and 10 in the month. July is the muggiest month of the year, with average monthly humidity above 75%. Sweatshirts and t-shirts are best during the day, as the humidity induces much sweat. Expect frequent afternoon thunderstorms. July sees crowds everywhere in Hungary.
Weather in August
August is warm and sunny in Hungary, with clear skies up to 69% of the time. Sunny days are standard in much of Hungary, with a decrease in average precipitation to 50.8mm (2"). Budapest registers average temperatures in the 15°C (59°F) to 26.1°C (79°F) range, with 8 hours of daily sunshine. Ebes ranges between 13.3°C (55.9°F) and 27.2°C (81°F), while Ozd is in the 15°C (59°F) to 26.7°C (80.1°F) range. The days are hot, especially between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., and muggy at times. Nights are mild in the plains and cold in the hills and mountains. Much of Hungary sees a rapid decline of daylight from 15 hours to 13.5 hours over the month. Light summer clothing is comfortable during the day. A light rain jacket is useful in the afternoons, which are prone to thunderstorms. Expect a decrease in the heat index by the end of the month. August is the calmest month in Hungary, with daily average wind speeds between 8km/h (5mph) and 11.3km/h (7mph).
Weather in September
September is warm and sunny in the early autumn season in Hungary. The average temperatures in Budapest are in the comfortable range of 12.2°C (54°F) to 22.2°C (72°F). The day temperatures scale up to 29.4°C (84.9°F), but nights remain mostly below 16.7°C (62.1°F). Miskolc registers average temperatures in the comfortable range of 11.1°C (52°F) to 21.1°C (70°F). The daily sunshine lasts for 6 hours to 7 hours, as the daylight recedes to 12 hours by September 22, the autumn equinox. The cloudiness increases from 39% to 47% of the time over the month. The second half of September sees beautiful colors over the landscape. The rainfall is moderate and reaches a trough of 38.1mm (1.5"), with hardly 6 wet days. The daily average wind speeds remain in the 9.7km/h (6mph) to 12.9km/h (8mph) in much of the country. Light summer clothing is suitable during the day. September is an excellent time to visit Hungary, with comfortable temperatures and dry days.
Weather in October
October is a mild autumn month in Hungary, with average temperatures in the 3.3°C (37.9°F) to 18.9°C (66°F) range. The days are warm in the first half, but nights become cold in the second half and occasionally drop below freezing. The average temperatures in Budapest are in the range of 3.9°C (39°F) to 18.3°C (64.9°F), and the atmosphere is generally cool. The skies are overcast up to 55% of the time. The daily sunshine dips to 5 hours, even in the warm southern regions. The daylight reduces to 10 hours by the end of October from 12 hours in the beginning. The earliest sunrise in Ozd is at 6.13 a.m., and the latest sunset occurs at 6.17 p.m. The relative humidity is in the comfortable zone of 55% to 65%. October sees at least 8 wet days that bring 53.3mm (2.1") to 58.4mm (2.3") of rainfall in most regions. Wear a jacket or sweater during outdoor visits to explore the colorful nature in October in Hungary.
Weather in November
November sees an increase in precipitation Hungary, with average rainfall between 66mm (2.6") and 71.1mm (2.8"). Temperatures drop rapidly, with Budapest in the average range of 2.2°C (36°F) to 7.8°C (46°F). The average temperatures in Baj and Ebes are in the cold -0.6°C (30.9°F) to 11.7°C (53.1°F) zone. Nights often drop below freezing in many parts of the country. Cloudy skies dominate the proceedings and relegate the sunshine to less than 2 hours a day. The daylight recedes rapidly to register below 9 hours in most regions by the second half of the month. The average relative monthly humidity of 60% further exacerbates the cold conditions. Evenings are often breezy, as daily average wind speeds register between 12.9km/h (8mph) and 14.5km/h (9mph). Fog and mist are standard, along with cold fronts from Siberia that push down the temperatures. Wind direction is predominantly from the south. Warm jackets or sweaters are necessary for protection from rain and cold. Budget travelers find the cold November weather light on the wallet in Hungary.
Weather in December
December is the beginning of the cold and dark winter season in Hungary. The average temperatures in Budapest are in the cold range of 2.2°C (36°F) and 7.8°C (46°F), with occasional freezing nights. The skies remain cloudy for at least 64% of the time, and the sun peeps out of the clouds for a mere 2 hours every day. December 21 is the shortest day in Budapest, with 8 hours and 25 minutes of daylight. The Siberian High pushes temperatures down. The daily average wind speeds range from 12.9km/h (8mph) to 14.2km/h (8.8mph), and the wind direction is prominently from the west. The precipitation is less than 50.8mm (2"), with a mix of rain and snow in much of the country. The northwest mountainous region is the coldest, while the southwest is the warmest in the winter. Warm winter clothing, including a sweater or jacket, gloves, scarf, and the cap is necessary to withstand the cold. Expect the cold to increase in Hungary in December gradually.