I always recommend spring and fall to those who ask what are the best seasons to visit. Hotels are on low-season rates usually until the middle to end of April reverting to them again from about mid-September. Generally, hotels will use their special season rates for Christmas and New Year, but winters generally are cold and gray, casting a dark shadow over a glorious city. Although it does snow here, we have not had any major snowfall for the last 5 years. When it does snow, it generally dissipates within the day. If you choose Christmas time for your holiday, remember to consider that half a day of Christmas Eve, all of Christmas, and the day after are holidays. Many things will be closed for those days; however, some museums open on December 26 if it does not fall on a regularly scheduled closed day. The afternoon of New Year's Eve will have most places shuttered closed with the exception of restaurants, and all of New Year's Day is a legal holiday.

From sometime in April to mid-September, many activities come alive. The outdoor pools are open, and the outdoor squatters' beer pubs start appearing like mushrooms after a rain. Spring is a perfect time to ride the Children's Railroad or the chairlift.

Other activities hibernate during the summer as it can get really warm, especially July and August. Without air conditioning in many venues, like the Opera House, it is too hot to offer regular programming during the summer. There are short-term events held sporadically. Make sure to pack an umbrella. We do get a number of days of rain but for the most part, they are passing showers seldom lasting more than a day, but often only lasting hours.

Budapest and the rest of Hungary has been held hostage by the economic crisis, creating a dramatic drop in tourism. Regardless of when you decide to visit, you are sure to find some bargains. With a little planning you can come to Budapest at a time that will coincide with one or more of the city's cultural events; however, if you miss these, there is always something worthy happening; it is a city of festivals. All inquiries about ticket availability and locations of events can first be checked online where you can also buy tickets for many venues at www.jegymester.hu. For other information, contact Budapest's main tourist information office, Tourinform.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.