They know how to have fun in Budapest. Whatever time of year you’re visiting, you’re bound to come across a festival where everyone seems to be letting their hair down and celebrating something special. From spring to wine, from films to Christmas and dance – here in Budapest if it exists, they’ll hold a festival for it!
1) Sziget Festival
This is one of the world’s largest music festivals and the party lasts all week long. Held in August, Sziget attracts over 400,000 visitors every year. From international stadium acts to traditional Hungarian bands, you’ll hear music on every street corner and are sure to have a great time.
2) Christmas Fair
Every year the Basilica becomes the perfect backdrop to a magical Christmas fair in Budapest. You can skate on the ice rink, or just wander through the stalls selling local crafts – the perfect place to get your Christmas shopping done. Mulled wine and sausages are a must while you shop.
3) Fat Thursday
The first Thursday after Ash Wednesday is traditionally the time to have one last blow out before the Easter fasting begins. If you’re lucky enough to be in Budapest for Fat Thursday, you’ll be able to eat for half price at participating restaurants. That includes all your drinks too!
4) Budapest Dance Festival
Ballet, folk dance, street dancing, there are lots of ways to throw some shapes and Budapest hosts all of them at the Dance Festival. Normally held towards the end of April every year, the festival welcomes dance companies from around the world, and you’ll find events at venues across the city.
5) Titanic International Filmfest
This event truly is titanic, as films from as many as 30 countries vie for your attention across the city. They’re all competing for the ‘Breaking Waves Award’, which is voted for by an international jury. You can’t possibly see all the entrants, but if you’re here in April it’s well worth taking a look.
6) Buda Castle Beer Festival
Held mid-June, this 4-day festival brings around 200 beers together for one big party. You’ll find some well-known beer brands, along with some local brews and specialities. Every year there’s a guest country showcasing its brewing talent, and there’s plenty of entertainment laid on too.
7) Budapest Summer Festival
This festival is well named, as it really does go on all summer long. You’ll be able to catch open-air theatre performances, concerts and special events for the kids too. The best place to come is the Margaret Island Open-air stage, where if the sun is shining it really is a magical day out.
8) Red Bull Air Race World Series
If you’re visiting Budapest in mid-July, you might well see planes performing acrobatics along the Danube, in between Elizabeth and Margaret Bridges. Pilots come from all over the world to take part. It’s jaw-dropping, nail-biting stuff.
9) Festival of Folk Arts
Every August Hungary’s best craftspeople get the chance to show off their skills and wares at Buda Castle. So if you’d like to pick up the perfect memento of your stay, or perhaps have a go at a particular craft yourself, this is the place to come. There are live folk music and dance performances too.
10) Budapest International Half Marathon
If you’re a bit of a runner looking for a different route, or you’d like to come along and cheer some intrepid athletes on their way, the Half Marathon takes place every September. The route takes runners from Pest over the Chain Bridge to Buda, then back again to the finishing line in City Park.