The best festivals in Budapest are mostly related to music or gastronomy, and attract thousands of locals and tourists alike. The number 1 festival, which is widely known, especially among young tourists, is the Sziget Festival in Budapest: a week long music and cultural extravaganza on an island in the river Danube. Apart from Sziget, Food festivals, Wine festivals, Beer festivals are the most visited.
Wine Festival Budapest (photo by Zsolt Bugarszky)
Food festivals showcase the best home made style Hungarian foods, delicacies, salamis, cheeses, jams, etc. Wine festivals are fun and casual with the best Hungarian wines. Beer festivals are great, as are Craft Beer festivals in the city of Budapest. Music festivals embrace pop, rock, jazz, classical, folk, blues, electronic, hiphop, rap, metal, punk, progressive rock, Christian, Klezmer, Gypsy, Gospel, Middle Eastern, Balkan, what have you. Music vibrates in the city all year round.
The top 5 festivals in Budapest are not only the biggest events in the festival calendar of the city, but are special, unique in a Hungarian way. These festivals are worth a weekend getaway, a Budapest holiday or any way an excuse to take a trip to Budapest. The top Budapest festivals are probably the following events (it is hard to pick 5!):
Sziget Festival Budapest
Sziget Festival Budapest: Sziget Festival (literally Island Festival) is the winner of one of the Top 10 European Festivals, as one of the best by the European Festival Awards, based on a total of 1 million votes by users who cast their votes from 49 European countries. The category of its award is the Best Major European Festival as well as the Artists’ Favourite Festival. Impressive, cool, colourful, extraordinary festival. A must see.
Along with another Hungarian music festival, Balaton Sound, Sziget Festival is in the top in Europe. Make it while you can, possibly under 30-35 years of age, which seems to be the elderly age on the awesome Island festival. Do you feel young at heart? Just grab your bag, and go to Sziget!
Budapest Christmas Market
Budapest Christmas: beside the wonderful, festive and heartwarming Budapest Christmas markets, there is a whole lot of Christmassy events in the city of Budapest, which turns into a month long Christmas Festival, including the Nutcracker Festival of the Budapest Opera House.
Our Budapest Christmas guide is packed with tons of info about markets, concerts, kids events, romantic Christmas things to do, opening hours, and winter fun in Budapest, including the Budapest Open Air Ice Rink, or the snowy slopes of Normafa Hill.
Budapest Wine Festival
The Budapest Wine Festival is a really nice festival packed with a rich program, on top of the excellent wines and champagnes, you can taste at the festival.
If you happen to visit Budapest, Hungary about harvest time, some time in September, the Wine Festival is a must do.
Wine tastings, crafts fair, jazz and folk concerts, are atop the beautiful Buda Castle Hill, on the courts and panoramic terraces of the Royal Palace in Budapest. Worth a weekend getaway in Budapest?
Definitely YES. If you like wine, that is. And if you want to enjoy wine masterclasses, workshops, check out the Budapest Wine Exhibition.
Festival of Folk Arts Budapest
The Festival of Folk Arts Budapest (Mestersegek Unnepe) is each year on and around Aug 20 in Budapest, when Hungary celebrates its birthday. The Festival of Folk Arts is a very nice cultural festival in the Royal Palace, where you can get insight into Hungarian folk arts, traditional craftsmanship, and enjoy good foods, drinks, and various programs in a beautiful scenery. Very good value for money, and recommended for all travellers, whether you are a solo traveler, couples, friends or families. The festival is connected with the big festivities in Budapest on August 20, the Fireworks show, which is amazing from a Fireworks River Cruise in Budapest, but can be enjoyed with the crowds of locals on the riverfront and the bridges too.
Buda Castle Easter – Bogart Photography
Budapest Spring Festival & Budapest Easter
The Budapest Spring Festival, which is simultaneous with the Budapest Easter events each year, is most well-known for the high quality classical music concerts featuring world known stars as well as local celebrity singers, musicians, actors, etc. as well as the Budapest Easter Fair and Buda Castle Easter Festival.
More Easter events in Budapest: the Budapest Easter Market on Vorosmarty Square (the same square where the biggest Christmas Market is in downtown Budapest), Budapest Easter Fair in Vajdahunyad Castle. Easter events on a Budapest day trip, outside the city: Holloko and Szentendre (the Skanzen Folk Heritage Villlage) stand out with their authentic Hungarian folk customs.
Night of Baths Budapest Rudas Bath
Budapest is often called the City of Baths or City of Spas for a good reason. There are several fantastic thermal baths, pools and open air lidos in the city. Now the Night of the Baths festival is making some of the best thermal baths easily accessible to many thousands for one night. The Night of Baths has a cheap single ticket access to 5 of the major thermal baths in the city of Budapest. The festival is packed with shows, concerts, DJs, and of course, people. There is no set date of the festival, which can be any time in February, March or April.
At National Gallop (Budapest Nemzeti Vagta) thousands and thousands of people come to visit the spectacular equestrian and cultural show on Heroes’ Square Budapest: a real horse race and horse shows in the city, fine foods, wines, beers, and more. Hungarians don’t throw tomatoes at each other, instead they jump in the saddle to compete. Unique, crazy, warmly recommended. Admission is free.
The hairy pig of Hungary called mangalica (mangalitsa) is getting more attention in the culinary world, still a gourmet food. Many Spanish ham makers use Mangalitsa for making their world famous Serrano ham.
Mangalitsa Festival Budapest
The Mangalitsa Festival is a real winter festival, and a nice February getaway to Budapest. The festival venue is the scenic Szabadsag Square close to the Hungarian Parliament in downtown Budapest.
Fozdefeszt Budapest Craft Beer Festival is a leisurely beer festival in the city of Budapest. Beer lovers will tremendously enjoy the craft beer specialties, local flavours, big smiles.
Budapest has two outstanding palinka festivals (we seem to like this hot hot spirit, a finely distilled fruit brandy). The Palinka Festival and the Palinka and Sausage Festival are both a lot of fun, getting you into high spirits. The best Hungarian distilleries will let you try some of the finest palinka drinks in the world. If tequila, Mexico, if vodka, Russia, if whiskey, Scotland, if Ouzo, Greece, if Cheap, Tesco, if Palinka, Hungary. OK, the list is incomplete, but Palinka remains the national alcohol of Hungary. Taste palinka, feel its warmth, and do not let it knock you out, just raise your spirits.
Foie Gras Festival Budapest Buda Castle
The goose liver festival in Budapest called Foie Gras Festival is specially Hungarian. Hungary is a leading importer in foie gras, liver pate. The gourmet foie gras can be tasted with further Hungarian delicacies, like Tokaji Aszu dessert wine and other excellent Hungarian wines, palinkas, etc. The festival is located in the Royal Palace on the Buda Castle Hill. If you are a meat eater who has no problem with forced fed geese, you may enjoy the Budavari Libamajfesztival.
Budapest has a lively Jewish community, which makes the city a central hub of Jewish people in Europe. No wonder that the second biggest synagogue in Europe is in Budapest Dohany Street. It should not come as a surprise that Budapest is also the place where Jewish festivals are quite frequents. To name but a few: Jewish Summer Festival, Hanukkah Budapest, Passover Budapest, Jewish Gastro Festival, Judafest Jewish Festival, etc.
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