When you think of Budapest, festivals may not be the first thing that come to mind. However, Budapest is a treasure trove for those who love to roam around freely surrounded by good music, good beer and good food.
Not only is there a huge selection of music festivals from every genre you can imagine, but thanks to Hungary's unique culture and gastronomy, a beer or wine festival could be right around the corner. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a list of the best festivals in Budapest.
It's impossible to talk about festivals in Budapest without mentioning Sziget. Only a short 20 minutes from the city centre of Budapest lies one of Europe’s biggest musical and cultural festivals. It takes place on Óbudai- sziget, Budapest’s magical island of love and freedom.
True fans of Sziget--or, Szitizens--are often more excited about Sziget than Christmas! The music lineup has a tendency to surprise festival-goers each year by always bringing some of the world's best talent: Artists like Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, Martin Garrix and Post Malone have all taken the Sziget mainstage in the past.
The island is waiting for you with thousands of programs and 60 stages. You can start your morning with a hangover curing yoga session, followed by some arts and crafts. Then, make your way to your favourite food trucks for classic Hungarian staples or international fare.
After your hangover is gone and your stomach is full, you can head over to the beach and prepare for a banger of a night. Don’t forget to grab a map when you get in! Believe us when we tell you, you’re going to need it.
If you are more into opera, jazz, dance, contemporary arts or classical music, this is the right music festival for you. The best Hungarian performers, as well as some of the world’s top artists will enchant you with their amazing performances. Moreover, the venues are Budapest’s most beautiful institutes like The Müpa Budapest, Liszt Academy, Pesti Vigadó and Várkert Bazár.
Your senses will be delighted at the Budapest Spring Festival, since there is plenty to eat as well as listen to! During the festival, the riverbank springs to life with vendors selling traditional Hungarian food. Enjoy!
Pest has so much to offer, but the Gourmet Festival gives you an excuse to cross the river and explore peaceful Buda! If you’re feeling hungry and up for a bit of a journey, you can make your way across the Danube and discover the gastronomy of Hungary. Let the best Hungarian and international award-winning chefs take your breath away with their magical dishes. Get your taste buds ready!
If you really want a taste of Hungary’s culture and tradition, you can immerse yourself within Budapest’s Festival of Folk Arts. The festival takes place at the iconic Buda Royal Palace, which is one of the most beautiful places in Budapest.
Explore how traditional footwear is crafted, learn the secrets of weaving and spinning, take part in workshops, and let the Hungarian folk music and dance take your breath away. And all of this from one of the best lookout spots of Budapest!
In the heart of district five, only a five minute walk from The Parliament, Budapest holds its very own beer festival. As Thomas Jefferson, former US president, once said: “Beer, if drunk in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.”.
This Budapest beer festival will keep you healthy with 250 kinds of specialty beers, food trucks and concerts. All in a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the city.
Thanks to Hungary’s 22 wine regions, Budapest Wine Festival has many famous and excellent wines to offer. Europe’s most beautiful wine festival invites you to the historical Buda Royal Palace to taste hundreds of different types of wines both local and foreign, while the traditional folk musicians and dancers keep you entertained.
If you’re looking for more festivals in Hungary and don’t mind a little detour, here’s a list of festivals outside of Budapest that are a must.
Right on the shores of Central Europe’s biggest lake is one of Europe’s largest electronic music festivals. Balaton Sound is accessible, being only an hour’s drive away from Budapest (there are frequent trains as well) and having moderately priced festival tickets (4-day tickets start around €155).
Macklemore, Afrojack, The Chainsmokers, Marshmello and G-eazy have all graced previous line-ups, for example. If 6 a.m. comes around and you’re still not tired, try out some bungee jumping, have a ride on the ferris- wheel, find an early morning techno stage, or have a fresh morning dip in the lake!
If mainstream music festivals aren’t your scene, every year at the end of July, a magical tribal gathering called Ozora takes place on a blessed piece of land. Here you will find amazing psychedelic artwork, mind opening workshops, different types of psychedelic music and a community driven by connection and love. Come with an open heart and there's no telling what you'll experience!
As you can see, there’s lots to do when visiting Budapest and Hungary: with festivals of all types there’s definitely something for everyone here. Hopefully this guide can help you find the best one for you and maybe something different you wouldn’t have done otherwise.