Budapest Travel Guides

Budapest hosts dozens of festivals and cultural events throughout the year, most of which focus on the city’s musical heritage. Opera, ballet and classical music are featured at virtually every event. Traditional marketplaces where visitors can purchase traditional handicrafts and folk art are another regular feature of festivals and carnivals in Budapest. Prestigious events like the Opera Ball present attendees with the chance to don their finest outfits and enjoy some of the most sophisticated celebration on earth.

January

New Year’s Day: the city hosts numerous New Year’s Eve events including formal banquets and balls as well as a spectacular firework show. There is also an annual concert held on New Year’s Day at the Pesti Vigadó.

February

Opera Ball: this is an extravagant formal event with a long history in Budapest. It is held every year in the Hungarian State Opera House and draws an impressive roster of high-profile, international figures. The event begins with an opera show, and then a hundred debutantes inaugurate the dance floor before it opens to the guests.

March

Spring Festival: this festival highlights Budapest’s annual calendar of events. Numerous orchestral and dance exhibitions alongside staged theatre productions take multiple stages across Budapest. In all, there are more than 200 events slated among 60 different venues.

April

World Dance Day: Budapest has celebrated World Dance Day (April 29) for several years now. Leading up to the 29th, the National Dance Theatre hosts several days of dance-related events. Most of the performers are Hungarian folk dancers, although there are usually a few internationally-known names on the playbill. Website: http://www.tanchaz.hu/.

May

Budapest Early Music Forum: the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy teams up with several area churches to host a week’s worth of ancient classical music. In an effort to stay true to the musical numbers, special attention is given to presenting these concerts in the same fashion that they were several centuries ago. Each year, the performances focus on a particularly composer or performer from history.

June

Danube Folklore Carnival: this event is organised by the Danube Art Ensemble. Hungarian and international folk dancers gather and perform at multiple venues throughout Budapest. The most notable venue is Vejdahunyad Castle in the town park. During this time there is also a gala at the Margitsziget Outdoor Theatre and flotilla on the Danube between the Chain and Margaret Bridges.

Budapest Fair: also referred to as the Bridge Festival, this is an all-day cultural event held on and around several bridges spanning the Danube. Festivities include street performance, theatre, music and plenty of dancing.

July

BudaFest Summer Opera and Ballet Festival: most consider the summer months to be the off-season when it comes to concerts and performances. During this time, the State Opera House hosts several ballet and opera performances. This is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of Budapest’s renowned performance scene for much less than you’d pay during the high season.

August

Arts and Crafts Festival: local artisans gather in the Castle District to sell their wares and lead workshops that explore Hungarian folk art and traditional handicrafts. Street performers, puppeteers and dancers provide entertainment during this three-day event.

Formula 1 Grand Prix: this is Hungary’s foremost sporting event, held 15 miles away in Mogyoród. Spectator facilities are excellent, and the track is one the most unique in Europe.Visit this website for further information about Hungarian Grand Prix Tickets

Island Festival: also known as the Sziget Festival, this event draws huge crowds and plenty of publicity to Hajógyár Island. Several international bands show up, and the island is outfitted with camping facilities for the spectators, making this one of the biggest music festivals on the continent.

September

BuSho Film Festival: the Budapest Short Film Festival is an annual event hosted by the Gombolyah Foundation. Admission is free, and international guests usually receive a complimentary gift package with tourism-related media and materials.

International Wine Fair: this is tourists’ best opportunity to taste Hungary’s finest vintages. Wine maker from several regions introduce their wines to the public in the Castle District.

October

Autumn Festival: a cultural event held for ten days in mid-October, this festival includes jazz concerts, film expositions, theatre and dance productions. The festival planners also host city walks that take in some of the best scenery and architecture of downtown Budapest. www.bof.hu.

December

Christmas Fair: has been held now for more than a decade and Budapest has established itself as one of Eastern Europe’s leading holiday destinations. There are easily more than 150 scheduled programmes each year. The smell of fresh bread baked in clay ovens wafts past hundreds of kiosks where craftsmen and artists sell traditional products. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come here to celebrate the holidays at Vörösmarty Square.