10 Best Festivals in Budapest You Should Try

Yes the thermal baths are great, and so is the architecture, culture and food, but what about the parties? The city host a impressive lineup of events over summer beyond Sziget, so here are my best festivals in Budapest.

best festivals in Budapest

August arrives and thousands of people (like 500,000!) descend on Budapest for Sziget Festival, it’s probably THE most famous of all the festivals in Budapest. The line up is kind of like Glastonbury – featuring all the top names from a variety of different music genres – there’s an amusement park, beautiful beaches nearby and it’s all located on one party island in the north of the city.

But that’s not the only Budapest festival worthy of your time. The festivals in Budapest cross all genres and are held in Roman baths, over the river and in the bars. Take a look at these 11 reasons to expect more from Budapest than just Sziget Festival, although, it is awesome.

10 top Budapest festivals

Whether you want to party on a boat or in the bath (read below for more on this one), Budapest festivals are something else. Here’s my top ten.

1. The August Bath Parties

After a few days camping out at Sziget it’s only natural that you’d be in need of a good scrub, and you can do that in some of the city’s many thermal baths. I went to the Szechenyi Baths and soaked my aching bones in the warming and cleansing waters. Bliss.

Budapest after sziget festival

Also, some of the spas host ‘sparties’ all year round, but in August things really heat up with laser shows and discos at the weekly bath time boogies. Check out the dates and stay in Budapest after Sziget long enough to check them out!

2. The Budapest Fireworks Show

The 20th of August is also known as St. Stephen’s Day in Hungary and marks the day King Stephen founded the Hungarian state. Like a European version of 4th of July, the celebrations last all day and even kick off the day before with loads of food stalls set up along the riverbanks. Concerts take place in the Buda Castle Quarter and it all comes to a crescendo in the evening with a firework display along the Danube River making it one of the best festivals in Budapest.

Festivals in Budapest

Depending on the dates of Sziget Festival the year you go this could work out well. I managed to stay for it and got to see the fireworks exploding over the Danube, after watching the parade of St Stephen’s hand through the city. Yeah, it was weird.

3. The Junibor Wine Festival

Swap out the beer tents for some traditional wine tasting at the annual Junibor festival Budapest. Just head to the front of the city’s Basilica between the 25th and 28th of August where you can slurp on stuff made by the country’s young wine makers.

Budapest after sziget festival

I can’t guarantee the quality, but I’m sure it’ll be one of the funnest festivals in Budapest nevertheless, and in an incredible location.

13 Survival Tips for Your First Time at Sziget Festival

4. The Opera and Ballet Festival

You may be a lover of techno or house but how about changing things up with a bit of the classics? After Sziget you may just need that change of tempo, which is where the Budapest Opera House comes in.

Festivals in Budapest after Sziget

Shut for most of the summer, it opens for two weeks in August for its opera and ballet festival where you can see both beautiful art forms in action. It’s one of the classiest festivals in Budapest.

5. The Festival of Folk Arts

Over three days, usually from around the 18th to 20th of August, craftsmen come from across the country to showcase their arts in the Budapest festival. They gather by the Buda Castle letting tourists and locals browse and buy their works.

Festivals in Budapest after Sziget

There may not be any crowd surfing or twerking at this festival, but there are traditional Hungarian games to play, workshops on being a goldsmith and the like, and lessons in traditional folk dancing.

READ MORE: The Best Souvenirs from Budapest

6. The August Boat Parties

Come the summer peak and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights you can take your party to the Danube. Boat parties are hosted pretty regularly throughout the month but if another day takes your liking you can grab your newfound festival friends and book your own private boat party for a relatively cheap cost and experience one of the tops events Budapest has to offer.

Boat parties in budapest

They’re a slightly different way to experience Budapest too. Albeit they’re not for everyone, but they are fun!

7. The Budapest Summer Festival

Sziget seems to get all the love from us Brits when it comes to festivals in Budapest, but Budapest’s Summer Festival deserves attention too. From June until the end of August there are various events over venues such as the legendary Margaret Island Open Air Stage, which has been hosting musical legends for over 75 years.

Budapest summer festival

The Water Tower and Városmajor Open Air Stage are also pretty cool venues for listening to a bit of jazz, catching some comedy or watching performances like Romeo and Juliet at Festival Budapest.

8. The Lemonade Festival

When life gives you lemons, use them to cure a post-fest hangover. The city’s Lemonade Festival is one the quirkiest festivals in Budapest and takes place at Bálna Terasz – it is three days dedicated to the sweet stuff. Beyonce would love it.

Budapest after Sziget festival

From the 22nd to 28th of August there’s a crazy amount of flavoured, fizzed and fusioned lemonade beverages for you to try.

9. Cholent Festival

Head to Kazinczy Street on the 28th of August to extend your time in Budapest after Sziget and enjoy the best of Jewish food. Only in its early years this is quickly becoming one of the popular festivals in Budapest as people rush to try the different kinds of cholent, aka a really good stew. You can learn how to make it, discover the top tips on keeping a kosher kitchen and generally eat some decent grub which may be a nice change after the festival food of Sziget.

10. Summer on the Chain Bridge

This one kicks off in June so by the time you’re in Budapest festival mode the Chain Bridge will have been in full swing for a while. The bridge shuts down to cars and is only open to pedestrians until the end of August. 

Budapest Chain Bridge

You can try your feet at some lindy hop dance, folk music, jazz and rock from the dancing teachers there. It’s one of Budapest’s biggest attractions and what better way to see it then by dancing, singing and drinking along it?

cool things to do in budapest

Festivals in Budapest FAQs

What is the biggest festival in Budapest?

When it comes to festivals in Budapest there is no doubt that Sziget Festival is the biggest. In fact, it is the biggest festival in Hungary and ones of the biggest music festivals in Europe!

What are the national festivals in Hungary?

Hungary has quite a few national festivals in Budapest and around the country. St Stephen’s day is celebrated on August 20th annually and celebrates the foundation of the Hungarian state and King Stephen. March 15th is Hungary’s national day and commemorates the revolution of 1848 and features festivals in Budapest and other events in Hungary.

Is Budapest known for paryting?

Budapest has lot of bars, clubs and dance halls and various events throughout the summer – even in the thermal baths! Of course with Sziget and other festivals in Budapest it has grown a reputation for being a lively and welcoming city to party goers worldwide.

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