Budapest has held a special place in my heart since my very first Euro backpacking tour (quite) a few years ago. The city is an absolute show-off of European culture, art, and vibrancy, making it a perfect destination for anyone looking to explore the history of Central Europe through its music, food, and, my favorite way—the festivals in Budapest.

Of course, you have your typical European churches, a gorgeous river running through the city, and rooftop bars galore, but the festivals really turn the city up a notch. The summers are full throttle pumping with the Formula 1 race, the Sziget Music Festival, and the Budapest Wine Festival, while the winter festivals and Christmas markets go hard, taking on the German influence with mulled wine and hearty dishes. So it doesn’t matter when you go, the city will for sure deliver.

From the moment you step foot in the city, you’re swept up in a wave of entertainment, culture, and meaty cuisines that are unique to Budapest, and their festivals are no different. So I’m more than thrilled to show you all of the best festivals in Budapest!

Hungarian style tower behind a wooden gate
Let’s get into some of Europe’s worst-kept secrets.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

Festivals in Budapest

Whether you’re a music junkie, a food lover, or a cultural explorer, there’s a Budapest festival that’s just right for you. Now, let’s dive into some of the most outstanding festivals this city has to offer.

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry blossoms and Budapest… 
  • When: March/April
  • Where: Budapest Botanical Gardens

Maybe it’s not Japan, but it definitely the next best thing during Cherry Blossom season. For two weekends in the Spring, the Botanical Garden is transformed into a Japanese-inspired paradise. With traditional music, tea ceremonies, and of course, the star attraction—the cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

Visiting Budapest during this festival offers a great way to get inspired by the Japanese culture while experiencing the city in a completely different setting.

Throughout the gardens, along with the burst of pink, are different stalls set up with Japanese cuisines, handmade origami, and other unique sellers offering calligraphy workshops for you to enjoy. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Japanese culture without the 20+ hour flight (Depending on where you’re coming from.)

While I love getting to experience the Japanese culture at this festival, we can’t forget why we are here, for the Cherry Blossoms, duh! And they are absolutely stunning.

The park will let you bring in a picnic and a blanket and set up under any of the trees, making it the perfect place to escape from the busy city. Grab a book or a bottle of wine with friends and truly take in all of the pink blossoming trees at this unique Festival in Budapest.

Where to Stay

The Maverick Urban Lodge is a budget-friendly stay in the heart of the city. You can snag a dorm bed or a private room and meet loads of other travelers while exploring the city.

Budapest Spring Festival

A couple standing by a local shop during Budapest Spring Festival
It’s a couple’s thing…
Photo: Top Budapest (Flickr)
  • When: March/April
  • Where: Budapest

Say goodbye to the cold days of winter and hello to spring warmth. Every year the Spring Festival in Budapest goes crazy with art exhibitions and performances from all kinds of different artists and puts on one of the largest cultural festivals in the world.

The Budapest Spring Festival has been going on for almost 40 years and brings in big crowds to celebrate the festival across 40 different venues all around the city.

It’s perfect for all kinds of travelers—young, old, rich, poor— because it has over 120 different programs, including ballet, classical music, opera, visual arts, and literally any type of art form you can think of. And a lot of them are free entrance!

For 4 weeks, Budapest is buzzing with people from all around the world to take in all the different events. Spend your nights bopping from small venues with hidden acts to major theatres to catch a show. It’s the perfect way to stay busy in the spring!

Where to Stay

Stay in the Emerald Downtown Luxury Suites during the spring festival. You’ll have an entire apartment to yourself, along with hotel services. You’ll be within walking distance of most of the venues, making getting out and about easy.

Belfeszt

People gathered in Belfeszt, Budapest
Belfeszt is one of the best music festival sin Budapest.
Photo: Derzsi Elekes Andor (WikiCommons)
  • When: May
  • Where: Budapest

If Hungarian music is your jam, then this newer festival should be right up your alley! The Belfeszt Festival is put on by the 5th district of Budapest. When the festival started, it was to create a place for Hungarian artists to all come together and put on a huge show, and it’s been a tremendous success.

The festival has 3 stages, and each year it’s growing bigger and bigger. They’ve done a really good job of creating sets on the specific stages that are all within similar genres attracting the same audiences to the same stages.

So if you like more international music, you can stay on the main stage while the other two play more folky Hungarian local music that draws in its own crowd.

This local festival in Budapest lasts 3 days and with such an immersive event, securing a comfortable place to stay becomes crucial.

When you’re not listening to music, you can head to one of the local food vendors and try some Hungarian foods. They’re pretty heavy meals, so just make sure not to eat too much, or you might want to have lie down rather than rock out, ha!

Where to Stay

For a day full of partying, all you really need is a bed and great people to spend the day with. This cozy hotel is perfect for an easygoing stay in early May.

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    Formula 1 Race

    Hungarian F1 race circuit
    We’re into something dope…
    Photo: Derzsi Elekes Andor (WikiCommons)
    • When: July
    • Where: Hungaroring (30 km outside of Budapest)

    After Netflix released the “Drive to Survive” documentary series on Formula 1, I became obsessed, and luckily for me, the excitement didn’t have to stop after I finished the season.

    The Formula 1 Race in Budapest is one of the best ones to go to as it’s A LOT cheaper than some of the other races around the world, making it an electrifying addition to your Budapest itinerary.

    The Race takes place in the middle of the summer, making it the perfect event to tack onto your summer euro plans. For over 30 years, the race has been taking place in Budapest, and depending on who you ask, it can be the best or the worst race in F1. The circuit doesn’t allow for much overtaking, but it’s still exciting to watch because literally anyone can win.

    A day ticket for the race on Sunday starts at 120 euros, so it’s still pricey, but compared to the other races around the world, it’s not bad.

    There are also a few grandstands around the track where you can watch from if you want to get a better view. But I recommend just bringing a blanket or chairs and sitting on the grass areas. And don’t forget to bring sunglasses—the sun is no joke against the track.

    Where to Stay

    The Avenue Hostel is perfect for a weekend of Grand Prix. It’s located 16 km from the track but has easy subway access and will have you at the track in no time. And when you aren’t watching the race, you can meet other travelers and explore the city.

    Sziget Festival

    People relaxing and walking around the Liminerium at Sziget Festival
    Let’s do some self exploration.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde
    • When: August
    • Where: Budapest

    Sziget is the biggest festival in Budapest, and it’s one of those festivals you need to get to at least once in your life! Every year, Obuda Island transforms into one of the biggest musical stages in the world and welcomes some of our favorite artists to give us one hell of a show.

    The festival has been going strong since 1993, after the Soviet Union collapsed. It’s what gave the youth of the country some sense of hope and freedom. Since then, it’s become world-renowned and welcomes over 1/2 a million people each year. It’s actually nuts.

    Headliners have included Bad Girl Riri, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, and Diplo. I’m not kidding when I say it’s some of the biggest names in music. But it doesn’t stop there; the festival has so many unique facets to it, like a circus and dance tents, and on a hot afternoon, you can cool off in the Danube. It has everything you could want for a summer festival.

    Tickets start at 239 Euros for the full six days, which, IMO, is an incredible offer considering so many festivals have passed the 500 mark for just a weekend of big-name artists.

    Where to Stay

    You can camp for FREE at Sziget with your weekend pass. You just have to stay for more than 2 consecutive days but can stay the full 6. Make sure you’re geared up well with our master camping checklist.

    Festival of Folk Art

    Two people carrying a basket wearing a traditional costume during the Festival of Folk Art
    Talking of cultural exploration!
    Photo: Top Budapest (Flickr)
    • When: August
    • Where: Castle District, Budapest

    Learn all about the history of the city at one of the most cultural festivals in Budapest. The Festival of Folk Art is a weekend of whimsy and old-timer traditions. Here you can explore the traditional Hungarian art forms, from music and dance to woodworking and blacksmithing.

    The festival is held in the Castle District, which makes for a stunning backdrop while enjoying traditional handcrafted arts and crafts from around Hungary.

    Over 1,000 vendors make their way from around the country to showcase their artwork, teach workshops, and represent their community. I love how this festival really encourages carrying on their traditions and cultures while celebrating them in a unique way.

    Each year, they make sure to highlight other countries from around the world to show their appreciation for other art forms. They host different children’s events as well, making this perfect for families. You’ll be able to explore the Buda Castle while soaking up some culture and watching the skilled artisans at work at this must-attend festival.

    Where to Stay

    This cozy loft is a great option for the Folk Festival. It comes with gorgeous views of the city and it’s just 350 meters from the center!

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    Budapest Summer Festival

    Lass drinking cold beer at festival in summer
    A few cold ones – essential.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde
    • When: June-August
    • Where: All over Budapest

    The summer season is full of festivals. Seriously, every weekend in Budapest something new is going on, and trying to decide which ones to go to and which ones to miss out on is a catch-22.

    But throughout the whole summer, you can always enjoy THE summer festival. It starts in early June and lasts through August, giving everyone visiting the city the opportunity to enjoy some music, open-air theatre, and a few dance performances here and there.

    It’s the perfect festival because if you happen to miss an event one night, there are about 100 more you can attend. That’s why Budapest is hands down one of Europe’s top party cities.

    The summer festival takes place on Margaret Island, and people from all over Hungary come to enjoy the programs in the summer. Everyone’s favorite venue is the open-air stage on the island. It’s the best way to enjoy the warm air of summer while listening to some of your favorite artists.

    Where to Stay

    Flow Spaces is the perfect place to stay for those on a budget but want a chic little stay. Lots of solo travelers stay here, and huge perk alert they have air conditioning!

    Budapest Wine Festival

    A glass of wine with a view of Budapest in the backdrop
    Photo: Budapest Events Guide (Flickr)
    • When: September
    • Where: Budapest

    Having a glass of wine on the terrace of a castle? Say less, I’m there immediately! The Budapest Wine Festival has everything a traveler could want.

    Firstly, it’s held inside the Buda castle, so you get to check off your historic tour for the day.

    Secondly, you’ll get to taste Hungarian wine from all over the country, so you’re getting to learn about the culture while also getting a little tipsy—win, win. Lastly, you’ll get to meet people from all over and have an incredible day together. What more could a traveler want in a day in a new city?

    I know I’ve most likely already convinced you, but a few more things about this wine festival in Budapest. The festival is usually held the first weekend in September, and it lasts for 4 days, giving attendees multiple opportunities to stop by and experience the wines from Hungary.

    Along with wines from all around, they also have winemakers doing demonstrations and loads of food vendors selling local eats to pair with your glass of red or white. It’s an all-day affair, and trust me—you want to take it slow. There are a lot of wines to try, and I’m usually not one to spit it out. So take your time, talk to some locals, and learn about the wine culture of Hungary.

    Where to Stay

    Why not splurge a little during the wine festival and stay close to the castle at Prestige Hotel Budapest. It has everything you need for a little bit of luxury while in the city.

    Jewish Summer Festival

    • When: September
    • Where: Budapest

    To experience one of the most cultural festivals in Budapest, I recommend heading to the city at the end of summer to discover the European Jewish heritage that runs so deeply in the city.

    It takes place a the Great Synagogue, which is Europe’s grandest synagogue and the second biggest in the world. It’s a breathtaking building that really brings the festival to life. The Jewish Summer Festival attracts people from all corners of the world for an entire week.

    Throughout the week, attendees can delight in a variety of Jewish music concerts – from lively klezmer and soulful string quartets to eclectic fusion jazz, captivating cabaret, and even enchanting pipe organ performances!

    This festival brings a different light to Jewish culture before and after WWII. Outside of the Great Synagogue, you can also visit the historic Goldmark Hall.

    This was the citadel of Jews in the past, and during the festival, you will learn about its significance since it was the only venue Jews were permitted to for a period of time during the war. It’s very eye-opening to watch the hall be packed with people during the festival and to think back to when it was packed every night so long ago.

    Where to Stay

    The Maison Bistro & Hotel is a gorgeous 4-star boutique hotel downtown. The chic rooms are quaint with little personal touches making it feel like you’re right at home.

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    Oktoberfest

    street food beer budapest hungary
    • When: October
    • Where: Budapest

    No trip to Budapest in October is complete without attending the Oktoberfest. Of course, maybe you’re thinking… if I’m this close to Munich, why wouldn’t I just attend the “real” Oktoberfest? And I have a few reasons for you.

    Firstly, Budapest is not expensive, the Oktoberfest here is much more affordable than in Munich. Not only do you save money on transportation costs, but there’s no entrance fee, and you can get a beer stein for almost nothing! This isn’t the case in Munich at all. They seriously like to take the piss when pricing things during Oktoberfest.

    And secondly, at Oktoberfest Budapest, you get to experience both German and Hungarian culture. This is the perfect place to experience both cultures in one place rather than jumping from city to city!

    Plus, the atmosphere at Oktoberfest Budapest is really electric, with traditional German music playing throughout the event and beer flowing freely. And let’s be real, after a few pints, will you even be able to tell where you are, ha!

    Where to Stay

    If you’re traveling with a group of friends, this Modern Apartment in the middle of Downtown near Danube at Fashion street will give you everything you and your crew need for a weekend in Budapest. The location allows for everyone to do their own thing at their own pace and then meet up for some beers at the festival.

    Christmas Fair and Winter Festival

    people gathered around local shops during Christmas Fair and Winter Festival
    Christmas has a different plot!
    Photo: Top Budapest (Flickr)
    • When: December
    • Where: Vörösmarty Sqr, Budapest

    Christmas time in Central Europe is seriously something special. It just brings all the sparkle back to the holidays that seemed to leave the older we got.

    The Christmas Fair and Winter Festival in Budapest is one of my favorite Christmas time events. It brings together traditional Hungarian crafts, foods, and drinks, as well as some of the country’s finest artists to put on amazing performances.

    What makes it even better is that it’s held right in Vörösmarty Square, one of the best places to visit in Budapest. The Square is located right in the heart of the city, so this festival is perfect to stop by while exploring the rest of the city or to have nightcap of mulled wine on your way to the hotel.

    The area is transformed into an enchanting Christmas haven with charming cottage-style wooden stalls and two outdoor stages. Walk through the booths to buy some handmade ornaments, warm up with a bowl of Hungarian goulash, and listen to folksy Christmas carols as you enjoy a glass of mulled wine. It’s the best festival in Budapest to get you in the Christmas spirit.

    Where to Stay

    Don’t miss out on this Rooftop City Residence hotel, where you’ll have all the best views of the city lit up for Christmas time. It’s located right next to the underground so you’ll be able to get all over the city in no time.

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    What To Pack For Your Budapest Trip

    You wanna ace your adventures on a shoestring budget? Well, it all starts with a solid packing list. These are a few ESSENTIAL items that anyone will need on the road.

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    Final Thoughts on Festivals in Budapest

    I was thoroughly surprised by all the excellent festivals going on in Budapest, the summers are definitely the best time to run into a festival in the city accidentally, but the festivals are so good that I think planning for one should be a high priority during your time in Budapest.

    Hungary has some of the best food, beautiful Roman architecture, and great nightlife that makes it so easy to find an amazing festival for you. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or listen to some local folk music, Budapest will deliver a good time.

    But if you’re like me and you’re looking for the ultimate festival in Budapest to attend, then I think it goes without saying—you have to go to Sziget Music Festival. It’s absolutely ball to the walls fun for 6 days of all-out party and music. It doesn’t get better than camping with a few friends and rocking out to some of the world’s best artists.

    Traditional Hungarian building with a tower reflecting on lake.
    If you can stay longer, I recommend it.
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde
    Looking for more info on visiting Budapest ?

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