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Around Budapest - Articles

2015 calendar of events and festivals in Hungary

Friday, March 6, 2015 — Ildi Amon

Throughout the year there are many festivals and major events taking place across Hungary. Whether you're looking for something to do in Budapest, or in another major city or regional town, there's sure to be something to keep you entertained, from music and gastro festivals, to cultural and sporting events - plus everything else in between. No matter what you're interested in, this handy calendar of events will keep you abreast of what's on.

CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED 2016 VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE!

Spring

Public Holiday National Day (15 March), nationally 
This holiday commemorates the 1848 Revolution against the Austrian Empire, with political speeches and military processions at Kossuth Lajos Square and the National Museum, as well as family activities at Buda Castle.

Budapest Restaurant Week (16 - 22 March), Budapest and elsewhere
Restaurant Week is about trying great restaurants at a reduced price. Find the list of participating restaurants here for the Spring Edition.

Lake Balaton Supermarathon (19 - 22 March), Lake Balaton
Start training to take part, or cheer on the runners. Details here.

Macaron Day (20 Mach), Budapest
Macaron-lovers, this is your day! Held annually to celebrate these sweet treats. Details here.

St Patrick's Day Parade (22 March), Budapest
Every year the Irish in Budapest (as well as anyone else who's interested) celebrate St Patrick's Day by wearing green and drinking Guinness. The parade starts at Szabadság Square in the afternoon and usually heads to a pub.

Hungarian Flavours Easter Market (27 - 29 March), Budapest
Find the flavours of Hungary as well as everything you might need to celebrate Easter in Budapest at Elizabeth Square.

National Táncház Festival and Fair (27 - 29 March), Budapest
folk dance and music festival where you can enjoy performance and workshops, as well as purchase authentic traditional clothes, jewellery, instruments, and folk arts and crafts.

Easter Festival (5 - 6 April), Hollókő
Thousands flock to this World Heritage listed village for a weekend of special Hungarian Easter traditions, including elaborate folk costumes, music, and crafts.

Titanic International Film Festival (10 18 April), Budapest  
The film festival operates as a competition and showcases films from all over the world, with the top film winning the Breaking Waves award.

Budapest Spring Festival (10 - 26 April), Budapest  
A huge festival showcasing Hungarian and international talent in many artistic genres. Dozens of venues host a variety of world-class performances during the spring festival including classical and contemporary music, opera, jazz and pop, world music, dance and contemporary circus, theatre and the visual arts. 

Budapest 100 (18 - 19 April), Budapest  
Celebrating Budapest’s 100-year-old buildings by helping people engage with them through guided tours, re-enactments of historic events, photo exhibitions, and attic tours.

Telekom Vivicittá Spring Half Marathon (19 April), Budapest
Start training to take part, or cheer on the runners. Details here.

International Book Festival Budapest (23 - 26 April), Budapest
Celebrating books from all over the world with renowned authors participating each year.

Budapest Dance Festival (27 April - 3 May), Budapest
See all genres of dance performed by international and local professional dancers. Details here.  

Rosalia (8 - 10 May), Budapest
Fancy some Rosé or sparkling wine, with a bit of jazz and some delicious bites? Then Rosalia is for you.

Coca Cola Wake Your Body Women's Run (17 May), Budapest
Start training to take part, or cheer on the runners. Details here.

Gourmet Festival (21 - 24 May), Budapest 
Sample from almost all of Hungary’s top restaurants at one location, and taste gourmet Hungarian cuisine at its best. The event is a must for those who love Hungarian gastronomy from the pearls of the countryside to Budapest’s star chefs.

Mayfest at the Opera House (15 May - 1 June), Budapest
This year the May festivities of the Opera House coincide with the Faust225 Festival. Details here.

Museum Festival (May), Budapest
Organised by the Hungarian National Museum, the aim is the join forces between Budapest's museums and showcase art and cultural heritage. Details here.

Budapest Pride March (date TBA), Budapest
A day celebrating and advocating for LGBTQ rights 365 days a year. Details here.

Summer

Photo: Balázs Mohai/Sziget Festival

Danube Carnival International Multicultural Festival (6 - 26 June), Budapest 
This carnival aims to promote Hungarian culture while providing plenty of multicultural experiences too. Details here

Budapest Summer Festival (6 June - 31 August), Budapest  
Enjoy live music from a number of genres with this performance series that takes place at grand amphitheaters at Margaret Island and Városmajor Park.  

Open Road Festival (10 - 14 June), Lake Balaton 
Hungary’s largest annual motorcycle rider festival

"Wagner in Budapest" Opera Festival (11 - 24 June), Budapest
Featuring the world famous The Ring of the Nibelung tetralogy, you can also enjoy Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. The artistic director and conductor of this year's Wagner in Budapest will again be Ádám Fischer.

Fishing on Orfű (17 - 20 June), Orfű 
A popular music festival with locals, showcasing all genres of Hungarian music on multiple stages including pop, rock, hip-hop and more.

Budapest Essentials (25 - 28 June), Budapest
 
An urban festival that uncovers the essence of the city, including epic venues and clubs, exclusive museums and spas, and cool bars and restaurants. 

Danube Day (29 June), all along the Danube
Celebrate the Danube in Budapest. Details here.

Night of the Museums (June), nationally 
Visit dozens of Budapest’s museums by night with an all-inclusive ticket that opens up all participating museums to you. This is more than an evening of museum visits, there are special cultural program too. Details here.

Budapest Beer Festival (June), Budapest  
Sample from almost 200 different types of beers and ciders in the magical setting of Buda Castle at the Budapest Beer Festival

Főzdefeszt + Street Food Show (June), Budapest  
A festival celebrating beers of all kinds, including craft beers and international specialties, plus the scene is packed with street-food vendors so Főzdefeszt is guaranteed to be great. 

Judafest (dates TBA), Budapest
Free gigs, children's entertainment, food and drink specialties, and an all-day street fair, Judafest showcases the best of the cultural life and the culinary delicacies that the vibrant Budapest downtown and the historic Jewish Quarter offer.

Movement's Night (date TBA), Budapest
Get your body moving with various fun forms of fitness at Heroes' Square and City Park... the difference is that you can get moving late at night, between 10pm and 4am! Details here.

Czech Beer Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
Dozens of Czech beers and a great summer atmosphere. Details here.

Szeged Open-Air Festival (summer) Szeged
 
See live music of all genres at various open-air venues in the Hungarian city of Szeged.

Volt (1 - 4 July), Sopron  
About 150 performers, on 10 stages, partying with about 100,000 other youngsters - yet Volt still retains a friendly atmosphere. Best yet the sound wave of pop/rock, alternative, metal, folk/world, jazz and electronica takes place in the middle of a green forest. 

Red Bull Air Race World Championships (4 - 5 July), Budapest
See the world's best pilots compete in a high speed, low altitude and extreme manoeuvrability race. A spectacle like no other. Details here.

Balaton Sound (9 - 12 July), Zamárdi  
One of Europe’s best beach parties takes place on the shores of Lake Balaton. There’s an all-star cast of DJs, electronic and live acts, hip-hop artists, and bands, but at Balaton Sound a seaside lounge also awaits when you want to chill by the water. 

Bull's Blood Festival in Eger (9 - 12 July), Eger
A lovely summer festival with live music and sunshine in one of Budapest's most beautiful little cities: Eger. And the best thing is that you can taste Hungary's most famous red wine, Bull's Blood of Eger right at the source. Wine-lovers put this in your diary. Details here.

EFOTT (14 - 19 July), Velence 
A music festival that is about so much more; EFOTT has cultural and sporting programs and a focus on summer freedom. 

VeszprémFest (15 - 19 July), Veszprém  
A music and cultural event in Veszprém that strives to present the highest quality in many different musical genres year after year.   

Bánkitó Fesztivál (16 - 18 July), Bánki Lake 
A music festival by Bánki lake in regional Hungary. 

Borsodi Kingdom of Hegyalja (16 - 19 July), Tokaj 
Music and cultural events galore at this summer festival in the famous Hungarian wine region of Tokaj.     

Utcazene Festival (22 - 25 July), Veszprém 
A street music festival in regional Hungary. 

Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix (24 - 26 July), Budapest
One of the biggest races in the F1 calendar takes place right here in Budapest. Details here.

Valley of Arts (24 July - 2 August), Kapolcs and region 
The streets and courtyards of Kapolcs and surrounding villages attract thousands with rows of craft stalls, live music, and traditional events for what is an increasingly popular yet down-to-earth event.

Kékszalag (July), Lake Balaton  
“Kékszalag” means Blue Ribbon, and this sailing race has a great tradition on Lake Balaton. The regatta starts and ends at the Balatonfüred harbor. 

Ördögkatlan Fesztivál (4 - 8 August), Baranya county 
A multicultural event in four small villages in Baranya county.   

Sziget Festival (10 - 17 August), Budapest  
One of Europe’s most popular festivals, Sziget Festival attracts revellers from all over the world to the Island of Freedom. Seven days of huge headliners, music of all genres, extravagant entertainment and meeting other party people. It’s an unforgettable experience. 

B.My.Lake (19 - 22 August), Lake Balaton, Zamárdi  
Taking place right after Sziget, many partygoers from the Island of Freedom in Budapest relocate to the shores of Lake Balaton for the B.My.Lake music festival. 

Strand Nagyon Zene Festival (19 - 22 August), Zamárdi  
Strand Festival is about two things and two things only: music and the beach, and this is pretty much the perfect combination for summer. Music-wise there are loads of Hungary’s top bands as well as some international acts. 

Festival of Folk Arts (days leading to August 20), Budapest
A famous festival held in Buda Castle where Hungarian folk arts and traditions are celebrated in the historic setting of Buda Castle. The Festival of Folk Arts is a must-see summer event. 

Public Holiday: Saint Stephen’s Day and Foundation of Hungary (20 August), nationally 
A day celebrating Hungary’s first king – St. Stephen – as well as the foundation of Hungary. There’s a special mass at St. Stephen’s Basilica, the procession of St. Stephen’s Holy Right Hand, open-air concerts, a “national cake” chosen, food stalls along the banks of the Danube, as well as huge fireworks over the Danube at night. 

Virágkarnevál (August), Debrecen 
See vibrant flowers and floral decorations at this flower carnival that has a history dating back to the 1960s.   

Jewish Summer Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
This multi-art event series introduces Jewish culture and the traditions of many other nations and is one of the biggest Jewish cultural festival in Europe. Details here.

Budapest Pálinka and Sausage Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
Celebrating one of Hungary's favourite culinary combinations in the spectacular setting of Buda Castle. Hundreds of vendors come to show their pálinka distillates, while visitors may also enjoy sampling handcrafted sausages, cheeses and other meat-based products. 

Vajdahunyadvár Summer Music Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
A summer music festival in an enchanting setting. Details here.

Nagyon Balaton events, multiple times and locations 
Lake Balaton is one of Hungary’s favourite tourist spots, all year round, but especially in summer. See Nagyon Balaton’s events page for the details of events coming up all around the Balaton.

Fall

Photo: Budapest Marathon

Budapest Short Film Festival (1 - 6 September), Budapest
BuSho helps develop and present the Eastern European audiovisual sector, especially young filmmakers. Besides the film competition element there are plenty of screenings, film and art workshops and more.

Budapest Wine Festival (9 - 13 September), Budapest
With many of the best wine makers, this festival presents the very best of Hungary's wineries at Buda Castle. Details here.

Wizz Air Budapest Half Marathon (13 September), Budapest
Start training to take part, or cheer on the runners. Details here.

National Gallop (September), Budapest
Held each year this major cultural event is a special Hungarian event where Heroes' Square is transformed into a horse racing track. It celebrates the old and the new and brings together 1000 years of horsing tradition in Hungary.

Art Market (8 – 11 October), Budapest
An international contemporary art fair; browse and buy at Art Market.

Spar Budapest International Marathon (11 October), Budapest
Start training to take part, or cheer on the runners. Details here.

Pig Slaughter and Sausage Festival (16 - 18 October), Budapest 
With winter coming, it is time to stock up the pantry. Experience the traditional pig slaughter atmosphere, try Hungarian delicacies and just wait until dark, when the party really starts!

Csabai Sausage Festival (22 - 25 October), Békéscsaba
A famous sausage festival in regional Hungary where you can make and try the famous Csabai sausage. 

Public holiday commemorating 1956 Hungarian Revolution (23 October), nationally
October 23 is a day that commemorates the 1956 Hungarian revolution and is marked by a range of national events and a public holiday. Read more here about last year's events.

Budapest Design Week (October), Budapest
This year's Budapest Design Week will focus on the best of Hungarian design both from the capital and from regional areas. The international guest of honour will be Spain.

Oktoberfest (October), Budapest 
Drink litres of beer, while listening to live music. Why? It's Oktoberfest!

St. Martin's Day Festival (11 November), Budapest
St. Martin's Day is often celebrated with a festival at Vajdahunyad Castle where goose dishes and the season's first new wines and drunk. The festival also includes live folk music, and craft markets.

Contemporary Drama Festival (28 November - 8 December), Budapest
Workshops and performance of contemporary drama - find the new even in the contemporary. Details here.

Museums Autumn Festival (dates TBA), Budapest 
Autumn is a delightful time to explore Budapest's museums. Details here

Budapest International Film Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
While dates are not yet finalised, there are indications the first BIFF will be this year.

CAFe Budapest Contemporary Art Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
Hungary's premier festival celebrating contemporary arts including productions in classical and pop music, jazz and dance, contemporary music and opera, theatre and contemporary circus, evenings of literature, and visual art and design exhibits. 

Foie Gras Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
This festival at Elizabeth Square is all about a typical Hungarian culinary favourite - foie gras, the event details for 2015 have not yet been released, keep an eye out here.

Sweet Days (dates TBA), Budapest
A chocolate and candy festival that is for the sweet tooth in everyone, the event details for 2015 have not yet been released, keep an eye out here.

Bridging Europe (dates TBA), Budapest
Each year, the Bridging Europe Festival seeks to highlight the culture of a different European nation, mostly through its music. It's a joint program by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Palace of Arts.

Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
Showing documentaries as well as awarding the best documentaries in the genre. Details here.

Cake Festival (dates TBA), Budapest
This festival provides opportunity for the best patisseries and confectioneries to come together and display their best cakes, slices and other sweets. Details here.

Tennis Classics (dates TBA), Budapest
See some of the world's best tennis players hit it out at the Papp László Budapest Sport Arena when they come to town for the Tennis Classics.

Winter

Photo: lauradombai - Instagram

Nutcracker Festival (December), Budapest
Each year the Hungarian State Opera hosts the Nutcracker Festival with special Christmas performances of the ballet. There are also special Nutcracker-themed installations, as well as a Christmas tree and craft markets outside the Opera building. Book tickets early as tickets sell out fast.

Christmas markets (December), multiple locations 
Each year Christmas markets are held in public squares throughout Budapest. Some of the biggest and most famous are at the square in front of St. Stephen's Basilica, while another is at Vörösmarty Square.   

New Year's Eve (31 December), nationally
Aside from the many parties organised in Budapest clubs and pubs, there are free public parties in some of the major public spaces such as at Oktogon and Nyugati Railway Station.

Farsang (6 January - Ash Wednesday), nationally
Farsang is Hungary's version of Carnival and is held in the lead up to the pre-Easter lent period. It's characterised by masquerade balls, special food and parties. Read more about Farsang here.

Miskolci Kocsonya Farsang (5 - 8 February), Miskolc
Try Hungarian meat jelly and celebrate various Farsang traditions at Miskolc in eastern Hungary.

Mangalica Festival (6 - 8 February), Budapest 
Celebrating this famous Hungarian pig called mangalica with an event where you can try mangalitsa in all forms, listen to live music and browse the craft stalls.

Busójárás (12 - 17 February), Mohács
A traditional celebration during Carnival (“Farsang”) where men from the town of Mohács wear scary masks and furry costumes. This is either to scare away the Turks (during the Ottoman occupation) or the winter, depending on which theory you believe. In reality it’s a fun tradition-rich festival where men in masks chase women, and there’s music and craft stalls too.

Torkos Csütörtök / Fat Thursday (19 February), Budapest
Celebrate the final day before lenten fasting begins in the Christian tradition, by engaging in a big eating extravaganza. Participating restaurants and eateries offer 50% off their meals. See list here.

Budapest Fish Festival (19 - 22 February), Budapest
This year at Vajdahunyad Castle, try all kinds of fish at the annual Fish Festival. Taste a number of traditional Hungarian fish dishes such as fish soup and fish paprikash. 

Restaurant Day (multiple dates), Budapest 
Held numerous times throughout the year in line with international Restaurant Day, individuals and small groups set up one-day restaurants and everyone else can go and enjoy some fine food.

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