The warm and sunny spring usually starts at the end of March or the beginning of April. Suddenly people pour out to streets and parks. Budapest gets filled with life and love.
Just walk along the Andrássy Avenue on a warm and sunny afternoon and taste the glamorous feeling of the Budapest spring! Relieved people appear on public places, on the Danube Promenade, Margaret Island, Gellert Hill and basically all open air cafés. The culture opens up and recaptures the outdoors along with the party scenes, all summer places start to open in May. The spring months are the best months to combine your Budapest stay with short excursions. The weather is just perfect for strolling around the historic castles of Visegrád, the majestic basilica of Esztergom or the cute artistic town of Szentendre along the picturesque Danube shore.
The winter has been expelled by the traditional Hungarian “busójárás” in Mohács. This is an extremely exciting carnival by the end of February attracting tens of thousands of visitors every year, where locals dress up like demons in fur and in horrifying masks. The tradition has become part of the UNESCO Cultural World heritage. Mohács is a little far from Budapest, but it is worth the overnight trip when combining with the visit to Pécs and Villány!
If you’re looking for refined cultural events, then spring is also your season!
At the Budapest Spring Festival you can meet the greatest stars of performing arts since 1981. You can find almost anything from classical music concerts to alternative theatrical performances. Don’t miss to visit the Palace of Arts, the most amazing cultural center and concert hall in Central Europe!
The biggest outdoor village museum complex in Central Europe the Skanzen awaits you with several attractions for the entire family. It can be a wole-day program. You can travel within the Skanzen with a restored old timer railway. Get to know the rich Hungarian folklore heritage in the Skanzen’s thematized regions, taste local specialties and buy lovely folk art souvenirs!
Wine and Food Festival
Hungarian Pálinka Fair, Budai Gourmand wine, champagne and cheese festival, Etyek open cellar festival are the finest examples of our gastronomical traditions. We try hard to surpass adolescence and re-enter the quality based group consumption. Stand in line and get out of shape for a half day. No regrets, for sure.
National Gallop (Nemzeti Vágta)
This little nation of Central-Europe used to be a migrating nation – and that is why we love our horses, our ground and countryside, where the visitor will go back several, decades and centuries. If you think it is too far and complicated to experience the real countryside, just join the National Gallop fest at heroes square, inspired by the legendary Siena’s horserace, ‘Il Palio’. On the Andrássy Avenue you can get to know the contestant cities and villages at their stands, on the gastro promenade you can taste organic foods of different regions, you can try several pálinkas, spirits and wines. Come to the national gallop and get the hussar-feeling for a day!
We say goodbye to winter with our first national holiday in the New Year – the celebration of the 1848-49 revolution and war of independence when the heroes of the nation fought for freedom against the Habsburg dynasty.
Everyone proudly wears a cockade on their coats, showing that we remember the heroic times one by one. This one is a truly characteristic event; most of the country –but mainly Budapest – dresses up in national colors. Elevated speeches, poems echo throughout Hungary. If the enthusiastic traveler wishes to receive a narrow picture of what hides in all Hungarians’ hearts should join the celebrating crowd around Budapest’s museums – namely the National Museum- where Sándor Petőfi the poet of the nation recited the poem of the revolution: Nemzeti dal. The youth of March also declared the 12 pont , demands to the Habsburg governor , on the same spot.
The actions started peacefully when radical intellectuals marched through the city, and claimed their demands: independency and reformation of the society. The Habsburgs showed willingness and let the revolutionaries establish the Hungarian independent government. But later changed their minds and sent troops onto Hungarian ground to regain their fading power over Hungary. This led into the war of independence which ended tragically from the Hungarian point of view in 1849.
The crowd of people gathers around major locations where the olden revolutionaries went to in 1848 and to later erected memorials such as statue of Petőfi by the vicinity of Erzsébet Bridge, or Batthiany Örökmécses in one of the streets behind the Parliament. The main stream of our most nationalistic national holiday is remembering through poems, brilliant pieces of speeches and high-class Hungarian folkdance performances.
Easter is hard to define for the generations of the 21st century because in the communist era all Christian activities were suppressed and forbidden. For this reason folkloristic elements became more intense and later mixed with religious ones. Nowadays people show preference for both. But surely no one would lay the table without ham and boiled eggs on Easter Monday - as this is the first day when meat is allowed after the Lent.
Easter Monday is also a day for the boys to go around houses where pretty girls live and sprinkle them with smelly perfume. But there are boys who prefer the less considerate way of sprinkling a girl. In this case she will surely get soaking wet after receiving a bucket of water onto her head. It is a question whether the lady is willing to give a red painted egg as a present or not. But the tradition is this, no doubt about it.
To experience these Easter traditions in real the traveler must visit the outdoor village museum in Szentendre or browse the events of countryside tourism.
Naturally all churches' gates are open too on Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Sunday.
It is a worldwide holiday. Basically the Hungarian people use this day for getting away from cities, work and computers and indulge themselves with the awakening nature's blessings. But those who decide to stay in Budapest would not be disappointed either. We used to celebrate the day of Trade Unions and the day of Labor with marching along wide avenues. But this phenomenon is part of history, now we gather in huge parks - Városliget, Margitsziget or Hajógyári sziget and enjoy light canteen food and beer and obviously the customary performances and concerts to create the real spring atmosphere.
Tastes of sping
Szamóca (strawberry)– Hungarians love their big, juicy, red strawberries. They usually get to store shelves around May. Buy a box of strawberries and nibble it on a shadowy bank by the Danube!
Vattacukor (cotton candy)– Cotton candy is very popular in Hungary. It is usually sold in parks in the spring and summer months. It is available on wooden sticks, in all colors of the rainbow! Must have for children and lovers!
Bodza szörp (elderberry syrup)– Making of elderberry syrup has long lasting traditions. It is made of the flowers of the elderberry tree, mixed with sugar and water. It can be truly refreshing in hot hours!
Fröccs (Hungarian spritzer)–
Wine plus soda? Is that good?? It definitely is!! Hungarian pubs offer a great variety of spritzers ranging by size, wine content, and wine type (white, red or rosé). There is no need for buying an expensive wine to enjoy your spritzer, simple table wines can serve perfectly!
The Easter brekfast!!– The biggest gastronomic event in spring is the Easter breakfast, eaten on Easter Sunday, our personal favorite! It consists of cooked ham, sausages, boiled eggs, the salty-poppy Easter cake, vegetables, quark and horseradish above all! Next day it is followed by traditional dishes made of lamb. If you have the opportunity to join in, you shouldn’t miss this event!