The Hungarian capital boasts many exciting events all year round, including local food fairs, rowdy music festivals, inspiring art displays, invigorating sports matches, spectacular national holidays, and so much more. In this continually updated guide, we present the basics about all kinds of public gatherings happening in Budapest throughout 2017, including links for more information on every event – whether you’re visiting Budapest sometime this year or you live in the city and want to learn what’s going on around town, this handy guide has you covered!
Mulled Wine Festival 13 January, Allee Shopping Center
The aroma of soul-warming concoctions wafts in the air along the outdoor promenade near Allee, where mugfuls of intoxicating drinks are served for visitors, including cinnamon-infused mulled wine, potent grogs, and special hot beer, while tea, coffee, and hot chocolate are offered for those who want to sip on alcohol-free liquids.
More details V4 JazzFest 13-14 January, Budapest Jazz Club
Outstanding ensembles from the “Visegrád Four” (an alliance of four Central European states, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic) hit the stage at the city’s prominent live-music hotspot to entertain jazz aficionados with top-quality performances, while the event aims to create a stronger musical bond between the four countries.
More details Zúzmara Winter Half Marathon 14 January, Hungexpo Budapest Fair Center
Hardcore runners gather at the Hungexpo (Budapest’s extensive fair center in District X) premises to tackle a half marathon in the midst of winter. The race starts at 10am, while from 1:45pm participants can challenge themselves over a 10-kilometer or a 5-kilometer distance during the Running Festival, happening at the same place in the afternoon.
More details The Grand Chinese New Year Concert 16 January, Palace of Arts
East meets West at this grand gala concert held at Budapest’s contemporary cultural center, where the Chinese Traditional Orchestra of the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater entertains the audience with an expressive music and dance show, using traditional Asian instruments.
More details Wedding Exhibition 28-29 January, Papp László Budapest Sportaréna
From picturesque settings to first-class services, Budapest provides many attractions for spectacular weddings, and every year many couples decide to tie the knot in Hungary’s capital. Whether you are planning a small ceremony with a few guests or a lavish party with extravagant scenes, this fair has everything that is essential for a perfectly planned wedding, including breathtaking wedding dresses, elaborate decorations, fragrant flowers, or the trendiest hair and make-up styles.
Finnish Film Days 8-12 February, Toldi Cinema
Nine superb Finnish films, including fiction stories and documentaries, screen for five days a popular Budapest art-house theater. The event is complete with various workshops and discussions about the contemporary film industry, while musical programs entertain guests after the movies. All of the films screen with original Finnish audio and English and Hungarian subtitles, unless mentioned otherwise.
More details Mangalica Festival 10-12 February, Szabadság Square
Every February, Szabadság Square hosts a traditional local jamboree dedicated to Hungary’s prized pig, where a variety of Mangalica-based meals are cooked alfresco, while visitors can feast on the ready-made dishes and wash down the hearty treats with local alcoholic drinks, including wines and pálinka specialties. The festival, accessible for anyone free of charge, is complete with live-music performances and a traditional handicraft fair.
More details Budapest Fish Festival 10-12 February, Vajdahunyad Castle
Talented chefs of participating restaurants present mouthwatering meals made of freshwater fish from the lakes and rivers of Hungary, alongside a variety of international treats, including sushi, Russian caviar, or English fish & chips.
More details Budapest Dance Festival 18 February-1 March, multiple locations
Several professional dance formations bring stunning shows onstage during this lively event that features numerous local and international performers, including from countries like the Netherlands, Scotland, and Spain, all happening across some of Budapest's major cultural hotspots, like the , the MOM Cultural Center, the , the , and the .
More details Budapest Boat Show 23-26 February, Hungexpo Budapest Fair Center
Visitors to the city’s sprawling fair center can admire a wide variety of sailboats, electronic vessels, and motorboats, alongside boating accessories like technical outerwear, footwear, apparel, and boating gear, all presented in one place. Besides the impressive ships and fresh innovations, marine lovers can join thematic programs during the four-day show, like a knot-tying competition and much more.
More details Ball of Hungarian Wines 25 February, Corinthia Hotel Budapest
Aromatic libations flow amid deluxe settings at the annual Ball of Hungarian Wines, welcoming an elite crowd of wine experts alongside a number of cultural figures and envoys, all coming together to savor 100 of the country’s top-notch reds and whites, alongside creatively served gourmet delicacies.
More details Háry Estély – A Night for Guardians and Artists 25 February, Hungarian State Opera
Every year, a number of influential businesspeople and artists show up at the Hungarian State Opera to celebrate together at one of the city’s most stylish Carnival galas. In 2017, the theme of the event embraces a Hungarian folk opera, Háry János, by renowned Magyar composer Zoltán Kodály, while Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Latvian tenor Aleksandr Antonenko perform at the ball as special guest stars.
More details Budapest Photo Festival 28 February-30 April, multiple locations
A two-month-long photography festival adds fresh color to Budapest’s buzzing arts scene, when some of the city’s major cultural institutions host exhibitions displaying Hungarian and international images that represent both contemporary and classic photography. The Budapest Projekt Galéria serves as the center of the event, but exhibitions are happening at multiple venues citywide, including the , , and many of Budapest’s art galleries.
Torkos Csütörtök (“Fat Thursday” in Hungarian) 2 March, multiple locations
Engage in a gluttonous feast the day after Ash Wednesday and devour hearty meals at any of the many participating eateries that offer select dishes from their menu at a 50% discount during Fat Thursday. For more information about the list of restaurants that serve discounted meals on this day, check out the event’s website (available in Hungarian only).
More details Budapest Architecture Film Days 2-5 March, Toldi Cinema
Organized annually by the Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Center, this motion-picture event presents and examines the correlation between the movie industry and architecture. This year’s program aims to highlight the metamorphosis of Budapest and the changes in the city’s construction practices.
More details Travel Exhibition 2-5 March, Hungexpo Budapest Fair Center
Browse hundreds of colorful catalogues presented by representatives of the international and local travel sector, and pick your dream destination at Budapest’s annual Travel Exhibition that welcomes casual holidaymakers and hardcore globetrotters by offering a selection of journeys spanning Hungary and faraway lands. This year, the event tackles the newest trends in the tourism sector, including the role of social media and digital innovations that affect the industry.
More details Public Holiday – observance of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution 15 March, honored nationally
On March 15th, several historic sites welcome the public countrywide to commemorate Hungary’s 1848 Revolution against the oppressive Austrian Empire, with political speeches, military processions, and free programs. The main venues of the event in Budapest include , the Hungarian National Museum, and the Buda Castle. Find out more about the events that went down on this day in our article about Hungary’s March 15th holiday.
More details Budapest Cup – International Synchronized Skating Competition 16-19 March, Tüskecsarnok Ice Rink
Budapest’s spacious indoor ice rink presents spectacular stunts on ice performed by attractively dressed teams that move as one flowing unit on a mirror-smooth surface. Fascinating figures combine with various dance forms to heat up the scenes, while pulsating music emanates from the speakers and sparkling garments dazzle audiences.
More details VinCE Budapest Wine Show 17-19 March, Corinthia Hotel Budapest
Prime libations from Hungary and Central Europe star at the VinCE Budapest Wine Show that welcomes wine experts on the opening day, and then all wine lovers on Saturday and Sunday. Besides the Magyar-made wines, visitors can sample some of Hungary’s potent pálinka specialties with just one ticket during this event happening at the deluxe Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
More details St. Patrick’s Day Parade 19 March, Szabadság SquareEvery year, the Irish rock Budapest with a St. Patrick’s Day jamboree, where revelers dress in green and drink Guinness while marching through the city center. Although St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th, the procession in Budapest this year takes place on Sunday, March 19th to allow as many people to attend as possible. The fascinating fiesta usually concludes in a pub, where the party continues all night long.More details
International Macaron Day 20 March, multiple locations
Dedicated to the flavorful French macaron, this vibrant get-together stimulates the taste buds of Budapest’s sweet-toothed crowd, and during the event visitors can immerse in a variety of the scrumptious meringue-based confection, while macaron-baking workshops provide guidance to those who want to recreate the colorful cakes. The event spans multiple confectioneries, including Cake Shop, Chez Dodo, Gerbaud Confectionery, and Desszert.Neked.
More details Get Closer Budapest Jazz Fest 24-26 March, MOM Cultural Center
Renowned names of the international jazz culture play contemporary tunes of the genre at this year’s Get Closer Festival. Performers include American jazz-rock guitarist Jon Scofield, French accordionist Richard Galliano, American jazz double bassist Ron Carter, and the Erik Truffaz Quartet from Switzerland.
More details Budapest Spring Festival 31 March-23 April, multiple locations
More than 120 vibrant programs warm visitors’ hearts across nearly 40 different venues in the city during the Budapest Spring Festival, featuring local and international talents of several artistic genres. Programs include operas, jazz concerts, contemporary circus shows, orchestra performances, and more, happening at such prominent venues as the , the , the , and the .
More details Budapest Spring Fair 31 March-30 April, Vörösmarty Square
Downtown Budapest’s scenic Vörösmarty Square is filled with flowers, alongside traditional and modern folk-art displays, local artisans offering handcrafted merchandise, and platefuls of traditional Hungarian meals during this fair that welcomes spring in the city.
Titanic International Film Festival 6-13 April, multiple locations
Art-house theaters, multiplex cinemas, and prominent event locales provide space for select motion pictures during Hungary’s most popular international film festival, an event that is eagerly anticipated by the film industry each year. Titanic features international films that are not distributed in Hungary, or will only be available in the country after a delay. The films are screened with original audio and no subtitles, but simultaneous Hungarian translation is usually available through headphones.
More details 32nd Telekom Vivicitta Spring Half Marathon 8-9 April, Margaret Island
The city’s sprawling Margaret Island is the starting line of a two-day spring jogging jamboree, featuring challenges of diverse distances, including a 10-kilometer Vivicitta and a 21-kilometer half marathon on Sunday, while on Saturday the focus is on shorter races for less-experienced runners. Boost your fitness level to take part, or come cheer for the runners.
More details International Book Festival Budapest 20-23 April, Millenáris Park
Presenting books by authors from around the world, the International Book Festival features a mix of cultural programs, like meetings with writers, book-signing sessions, book launches, roundtable discussions, concerts, and more. This year, Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk attends as the guest of honor at the event.
More details Hyperspace Electronic Music Festival 22 April, Hungexpo Budapest Fair Center
World-class DJs spin discs at this surreal electronica extravaganza happening on the Hungexpo premises, where headliners include Chris Liebing and the Kaiserdisco from Germany, Italy’s Sam Paganini, Rebekah from the UK, GABOR KRAFT from Hungary, and many other prominent local and international music masters.
More details Budapest100 22-23 April multiple locations along the Danube
Budapest’s century-old buildings are in the spotlight of the annual Budapest100 program series, with this year’s event highlighting the historic edifices found along the Danube Quay between Rákóczi Bridge and Árpád Bridge. Those who join the event can peek into many of the buildings that will be open to the public for visiting, while we can learn about the pros and cons of life at this unique location from people who reside or work here.
More details National Táncház Festival and Fair 22-23 April, Papp László Budapest Sportaréna
View a diverse range of traditional acts onstage, performed by musicians, dancers, and artists from all over the Carpathian Basin at this vibrant folklore festival. Besides the musical gigs, visitors can join varied workshops, or purchase traditional folk-art merchandise, including apparel and accessories, while Serbia’s Boban Marković Orkestar fills the arena with good vibes on Sunday.
Food Truck Show Budapest 5-7 May, Kincsem Park
The revolution of culinary trucks seems unstoppable in Budapest, and an ever-increasing number of fresh gastronomy experiments roll into our lives each year. This alfresco gastronomy spectacle aims to divert the food-filled vehicles to one location, providing gourmands with the chance to try a variety of handheld treats, including succulent burgers, innovatively served sausages, zesty barbecue treats, alongside many other mouthwatering meals and high-spirited drinks.
More details Night of Art Cinemas, 12 May, multiple locations
A single wristband grants visitors entry for one night to many of Budapest’s art cinemas, where movies of different genres screen until sunrise, including comedies, dramas, sci-fi, and animation films, many of them playing in their original language with Hungarian or English subtitles. More information about this year’s event will appear closer to the date.
More details Rosalia – Rosé and Champagne Festival 12-14 May, Városliget (City Park)
The annual Rosalia Festival awaits a bibulous crowd with refreshing rosé wines, fizzy champagnes, and superb sparkling libations, all served across the sprawling ground of Budapest’s City Park. A diverse range of traditional and new-wave street-food treats accompanies the intoxicating drinks, while live jazz tunes help lift visitors’ spirits high.
More details Gourmet Festival 18-21 May, Millenáris Park
Many of Hungary’s top restaurants set up stalls at one location to proffer delicate dishes to epicures during this prominent gastronomy festival. Besides the high-class eateries, the event will feature excellent wineries, confectioneries, and other prime representatives of the Hungarian gastronomy scene from Budapest and the countryside.
More details Belgian Beer Festival, 19-21 May, Bálna Budapest
Many of Belgium’s renowned breweries are present at this hop-scented festival with a fine selection of intoxicating suds, and besides the alcoholic treats, visitors can binge on flavorful bites, including Budapest’s finest street-food treats.
More details Mayday of Museums Festival, 20-21 May, Hungarian National Museum
Filling the gardens of the Hungarian National Museum with diverse open-air displays, this annual cultural festivity allows visitors to learn about many major Budapest museums while enjoying various family-friendly programs and listening to cool concerts. This year’s main theme is “museums in gardens – gardens and museums”, investigating the questions of protecting and cultivating nature and the city’s green areas, recycling, and an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Brain Bar Budapest 1-3 June, Akvárium Klub
Esteemed thinkers from around the world gather in Hungary’s capital for future-focused presentations and no-nonsense debates. Masterminds this year include the co-founder of Pirate Bay Peter Sunde, professor of astrobiology Carol Cleland, director of the Center for the Future of Intelligence Stephen Cave, and Simone Giertz, the queen of Shitty Robots.
More details Kolorádó Festival 7-11 June, Adyliget, Nagykovácsi Pulsating techno tunes are heard from a secret location found deep in the Buda Hills that serves as a quiet hiking destination on an ordinary day, but turns into a wild party ground during the Kolorádó Festival, a multi-day alfresco jamboree that was added to Budapest’s colorful festival scene in 2016. Come here to chill during daytime, celebrate with thousands of revelers when the night falls down, retreat to your tent under the starry skies, and repeat.
More details Czech Beer Festival 9-18 June, WestEnd City Center
Popular and lesser-known artisanal Czech beers are available for sampling during this suds-filled fiesta that presents a range of genuine specialties from microbreweries. Check out the event’s Facebook page closer to the date to find out more about the list of participating breweries this year.
More details Budapest Summer Festival 9 June-31 August, multiple locations
From classical concerts to captivating circus shows to soaring opera performances, summer days bring a variety of outdoor live performances to the city’s sprawling parklands, including and Városmajor Park.
More details Total Dance Festival Picnic 17 June, Kincsem Park
Legendary formations from the ’80s and ’90s provide time-transcending entertainment to revelers amid impressive visuals as the city blasts a mind-blowing house-party atmosphere, with bands performing this year like the Five, Real McCoy, 2 Unlimited, and Londonbeat – all happening at Budapest’s Kincsem Park horse-racing facility.
More details Night of the Museums 24 June, multiple locations
Several of Budapest’s exhibition places are accessible with an all-inclusive ticket that provides entry for visitors to all participating museums during the night. This year, the event’s theme will embrace the concept of preserving values, while Debrecen has been appointed as a honorary capital of the program this year.
Red Bull Air Race 1-2 July, over the Danube in downtown Budapest
The downtown Danube banks are filled with spectators from all over the globe who come here to see some of the world’s best pilots performing extreme stunts in the air right above the river, using the fastest, most agile, and lightweight racing planes ever.
More details Vajdahunyad Castle Summer Music Festival 3 July-August 17, Vajdahunyad Castle
A month-long music festival enchants guests amid scenic settings at Vajdahunyad Castle within City Park, featuring symphonic concerts, Gypsy music, jazz performances, and much more.
More details FINA World Championships 14 July-August 20, multiple locations
In 2017, Hungary is the host country of this biennial aquatic sports attraction with swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming, and water-polo contests happening in Budapest and Balatonfüred. Locations in the Hungarian capital include the Dagály Aquatics Arena and the Alfréd Hajós Complex on Margaret Island, while temporary pools will be installed near Batthyány Square by the Danube and at Városliget Lake in City Park. The FINA World Championships span July 14-30th, and these events are followed by the FINA World Masters Championships happening between August 7-20th.
More details Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix 28-30 July, Hungaroring
One of the world’s greatest motor-sports events draws thousands of global fans to the Hungaroring racecourse for more than three decades now, where the planet’s fastest drivers speed around the track to earn a champagne shower at the finish line. The adrenaline-fueled extravaganza is complete with lavish after-parties, happening at Budapest’s prominent nightlife locales.
Sziget Festival 9-16 August, Óbuda Island
Thousands of revelers from around the world flock to Budapest’s Óbuda Island every year to celebrate summer and freedom amid good vibes, psychedelic settings, and a fantastic musical lineup at one of Europe’s biggest alfresco gigs. The weeklong gathering is about blasting concerts, artful acts, and nonstop entertainment, providing an experience that you will never forget.
More details Festival of Folk Arts 17-20 August, Buda Castle
Plenty of classic Hungarian handicrafts – including unique fashion accessories, wooden toys, ornate pottery, fine fabrics, and handcrafted furniture – are available for purchase in the Buda Castle during a festival celebrating folk art in historic settings, while visitors to the event can see how some of these local products are made.
More details Public Holiday – observance of Saint Stephen’s Day and the Foundation of Hungary 20 August, honored nationally
Colorful fireworks paint vibrant hues across the sky as Hungary honors its founding king St. Stephen with a spectacular national holiday. In Budapest, several programs line the all-encompassing fiesta, like open-air concerts, handicraft fairs, the cutting ceremony of Hungary’s birthday cake, and a lot more. See some of the city’s best spots for watching the fireworks.
More details Budapest Short International Film Festival 29 August-3 September, multiple locations
A selection of short movies screen in their original language with English subtitles during the annual BuSho Festival, designed to introduce talented young filmmakers of the Eastern and Central European audiovisual sector. Besides the film screenings, several thematic workshops are set to engage festival guests.
Jewish Cultural Festival 3-14 September, multiple locations
Jewish culture and traditions are honored during this event series that presents concerts, theater shows, cabaret programs, and more at various locations that are prominent scenes for Budapest’s Jewish community, including the impressive Dohány Street Synagogue.
More details Budapest Wine Festival 7-10 September, Buda Castle
Discover Hungary’s different wine regions and sip on good libations from an impressive assortment of brands at Budapest’s most scenic wine festivals. Besides the aromatic reds, whites, and rosés, visitors can devour a selection of local culinary treats to absorb the fine wines.
More details 32nd Wizz Air Budapest Half Marathon 10 September, Városliget (City Park)
Thousands of athletes push past the most panoramic settings of central Budapest through this invigorating exercise that runs along Andrássy Boulevard, the Chain Bridge, and the Danube bank.
More details National Gallop 15-17 September, Heroes’ Square
The country’s young jockeys hop into the saddle to gallop around Heroes’ Square when it is transformed into a spectacular horse-racing track for a weekend. Hooves are pounding, dirt is flying, and the crowd is cheering as herds of horses and riders compete for the grand prize and national glory.
More details Sweet Days Chocolate and Sweets Festival 15-17 September, Szent István Square
Sugar aficionados eagerly anticipate Budapest’s sweetest festival, presenting a selection of local handcrafted and international confections, including chocolates, cakes, and ice creams. Besides the sweet treats, the event offers music, various family programs, gastro specialties, and a nice wine selection. Best of all, entry is free of charge.
Oktoberfest Budapest 5-8 October, Kincsem Park
Barrels of beer star in the Hungarian edition of the world’s biggest brew festival in Budapest, where fans of suds can experience something of the feeling of Bavaria’s alcohol-infused fiesta.
More details Budapest Design Week 6-15 October, multiple locations
The Magyar metropolis transforms into a massive showcase for modern fashion, furniture, and art during Budapest Design Week, where numerous venues host a mix of events, workshops, exhibits, and many other creative get-togethers.
CAFe Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival 6-22 October, multiple locations
Local and international artists perform at multiple venues during this cultural festival that welcomes urban dwellers with varied art performances from classical to pop music, and from opera to contemporary-circus shows, along with exciting visual art exhibitions.
More details Art Market Budapest 12-15 October, Millenáris Cultural Center
A vast collection of fascinating contemporary artworks fills a labyrinthine viewing space in Budapest’s Millenáris Cultural Center, where plenty of prominent local and international galleries come together to showcase and sell impressive paintings, sculptures, installations, and photos to visitors.
More details Chimney Cake Festival 13-15 October, Városliget (City Park)
Although in recent years Hungary’s sugar-dusted pastry evolved into a variety of new-wave meals, and now the rolled treat is used as an ice-cream cone or as a shell for savory sandwiches, the traditional version of chimney cakes is honored during an annual festival at Budapest’s City Park that’s dedicated to present and preserve the delicacy’s age-old baking and preparation methods.
More details Pig Slaughter and Sausage Festival 13-15 October, Hungarian Railway History Park
Every October, carnivorous crowds target the Hungarian Railway History Park in District XIV to try many varieties of the Magyar’s very own paprika-spiced bangers and immerse in the countryside tradition of pig-slaughtering processes, while visitors can discover many of Hungary’s long-standing culinary and folk customs during the event.
More details 32nd Spar Budapest Marathon 14-15 October, Heroes’ Square
Participants of this grand autumn running contest run past the city’s most scenic settings before crossing the finish line. On the first day of the event, runners can warm up over short distances, followed by long-distance challenges on the second day.
More details Public Holiday – observance of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 23 October, honored nationally
Every October 23rd, the Magyars commemorate the 1956 Revolution against the Soviet occupation over Hungary with an official flag-raising ceremony, political speeches, and military processions in front of the Parliament at , while the grants free access to visitors, alongside many of the city’s historic sites. Learn about the history of 1956 , and read who decided to flee Hungary during the communist regime only to return to the country decades later.
St. Martin’s Day Festival 11 November, countrywide
Every November 11th, the Magyars commemorate St. Martin of Tours, one of Hungary’s patron saints born within this nation’s boundaries, while celebrations spread countrywide with gluttonous holiday gatherings: on this occasion the in Budapest hosts a grand indoor wine festival for an extended weekend, while welcomes visitors with a traditional St. Martin’s Day Goose Festival, plus diverse restaurants present special meals to showcase goose delicacies over several weeks. Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival 14-19 November, multiple locations
A selection of thought-provoking movies highlights human rights at this motion-picture festival, where diverse documentaries feature such issues as war crimes, political oppression, freedom of the press, racism, and sexual diversity. The event is complete with various workshops, and retrospectives, and above all, the best piece in the genre earns an award. Verzio is a bilingual event with Hungarian and English translations.
More details Budapest Jewish Film Festival 29 November-3 December, multiple locations
With a broad lineup of the latest movies depicting contemporary Jewish culture and heritage, the Budapest Jewish Festival presents a fresh selection of recent motion pictures from all over the world.
Santa Claus Day 6 December, countrywide
Jolly old Saint Nicholas makes a point of visiting Hungary early, embarking on a special trip here every December 6th to deliver presents to Magyar kids, who shine their boots the previous night and place one on the windowsill in hopes that they’ll awaken to find their shoe filled with candy and chocolates courtesy of Mikulás. Christmas markets throughout December, multiple dates and locations
As the Yuletide season approaches, Budapest turns into a winter wonderland with myriad festive lights shining bright citywide, while small wooden stalls grow out of the ground across the city’s major public spaces, including at or in front of the , to offer merry merchandise and flavorful Magyar meals and drinks to the festive crowds. Check out to find out what Budapest’s holiday bazaars were like in 2016. Santa Speedo Run 10 December, Gozsdu Courtyard
Every December, a vast team of underdressed Santas conquers the streets of District VII to run through the capital’s central lanes and thoroughfares, each of them wearing only a piece of swimwear to create a surreal wintery scene. All this is part of an initiative to support children in need. The best thing of all is that anyone can join the icy run.