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20 best things to do in Budapest this spring

It seems strange to think when we created our top tips for spring 2020, we had little idea what life-changing measures lay ahead. Now, a year on, we’re still dealing with the pandemic but Budapest has proved it can more than meet the challenges. A vastly improved cycling infrastructure, the live streaming of many arts events and markets operating with social distancing in mind are all now part of city life. Of course, spring is spring, with the cherry trees in bloom along Tóth Árpád sétány, snowdrops brightening Alcsút Arboretum and Budapest’s many parks awaiting joggers, strollers and keep-fit fanatics. Here are our 20 top tips for spring 2021 – while hoping for a healthy, inclusive and lively Budapest come spring 2022!


Admire the snowdrops

Every year, snowdrops are the first harbinger of spring, delighting passers-by with their white blossoms. Some 45 minutes from Budapest, Alcsút Arboretum contains seven species and 24 varieties, and the collection can be visited every day of the week between 10am and 6pm. The flowers only bloom for a few weeks, so get a wriggle on to go and see them.


Walk along the Danube

Whether it’s the Pest embankment or the Buda waterfront, the Danube provides the perfect backdrop for any city walk, in safe, picturesque and often historic surroundings. And all an easy hop from your front door!


Listen to the sounds of Bartók Spring

From 2 to 18 April, for the first time, the large-scale, free all-arts event series Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks will take place online, with world premieres and concerts from Europe’s renowned concert halls. The programme includes performers such as the Bagossy Brothers Company, Félix Lajkó and the Győr Ballet, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble, the Budapest Ritmo World Music Festival and the Hungarian premiere of György Kurtág’s only Hungarian opera.


Get lost in a book outdoors

As the weather gets warmer, why not head to City Park or Margaret Island to relax over your latest reading material? There are lots of peaceful locations elsewhere around the city, too, with quiet benches in pedestrianised areas of town. Especially during lockdown, it’s good to get outside and breathe in the fresh air.


Visit a small gallery

When the pandemic measures were introduced last March, large museums were forced to close their doors, but smaller galleries were able to remain open and hold exhibitions for as long as possible. Look up some of these special showcases in Budapest and you might find some you can still visit after pre-registering. The Acb Gallery, the Várfok and the Vintage Galéria should be good places to start.


Celebrate the Budapest Spring Festival

The ten days between 9-18 April mark the 40th Budapest Spring Festival, which this year is free and held through an online forum. Due to this digital nature, visual content is at the forefront in 2021. Every day, organisers will create a highlight event in line with the festival’s 40 years of tradition. These are complemented by performances which combine heritage with future trends.


Shop for vegan treats

After a long hiatus, the Vegan Weekend Market should return to the promenade next to the Allee mall on 10-11 April. There are many products to choose from at this two-day market, from cakes to cheeses and artisanal soaps and cream. Get here early and chat with the makers themselves to get the full story on their wares.


Browse classic vinyl

The Budapest Record Exchange market is due to run again on 11 April, pandemic restrictions willing. The fair is hosted at the Globe Hall at ELTE on the second Sunday of every month, so music fans can also expect a another date in mid-May. In addition to vinyl records, CDs and cassettes, stalls will also be lined with music merchandise, posters, books and newspapers.


Nurture a garden at home

With extra time being spent indoors, it’s the perfect opportunity to put your green fingers to use. Urban Jungle is a local group dedicated to helping Budapest residents grow their indoor plants, and offer lots of useful tips on their Facebook page. The posts are usually in Hungarian, but the owners speak English and are happy to pass along their knowledge. Get your urban garden growing so that you can really enjoy it in summer.


Catch the iamyank Live Ensemble

The idea for the iamyank Live Ensemble was born at the Valley of the Arts festival in 2017. His solo performances and productions, his world of electronic sound, a positive melancholy, became his constant characteristics. On 17 April, iamyank will create timeless, ever-changing textures in the intimate space of the studio.


Stroll along Tóth Árpád sétány

The ornamental cherry trees along Tóth Árpád sétány on Castle Hill were planted in the 2000s, and today this is one of the most popular promenades in the city. Take in the panoramic views from the historic battlements as you enjoy Buda in bloom.


Immerse yourself in OFF-Biennale Budapest

The third edition of OFF-Biennale Budapest will start on 23 April, with five weeks of festival-specific creative events. This time, it focuses on fewer but more complex projects, in a hybrid digital form.


Pick pretty plants and flowers

On the last weekend of April, the Spring Garden Ornamental Plant Exhibition & Fair awaits those with green fingers at ​​Buda Arboretum where, in addition to flowers, ornamental plants and gardening supplies, you can also choose from back-to-nature design products. Lectures, exhibitions and other green-focused events take place.


Take a hike

With the coming of spring and nature awakening, what better way to spend the day than on an easy hike from the city up a hillside or, better yet, to a lookout tower with a panoramic view. Prime destinations include Nagy-Hárs Hill and the Árpád Lookout Tower.


Hunt for retro fashion

On 1 May, the Telep and Judas team will hold another outdoor vintage clothing fair on Madách tér in the city centre. Pandemic willing, you can happily sort through piles of tops and trousers to pick out some retro spring wear.


Get involved in outdoor sports

The spring weather attracts even those who might normally be adverse to exercise, and work-out enthusiasts are chomping at the bit to hit the city's outdoor gyms again. Facilities are constantly being added around town – by May, there should also be a new outdoor gym at Nagyrét.


Celebrate May Day

Once reserved for the annual parade to celebrate the Communist Party, May Day is still a national holiday. Although gatherings will almost certainly not take place, there should be a relaxed, familial atmosphere around City Park – keeping social distancing in mind, of course!


Update your spring wardrobe

The Vintage Outfit Market, the largest of its kind in Hungary, returns on 9 May. The venue is provided by ELLÁTÓház, with customers and vendors welcome. Not only will you find real retro treasure, but buying used clothes helps sustainability.


Find a film at Friss Hús

Between 21 May and 2 June, the Friss Hús International Short Film Festival will be showing a number of English-friendly features. If the pandemic allows, the Toldi cinema will host the event. If all goes ahead as planned, presentations and discussions will augment the programme of garden cinema and pop-up screenings. Until May, you can also see exclusive online premieres on the festival’s Facebook page, selected from domestic and international filmmakers.


Get on your bike

If the pandemic has had a positive side, it is that more and more people have taken up cycling in Budapest. Weekend tours are particularly popular. With spring here, we recommend the Budapest-Szentendre routeKolonics György sétány on Csepel island and Lake Naplás in east Pest.


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