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15 best things to do in Budapest in August

From Sziget Festival and Grand Budapest Bath Parties to sampling Budapest's most delicious ice creams, here are the best things to do in August.


Be part of Sziget Festival

Sziget, one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, is back between 10-15 August, bringing some banging acts to the Island of Freedom. Florence + The Machine, Imagine Dragons, David Guetta, Mumford & Sons, Lorde, Macklemore, and Billie Eilish are all must-sees on The Island of Freedom. But we have also rounded up the best up-and-coming acts and astonishing variety shows. For all the basic good-to-knows, check out our article here.

Get tickets here


Do some serious stargazing

It's shooting star season between 3-13 August! And you can join in two extra special events in Budapest. On 11 and 12 August, you can sign up for a SUP tour and paddle from the Római-part to the Egyfás-sziget in the sunset. On the island, you can wind down and gaze up to the night sky for meteor showers amid acoustic music, campfire, and yummy bites. You are welcome to spend the night and paddle back in the sunrise, but you can opt for heading back at midnight.

If you prefer staying in the city, you can head to the Svábhegy Observatory on August 12th. Their annual Stargate event allows visitors to explore the observatory at their own pace. You can arrive as early as 5 pm and stay until 11 pm. Tickets can be purchased on-site.


Watch films under the stars

In August, an open-air cinema (B32 Parkmozi) is popping up in an artsy part of town, Bartók Béla útThat means you can enjoy movies amidst the buzz of the city, then head to one of the area's hip bars to review it with your friends. The programme includes Hungarian films released in the past decade, one of which got nominated for an Oscar.


Cheer at the World Athletics Championships

Budapest is ready to host its biggest sports event between 19 and 27 August. If you are curious to see legends and emerging superheroes compete while soaking up the multicultural buzz (visitors are expected from all around the world), you can still snag a ticket for the World Athletics Championships (check the timetable here). During the nine-day Championships, see marathonists run past World Heritage sites and support athletes during competitions such as discus throw, shot put, hammer throw, javelin throw, pole vault, or high jump at the brand new National Athletics CentreHere is how you can make the most out of the World Athletics Championships 2023.

Get tickets here


See the fireworks on August 20th

On August 20th, Hungary celebrates St Stephen, the founder of the nation. In the evening, spectacular fireworks spread Hungary’s national colours of red, white and green across the night sky. Restaurants and bars are getting ready to host fancy events, where you can marvel at the stunning display with a drink in hand. Celebrate the bank holiday at White Raven SkyBar in the Buda Castle, Arz Lebanese Restaurant by the Danube Promenade, one of Budapest's first sky bars the 360 Bar, the lush The Sky Garden Rooftop Terrace, or fine dining restaurant Onyx Műhely!


Try the public beach at the Római-part

Having long walks, lángos, and chilled spritzers on the Római-part (Roman Embankment) is a summer bucket list item. But since 30 July, things got even more bucket-listy as a picturesque section of the area turned into an open-air beach for the season. Until the national holiday of 20 August, you can bathe in the Danube every day within a section of the river delineated by buoys. What's more, the beach is free to use, with toilets, showers, a diaper-changing facility, sunbeds and lifeguards on site.

The beach is on 15-17 Kossuth Lajos üdülőpart. The nearest transport stop is Szent János utca on the 34 bus route, three stops from Rómaifürdő HÉV station, a 15-minute walk away. 


Rent a boat or a SUP at the City Park Boating Lake

City Park became an even more tempting destination for family adventures and romantic rendezvous when its boating lake reopened in July. That means you can hop into a boat and set sail into the sunset or plunge into a more challenging task and paddle your way through on board a SUP. Here is all you need to know.


Walk or cycle across the reopened Chain Bridge

On August 4th, Budapest's oldest and most iconic bridge, the Chain Bridge, officially reopened after 2 years of renovation. That means you can now walk across Budapest's historical landmark again while admiring the refreshed colours and the restored stone lions. Note that the bridge remains car-free permanently, and only buses, taxis, cyclists, and pedestrians can use it.


Take the kids to an outdoor pool

If you’re here with the family, you’re in luck. Budapest is blessed with many great outdoor pools and baths, invariably affordable with children’s and online discounts. Furthermore, nearly all have paddling pools for smaller ones, slides and other water features, and usually a playground of sorts if you need the kids out of the water for a while. To add to our recent round-up, the Római Baths are also recommended as there are large, grassy and often shaded picnic areas where you can spread out for the day.


Sample Asian food at the Chinatown Terrace

If you are a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine, a visit to Budapest's Chinatown is a must. They opened their terrace for the summer, offering food and tables al fresco (every day between 5 pm and 11 pm). Laid out is Chinese street food at its best: pancake, dim sum, teppanyaki, oden, Cantonese curry, rice noodle roll, shaved ice, tong sui, and other special treats you can hardly find anywhere else in the city. Find more food recommendations here.


Stroll the car-free quay on the weekends

A chunk of downtown Pest quay is car-free on summer weekends, with events popping up on the road between Margaret Bridge and Elizabeth Bridge. Expect a random grill terrace, a pop-up bar, live music, dancing, and even yoga classes. You can follow the events on the Hungarian site or go for a walk and explore what is happening yourself! It will be worth it.


Sip on a cocktail at a rooftop bar

Lavish breakfasts up high, cocktails within arm’s reach of the Basilica dome, colourful tiles, towers, mansard roofs, infinity pool, and sunsets – see Budapest like never before! Rooftop bars redefine high life and have become as much a summer staple as the beach or ice cream. Here’s a round-up of our favourites of the season.


Find the best ice cream in town

Creamy or fruity, everyone has their favourite ice cream, and Budapest is brimming with chilled delicacies of every stripe. Dozens of outlets around the city offer delicious treats. However, a special mention should be made of Gelarto Rosa and their rose-shaped works of art, Kő fagyi? and their extraordinary array of original flavours. By all means, check out Szaletly (close to the City Park) and the Giandó gelateria, an Italian parlour where each ice cream is carefully crafted for your cone.

See our list of the best ice cream shops here


Plunge into a Grand Budapest Bath Party

The Széchenyi Baths is one of Budapest's most popular thermal baths and one of Europe's best spas. It is worth a visit any time of the year and day, but on Saturday nights it is getting some pizzazz. A party series called the Grand Budapest Bath Party (or Sparty) brings electronic dance music and a mind-blowing visual experience while you party in the pools.
Get tickets here


Catch a ride aboard a heritage vehicle

This summer, several retro rides are launched in Budapest for the pleasure of children and adults alike. The N2 tram runs every Sunday between Jászai Mari tér and Közvágóhíd, and on the Buda side, you can hop on the N18 or N19 trams. There are also vintage buses and trolleybuses at pre-announced times. Specific fares apply - you can purchase tickets at the customer service offices or on board. See the timetable for August here.


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