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15 best things to do in Budapest in October

From the Budapest Marathon to the Chimney Cake Festival, Budapest Design Week, and Halloween – a lot is going on in Budapest in the spooky season. Here are some top things to enjoy in the city in October.

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Sip coffee at a historic coffee house

Budapest’s gilded palaces of coffee and cake, alongside its coffeehouses are forever linked to the Hungarian literary heyday at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The best bit is that you can still visit many of these iconic places to get your daily dose of caffeine. The classiest coffeehouses in town include the New York Café on Grand Boulevard, Matild Café & Cabaret in Matild Palace, Hadik on Bartók Béla út, Gerbeaud on focal Vörösmarty tér and the downtown Centrál.

2/15

Have exquisite, fixed-priced menus during the Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week is back, spoiling us with special and fixed-priced menus at brilliant gastro spots. That means you can have 3 courses for HUF 5,900, HUF 7,900, or HUF 9,900 (depending on the category). The list includes restaurants in our 'Top 14 gastro spots with breathtaking views' selection, such as Aranybástya and Monkey Bistro in the Buda Castle, Hemingway close to Lake Feneketlen or Spoon the Boat. You can indulge in Hungarian gastronomy at iconic spots such as Gundel Cafe Patisserie Restaurant in the City Park or Első Pesti Rétesház (Strudel House) in downtown Pest. If you'd go more modern and international, book a table at Kismező BudapestMacesz Bistro.
 
More details here and bookings here

3/15

Go to the cinema

If going to a quirky art cinema on a gloomy October day sounds like your kind of thing, read on. Hungarians usually love their blockbusters dubbed, but you can still catch plenty of films with original audio. Such as 'Barbie' at Toldi or 'A Haunting in Venice' at Kino Cafe. What's more, you can watch some Hungarian treats with English subtitles, too, such as the new film by Gábor Reisz, 'Explanation for Everything' at Crovin Cinema, or 'White Plastic Sky' at Művész. The city also boasts a super cool repertory cinema, where you can rewatch classics like The Silence of the Lambs, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or Psycho.

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Meet Hungarian designers at Budapest Design Week

Budapest Design Week is a phenomenon, a contemporary guide to everything design. It is a series of cultural events celebrating the industry for 20 years now: between 5 and 15 October, you can meet Hungarian designers, explore open studios, and participate in workshops and a free guided walk about neons. The beautiful Museum of Ethnography hosts small-scale exhibitions where you can discover the art pieces of the winners of the Hungarian Designs Award and Design Management Award.

Full programme here (Hungarian-only). 

5/15

Run the Budapest Marathon

Run a marathon in Budapest alongside Unesco World Heritage sites! It is the 38th time running enthusiasts can conquer the queen of distances in the Hungarian capital while exploring the city's most beautiful parts. The 2-day event (14-15 October) is a true bucket-list challenge, with participants from hundreds of countries. You can expect a big buzz with bands and enthusiastic supporters, creating a proper festival atmosphere. But there is no need to sign up for the 42k to be part of it: shorter distances are available, and you can always come to cheer, too.
 
Details and registration here

6/15

Indulge in culture at Liszt Fest

From 11 to 22 October, you can join an international cultural festival called Liszt Fest (named after the renowned composer and pianist Franz Liszt), spoiling us with classic and contemporary performances, including choir concerts, jazz concerts, dance performances, art events, and even free activities at Budapest's iconic cultural venues. Be part of a piano marathon at the House of Music Hungary, enjoy the concert of Clayton–Hamilton Jazz Orchestra or Polish pianist Hania Rani, get to know today’s most exciting artists at Isolation Budapest, immerse in South African culture at PONT Festival, and see the premiere of action-packed dance drama Castles, Warriors, Frontiers.

More details here

7/15

Celebrate nationalities in Újbuda

Budapest's vibrant and artsy quarter, Újbuda, is celebrating diversity and its international residents for a whole week. Between 9 and 15 October, you can explore the cultural heritage of Bulgarians, Greeks, Croatians, Armenians, Germans, Romanians, Serbians, Ukrainians, and many more. A colourful array of free events await, such as Greek Dance House with bouzouki, Gypsy music, BudaPesme concert at Szatyor, marching with carnival vibes between Gárdonyi tér and Szent Gellért tér and back, or communal pierogi cooking at bookstore and café Gdansk.

8/15

Sample delicacies at the 10th Chimney Cake Festival

Chimney cake (kürtőskalács in Hungarian) is a local delicacy that everyone with a sweet tooth needs to try. It is a caramelised spit cake traditionally rolled in granulated sugar/cinnamon. And as one of its most iconic makers, Vitéz Kürtős, is turning 20 this year, they are throwing a huge 'party' celebrating the dessert at the Budapest Zoo. Between 13 and 15 October, they will present 30 types of all-time favourites, meaning you can sample chimney cakes flavoured with cinnamon, sour cherry and poppy seed, and even pistachio.

More details here

9/15

Explore old building with new functions

In Budapest, you are surrounded by buildings of remarkable beauty, which have acquired new functions over the decades and centuries. That means that today, you can walk into these palaces and mansions for a coffee, a pizza, or even some quality reading time. See our list here.

10/15

See contemporary art at the Art Market Budapest

Art enthusiasts, mark the date! Central and Eastern Europe’s leading international art fair is back between 19 and 22 October. Art Market Budapest welcomes 100 exhibitors from nearly 30 countries to showcase all that is new and fresh. You can also join 50 cultural and social events to meet prominent members of the art community. If you only have time for one thing, make it Art Photo Budapest, one of Europe’s outstanding international photo events.

More details here

11/15

Honour Hungary’s 1956 Revolution with free events on October 23rd

23 October is a national holiday commemorating the uprising by Hungarians against the Soviet regime on this day in 1956. On this occasion, historic locations across Budapest welcome the public to observe the legacy of the Magyars’ struggle against Soviet rule in the exact places where the revolution occurred. The day traditionally starts with a solemn flag-raising ceremony outside Parliament on Kossuth tér, followed by various free museum openings – from the Parliament to the House of Terror.
 
More details coming soon.

12/15

Taste wine at Vingardium in the City

To all wine lovers out there: on October 28th, you can sip on excellent wines and enjoy music at Bálna Budapest. The indoor wine festival Vingardium is showcasing nearly 150 types of vinoes from more than 30 wineries. The ticket allows you to sample as many bottles as you wish, and you can match it with a tapas plate, too.

Get tickets here

13/15

Celebrate Halloween in many different ways

Halloween might be an Anglo-Saxon tradition, but no October could pass without some spookiness in Budapest either. If the holiday finds you here, you will be spoiled with loads of things to do, from walking tours that give you the chills to horror-themed escape roomspumpkin carving, insanely decorated sweets, and parties.

14/15

Join a Día de los Muertos fiesta

Día de Los Muertos, the Mexican 'Day of the Dead', is traditionally celebrated on November 1st or 2nd. However, in Budapest, local restaurants and party spots are donning flower crowns and face paint at the end of October. You can indulge in carnival-like celebrations at escape room and bar Neverland, Mexican restaurant Tereza, and 7th-district ruin bar Doboz.

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Go on a hike in and around Budapest

As the leaves have started to turn reddish, it’s time to get ready for this year’s hiking season. So, if you are pining for a getaway from the buzz of the city and would explore Budapest (and its surroundings) beyond the Grand Boulevard, dust off your boots and pack a windbreaker. We have rounded up some easy, fun, and scenic trails that will get your rusty muscles moving.

Cimkék

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