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20 best things to do in Budapest this summer

Writers

  • We Love Budapest

21/06/2021 9.24am

With summer now upon us, we’ve put this list of top 20 highlights together for you to get the best out of the sweltering season. Spas, ice cream, festivals and outdoor sports, they’re all here. Note that many events and places require you to be carrying an Immunity Certificate – always check before you head out. Enjoy!

Photo: Bódis Krisztián / Budapest Images

Admire amazing doorways

1/20

Thanks to ace photographer Krisztián Bódis, we have been chronicling some of the most beautiful entranceways in Budapest, from striking wrought-iron gates to esoteric Art-Nouveau doorways full of winding shapes and mosaic detailing. If you’re looking for easy and unique sightseeing around the city, with fewer tourists around, why not go treasure-hunting for these gorgeous lesser-sung attractions? Check out the details here and here!


Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

Attend a festival

2/20

For a long time this spring, it was uncertain whether staging any kind of festival would be possible this year – and, certainly, the larger ones (most notably Sziget) will be missed. On the bright side, smaller, more family-friendly ones can take place. Around Budapest this summer, you’ll find Kolorádó (23-26 June), the Waldorfeszt (1-4 July), the Bánkitó Fesztivál (8-10 July), the LB27 Reggae Camp (27-31 July) and the Katlan Festival (23-25 July).

Photo: Bódis Krisztián - We Love Budapest

Bring your bike to I Bike Budapest

3/20

On 26 June, cyclists will be able to ride around parts of Budapest otherwise busy with traffic at other times. The I Bike Budapest rally will be held for the first time after 2019 on the route between the lower Buda embankment and City Park, and the parade will end this time with the traditional raising of cycles.


Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Browse an outdoor market

4/20

Even before the pandemic, outdoor produce markets across the city were experiencing a renaissance – now with even more universal appreciation of safe shopping, their popularity has only grown. Check out places such as Pancs Gasztroplacc, Czakó Market, the Római parti Piac, the Zugló Bread Community, the MOM Organic Market, Bókay Piac, a Szimpla Háztáji market and the Infopark Produce Market.


Photo: Adam Kuttner

Catch a live band

5/20

At last, we can finally enjoy the thrill of live music again! With the exception of Dürer Kért, which has just moved, all the major concert venues in Budapest are active once again. There are loads of great options to choose from – we recommend checking out Budapest Park, Barba Negra Track, the A38 Boat, Kobuci kert, Akvárium Klub, TRIP Boat, the Fonó Club, and the Budapest Jazz Club just to scratch the surface. Looking for specific performances? How about Képzelt Város x TÖRZS at the A38, or 30Y hisztori + ESTI KORNÉL at Budapest Park? Or maybe Grand Mexican Warkock at Kobuci kert as they return to Budapest?

Photo: Medgyesi Milán - We Love Budapest

Go to a historic castle

6/20

There are several castles near the capital that have been recently renovated, so it’s worth paying them a visit even if you’ve seen them before. Among the one we have written are Brunswick Castle in Martonvásár, Schossberger Castle in Tura, Teleki-Tisza Castle in Nagykovács and Klebelsberg Castle in Pesthidegkút.


Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Hike around Alsó-Jegenye

7/20

One of our favourite excursion destinations is the idyllic Alsó-Jegenye Valley, located just outside the city. A relatively easy, 5.6-kilometre hike can be completed in about an hour and a half, with romantic views of the gorge, waterfall and wooden country bridges. The last stop on the tour is the castle of Solymár, which stands on the top of 180-metre high Mátyás Hill.

Photo: Medgyesi Milán - We Love Budapest

Join the Night of the Museums

8/20

On 26 June, you can enjoy all kinds of special activities taking place for Night of the Museums. Almost 250 institutions have so far registered for this major cultural event, the first of national significance following the reopening of the city. After a year of absence, visitors can once again enjoy the annual nighttime ritual of exploring museums after hours, on the Saturday closest to St John’s Day, the shortest night of the year. Concerts, guided tours, interactive events, family activities and other surprises will be waiting for all ages.


Photo: Kőrösi Tamás - We Love Budapest

Pack a picnic

9/20

Nothing is more classically summer than a picnic, and it’s also a Covid-safe way to have a little group fun. As we are finally able to reunite with our friends and family, it’s time to pack up our favourite snacks and find a green area in town to enjoy some rustic outdoor dining. Not sure where to go? We've made a list of 12 top picnic spots in Budapest to give you some ideas!

Photo: Hartyányi Norbert - We Love Budapest

Party in the sun

10/20

Summer is for fun, and Budapest offers all sorts of open-air daytime parties this year to chase away any remaining winter blues. Early curfews during the major lockdowns encouraged people to move late-night revelries into earlier hours, but that’s not to say young folks were oblivious to the perks of a daytime party before such restrictions. Now you can enjoy parties at venues like CityMatiné, Lick the Click!, Cruisin' Port, Sun & Soda and Sunday Session.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Balaton

Pick lavender

11/20

June not only means the arrival of summer, but also lavender, which flowers in fields all outside Budapest, allowing visitors to pick their own for a modest fee. The lavender field at Kevélyhegy and the Smaragdfarm in Daruszentmiklós are already welcoming guests, Diósjenő opens from 19 June, the lavender farm in Budakeszi from 26 June and the Lázók Birtok in Tápiószecső from 10 July. See all our tips here.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Rent a kayak

12/20

There are many places around Budapest where you can rent a kayak and paddle along the Danube – mostly along the Római embankment also lined with outdoor bars. Places include the Béke CsónakháználRómaifürdő SE and Yacht Club Budapest, while further south, Lágymányosi Spari and the György Kolonics Watersports Centre provide alternatives nearer town.


Photo: Budapest Félmaraton / Facebook

Run the Half-Marathon

13/20

At the end of August, the 36th annual Wizz Air Budapest Half-Marathon will take participants 21km around some of the most beautiful parts of the city. The route passes Buda Castle, Gellért Hill, the Danube embankment and several scenic bridges. There are also 10- and 2.3km routes for those who like running but aren’t quite ready to commit to anything more strenuous.

Photo: John Williams Waterhouse: Shalott Kisasszonya, 1888 / ©Tate

See a special exhibition

14/20

Nearly a hundred works of art from the Pre-Raphaelite collection in the Tate Britain have come to Budapest, and will be on display at the Hungarian National Gallery until 22 August. If you haven’t gone yet, this is an incredible chance to walk among masterpieces and linger in front of your favourite dream-like painting.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Sip cocktails on the rooftop

15/20

One of the best things about summer in Budapest is rooftop bars. There are more and more venues to choose from, and since most of them are open terraces, you shouldn’t need an Immunity Certificate – but do check beforehand. The best suggestions include Leo BudapestIntermezzo Restaurant & Roof TerraceHigh Note SkyBar360 Bar and the St Andrea Wine & Skybar.

Photo: Bódis Krisztián - We Love Budapest

Splash at the spa

16/20

With temperatures climbing into the 30s, there’s only one thing on our minds: water! The month of June is especially good for spa enthusiasts, as baths around the capital are offering 20% off tickets to holders of BKK transport passes. Whether you prefer the luxury of spas or the splashing fun of outdoor pool complexes, the city is full of options to cool off from the summer heat.


Photo: Bódis Krisztián - We Love Budapest

Take a city walk

17/20

This year we are celebrating our tenth anniversary, so we’ve created a series of city walks. Come with us as we take you around the lesser-known side of Art Nouveau, then get lost around the secret passageways of Pest. And with much fewer tourists this summer, you won't have to negotiate selfie-taking Scandinavians to see all the architectural detail!

Photo: Kőrösi Tamás - We Love Balaton

Try a world of ice cream

18/20

Rocket salad with forest fruit, fig mascarpone, chili chocolate or simple hazelnut, vanilla or caramel –  bolder and classic ice-cream flavours can all be sampled in Budapest in summer. Outlets such as Erdős és fiai Cukrászda, minus11, Cioccolatte Fagylaltozó, Málna The Pastry Shop and Fragola all merit investigation. Take a look at our Best Of selection here.

Photo: Gretchen Kessler - We Love Budapest

Visit MONYO Land

19/20

Lovers of craft beer have something new to celebrate: the opening of MONYO Land in Kőbánya. Described as a 'Beer Disneyland', this new open-air outdoor entertainment venue offers concerts, brewery tours, good food – and lots and lots of beer. MONYO Land is still unfinished, but if the Grand Opening night is anything to go by, there should be plenty to look forward to all summer!


Photo: Koncz Márton - We Love Budapest

Watch the Euros

20/20

Football’s Euros are now in full swing, with a handful of games taking place in Budapest, and a Fan Zone and big screens set up around the city so that you don’t miss a minute of the drama. Running until 11 July, the tournament involves some of the world’s best teams and finest players, with Hungary still involved for the time being thanks to their heroic performance against world champions France. Holland are also due in town at some stage… We have produced a comprehensive guide to the best viewing spots – see here!


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