Budapest Events and Festivals
A host of different festivals and traditional Hungarian events take place each year both in and around the city of Budapest, offering tourists plenty of things to see, do and enjoy. Many of the biggest festivals take place at the Budapest Convention Centre on Jagelló Street, which is the biggest venue of its kind in the whole of Hungary.
For some of the best sporting events in Hungary, the modern Budapest Sports Arena (Papp László Sportaréna) is hard to beat and regularly hosts ice hockey games and boxing matches, watched by crowds of up to 12,500 spectators. Others will enjoy the motor racing at the city's world-class Hungaroring Circuit, particularly in July, when the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix takes place.
Theatrical performances, live music and film festivals are also plentiful in Budapest, being held in venues such as the Academy of Music, the Belvárosi Szinház Theatre, the Duna Palota (Casino of Lipótváros), the Goethe Institute, the Palace of Arts, and the Nemzeti Szinház (Hungarian National Theatre), which is located within Bajor Gizi Park.
Budapest Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015
- New Year's Concert - January 1st, famed classical music concert broadcast live throughout Hungary and offering the perfect way to start the new year after partying the night before, usually held in Pesti Vigadó
- Hungarian Film Week - held at central cinemas and theatres, such as both the Corvin and Kultiplex, often attended by leading directors and filmmakers
- Opera Ball - mid-February, a prestigious event which takes place at the city's Hungarian State Opera House
- Spring Festival - mid-March to early April, one of the biggest and best festivals in Budapest, heralding the arrival of spring with a series of classical concerts, chamber music and even folk dancing, lasting just over three weeks and featuring some 200 different events and more than 50 venues
- Titanic International Film Festival - throughout April, an alternative film event where you can enjoy screenings of many national and often controversial movies, at venues such as the theatres of Kossuth and Toldi
- Spring Marathon - mid-April, a springtime race for both amateurs and professionals, between Budapest and Visegrád
- St. Stephen's Day - April 20th, remembering the very first king of Hungary, with many huge masses in the main Catholic churches, particularly the St. Stephen's Basilica, and culminating in fireworks at Gellert Hill
- Aquincum Festival - mid-May to mid-October, remembering the city's origins from the Roman Empire, when it was known as 'Aquincum'
- Budapest Summer Festival - May to October, a truly cultural event spread around many central venues and incorporating the highly acclaimed BudaFest Summer Opera and Ballet Festival
- Open Air Summer Festival - June to August, a rather diverse event lasting a total of three months, with music ranging from rock concerts to singing with young children, and theatrical performances at many venues around central Budapest
- Nyari Fesztival (Budapest Summer Festival) - early June to early September, held on Margaret Island, when visitors can enjoy live music, opera, ballet and plenty of fun-filled events for all ages
- Danube Folklore Carnival - mid-June, ten days of folk and world music, on Margaret Island
- Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix - late July / early August, motor racing at the Hungaroring Circuit, regularly attracting big Grand Prix stars and teams
- Sziget Festival - early August, a huge event on the island of Óbuda, which also goes by the name of Pepsi Island. This features movies, sports, music, parties and much more besides
- Festival of Folk Arts - mid-August, commemorating St. Stephen, Hungary's very own patron saint and the actual founder of the country
- Jewish Summer Festival - late August to early September, an annual event held throughout Hungary and offering the chance to appreciate many aspects of local Jewish life, including plenty of food and music
- SzeptEmber Feszt (Budapest September Festival) - 1st September to 3rd September, a three-day event held each year at the very beginning of September and featuring everything from art exhibitions and live music, based in the Bókay Garden and highly suitable for families
- International Music Competition - early September, up-and-coming local Hungarian musicians compete at central venues over a period of around two weeks
- Budapest International Wine Festival - early September, a chance to sample the very best in Hungarian winemaking, with more than 500 different types of wines ready to taste
- Music of Our Days - late September to early October, an established event founded in the late 1970s and showcasing the very best in modern-day classical compositions, organised by the Filharmonia Budapest
- Budapest Marathon and Running Festival - early October, highly regarded throughout Europe for its beautiful scenery alongside the River Danube and Margaret Island
- Budapest Autumn Festival - mid-October to late October, comprising a handful of different events, including theatrical performances, art exhibitions and concerts by the acclaimed Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, amongst others
- Christmas Fair - last Saturday in November to late December, the start of seasonal festivities in Budapest and the chance to purchase some Hungarian handicrafts to fill your stockings with, based around Vorosmarty Square and also featuring music provided by local brass bands
- Advent and Christmas Songs Festival - early December, choirs gather from all over the world to sing Christmas favourites and compete in this free choral competition, at the city's Matthias Church
- New Year's Eve Ball and Galas - December 31st, various gala-type events take place around the city to celebrate the arrival of the new year, held at venues such as the Opera House on Andrássy Street, and also at the Budapest Convention Centre, where wine tasting and live music are just some of the attractions on offer