Exceptional cultural events. Pretty parks. Tantalising gastro delights
The leaves may be turning, but Budapest is in full bloom in autumn. The city is alive with arts and gastronomy festivals, and its legendary landmarks seemingly glow in the warm autumnal sun. Here are seven reasons to visit the Hungarian capital during the autumn months.
Culture vultures will love a seemingly never-ending roll call of captivating arts events in Budapest in autumn. Discover established and upcoming local creative talent at Budapest Design Week, where you can explore fashion, illustration, interior design works and much, much more. The freshly restored Budapest Opera House has a program inspired by Wagner’s Ring Cycle, featuring 28 ballet and operatic pieces alongside repertoire shows and musicals. Although the Museum of Fine Arts is closed for renovation, you can still peruse exceptional Eastern European contemporary works at October’s international art fair, Art Market Budapest.
See the colours of foliage change by visiting Budapest’s impeccable parks. Crunch leaves of russet and brown underfoot as you stroll around giant sculptures of Lenin, Marx and Engels at Memento Park. Head to the tiny Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube to see Japanese Garden Acer trees transforming from vivid scarlet to burnt ochre.
Enjoy a tipple or two at the Italian Riesling Festival in October, where over 200 Rhine and Italian Rieslings will battle it out to win the coveted first place prize. For fans of French red wine, try the Bordo Great Tasting in November. To savour a taste of local grapes matched with artisanal cheeses, head to the New Wine and Cheese Festival in the historic Vajdahunyad Castle.
Temperatures are still mild during autumn in Budapest, and the city is much quieter so you won’t be jostling for elbow room at one of its iconic bath houses. Enjoy a restorative dip in the thermal waters of the grand Széchenyi Baths in City Park or the elegant Gellért Baths, which are (mercifully) indoors, in case of rain showers.
This cavernous 19th century neo-Gothic hall is packed full of the season’s harvest at this time of year. Shop for local meats, warm lángos pastries and freshly picked fruit and vegetables.
Get out of the city and head into nature to witness the wonderful changing hues around the Danube Bend. Hailed as the most beautiful part of the entire Danube River, see the waters twist and turn around the valley as its hills turn from green to chestnut brown. Head to the charming, arty town of Szentendre, brimming with quaint galleries and museums, or put your best foot forward and head off for an exhilarating hike in the Buda Hills.
See the city’s autumnal colours by day or the magnificence of the Hungarian Parliament building’s illuminations after dark on a river cruise along the Danube. From the watery divide between Buda and Pest you can take in the gorgeous architecture and discover the enchanting history of this sublime city.