Summer marks the arrival of a number of festivals in Budapest – here are the ones to catch
Pretty as the snow may be against the backdrop of Budapest’s iconic architecture, summer isn’t just a welcome arrival here – it’s the unofficial start of party season. As the city slips out of spring and into summer, expect a steady stream of festivities to take over the Hungarian capital. From tipples at the Buda Castle Beer Festival to music at the Sziget Festival, culture at the Danube Carnival to thrills at the Hungarian Grand Prix, these top festivals in Budapest are the best way to profit from the rays and the good vibrations.
What better way to begin the season of summer festivals in Budapest than with a celebration of Hungarian culture? Returning for its 20th year, the Danube Carnival will be held across open-air theatres, public squares, and other venues, and is set to comprise a music gala, carnival gala, a dance caravan and an international folk dance competition.
Though being moved form its usual location at Buda Castle due to renovations, the beer festival is still well worth looking up (for its programme of entertainment as well as local brews). Watch this space for dates and locations…
There’s nothing like the sweet strains of live music to accompany those fresh, summer breezes. If basking in the sunshine listening to classical tunes (or jazz…or electronic…the list goes on…) sounds like your thing, now’s the time to book your ticket to the Budapest Summer Festival. Held across three different open-air venues, it’ll be on for most of the summer season.
In summer the days are longer, which is ideal if you’re planning on enjoying some Wagner – these are marathon performances, after all. Held at the Palace of Arts, Wagner in Budapest will feature the complete Ring Cycle, as well as the composer’s lesser-known work, The Flying Dutchman.
What, exactly, are the essentials of Budapest? If you go by the festival’s definition, they’d be live music performances from international stars the likes of Katy B and La Roux, discounted meals at some of the city’s trendiest eateries, a gallery and cultural centre, and other extras. Sounds good to us.
It isn’t summer in Budapest without daredevil pilots hurtling through the air above the Danube, as we always say. Luckily the popular Red Bull Air Race World Series will return to the city this year, back for the first time since 2009. Historically one of the most popular festivals in Budapest, the crowds are sure to flock to the riverbanks – over 650,000 people witnessed the last air race.
If you’re the type who finds nothing as heart-stoppingly thrilling as the sound of dozens of engines gunning in unison, then there’s nowhere better to be than Budapest at the end of July, when the Hungarian Grand Prix comes to town. One of the highlight races in the annual F1 calendar, it’ll give locals the chance to see racing world greats compete live.
The proliferation of summer festivals in Budapest means there’s live music on tap all season long. One of the top draws for audiophiles, both local and visiting, is the Sziget Festival, which can rightly be considered Europe’s answer to Coachella thanks to its top-billed acts, upbeat crowds, artistic side programming and relentlessly bohemian vibe.
A fitting way to wind down the summer festivals in Budapest? With a glass in hand, naturally. At the Budapest International Wine Festival, guests flock to Buda Castle for sipping, sampling, dining, and a bit of general bacchanalia. Autumn may be on its way, but it’s easy to forget when the Pinot Noir is flowing. A wine auction, live performances, and gastronomy will round out the offerings.