Budapest Festivals

Sziget, the week-long popular music festival held every August has made Budapest known around the world as a festival city, and deservedly so. Life doesn't stop the other 51 weeks of the year either though, and the Budapest calendar is full of a variety of cultural, gastronomic and folklore festivals.

One of the first and biggest cultural highlights of the year is the Budapest Spring Festival in April, which fills venues across the city with world-renowned Hungarian and international artists. BSF focuses on the high arts, offering an exceptional selection of opera, ballet and classical music, but the colourful palette includes world music and jazz. The National Dance Theatre organises the Budapest Dance Festival every year around International Dance Day on 29 April with new premieres and international guests. Also in April, the International Book Festival Budapest is a recognised event of the publishing world, presenting renowned authors from home and abroad. The Budapest Summer Festival is all about theatre, musicals, dance and drama performed on open-air stages in city parks. The Jewish Summer Festival has grown into a significant European event inviting performers from around the world, promoting diversity and tolerance through art. CAFÉ Budapest held in October celebrates everything contemporary, whether it is music, theatre or circus. It is concurrent with Budapest Design Week, making for some busy days to explore the explosion of young talent at exhibitions, guided walks, open studios and hundreds of design related events. Art Market Budapest is a major survey of contemporary art and photography in Central and Eastern Europe. For more things contemporary but more urban, Budapest Essentials is a new festival that, instead of collecting people on one island, takes over venues across the city in a series of parties and concerts, all accessible with one ticket. Children and the child at heart should not miss the International Circus Festival held biannually in January, one of the biggest musters of circus performers from around the world.

Tradition and gastronomy go hand in hand in Hungary, to which the spectacular Buda Castle is often the setting. Around Easter it is the Budavári Húsvéti Sokadalom and in August, celebrating the foundation of the state of Hungary, it is Mesterségek Ünnepe that fills the old cobbled streets with folk music, dancing, regional Hungarian delicacies and hundreds of stalls displaying traditional arts and crafts, providing merriment for the whole family. In September the Budavári Borfesztivál brings hundreds of winemakers to the capital, so visitors can drink their way around the country. The culinarily curious shouldn't miss the Gourmet Festival held in May at Millenáris showcasing the best restaurants in Budapest and the country, including a couple of Michelin stars too, or the Főzdefeszt & Street Food Festival, bringing together the artisanal beers and burgers. In Budapest you are never short of something to eat, see or do, often all at the same time.