Budapest is sometimes called festival city because there is a festival for everything. No matter if it is music, food or drink festivals you can be sure that there is a time in every year where local and international producers or artists come together in Budapest to present themselves, their products and their music. To give an overview about festivals in Budapest and also elsewhere in Hungary here will be a list and a short description about many festivals. I for sure do not know all festivals happening in Budapest and when exactly they will be as there are simply too many. Very popular are festivals about Hungarian food and drinks such as Sausage, Wine or Pálinka but also there are tons of music festivals out of which the Sziget Festival in Budapest is probably the best known.
News & Announcements about all Festivals in Budapest
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Of course the Sziget Festival in Budapest has to be on this list as THE biggest festival among the listed and even in Europe according to the number of visitors. One week music on several stages on the “Óbudai-Sziget” which is the island in the north of Budapest. Still there is no lineup for this years Sziget but it will be a blast like every year. People from all over Europe coming for bands like Iron Maiden, Alanis Morisette, Jamiroquai, Sex Pistols, R.E.M. (all 2008), Manu Chao, Chemical Brothers, Pink, Sinéad O’Connor, Faithless (all 2007), Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, Radiohead, The Rasmus, Placebo or Prodigy (all in 2006). You see I could go on and the names on the list don’t get worse but what I can guarantee you is that this festival is just blowing your mind. I mean you get anything from good music to sex, from food to drinks as usual in Hungary on Sziget festival. There is no way around not going there if you are from Budapest or here in this time.
The Sziget always takes place mid to end of August on Óbudai Sziget in Budapest and the ticket prices for the entire festival range from 100€ to 150€ while the daily ticket will be again around 10.000 HUF to 12.000 HUF (40-50€).
More information about the Sziget Festival in Budapest:
Another popular festival in Budapest which is quite much alike with the Pálinka festival as it has the same organizers I guess. What you find here is a large variety of wines from all over Hungary, from Villany to Tokaj you will get every wine and nearly every large winemaker of Hungary is present there. Of course you will get all types of other things as well like beer and food as usual in Hungary but it is all about the wine.
Same issue as with the Pálinka festival I don’t like the fact of control over the producers by dictating the price and asking money from the visitors but this is what we have to live with. Still there is no exact date for the wine festival in Budapest but it will be in the castle disctrict as every year.
More Information about the Budapest Wine Festival:
During the Budai Gourmet Festival it is all about food and drinks. Exhibitors from all over Hungary present their products and restaurants. Mainly you find here high class restaurants as well as foreign food such as Parma ham or Asian stuff. But a big chunk is presenting the locally made food for small cities, regions and areas in Hungary. If you are searching for exceptional bakeries, cheese shops or wine traders this festival is your place to go.
More Information about the Budapest Gourmet Festival:
Probably the festival most people would like to go to because they can have a taste of Hungarys favourite shot, the Pálinka. Pálinka is like a fruit spirit in all kinds of flavors with honey (mézes) or without including fruits (ágyas) or not and so on. It is a really nice festival near Déak Ferenc Tér with Pálinka manufacturers from all over Hungary.
What I don’t really like at the Pálinka festival is the control which the exhibitors have from the organisators. Every visitor has to pay entrance which is justified with a useless Pálinka glas and you need value tickets for everything you want to buy if it is Pálinka, a juice or sausage. Also the Pálinka producers are bound to the prices the organizers give so that every exhibitor has to give a Pálinka away for a minimum of 200 HUF no matter if it is a really bad one or a high quality Pálinka. Nevertheless it is a nice opportunity to try some different Pálinkas and maybe take a bottle home.
More information about the Pálinka Festival in Budapest:
Budapest Spring Festival
The Budapest spring festival is taking place since years and years by now and is one of the most visited festivals in Budapest. It is mainly about concerts ranging from folk over opera to cross over concerts for 2 weeks. I assume that during these 2 weeks you are able to see more than 100 performances of all types of music. Also available are performances for children and some special which is this year Japanese performances.
It would be useless to start to tell you about the performers so I refer to the official website which is the program in the same time.
More information about the Spring Festival in Budapest:
Most of you might ask yourselves what Mangalica is. Mangalica is a typical Hungarian type of pig which somehow reminds me of a sheep as well. The festival is all about this type of pigs, no matter if it is in shape of a sausage, living or in arts. Honestly this type of meat tastes absolutly amazing and has its price in the shops but it is worth to try it.
The festival offers a “pörkölt cooking competition”, pigs to see, information about the pigs and why they are Mangalicas as well as a lot to eat and drink as usual in Hungary. For further information on the Mangalica pig check out Wikipedia and for more information on the festival (unfortunaltey just in Hungarian) and its programme click here.
The festival takes place at Városligeti Vajdahunyad Vára between February 6th and 8th.
More information about the Mangalica Festival:
- My review about the Mangalica Festival
- Mangalica Festival in Budapest on BudapestFestivals.com
- The Official Website
Summer on Chain Bridge
You might have seen it that during the entire summer the chain bridge in Budapest is closed for cars and buses because on Saturdays and Sundays the chain bridge is full of little shops selling arts, gifts, food and drinks as usual in Hungary. What you will find here is a nice walk across the chain bridge without disturbing traffic watching hand made arts and gifts while having a beer and a sausage or something similar traditional Hungarian.
The summer on chain bridge is not a spectacular festival as it is not concentrated on one weekend per year but on the entire summer but for a nice Sunday walk it is absolutely recommendable. I didn’t know but on research I found out that the festival has a website. Check it out here. It takes place from June 21st till August 17th.
Balaton Sound, Zamardi, Lake Balaton
Balaton sound is, as the name is telling already, not taking place in Budapest but many people from Budapest and all over the country come and enjoy a long weekend down in Zamardi on Lake Balaton for the biggest House Music festival in Hungary. The Balaton Sound is a relatively young festival but has build up to a top destination for international, well known DJs such as David Guetta, Sven Väth or Paul Kalkbrenner. The special thing about Balaton Sound is the location which is right at the beach of Lake Balaton where people hang out in the water, have drinks and listen to music all day long. The festival is also well visited by international people such as Dutch, English or Germans. Balaton Sound is a festival from the same organizer as the Sziget Festival so these guys have best contacts to artists and have a lot of experience on how to make a successful festival. Ticket prices are around the same as for Sziget Festival. IF you plan to go there you should already check for accommodation down there since Zamardi is a fairly small place and hotels or holiday houses are really rare. You can also camp near the festival but there are many people who do not like camping so check to get a hotel as early as possible.
More Information about Balaton Sound:
(Édes Napok csokoládé- és édességfesztivál as it is originally called) is a festival all about sweets, chocolate, ice cream and candy made by local producers. The festival takes place in the Buda Castle in the middle of December and takes 3 days. Apart from sweets you will not see much except a beautiful view over the city of Budapest and some of the typical booths you can find on any festival in Budapest selling sausages, Lángos or chicken breast for the hunger. However people are not coming to Sweet Days because of the great salty food but about sweets hand made from small local producers. I think it is worth a visit especially because Hungarians are into sweets very much and can offer maybe things you haven’t seen or tried before. What you will see is not mass production but art.
More Information about the Sweet Days Festival in Budapest:
Goose Liver Festival in Budapest
As I mentioned in the first sentence of this post there is a festival for everything in Budapest and so there is one for Goose Liver. Goose liver is very popular in Hungary and also know across the borders even often mentioned in one sentence with the famous French Foie Gras. That is already a reason to set up a 3 day festival in the Buda Castle with many exhibitors and producers. The festival takes place beginning of June (In 2012 it is June 1st – 3rd).
Obviously you will find many producers of goose liver here who are presenting their products new creations and for sure are up for a chat all around geese. Also you will have the chance to try different preparation methods of the goose liver.
Additionally on the Goose liver festival there are exhibitors not directly connected to goose liver so culinary things like wine, Pálinka, beer, honey, jam, oils, seasoning etc. On top the festival is accompanied by music program throughout the weekend and a lot of activities for kids as well.
If you like goose liver I strongly recommend to go there. Entrance fee is 1.900 HUF for a 1 day pass, 3.800 HUF for a 3 day pass. The festival is open until 11 in the evening on all 3 days.
More information about the Goose Liver Festival in Budapest:
Budafok Wine Festival
The Budafok Wine Festival is a small festival taking place in September presenting the best wine makers from Budapest and the surrounding areas such as Etyek. Here you still can get in touch with the producers themselves, try their best wines and have a chat. It is not as commercialized as the Budapest Wine Festival so there is a good chance that you will get a deciliter more of wine if you are friendly. Half of the inner city of Budafok is closed for traffic just to ensure that people feel great at the Budafok Wine Festival. The only really famous wine maker who is taking part is Törley which is the most recognized brand for champagne in Hungary.
More information about the Budafok Wine Festival:
My opinion about the Festivals in Budapest
Even though many festivals tend to be very similar in terms of what is offered there it is very nice to go out and have a few specialties of Hungary from local producers and try different, new things. There are for example several wine festivals, a Pálinka and Wine festival and a Pálinka festival so you will find here many times the same producers with the same offers. But anyways you will not be able to try all wines or all Pálinkas at once. The critics of similarity is rather about what is offered around like the food for example. You have the same sausages on every festival, Christmas market and so on which is a bit annoying but on the other hand what else should they offer.
If you know a Festival which you really can recommend than let me know in the comments or drop me a line in an email and I will add it. You can also check BudapestFestivals.com for more information about Festivals in Budapest.Entertainment