Programs, Things to Do Recommendations on Labor Day and in May
May Day in Budapest used to be a major holiday of the Communist Party. Large processions followed by beer and frankfurter in the City Park marked 1st May a couple of decades ago.
Here are some tips on where to go and what to do on 01. May in our city.Events in May: TIP: Hungarian Dinner & Folk Evenings – Belgian Beer Festival – Ice Cream Day – Bread Festival – Rosalia Wine Festival – Festival of Museums – Stylewalker Night – Gourmet Festival – Bródy Piknik (in the Palace Quarter) – Children’s Day (30-31. May) Things to Do: Sightseeing, Tours in May : Jewish Heritage Tours – E-Bike Tours – Wine Tastings & Tours – Concerts – Visit the Zoo – Thermal Baths/Open-air Pools – Terraced Places – Party TIP: Boat Party on the Danube with Cruise May Day Programs: Race Car Show/The Big Drift – Festival in City Park – Tabán Festival – Festival on Margaret Island
Events, Programs in May in Budapest
May offers a wide range of events and programs in the Hungarian capital. See a selection of some of the best:
Venue: ice cream parlors at various locations in Budapest and Hungary
The second Thursday of May is dedicated to artisan ice cream in Hungary. More than 100 ice cream parlors, confectioneries have joined the vent when you can enjoy the most delicious gelatos at half price.
Some of the participating places in Budapest that we I will definitely visit with my older son are:
Fragola – is one of the first Italian-style gelateria now at 7 locations in the city. Not as good as Gelateria Pomo D’oro in Arany János utca near the Basilica, but still better than most ice cream shops in Budapest.
They have a permanent selection of flavours with some seasonal offers thrown in: chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, pistachio, mascarpone-gorgonzola, strawberry, tiramisu, lemon,
The most central Fragola Ice Cream parlors can be found at:
- – Nagymező utca 7. district V., the street of the Pesti Broadway just off Andrássy út and close to the Opera
- – Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 76. not far from the Parliament, and close to the Nyugati Train Station on Grand Boulevard
- – Károly körút 3. distict VII., in the vicinity of the Central Synagogue
They are open from 11.00 to 21.00 (or 22.00) every day.
Address: Ráday utca 25., district IX,
Open: Mon-Sat: 11.30-19.30 Sun: 12.0019.30
A small but great Italian ice cream place in Ráday Street (not far from a Fragola shop). Besides gelato, they have semifreddi, brioche gelato, ice bon, frappe, coffee and other delicacies.
One scoop is 300 HUF, two: 500 HUF, three: 600 HUF.
Jófagyi Fagylaltműhekly (Good Ice Cream Shop)
Address: Piarista köz. 2., district V. city centre, close to the Danube bank in Pest and Erzsébet Bridge
Open: every day: 12.00-21.00
Artisan gelato made from all natural ingredients. Flavours include classic and unique options. One scoop is 5 dkg and costs 220 HUF.
See also our list of Best Ice Cream in Budapest!
Venue: ARAZ Restaurant, Dohány utca 42-44. district VII. (in the Continental Hotel Budapest)
Price: 9 490 HUF/person
Attend this wonderful program in the elegant ARAZ Restaurant in Dob utca, district VII.
You can enjoy a classic Hungarian dinner of 4 courses, accompanied by 3 glasses of local wines matching the dishes.
A live folk music and dance show starts at 20.00 showcasing authentic Hungarian folk dances to the tune of a string orchestra and dulcimer (cimbalom).
Venue: terraces of the Royal Palace
You can taste the best what Hungary offers in bread and pastry making during the two day festival on a beautiful venue in the Castle.
Traditional and new, healthier breads, rolls, buns, sweet pastries: kakaós csiga (cocoa snail), túrós batyu, (cottage cheese bundle), bukta (tarditional Hungarian yeast based pastry filled with jam) will be the highlights of the event.
Besides tasting, you can enjoy folk concerts and dance, try folk games, view a bread label exhibition.
Venue: Larus center and MOM Gesztenyéskert, Böszörményi út 23 – 25., district XII., Buda
Opening Hours: 9th May: 14.00 – 23.00, 10th May: 10.00-23.00, 11th May: 10.00 – 21.00
Entry: free, tasting: you have to buy a tasting glass for 800 HUF
A festival celebrating fresh roses and other splendid summer wines.
May is an ideal month to sample some delightful Hungarian wines. You have several options to do so:
Visit a modern wine shop & gallery in the city centre, Cultivini, just off Váci Street: here you can taste nearly 60 wines, including some rare bottles that aren’t available for tasting at other places in Budapest.
If you prefer a more traditional setting go to a historic cellar in Buda Castle where you can choose from a couple of wine tasting menus (reds, whites, and some lesser-known interesting selections of both reds and whites called the Curiosities of Hungary.
Last but not least, if you can devote more time to wines and local viticulture we recommend a tour to Etyek village, centre of a small wine region west of Budapest.
You’ll visit 2-3 vineyards, taste wines and have a real Hungarian lunch or dinner with some more wines. Transfer to and back is included. Length of program 3.5-4 hours.)
Venue: Városháza park, M1, M2, M3 metro lines, Deák Ferenc tér station
Tickets: daily ticket 2 000 HUF ( a tasting glass and two tasting coupons are included)
The Pálinka Festival moves to a new location from Buda Castle to Városháza Park in downtown Budapest, district V.
This year apple will be in the limelight: spirits and food specialties made from the delicious Hungarian fruit.
Venue: Whale/Bálna, M4 metro Fővám tér station, or tram 2 Zsil utca stop
Tickets: 2 800 HUF, includes 3 glasses of beer (200ml) or 4000 HUF (incl. 5 glassess of beer), and a special tasting glass
Around 200 kinds of beer ( 50 on tap) by 35 Belgian Breweries.
The VII. Belgian Beer Festival moves to a new venu, the Whale on the Pest Danube bank, close to the Central market Hall
Some other Belgian beers that will be will be present are the Deliria, made by women beer makers, or the limited edition Hopus Primeur and Duver Tripel Hop. You can also taste the new star of recent years, Omer.
Venue: Several Museums in Budapest, main event is in the Hungarian National Museum, Múzeum körút 14 – 16., district VIII., M3 metro, Kálvin tér statio
The main theme of this year’s festival is the creative 19th century, the rejuvenation of the urban bourgeois.
Concerts, workshops, unique guided tours of museum exhibits and many other programs on the 2-day weekend festival.
Find out more about the Museum Festival in Budapest
Design Shops at various locations
An event dedicated to talented young designers and design shops in Budapest. During the walk you can visit small shops and boutiques at hidden spots in the city most people don’t know about.
Besides getting to know these secret place you can buy their products at discount price and enjoy a range of programs.
Some of the participating design shops:
Barnoff, Black Box, Buborék, Colorbar, FuFavi, Insitu, Jojó Artshop, Lollipop Factory, Rododendron Art & Design Shop, wonderLAB
Passes & Tickets: 4-day pass till 19. June: 50 EUR, tickets till 19. June: 33 EUR, passes after 19. June: 70 EUR, tickets after 19. June: 50 EUR
Although BP Essentials is held in June we’ve listed here so you’ll know about it and buy your ticketes in time.
The biggest event of June 2016 offers lots of programs at countless venues in the city centre: concerts (50 bands will perform), unique walk tours (you can explore the fire walks and street art of the city), pop-up workshops, street food, gourmet food, cakes (Cakes Shop is highly recommended, ticket holders get a 20% discount).
Some regularly organised fairs are also part of the event: the Gourmet Festival (30. May-01. June) at Millenáris park in Buda, the Wamp Festival at Akvárium Klub (Erzsébet tér) where young designers, artists will showcase their products, or the Gouba/Gozsdu Bazár another place to get to know works of start up Hungarian designers as well as browse among antique art pieces.
With your pass you:
- can visit all music and culture programs at all locations throughout the festival
- receive a discount at every gastro partner’s restaurant
- you get 3 beer coupons with your pass, which you can redeem at the following ruin bars (1 beer/bar): Fogasház/Fogaskert, Instant, Ankert
With Extra Coupon you can also enjoy a one-time free visit to any of the participating baths: Gellért, Dandár, Dagály, Király, Széchenyi, Lukács, Rudas, Paskál, Római, go on a Hop on Hop Off Bus tour, or visit the Zoo and Botanical Garden.
Venue: Millenáris Park, trams 4, 6, M2 metro Széll Kálmán tér stop – a couple of minutes walk from there
Tickets: 3 300 HUF/day (includes a Spiegelau wine glass, wine tasting by Terra Hungarica wine shop, street food tasting, a gastro magazine, a cup of Nespresso coffee, and a glass of champagne for the first 1000 visitors every day)
This is a must event for foodies. The cream of the crop of the Hungary’s and the capital’s restaurants, gourmet shops, cake and pastry shops, wineries, wine shops and craft breweries will be present, so you can sample the best foods and drinks at one place.
Find out more details about the Gourmet Festival in 2016.
See also our photos taken on the Gourmet Festival.
Venue: Bródy Sándor utca – Gutenberg tér, district VIII.
The Palace Quarter in distr. VIII., a less-known neighbourhood between Múzeum krt. and Nagykörút (Grand Blvd.), behind the National museum, will host a picnic on the last Saturday of May.
The area is home to some lovely historic palaces, one of them has been converted into a fine boutique hotel, the Hotel Palazzo Zichy.
The Civilek a Palotanegyedért Egyesület (Civilians for the Palace Quarter Association) a non-govermental organization is organizing the Picnic for the first time.
Programs include visiting some of the palaces with a guide, theatre performances for children, concerts and more.
There will be also a Children Day in the National Museum’s garden on 30./05., Saturday between 9.00-12.00 with many fun programs not just for kids.
The last Sunday of May is all about children: programs for the youngest at several venues in the city.
Children’s Day Festival in City Park (Városliget), 30-31. May
The Hungarian Childen’s Safety Service has been organising a children’s day festival in Budapest’s popular park, the Városliget/City Park since 1990.
The varied two-day program include:
- theatre performances, concerts
- sport events, programs involving horses and dogs
- children can learn rules of safe transportation in a fun way
- quizes, competitions
- gastronomy offers, and
- the usual fair where you can get all sorts of things that your kid will persuade you to buy.
Entry is free.
Chidren’s Day in the Hungarian Railway Museum, 31. May, Sunday, 10.00-18.00
The Hungarian Railway Museum is a must-see attraction for families with kids and the last Sunday of May is a great opportunity to go.
Similarly to previous years the park, which showcases the history of railway in Hungary with giant, retro locomotives and hands-on displays, welcomes kids with concerts and exciting programs all day.
Entry is free under 14 years of age.
Here are some walk and other tours with expert, English guiding:
Budapest boasts a very rich Jewish heritage from synagogues to museums, and monuments. The world’s most beautiful and one of the largest synagogue is in the centre, in Dohány Street. It has a museum and archives with lots of relics and historic displays.
The city is also ideal for biking and it is a great way to quickly see all the important landmarks and attractions and the wonderful view.
If you don’t want to exert yourself on a traditional bicycle choose a tour on E-bike – easy to use, no sweating and panting just enjoy the ride!
A visit to the Zoo is always a nice outdoor program for the whole family:
- lots of green,
- animals (do go say hello to Asha the 2-month old baby elephant),
- snacks, restaurants, and a fine confectionery (Gundel Patisserie).
The best thing is that the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is in the City Park, home to a colourful May Day Festival each year.
The weather on 1st May is usually very warm (25 – 30 deg. Celsius), ideal for splashing around in outdoor pools and baths.
The good news is that some of the outdoor baths in Budapest are open on May Day:
- the outside pool in the Gellért Bath,
- the Dagály,
- and the scenic Palatinus
The decade-old, famous pipe organ of the National Concert Hall in the Palace of Arts will be celebrated with concerts and a weekend festival.
Organ Stories, Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Palace of Arts/Müpa, 21. May
Address: Komor Marcell utca 1., district IX., Getting there: tram 2 or H7 HÉV/suburban railway Közvágóhíd stop, tram 1 Rákóczi híd stop
Date & Time: 21. May at 19.30-22.00
Tickets: 2 200, 2 500, 3 500, 4 500 HUF
The intriguing event takes place for the 6th time introducing the background story of the instrument, outstanding events and persons related to it in a fun and informative way.
This year the host of the event Pál Mácsai actor guarantees a pleasant evening while László Fassang organist, pianist and improviser provides for the fascinating music
Program of the evening:
- Sweelinck: Chromatic Fantasia
- Buxtehude: Toccata in D minor, BuxWV 155
- J. S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
- C. Franck: Prelude, Fugue and Variation
- Vierne: Symphony No. 2 – Scherzo
- Liszt: Legend in E major
- Alain: Litanies
- Messiaen: Joie et Clarté des Corps Glorieux
- Árpád Pásztor – Sándor Góth: Bitter Love – silent film with improvised organ accompaniment
Organ10 Festival, Palace of Arts/Müpa, 21-22. May
Date: 21-22. May 2016, Sat-Sun
Tickets: will be available from 15. January
A two-day festival that celebrates the inagururation of the unique and famous organ of the Palace of Arts 10 years ago.
The organ of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall was made in 2006 by the Pécsi Orgonaépítő Manufaktúra and Mühleisen Orgelbau Stuttgart.
The world-renowned 5-manual instrument has 6804 pipes and 92 registers.
In the past decade numerous concerts were played on it and it will bring to life classic organ pieces on this weekend festival too.
See more information on the website of Müpa.
The pleasant May weather is perfect for sipping a glass of wine or fröccs (spritzer made from wine and soda) or craft beer outdoor. Here are some of our favorite terraced places in the city:
Terasz – Március 15. Square
Address: Március 15. tér 2., tram 2
Sitting on the terrace of Terasz on the Danube Promenade with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and enjoying the beautiful panorama of Erzsébet bridge, the Gellért Hill and the Danube is a perfect way to relax.
The place also offers tasty meals: goulash soup with csipetke, chicken paprikash, grilled sandwiches.
Address: Naphegy utca 67, district I., buses No: 8., 112, 178 Sánc utca stop, or trams 18, 19, 41. Döbrentei tér stop,
Open: Mon-Sun: 10.00-03.00
In case you wonder Terasz means terrace in Hungarian. This one is in Buda on top of Naphegy close to Gellért hill. Geared more towards hipsters, and party people.
Stunning vista, fine wines, champagnes of the Vinopolis wine shop and restaurant (at the same address), late breakfast, lunch, dinner. DJ- s provide great music in the evenings.
More Outdoor Cafes:
You’ll find plenty in the following areas:
- Szent István tér, the Basilica and its neighbourhood – the Mini Bar is a brand new place with the theme of the Rover Mini Car
- Gozsdu Court – packed with bars, cafes – Blue Bird cafe is great for a breakfast and coffee (they have their own coffee roaster)
- Liszt Ferenc Tér, Hajós utca, Nagymező utca (aka Pesti Broadway)
- Andrássy út – Opera
- Ráday utca in district IX.
- the Duna Korzó – Danube Promenade- a scenic walkway between the Chain Bridge and Erzsébet bridge.
Open air clubs and bars welcome the summer season with the arrival of May.
Date & Time: Friday , Saturday at 23.00
If you’re looking for a unique venue for a fantastic night with music, dance, drinks and great people, go partying on a sightseeing boat. The program starts at 23.00 and includes a 1.5-hour night cruise on the Danube.
After the boat party you can continue the night in one of the best clubs in the city centre (included in the price).
Dance away under the stars on the Danube in Budapest!
Tickets: 12.90 EUR (incl. a welcome drink), with unlimited beverage consumption (alcholic, non-alcoholic, tea, coffee, mineral water): 31.06 EURBuy Your Ticket Online
Barba Negra Track
Location: Neumann János utca 2., district XI.
The Barba Negra Track (former Zöld Pardon) at the Buda end of Rákóczi Bridge has opened its gates on 30. April with a 4-day concert series by Hungary’s best rock, pop and underground bands. Kosheen from Bristol will also perform on 1st May.
Concert tickets: around 1000 – 1500 HUF
Air and Race Car Show in Budapest City Centre, 1st May 2016.Note: date/time and programs are not finalized yet
Venue: the Danube bank in Pest at the Chain Bridge, in front of the Hungarian National Academy, tram 2
Due to the popularity of the event in previous years., the spectacular show will be organised again this year on the Danube bank with WTCC cars and drivers, Formula 1 cars and pilots.
After the air show an awesome race car show begins at the Várkert Bazár (south of the Chain Bridge and the Castle Hill on the Buda embankment) following the cc. 4000 m route: Várkert Bazár – Lánchíd utca – Clark Adam Square – Chain Bridge – back to Buda embankment – till Erzsébet Bridge then back to Várkert Bazár.
At 15.00 6 WTCC touring cars including Norbert Michelisz, Hungary’s No. 1 touring car racer, new Honda can be seen at the Chain Bridge area. GP and Speed EuroSeries.
Infinity Red Bull FORMULA 1 Show with Kimi Räikkönen Finnish Ferrari champion who will drive across the Chain bridge in his F1 race car, 01. May 2016., 15.00 – 17.00
Venue: City Park, district XIV., M1 metro (yellow line) Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square) stop
Budapest’s largest park, the Városliget hosts a festival on each Labor Day.
Craft fair, concerts, cooking competitions, children programs
Margaret Island is another spacious green patch in the heart of the city; a perfect place to celebrate May Day in Budapest.
Read more about attractions on Margaret Island.
Venue: Tabán, district I., Buda
The Tabán Festival looks back to decades of tradition (except for a 10-year break). Budapesti people celebrate the first day of May with live concerts from early afternoon till late night in the Tabán area in Buda.
The Tabán concerts used to be all about rebelation against the communist regime, today it has a more relaxed atmosphere with the most popular Hungarian pop-rock bands giving concerts all afternoon.Quick fact: the Tabán area is the hilly part between Buda Castle and the Gellért Hill in district I., and partly in district XI. It used to be a very idyllic city part around the turn of the 19th-20 century with lots of cozy cafes, bars and restaurants, the prototypes of Budapest’s all popular ruin pubs today.
In the 1960s the Tabán underwent a landscaping project then the park slowly became neglected. The area today is more or less organised and clean.
Óbuda Festival, May 2016.
Óbuda (Old Buda, district III.) is a lovely quaint part of Northern Budapest with several great events during the year.
The May Festival offers lots of fun programs at several venues in Óbuda: Main Square (Fő tér), Szentlélek tér, Kobuci garden.
Concerts, art and craft workshops, wine and gastro programs, activities for children welcome everyone on the first Saturday of May. See more at the event’s website.
Entry is free.