April in Budapest

Festivals, Programs, Concerts, Exhibitions

Budapest is most lovely to me at this time of the year when parks, gardens are are all green and flowery.

We have lots of festivals and things to do to choose from. Here is our selection.

Quick Links: Easter Programs 14-17. AprSpring FestivalArt WeekFolklore & ConcertsPálinka FestivalEnjoy Green Budapest!Exhibitions –  Hotel TIPSpring Fair at Vörösmarty Square

Spring Fair at Vörösmarty Square, end of March – mid-April 2017

Gerbeaud cafe and Vörösmarty Square in springAddress: Vörösmarty tér, city centre, district V. M1 underground stop, M2, M3 lines at Deák tér, tram 2., Vigadó or Széchenyi tér (a short walk from there)
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 21.00

The square that hosts the city’s popular Christmas market has been given home to a Spring Fair too for a couple of years now.

The event organized by Budapest’s official Tourist Centre is an ideal place to meet and chat with local craftsmen, and artists and buy something unique.

A variety of cultural programs, a wide choice of food and drinks are the additional highlights of the 4-week Budapest Spring Fair.

Easter Programs, Events, 14 – 17. April 2017

You can choose from a range of activities and programs in and outside the Hungarian capital during spring’s most awaited holiday.

The Spring Fair on Vörösmarty tér (see below) is a centrally-located, month-long festival close to the Danube and many other must-see sights in downtown.

Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park usually hosts an Easter Lamb Festival featuring popular lamb dishes, cooking contest, craft workshop and a fair selling the usual knick-knacks.

an orange-colored hand pointing to the right Find more recommendations on Easter Things to Do in Budapest!

Cultural Programs in April

Budapest Spring Festival,  31. March – 23. April 2017

Venue: around 30 locations in the city

Ballet performance on the sping festivalThe Budapest Spring Festival has grown into Central Europe’s biggest cultural event with more than 100 programs in multiple genres:

  • classical music,
  • jazz, world music concerts,
  • dance performances,
  • opera,
  • ballet,
  • theatre,
  • contemporary circus,
  • crossover programs,
  • exhibitions at thirty locations in the city (Palace of Arts, Music Academy, A38 Boat, Opera House, Bálna, Hungarian National Gallery etc.).

This year China‘s varied culture and Franz Liszt‘s works will be in the focus of the festival program.

It’s hard to pick a program but here are some that I would definitely love to see:

The Budapest Festival Orchestra will open the festival on 08. April at 19.30 in the presenting the works of Liszt (Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2), Bartók: (Viola Concerto, Sz. 120, BB 128) and John Adams (Harmonielehre). The opening concert will be held in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall/Müpa (Palace of Arts).

Puccini’s Turandot by the Chinese National Opera will be on stage on 19. and 20. April in the Erkel Theatre – all artists, the orchestra and the chorus comes from Peking.

Contemporary Folk Music In the Footsteps of Bartók, Kodály and Szokolay: 12. April, 19.30, Music Academy-Grand Hall– The concert is a combination of classical music and folk music where compositions of Bartók and Kodály will be played on folk instruments, with piano accompaniment.

Wedding Dance  – a dazzling dance show based on László Nagy’s Poem, “Wedding” and performed by the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble on 15. April at 19.00 in the Festival Theatre of Müpa/Palace of Arts. The performance depicts the events and bustle following a traditional wedding ceremony.

On the “lighter side” we can choose from several popular music, jazz, world music or even electronic music concerts.

The concerts of the Sarah McKenzie Quartet (21. April at 20.00, Bálna/Whale Event Hall) or the WOMEX Artist Award-winner Cheikh Lô (West-African, Caribbean, Latin-American, North-American tunes.) will surely attract lots of visitors.

Ticket prices to the programs vary between cc. 1500 HUF – 10.000 HUF (depending on venue and seat category). It’s good to buy tickets well in advance because lots of programs sell out quickly.

TIP: Some of the programs can be enjoyed free of charge like the Travelling the Silk Road Fashion Show in the Hungarian National Museum on 23. April at 16.00.

The event’s aim is to show how China influenced fashion in the Western world. You can also get to see the current Chinese fashion trends, as well as a Hungarian top designer, Katti Zoób‘s China-inspired work.

See more programs on the event’s official website.

Sightseeing, Tours

View of Elizabeth Bridge and a boat on the DanubeApril is an ideal month to explore the city by walk: pleasant spring weather: warm sunny days, longer daylight hours.

The most scenic parts of the city perfect for a short or longer stroll are:

  • The Danube Promenade (Dunakorzó) – a riverbank on the Pest side stretching between the Chain Bridge and Elizabeth Bridge – lots of terraced cafes to have a bite or a cup of coffee.
  • The Várkert Bazár and Gardens (Castle Bazaar & Garden) that celebratesits 3-year anniversary on 02-03. April 2017, on the Buda side at the southern foot of Castle Hill also offers plenty to see – you’ll enjoy an amazing vista on the walkways meandering on the slopes of the Neo-Renaissance garden that is in full bloom and green by  mid-April.
  • Take the escalator from Várkert up to the Royal Palace of Buda: rich in historic sights, museums (Budapest History Museum, the National Gallery and National Széchenyi Library), charming coffee houses and bistros, not to mention the amazing view from Fishermen’s Bastion.

Synagogues & Jewish Sights

Opening hours of the synagogue and the museum: Monday Thursday: 10.00-18.00, closed on Saturdays

The Holocaust Memorial Center is open all weekend (closed on Monday) according to usual opening hours from 10.00 to 18.00.

Explore Green Budapest!

the terrace of Fruska Bistro at Kopaszi damApril is also ideal for leisurely strolls in parks, gardens and arboretums.

Here are some tips where to enjoy a bit of green in the city!

Kopaszi Dam & Park

The Kopaszi Dam in southern Buda close to Rákóczi Bridge was turned from a neglected area into local’s favorite park in 2007.

The 10 hectare/24.7 acre landscaped area surrounds Lágymányosi bay and  is bordered by the artificial Kopaszi dam south of Rákóczi Bridge.

Great for family outings, picnics, jogging and enjoying a meal or just a drink at one of the terraces (Veranda, le Bistro, Fruska Bistro).

TIP: View our photos taken on a Sunday morning in April 2015.

Find more tips on parks and arboretums in Budapest.

On Bicycle – Tours In & Out of the City!

April is a perfect month to discover the city’s many sights or the charming artsy town Szentendre (located in the Danube Bend cc. 25 km from the capital) on bike.

Experienced, friendly, English-speaking bikers will guide you around the city. Bikes, helmets are provided.

Budapest 100 – Celebration of 100-Year Old Buildings, Mid-April

a historic building on Rakoczi utLocation: several venues in the city

The Budapest 100 is a wonderful event devoted to all buildings in the city that turn 100 year old in 2017.

Historic houses otherwise closed to the public welcome everyone around the 100th day of the year.

This year the 120-year old Grand Boulevard/Nagykörút  – a 4,5 km long semicircle thoroughfare between Petőfi Bridge and Margaret Bridge – will be the main venue of programs.

Programs include:

  • guided tours,
  • exhibitions,
  • movie watching, and
  • children activities.

The event celebrates its 6th birthday this year.

Budapest Art Week, 18 – 23. April

Venue: various art galleries and museums in Budapest
Tickets: full price: 3 000 HUF, students, seniors: 2 000 HUF, family: (2 adults + max. 3 kids): 8 000 HUF. Note: You’ll receive a wristband with which you can visit all programs during the 6 days.

part of the Koszta exhibit in varkertThe Budapest Art Week is a brand new series of programs that aims to inspire and provide guidance to fans of art.

You can experience the thriving art world of the city in close to 50 art venues: galleries, museums, workshops, community places.

You can go on studio visits, guided gallery tours, museum exhibitions, performances and talks to get an insight into Budapest’s varied art scene.

The 6-day event complements the Spring Festival’s repertoire of classical art programs synchronizing nearly 60 programs to highlight the most significant and current venues of the city’s art world.

The exhibitions can be visited during the opening hours of the venues. For more information on the programs visit the event’s website.

International Book Festival, Mid-April, 2017.

Book festival at MillenarisVenue: Millenáris, Kis Rókus u. 16–20., Buda

A 4-day International Book Festival is focusing on literature and books.

This year Turkey will be the guest of honour nation so expect to learn a lot about Turkish literature, writers, the publishing industry.

The European First Novel Festival is also organized within the Book Fest.

Visit the official website of the event for more details.

See more on the organiser’s website.

Pálinka Festival, end of April

a shot of pálinka

Venue: Városháza park, M1, M2, M3 metro lines, Deák Ferenc tér station
Entry: free

The Pálinka Festival welcomes everyone on the last weekend of April to taste this special Hungarian fruit brandy/distillate, called “pálinka”.

This year quince will be in the limelight: spirits and food specialties made from the delicious fruit.

Besides the strong drink (alcohol content is 37-50 %), there’ll be good food (and other beverages) too: grilled meats, street food, Sekler cake, sweets made from pálinka, wines, coffee.

Concerts

at a concert in Matthias ChurchBudapest is home to a couple of great concert halls like the

  • the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall in the Palace of Arts,
  • a new venue the Budapest Music Center in district IX.,
  • the refurbished Vigadó Hall,
  • Matthias Church, and other churches.

Tickets are affordable and these performances offer fine cultural entertainment at the most wonderful venues of the city.

Exhibitions in Museums

The more than 100 museums of Budapest offer exciting exhibits all year round. Here’s our top choice for the month of April:

For Families with Kids: Magic Castle Interactive Exhibition, 19. March – 01. May

Address: Városliget, Vajdahunyadvár district XIV.
Open: Tue-Sun : 10.00-17.00
Admission: children ages 3-14 and retirees over 62: 1 450 HUF, adults: 1 650 HUF, families (2 adults +2-3 kids): 5 490 HUF.

If you’re in Budapest with children visit the Magic Castle Exhibition & Game in the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, housed in Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park.

You’ll enter an imaginary Magic Castle where your courage and skill will be put to test on a mystical adventure.

Hotel Tips for April 2017

the terrace of Baltazar Hotel in BudaWe recommend a lovely bohemian boutique hotel in Buda castle with a great restaurant and wine bar, the Baltazar Hotel in Országház utca.

Pick the Lovers package with your room to surprise your loved one with a bottle of champagne, chocolate glazed strawberries and a dessert in one of three cafes of your choice.

Great location in a historic area packed with must-see sights (Matthias Church, Royal Palace with the National Gallery and the History Museum), lots of cafes and fantastic view.

the facade of Hotel NemzetiOur other pick is the Hotel Nemzeti MGallery Collection, a 4-star establishment in a historic building on the József körút part Nagykörút.

The hotel belongs to the MGallery division of the Accor group, known for unique hotel all around the world highlighting local architectural and cultural characteristics.

The 80-room hotel offers modern, eclectic design combined with21-st century amenities. highlights are the dazzling hall adorned with Venetian mirrors, the charming inner courtyard with statues, or the stained glass ceiling.

An ideal choice if you look to stay at a place that offers something unique in a city!

Thermal Baths – Relax and Heal

thermal pools inside Gellert bathBaths in Budapest are a wonderful source of recreation, healing and historic ambience.

You can admire the architecture and enjoy the hot pools in baths from the era of Ottoman occupation (15-17. centuries): the Király Bath and the Rudas Bath.

Or you can have a great time and soak up he grandeur of two more recent spas: the Gellért in Buda and the Széchenyi in Pest.

TIP: Perhaps the Szt. Lukács Thermal Bath in northern Buda (Frankel Leo u. 25-29., district II.) has the richest history and it is less touristy than the other baths.

The Knights of the Order of St. John healed the sick here in a bath in the 12. century.

The Turks also used the bath establishments in the 16-17. centuries, then a spa hotel was built in 1884. The bath was refurbished in recent years when new and modern facilities were added.

It has both indoor and outdoor pools (with 40 deg. Celsius water temperature so you can have a dip even in winter).

More Program & Activity Tips

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