Programs and Activity Recommendations
August offers the richest selection of events, festivals and other programs in Budapest. The main event of the month is St. Stephen’s Day, on August 20.: a National Holiday ending with fireworks at 21.00.
Festivals, Fireworks, Other Programs in the Last Month of SummerQuick Links: Weather – Festivals, Events – Wine Tastings – Sunset Cruise – Sights, Attractions, Tour Tips – TIP: Concerts, Folklore – Summer Mini Concerts – TIP: Jewish Tours – Museum Exhibitions – Cafes, Pubs – Parties, Nightlife
Weather tends to be scorching hot and dry in the last month of summer.
There are heat waves with no clouds and rain in sight, so do bring your sunglasses, summer cap, sunscreen and comfy, light clothes and shoes.
Plan your program to avoid the hottest hours on the midday sun, or if you do have to be outside, take frequent rests and have a bottle of water with you.TIP: Read also our Tips on How to Beat the Heat in Budapest?
Venue: Margaret Island-Open-Air Stage, Water Tower, Városmajor Open-Air Stage
The last month of the Budapest Summer Festival offers a wide range of cultural programs in various genres:
- Ballet: Romeo and Juliet will be staged by the Les Ballets de Monte Carlo on 05. August at 20.00.
- Magic Night – a show by 4 talented illusionists from all over the world, Date: 12, 13. August at 22.00
- Concerts: the festival offers a great number of concerts in various genres each year (folk, world music, jazz, crossover).
Tickets: 3 900, HUF, 4 900 HUF, 5 900 HUF, 6 900 HUF, 7 900 HUF, 8 900 HUF.
Sziget Festival, 09 – 16. August 2017
One of Europe’s most popular outdoor pop-rock music festival takes place on an island in the Danube (hence the name: Sziget which means island).
The week-long Sziget Festival on Hajógyári-sziget brings an impressive line of international and local performers each year. Besides concerts all sorts programs and activities await visitors of all ages.
Junibor Wine Festival, at the Basilica, 25 – 28. August
Venue: Szent István tér, in front of the Basilica
Opening Hours: 25. Aug/Thurs: 16.00-24.00, 26-28.Aug/Fri-Sun: 12.00-24.00
You can taste wines by the 32 young Hungarian wine makers and also meet and talk to them on the Szent István Square.
The event is organised for the IV. time by JUNIBOR, an association of wine makers under the age of 40.
Good wine is even better with good food. The following street food will be offered during the 4 day: Twist & Chips, Zing Burger, Lakatos Műhely, SteamBOO, Ricsi’s World Jewish Street Food, POPS! Ice Cream, Castello Cheese.
- Meeting with the wine makers: every day at 18.00 – 21.00.
- Tasting of favourites/kedvencek kóstolója: sampling of wines not available at other places, August 27, Saturday at 16.00-17.00: This one can be attended with ticket only: 3 500 HUF, can be bought at DiVino Wine Bar locate don the square.
Lemonade Festival at Bálna Terasz, 22- 28. August
The terrace of the Bálna/Whale Building is undoubtedly one of the most scenic spots in Pest.
It’s right on the Danube bank offering a spectacular view of the river and the Buda side.
The place will host a Lemonade Fest over the last week of August when you can leisurely sip all sorts of lemonade drinks, cocktails (with or without alcohol) and take in the panorama.
Cholent Festival, Kazinczy Street, 28. August
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 21.00, August 28., Sunday
This Jewish gastronomy festival is held for the 2nd time. The location is Kazinczy Street a vibrant cultural and gastronomy spot of district VII and the city.
The section of Kazinczy between Király and Wesselényi Streets will be turned into a cultural and foodie festival focusing on the emblematic Jewish dish, the cholent.
Kids program (theatre performance) at 11.00 – 12.00 and at 15.30-16.15, concerts and magician show in the afternoon and lots of cholent prepared in various ways, from all over the world.
Entry to the event is free but you have to pay for food and drinks. A basic cholent is 1 000 HUF, extra cholent: 1 500 HUF.
Óbuda Summer Festival, till 30. August
Location: several venues in Óbuda (Old Buda), district III.
If you’ve had enough of the city centre head for the lovely, historic district of Óbuda:
- theatre performances,
- designer auction,
- classical music,
- exhibition and
- children programs welcome everyone.
Jewish Cultural Festival, September 04 – 11.
Venue: several places mostly in the Old Jewish Quarter, district VII.
The Jewish Cultural (Summer) Festival is a multicultural event of several genres: concerts (jazz, klezmer, world music), theatre, contemporary art, film, gastronomy and other. More information on the event’s website.
A great opportunity to absorb the atmosphere of the former Jewish Ghetto, today an eclectic mix of art, history, gastronomy and entertainment – home of the best ruin and garden pubs. Small groups, expert guiding in English and German!Buy Tickets!
If wish to get to know about local wines and wine making and first and foremost taste them pick we recommend the following programs:
A Cellar of Medieval Origins
The castle hill has a labyrinthine cave system that provided shelter for locals against the Turks and other attackers over the centuries.
Today a small cellar that is part of this cave system in Buda offers wine tasting menus of various lengths with expert sommelier introduction.
The Curiosities of Hungary menu for example lets you taste some of the best bottles by local wineries, 8 wines from a light dry wine from the Somló Hill to an excellent Bikavér/Bull’s Blood from Szekszárd, and finishing with an exceptional 5 puttony aszú from 1989.
It is an atmospheric place with limited space (6 tables) so reservation is required!
Charms of the Countryside – Etyek Tour
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.
Transfer from Budapest and back is included.
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.)[/box]
Although July offers less foodie events than June had, you can still enjoy some good gastro programs in the Hungarian capital.
In the City Centre: CultiVini Wine Gallery
An excellent and well-located place to taste and get to know Hungarian wines.
You can also buy a bottle or two with delivery to your home address.
Elegant interior, 21st century wine tasting machines, skilled, friendly sommeliers and a custom mobile application help you to enjoy local wines to the fullest.
Special tasting programs with guiding and food (ham and cheese plate, pogácsa, finger foods) are available for reservation.
See other Wine Tasting Programs in and out of Budapest!
See the sun setting or the moon rising over Budapest while sipping chilled cocktails on a 1.5/2-hour sightseeing trip on the Danube. Two large cocktails are included.
Prices: both cruises are 22 EUR/full price (students: 20 EUR).
Location: Ybl Miklós tér, district I., between the Chain Bridge and Elizabeth Bridge
The refurbished Castle Bazaar & Royal Gardens (Várkert Bazár), historical building complex designed by Miklós Ybl, was inaugurated 2 years ago.
You can get to this wonderful new attraction by boat from Pest. The boat service departs from Petőfi tér at Erzsébet bridge and stops at the new port at the Castle Bazaar.
Beautifully restored arcaded buildings, a promenade offering fine view of the Danube and the Pest side, a neo-Renaissance garden on 5000 sqm, exhibitions, shops, cafes and an underground event hall offer great program for a summer afternoon.
There’s an escalator that takes you up almost to the Royal Palace (you have to walk a bit to get there).
The southern palaces regularly host exhibitions.TIP: You can visit the palaces and gardens on a 60-90- minute guided tour. Expert guides will tell you about the history of the buildings and the beautiful neo-Renaissance garden in English, German, French or Hungarian languages.
Price: 2 900 HUF/prs. Tours depart from the Southern Palace/Déli palota, (Ybl Miklós tér 5., distr. I.) Duration: cc. 60-90 minutes.
Registration is required at the (+36 ) 30 -198 5274 mobile number. Tickets can be bought at Southern Palace/Déli palota, (Ybl Miklós tér 5., distr. I.).
Tour Dates in August:
- 03/08. Wednesday, 17.00
- 06/08. Saturday, 17.00
- 10/08. Wednesday, 17.00
- 17/08., Wednesday, 17.00
- 24/08., Wednesday, 17.00
- 26/08., Friday, 15.00
- 31/08., Wednesday, 17.00
Location: Várkert Bazaar,
Guided Tours: on Monday at 14.00, 16.00 and 18.00
Tickets: full price: 2 000 HUF
A historic Jewish bath (mikveh) found during the restoration works at the Western cellar system in Buda Castle can be visited every Monday on guided tours starting at 14.00, 16.000 and 18.00.
The bath dating back to the 13. century was found 8 years ago during excavations and finally has opened to the public in August. It is one of the oldest finds in the castle located in the labyrinth system in the Western section.
The mikveh, an important part of Jewish religious rituals when a full immersion in clean water is required to ensure purity prior entering the synagogue, were carved out from stone and the underground spring supplied the water for it.
The bath is at the restored Várkert Bazár (Castle Bazaar), on the hill leading up to Buda Castle.
See more examples of Jewish Heritage in Budapest!
Miniversum – Great Program for Rainy Days!
Address: Andrássy út 12., ground floor of the Krausz Palace, district VI.
Open: Sunday-Thursday: 9.00-19.00, Friday-Saturday: 9.00-21.00
The latest kids’ attraction of the Hungarian capital is located in a beautiful palace on Andrássy avenue.
The interactive train table features some of the best-known landmarks of three European countries: Hungary, Austria and Germany. Exciting adventure on 300 sqm!
There’s a cafe with an assortment of mini cakes, pastries, pancakes, sandwiches coffee and soft drinks.
Explore Budapest on E-Bikes!
Are your here only for a short time? No time to see all the major landmarks, experience the way locals live?
Go on an electric bike tour to see as much as possible of the beauty of the city. Easy to ride bicycles powered by a small electric motor let you tour the city without a drop of sweat.
Pick an e-bike tour and reserve it online.
Bike Tours – City Centre, Szentendre
If you prefer traditional bikes and are not scared of some exercise try one of these tours by bicycle by experienced, English-speaking bikers and tour guides.
The Wheels & Meals tour explores the city centre from Andrássy Av. to the Castle in Buda and ends with eating a goulash soup in a garden restaurant (duration cc. 4,5 hrs).
The second tour is longer (20 kms with many stops, cc. 7-8 hrs) but you’ll get to see the charming artists’ town in the Danube Bend: Szentendre. You’ll get back to the capital by boat.
Budapest has a vivid cultural scene with many concerts and art exhibitions in all seasons. Summer is especially rich in concerts and other cultural programs.
Seat in the Basilica for an organ concert, go to a 1.5-half our gala concert of classical, operetta, folk/gypsy pieces in the Vigadó Hall or see a folklore show introducing the dance and music heritage of Hungary.
Location: at 10 venues in Budapest
Date & Time: till August 14.: at most venues: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
The Hungarian capital deserves to be called “The City of Music” as well. This summer you can listen too mini concerts for free at various locations:
- balcony concert,
- brass orchestra in Hussar costume,
- nostalgic saxophone band,
- carillon music,
- string quartet,
- Transylvanian folk music.
all these at scenic landmarks of the city: the Basilica, Deák Square, Vörösmarty Square, Vigadó tér, Várkert Bazaar, Magyarság Háza in Buda Castle, Vajdahunyad Castle, Margaret Island
For example at the Basilica you can enjoy bell concert and flute music on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 16.00 and 16.30.
Concerts last cc. 15-20 minutes and are performed by musicians of Budapest’s prestigious orchestras.
Concerts in Matthias Church
Cello Recital Every Other Wednesday 16.00 – 16.15
Dates in August: 03., 17., 31.
The Church of Our Lady in Buda Castle (better known as Matthias Church) hosts free cello recitals every other Wednesday. The 15-minute program can be attended with an entry ticket to the church.
Two Bach suits will be performed by Szalainé Veronika Csobó:
- C-major suit: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Bourrée, Gigue;
- G-major suite: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, Gigue.
Organ Recital, 26. August, Friday, 19.30
The church is also a place for free organ recitals on Friday and Sunday evenings. On 26. August Bálint Karosi from New York will play on the church’s historic grand organ.
See more organ concerts in Budapest!
Evening Concerts in the Zoo
Dates: 06. July – 24. August, Wednesdays at 20.30
Tickets: 3 500 HUF, can be bought at the Zoo’s cashier (closes 1 hour before the zoo’s closing time).
The summer evening concert series in the Zoo and Botanical Garden look back to years of tradition.
On the last day of the concert series the Budapest Bar will be performing starting at 20.30 (gates open at 19.00).
Concerts are held at the Square at the Main Entrance and at the Great Lake/Nagytó.
Folklore Show with Dinner
Date & Time: every Friday starting at 19.00
A great program combining tasty local food and wines with a 30-minute live folklore performance introducing some authentic Hungarian dances and music.
The venue is a stylish city centre restaurant and the program starts at 19.00 every Friday.
See the menu, price and reservation for the Budapest folklore with Dinner program!
Opera Gala on Bakáts Square, August 28.
Date & Time: 28. August, Sunday at 20.00
Tickets: full price: 2 000 HUF, student/retiree: 500 HUF
Puccini, Verdi, Rossini and Saint-Saëns works will be performed on this little square in district IX., Ráday utca.
The more than 100 museums and exhibition halls of Budapest always offer some exciting exhibits. Visiting some of them is a great program either on a rainy day or on a sultry afternoon.
The Hungarian National Gallery in Buda Royal Palace, gives home to two grandiose exhibits:
- The Picasso exhibition has been extended till August 28.
- the Modigliani works welcome visitors till the beginning of October.
Picasso: Transfigurations, Exhibition in the Hungarian National Gallery, till 28. August 2016.
Address: National Gallery, Royal Palace, Szent György tér 2., district I., Buildings A, B, C, D
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00, cashier closes at 17.00
Tickets: full price 3 200 HUF
Pablo Picasso‘s works are exhibited in the National Gallery as part of the exhibition series featuring the 20th century’s most influential artists.
Due to th exhibits popularity it has been extended till 28. August.
The grandiose event is organised jointly with the Musée national Picasso in Paris and the Hungarian National Gallery.
The exhibition covers the period of the artists’ oeuvre in all, with special emphasis on the ongoing changes of shaping the human figure.
Picasso’s works kept in the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts and the Ludwig Museum round out the 60 works (paintings, drawings, sculptures) selected from the collection of the Musée national Picasso.
The exhibition will focus on eight themes: Acrobats, Broken Mirror (The Cubist adventure), clowns and dancers (line A), surreal metamorphoses (inventing the Shape), Monsters, political figures, shepherd’s idyll, the essence of painting.
Modigliani, 29. June – 02. October
Address: National Gallery, Royal Palace, Szent György tér 2., district I., Buildings A, B, C, D
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00, cashier closes at 17.00
Tickets: full price 3 200 HUF
The exhibition presents the Italian artists main periods, styles, his relation to contemporary artists through 80 works – nudes, portraits, statues – displayed in 5 halls.
The exhibit can be seen together with the Picasso exhibit for a couple of weeks which is rare even in the world’s largest museums.
Amedeo Modigliani, who died at the age of 35, is known especially for his distinctive, finely stylized portraits and sensual nudes.
Budapest is chock full of restaurants, cafes bars and pubs. Here are our picks to try in August.
Address: Múzeum krt. 15.
Open: Mon-Fri: 7.30-20.00, Sat-Sun: 9.00-19.00
A new specialty coffee bar is behind the unoriginal name on Múzeum krt (just across the Hungarian National Museum) in a spacious, airy historic building (formerly antique and used books shop) that incorporates parts of the medieval city wall of Pest.
The road already has a new wave coffee shop, Fekete (translates to black, though they seem to focus more on milky coffee beverages) just a few blocks from Bp baristas so looks like coffee bars will replace the antiquarian shops the Múzeum ringroad has been lined with up until recent years.
Anyway, the compulsory La Marzocco espresso machine, Hario V60, Chemex, AeroPress and other gadgets for alternative ways of getting the most out of the freshly roasted beans supplied by one of Hungary’s best micro-roasteries, Casino Mocca are all there on the shiny new counter.
You can enjoy your choice of drink up on the gallery, though it seemed a bit narrow when I first visited the place, or behind the shopwindows facing the street.
Besides quality coffee, you can have muesli, fresh croissant, and cake and dessert creations ranging from brownie, strawberry cheesecake, tapioca pudding, and paleo (sugar and dairy free) goodies.
See other favourite cafes, espresso bars in Budapest!
Léhűtő Pub – Craft Beers on Tap
Address: Holló utca 12-14., district VII., Gozsdu court
Open: Mon-Tue: 16.00-24.00, Wed-Thurs: 16.00-02.00, Fri-Sat: 16.00-04.00, Sun: 16.00-24.00
There are few things better than a nice glass of cool, fresh draught beer – and if it’s a specialty made by a local micro brewery that’s even better.
Besides local tastes, Léhűtő offers a nice selection of import IPAs, ales, dubbels, stouts, weizens. Some snacks are also available to go with your beer.
The outdoor clubs are still full of life at night. The major clubbing hot spots of the city are:
- Kazinczy utca in district VII. – a range of retro, garden pubs like Szimpla Kert, Kirakat, Kocka, or 400 Bar
- Barba Negra Track: open air concerts at the Buda end of the Rákóczi Bridge
- Dürer Kert (Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21., district XIV.): one of the most popular underground party places in Budapest at the southern edge of City Park. Facebook
Several dance rooms, a garden, great parties and DJ nights. Besides the wide selection of drinks, they also offer food: sandwiches, toasts, burgers, breaded cheese or chicken breast fillet, fries. Although it’s a bit far from the centre, Dürer is an excellent place to have a great time on a warm August night.
Danube Boat Party
Dates: every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 23.00 (May-October)
Have an awesome summer party on a sightseeing boat on the Danube. Full bar with all sorts of drinks at fair price (wines, beers, spirits, non-alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea), lots of fun people to meet and have a great time with under the starlit night sky of Budapest reflecting from the river.
The boat will take you on a 1.5-hour cruise where you can view the most notable landmarks of our city lying on the two banks of the Danube.
A welcome drink is included in the price and after the program you can continue partying in one of the top clubs.
Tickets: 12 EUR (a welcome drink is incl.), with beverage package: 31.06 EURBuy Ticket To the Party!
You can have fun in the thermal baths not only during the day but on parties on Saturday nights in the Széchenyi Bath.
Audio and light show, hot and cool pools with underwater massage, DJ-s for 35 – 60 EUR.
Wamp Design Fair, 09. August, Sunday
Venue: Erzsébet Square, Downtown Budapest Open: 11.00 – 19.00, Entry is free.
A gathering of talented designers, and people with creative touch held once, twice or sometimes three times a month on Erzsébet Square.
This is the place to get trendy jewelry, bags and other accessories.
A gastro fair also takes place at the same time and venue with the design market: organic and artisan food stuff: jam, chutney, honey, cheese, bakery goods, wine, chocolate, in attractive packaging, culinary presentations by food bloggers, unique cookbooks can all be tasted and bought.
Placido Domingo Concert at the Basilica, August 10., 20.00 – FREE
Entry: from 19.30. The concert can also be followed on giant screens placed in nearby streets.
One of the world’s best-known opera singers gives a free concert at Szent István Square in front of the Basilica.
Besides popular opera arias and musical pieces, zarzuelas – traditional Spanish musical comedies – will also be performed during the two-part program.
The Orchestra of the Hungarian State Opera will be playing under the baton of Eugene Kohn.
In case of bad weather the concert will be held inside the Basilica.
Program of the Concert
- Berlioz – La damnation de Faust – Rákóczi March
- Giordano: André Chénier – Nemico della patria
- Gounod: Romeo et Juliette – Je veux vivre
- Verdi: La traviata – Di Provenza il mar, il suol
- Verdi: La traviata – Follie, follie….Sempre libera
- Verdi: La traviata – Pura siccome un angelo
- Verdi: Ernani – Surta è la notte…Ernani, involami
- Verdi: Il trovatore – Udiste…Mira, di acerbe lagrime
- Massenet: Thaïs – Meditation
- Rodgers: South Pacific – Some Enchanted Evening
- Loewe: My Fair Lady – I Could Have Danced All Night
- Bernstein: West Side Story – Tonight
- Kálmán: Csardasfürstin – Heia in den Bergen
- Lehár: The Merry Widow – Lippen schweigen
- Erkel: Hunyadi László – Overture
- Torroba: Luisa Fernanda – En mi tierra Extremeña
- Vives: La generala – La canción del arlequin
- Sorozabal: Tabernera del puerto – No puede ser!
The organizers reserve the right to change the programme.
Festival of Folk Arts (Mesterségek Ünnepe) Buda Castle, August 18 – 21.
Admission: full price: 2 000 HUF, discount tickets for children (aged between 4 – 14), and retirees: 1 000 HUF, free for kids under 4.
Opening Hours: 10.00-23.00, except on 20. August: 10.00-21.00 (the fair is open between 10.00-21.00 each day)
The 4-day festival is organised each year in the courtyards of the Royal Palace on Buda Castle Hill.
An ideal program for families because the festival offers a couple of great activities for children of all ages: concerts, puppet show, folk art workshops, toys and games, and a merry-go-round.
There is also a folk art market where you can buy quality products (ceramics, glass, wood, leather, and enameled artifacts).
Concerts, culinary delights, a harvest process round up the event that is tightly connected to St. Stephen’s day on 20. August.
St. Stephen’s Day – August 20 – 21./Saturday – Sunday
We play honor to our first King, St. Stephen (cc. 970-980 – 1038.) who formed a stable Christian Kingdom of Hungary out of the seven nomadic tribes arriving in the Carpathian basin at the end of the IX. century.
It is also the holiday of the new bread baked from the newly harvested wheat and rye, as well as a thanksgiving for good harvest.
Some say the August 20. festivities are a kind of “bread and circus” but I think it offers a variety of programs both in the capital and the countryside, and also it is a sort of closing celebration of summer helping everyone to prepare in mind for the coming of autumn and the new school year.
The holiday ends with spectacular fireworks over the Danube and the bridges that you can enjoy from the open deck of a large cruise ship, the Európa:
- State ceremonies on Kossuth tér in front of the Parliament building, 8.30-9.30
- Family activities, concerts and folklore performances at Clark Adam Square, 10.00-21.00 on August 20. only.
- Street of Hungarian Flavours August 20-21.: gastro promenade from 9.00 till 20.00 at Várkert Bazaar in Buda, between Lánchíd utca and Döbrentei tér: you can taste and buy local delicacies and Hungary’s Cake: traditional stuffed cabbage Szabolcs style, a special noodle soup, the Felvidék region’s cabbage soup and poppy seed scone, Hungary’s bread – an all-natural sourdough rye bread and potato bred, as well as other bakery goods.
- Blessing the new bread at cc. 15.00 at the Statue of St. Stephen in Buda Castle,
- Holy Mass and the procession of Saint Stephen’s alleged holy right hand at St. Stephen’s Basilica starting at 17.00,
- An impressive fireworks show that you can watch from the Danube .