Programs, 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, Other Events in the Last Month of SummerQuick Links: Weather – Festivals, Events – Concerts – Sights, Tour Tips – Museum Exhibitions – Cafes, Pubs – Parties, Nightlife
August 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
- 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.
Sziget Festival, 08 – 15. August 2018
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.
Festival of Folk Arts (Mesterségek Ünnepe) Buda Castle, August 18 – 20.
Admission: full price: 2 500 HUF, discount tickets for children (aged between 4 – 14), and retirees: 1 000 HUF, free for kids under 4.
- 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:
- 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 19 – 20./Saturday – Sunday
We pay 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.
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
- Air and water show over the Danube in front of the Parliament staring at 10.00
- Family activities, concerts and folklore performances at Clark Adam Square, 10.00-21.00 on August 19- 20.
- Street of Hungarian Flavours August 19 – 20.: gastro promenade between Várkert Bazaar and Szilágyi Dezső Square in Buda, starts at 10.00 on 19. August
- you can taste and buy traditional local food, Hungary’s Cake and bread, 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.
TIP: Read also our Tips on How to Beat the Heat in Budapest?
Cholent Festival, Kazinczy Street, 26. August
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 21.00, August 27., Sunday
This Jewish gastronomy festival is held for the 3rd 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.
Cultural Festival Bakáts Square, 23 – 26, August
Location: Bakáts tér – Bakáts utca – Ráday utca – Kálvin-udvar
Getting there: M3, M4 metro lines, Kálvin tér station
Tickets: many programs are Free (guided tours, film screenings concerts), tickets for the main stage evening programs ( 2 000 HUF) and for the programs in Kálvin-udvar at21.00 (1 000 HUF) can be bought online or at the Info Point on Bakáts tér daily between 10.00 – 18.00.
A colourful festival with concerts, opera performances, film screenings and gastronomy in and around Ráday utca in district IX. Two stages, a main stage in front of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and a Jazz Stage in Bakáts utca host concerts.
On the main stage
- Swing á la Django, 24. August, Thursday at 19.30
- Ealing Youth Orhcestra (UK), 25. August, Friday at 19.30
- MÁV Symphony Orchestra: The Spinning Room by Kodály, 26. August, saturday at 16.00
- The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart) by Concerto Budapest and Andrea Rost
Wine and food, lecsó (the Hungarian ratatouille) cooking competition, free guided tours, children programs await visitors in Bakáts utca.
Summer Festival till 31. August
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:
- Cirque Éloize: Saloon – The Wild Wild West comes alive: circus, acrobatics with musical elements, on 04. and 05 August at 20.00
- Musical: EVITA by A. L.Webber/T. Rice will be on staged by the Les Ballets de Monte Carlo on 11. August and 13. August at 20.00.
- Concerts: the festival offers a great number of concerts in various genres each year (folk, world music, jazz, crossover).
Liberty Bridge Festival (aka Szabihíd), 12 – 15. August
Venue: Szabadság híd/Liberty Bridge (the green one at the Great Market Hall in Pest)
This summer one of the most beautiful bridges of Budapest, the Liberty Bridge turns into a colorful festival place on 4 weekends.
The whole bridge is for the pedestrians, the southern sidewalk is only for bicycles.
No cars or other vehicles are allowed including trams No. 47, No. 48 and 49.
See details of the traffic changes here.
The event is part of a very popular project called Szabihíd, started in 2016. The aim of the project is to use the whole bridge as a public place without any motorized traffic.
On the last weekend of the festival you can enjoy
- Zumba workout,
- kids can have fun in a playhouse …so come and Take Over the Bridge!
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
- a fine view of the Danube and the Pest side,
- a neo-Renaissance garden on 5000 sqm,
- 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 the Ticket office in the Testőrpalota/ Guards’ Palace/(Ybl Miklós tér 2., distr. I.).
Location: at 10 venues in Budapest
Date & Time: till August 18.: 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, Deák 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
Organ Nights on Two Sundays
Dates in August: 06., 27., performance starts: 19.00
The Church of Our Lady in Buda Castle (better known as Matthias Church) hosts free organ recitals two Sundays a month.
The 20-minute program performed by Bertalan Hock can be attended with an entry ticket to the church.
Duna String Orhcestra – Matthias Church, 25. August
Concert starts: 19.00
Tickets: 7 000 HUF, 9 000HUF, VIP: 11 000 HUF
The concert inludes works by
- Albinon, and
Soloist: Gyula Gabora, violin
Organ Concerts in St. Stephen’s Basilica
Address: Szt. István tér, district V., M3 (blue line) metro Arany János utca station
Concert Dates in August 2017: 24, 31, Thursdays at 20.00, duration: 70 minutes (no break)
Tickets: 19 – 30 EUR depending on seat categoryBuy Your Ticket
The grandest church of the city on Szt. István Square is an ideal for classical concerts.
The more than 110-year old organ was constructed when the Basilica was finished in 1905.
The lead musician is Miklós Teleki, one of the best organ player in Hungary.
The 70-minute concerts include works by
- Tommaso Albioni complete with
- arias and solo pieces.
See more organ concerts in Budapest!
Organ Recital in Church of St. Anne, 25. August
Tickets: 1090 HUF
Venue: Church of St. Anne, Batthyány tér 7. Buda side (M2 metro)
Barnabás Balasi the organist of this little Baroque church will give a concert on Friday evening.
C. Saint-Saens: E flat major prelude and fugue op.99, No. 3, Improvisation
D. Buxtehude: D major prelude and fugue BuxWV 139, Improvisation
Johann Sebastian Bach: g-moll fantasy and fugue BWV 542, Improvisation
César Franck: Trois Chorals: No. 1 Northern FWV 38, E-major, Improvisation
Evening Concerts in the Zoo
Dates: 04. July – 22. August 2018, 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.
Concerts are held at
- the Square at the Main Entrance and
- at the Great Lake/Nagytó.
The more than 100 museums and exhibition halls of Budapest always offer some exciting exhibits.
Budapest is chock full of restaurants, cafes bars and pubs. Here are our picks to try in August.
Address: Múzeum krt. 15.
- Mon – Fri: 07.30 – 19.00,
- Sat – Sun: 09.00 – 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 (
The cafe – formerly antique and used books shop 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.
Anyway, the compulsory
- La Marzocco espresso machine,
- Hario V60,
- 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.
It started out as a tiny cafe with a La Marzocco machine then opened a second place in the courtyard next door where they’re focusing more on filtered coffee and also serve cakes and simple, tasty food.
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: 16.00 – 24.00, Tues – 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,
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
Address: Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21., district XIV. Facebook
Dürer Kert is one of the most popular underground party places in Budapest at the southern edge of City Park.
- 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
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: 17 EUR (a welcome drink is incl.).Buy Boat Party Ticket!