May in Budapest
May 1 - May 31
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.
Today political parties still use May Day/Labor Day to advertise their programs and recruit followers, but luckily 1st May- Labor Day has become a family day with a range of festivals and programs in the capital, and other towns of Hungary.
May is also a month of fantastic gastronomy programs: the European final of the world’s greatest chefs competition, the Bocuse d’or will be held in Budapest on 10-11. May, also Jamies Italian restaurant in Buda Castle opened this month, and the Gourmet Festival awaits lovers of fine food and drinks for 4 days in Millenáris Park.
Here are some tips on where to go and what to do on 01. May in our city.Events in May: Hungarian Dinner & Folk Evenings – Gourmet Festival – Belgian Beer Festival – Festival of Museums – Wine Festival Clark A. Square – Shakespeare400+ – Fröccs/Spritzer Picnic – TIP: Children’s Day (28-29. May) – Eleven Spring Weekend Bartók Béla Blvd., Buda – Ice Cream Day – – Óbuda Festival – Stylewalker Night 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
Events, Festival, Things To Do in May
May offers a wide range of events and programs in the Hungarian capital. See a selection of some of the best:
Location: Hungexpo Fair & Exhibition Centre, Albertirsai út 10, Bp. 1101, district X., Kőbánya, district X.
Hungary hosts the European final of the famous chef competition, the Bocuse D’or on 10-11. May/Tuesday-Wednesday.
20 chefs from European countries will prepare unique dishes from the official ingredients of the competition: Hungarian red deer calf, sterlet sturgeon and caviar.
The jury will taste the creations then selects the 11 best chefs that will participate in the world final in January 2017 in Lyon.
TIP: Gastro Photo Exhibition in Downtown Market/Hold Str.
The works of the country’s best food photographers will be on display in the Downtown Market in Hold utca (Belvárosi Piac, Hold utca 13., distr. V.) till end of May.
Ingredients, food compositions, artistic serving, chef portraits, the Bocuse D’or, or pig slaughter are all included in the theme of the exhibit.
The market is a fitting venue for the event since the gallery is packed with very good eateries:
- A Séf utcája – classic Hungarian dishes (lecsó, sólet, flódni)
- Buja Disznók (famous for its breaded pork chops),
- Vörös Homár (seafood), MoszkvaTér (Russian specialties),
- Stemaboo (Asian fusion food),
- Italian pasta bar and some other places.
Entry is free.
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: “0” Km Stone at the Buda end of Chain Bridge, Clark Adam Sqr.
10 wineries and a shop will offer a taste of their wines over the last weekend of May at Clark Adam Sqr. in Buda. Street musicioans, and Djs will provide the melodies to sampling splendid Hungarian wines:
- Bortársaság – a wine shop at several locations in Budapest
- Csányi Winery – Villány
- Katona Winery – Balatonboglár and Budafok
- Patricius Winery – Tokaj
- Gróf Butler Winery – Eger
- Fodorvin – Aszófő, Northern Balaton
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: 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
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 2017.
See also our photos taken on the Gourmet Festival.
Time: 12.00 – 22.00
Spritzer or fröccs in Hungarian (1 part wine and 1 or 2 parts soda water) will be in the focus for for 3 days at Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park. The largest green area of the city is a fitting location for a spring picnic.
Besides spritzen, you’ll have other choice of drinks: beers, pálinka (local fruit distillate), fresh fruit juices and alcohol-free beverages for children and those don’t want to indulge in alcoholic drinks.
Some of the city’s best street food provider will also be present.
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), 27 – 28. May
The Hungarian Children’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
- quizzes, 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.
Children’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.
Children’s Day in the neo-Renaissance Garden of the Várkert Bazaar, 28. May, 10.00-19.00
The 6000 sqm neo-Renaissance park in the Várkert Bazaar in Buda welcomes children with various programs on the last Sunday of May:
- Puppet show by the Majorka Theatre at 11.00
- Folk dance by the Forrás Folk Ensemble at the Szárazárok Stage from 12.00
- Concert by the Csurgó Band starting at 13.00
- Dance performance of the Kutyakölkök Ensemble from 15.00
- Netz Production – an interactive family fun for all ages, from 16.00
- Children show of the MintaPinty Band from 17.00
Accompanying programs include arts and crafts workshop, face painting, wooden toys, adventure park, ice cream and other sweet treats.
Programs in the Miniversum, 28. May, Sunday
Address: Andrássy út 12., district VI.
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 9.00-19.00, Fri, Sat: 9.00-21.00
The Miniversum, a superb model train layout, is great fun any day of the year but they prepare with extra programs for Children’s Day.
Every child visitor will be greeted with a small present, those who fill out the Miniversum-quiz can choose from 3 presents, there’ll be face painting and other programs in the playhouse too.
Lego Exhibition in Király Street
Venue: K11 Art & Cultural Centre, Király utca 11., district VII.
Tickets: children: 500 HUF, adults: 700 HUF, family: 2 200 HUF
This is a great program for kids, especially if it rains. Lego fans will find the following activities:
- Lego City table, with operating train and tram, Lego Treasure Hunt game on almost 30 square meters.
- A Wild West town with steam train, gold mine, Indian village, bank robbery.
- A pirate ship, treasure island, fortress
- Premiere: Egyptian Lego with excavations, the Sphinx, and the Temple of Anubis – can be seen for the first time in Hungary!
- Playmobil city with railway, tram, and zoo.
- For the littlest ones Thomas train, wooden railway line.
- Controllable H0 train table
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 in May is 0uite very warm (20 – 25 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 as of 01 May (depending on the weather)
and the rest of the baths will open from end of May.
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.
Twice a day a children playlist is played: at 11.00 and 16.00 featuring Hungarian kids’ favourite tunes (Vuk by Kati Wolf, Miki manó by 100 Folk Celsius, Micimackó Winnie the Pooh by Zsuzsa Koncz etc.)
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
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.
Venue: Hungarian State Opera House, Erkel Theatre, Music Academy, MüPa
The festival is organised in honor of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.
17 adaptations of his works will be premiered in four cultural venues of Budapest: the Opera House on Andrássy Av., the Erkel Theatre, the Music Academy and the Palace of Arts/Müpa.
Some of the varied program:
- Purcell: The Fairy Queen, 17. May, Erkel Theatre
- Gounod: Roméo et Juliette – 28. May, Erkel Theatre
Conductor: Christian Badea
Cast: Ivan Magri, Zita Szemere, László Szvétek, Csaba Szegedi, Ágnes Anna Kun, Gábor Bretz, Gergely Boncsér, Éva Balatoni, Tamás Busa, Lajos Geiger
- Verdi: Macbeth – 22., 26. May, Opera House
Conductor: Renato Palumbo
Director: Miklós Szinetár
Cast: Lado Ataneli, István Rácz, Szilvia Rálik, Nadin Haris, István Kovácsházi, Gergely Boncsér, Ferenc Cserhalmi, Sándor Egri
- Britten: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – 27., 29. May, Music Academy
Conductor: Dominic Wheeler
Director: Szabó Máté
Featuring the students of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy
View detailed program here.
Lovers of Italian cuisine can try Jamie Oliver’s Italian place in the very centre of Buda Castle, in Szentháromság utca 9-11. (near popular attractions like the Fishermen’s Bastion, Matthias Church, the Royal Palace and right next to a historic cake shop and cafe, Ruszwurm).
Although some members of the British chef and restaurateur’s Italian chain have received varied ratings and reviews on Tripadvisor, the Budapest opening already enjoys lots of popularity and buzz in the media.
The restaurant opened in May 2016 and the place has quickly becaome fully booked for the coming weekend. The short menu offers no-fuss, home-style Italian fare in true Jamie Oliver fashion.
The good thing I appreciate that they offer small portions in pasta and gluten-free options are also available.
Definitely a must-try place at a superb location! It has a terrace to savour both your food and the fine weather (see more alfresco options below).TIP: Find out about other places offering a taste of Italy in Budapest.
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)
- Ráday utca in district IX. – a restaurant street lined with terraced cafes, bistros on both sides: try BudDog (Ráday utca 10-12.) for quality hotdogs, lángos (a classic Hungarian street food speciality).
- 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 (alcoholic, 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
Óbuda (Old Buda, district III.) is a lovely quaint part of Northern Budapest with several great events during the year.
The 2-day May Festival offers lots of fun family 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 whole weekend of May.
The festival kicks off on Friday afternoon on Szentlélek Square, with concerts by the Budapest Voices (at 18.00), and Péterffy Bori & Love Band (at 20.30). The “Gastronomy Adventures” ensure that you won’t be hungry (nor thirsty) on this beautiful spring evening.
The programs continue on Saturday/07. May with concert by children’s all-time favourite Judit Halász (at 10.00), followed by the Danubia Chamber Orchestra Óbuda ((at 11.30).
You can also wander among he stalls of a Craft fair (both days).
On Main Square you can have your fill of food by Katlan Tóni, nibble some flat bread baked in clay oven, taste Street Food, and have a cake for dessert by the Cziniel Confectionery or Rachel’s flódni and sip splendid specialty coffee in Gázlámpa Kioszk, a buffet housed in a former gas station.
See more at the event’s website.
Entry is free.
Venue: on the bank of the Danube in front of the Technical University in Buda
A festival with boat competition (rowing and dragon boat races between Hungarian universities), running race in costume, and other sport events, children programs, folk dance house, cheerleader show, concerts and lots of fun and cold beer on a wonderful scenic location of the city.
A great sport and cultural program for all ages on Saturday, 07. May.
Vintage Piac/Vintage Market
Venue: Ötkert Bar, Zrínyi utca city centre, district V.
Drop by to pick up some unique vintage furniture or accessory.
There will be small ceramic bowls, textiles, a wide range of vintage paints, small and large furniture, flower arrangements, home furnishings and clothing accessories. Entry is free!
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:
- Anderson Art Lab – asphalt drawing for kids from 19.00 at Ferenciek tere 4. the n drawing party for adults with sparkling wine from 20.00.
- Black Box Concept Store (Irányi utca 18., distr. V.) – debut of the Noár Line SS, you can buy the items at 15% cheaper, 30 % discount on older models, new jewelry collection, Tubalu by Sarolta Krajcsi for Imogen will also debut this day, a lot more discounts and bargain on clothes and accessories.
- Buborék (Kecskeméti utca 5 in Pest, distr. V., Batthyány u. 48.in Buda) – bracelet making from recycled materials ,
- CikkCakk Studio (Kossuth Lajos utca 14-16/Wagner Ház) – a community creative space and showroom in downtown Budapest.
- Csendes A Pesti Szatócs (Magyar utca 18., distr. V.), – lamp sale.
- Insitu – a design shop on Múzeum körút, at No. 7. district VIII. in the courtyard next to the Fekete Specialty Coffee shop. 20 % discount on all products.
- Le Petit Design (Magyar utca 22., distr. V., next to Csendes) – drawing contest and 10 % discount all items.
- Lollipop Factory (Magyar utca 18., distr. V.) – you can view an exhibit titled “Serenity Zoo” by Misi Szuharevszki, 20 % discount on all products
- Monofashion (Kossuth L. utca 20., distr. V.)- pop-up window installation from the most exciting concrete works of the MONO Art & Design, the latest collection of the MONO designers at 20 % discount.
- Paloma (Kossuth L. utca 14., distr. V.) – this unique artist courtyard celebrates its 2 year anniversary, welcomes everyone with many discounts and special birthday offers.
- wonderLAB (Veres Pálné u. 3., distr. V.) – 10-20 % discount on all items.
The family Picnic in Olimpia Park (a short walk north of the Parliament) will take place on 07. May/Saturday at 10.00-18.00 with a range of fun programs.
Note: Date Is Not Official Yet!
The up-and-coming Bartók Béla út (a road starting at Gellért Sqr. in Buda side), hosts the Eleven Spring Design Weekend (a word game on the district number XI. and the Hungarian meaning of eleven: energetic, lively) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The aim of the 3-day event is to bring more culture, designers, unique shops, and creativity in the neighbourhood that already gives home to a range of small galleries, lovely coffee houses (Hadik Cafe and Szatyor Bar, Gallery at 36-38. Bartók Béla út, Moha Cafe at 11. Bartók B. út, Cafe Créme Gottier at 9. Bartók B. út or La Nube Cafe) wine bars(Borháló and VinoPiano) and shops.
Venue: ice cream parlors at various locations in Budapest and Hungary
The second Sunday 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:
- Dolce Fantasia – a true Italian Gelateria now at two locations:
at Szondi utca 82. district VII. and at Andrássy út 61. (across from the House of Terror Museum): perhaps not as good as the ice cream in Gelateria Pomo D’oro (Arany J. utca in city centre)but very close. Open: Mon-Sun: 11.00-20.00
They also have an ice cream van in Corvin köz , distr. VIII. (at the Corvin Cinema)
They have a permanent selection of flavours with some seasonal offers thrown in: chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, pistachio, mascarpone-gorgonzola, strawberry, tiramisu, lemon, oreo.
- Wiener Salon, Corvin sétány 2/b (behind the Corvin Plaza, tram 4, 6 or M3 metro get off at Corvin negyed)- a charming Viennese style cafe with excellent ice cream (do try their cakes, donut and breakfast dishes)
- Damniczky Budapest – a new cake shop (just opened this May) in Hercegprímás utca at No. 17., at a short stroll from the Basilica.
- Zimoo Cake Shop, Cukor utca 1., distr. V., city centre – home-style pastries and cakes, and great ice cream in a wide variety of flavours. They have a small terrace. Open: every day: 11.00-19.00
See also our list of Best Ice Cream in Budapest!