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May Day in Budapest

April 30 - May 1

Programs, Things to Do Recommendations on  1st May / Labor Day

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:

Here are some tips on where to go and what to do on 01. May in our city.

TIP: 1st May  is a bank holiday in Hungary: shops, markets, most museums will be closed, thermal baths will be open according to Sunday opening hours, public transport operates according to Sunday/holiday schedule.

Quick Links: Race Car Show/The Big Drift 3.0Festival in City ParkTabán FestivalFestival on Margaret IslandThermal Baths on 1st May

Events, Programs on May Day

Air and Race Car Show in Budapest City Centre, 1st May 2017

Note: date/time and programs are not finalized yet

Venue: the Danube banks in Pest at the Chain Bridge, in front of the Hungarian National Academy, (tram 2) and in Buda, the Várkert Bazaar, between the Chain Bridge/Clark Adam Sqr and Erzsébet bridge

Entry: free, VIP tickets from 179 EUR if you want to enjoy the show from the best post

an aerobatics machine flying over the Danube at the ParliamentDue to the popularity of the event in previous years, the spectacular show will be organised again this year in the air with

  • the Flying Bull Aerobatics Team, Péter Besenyei and Zoltán Veres Hungarian aerobatics pilots,
  • helicopters and
  • on the Danube banks with WTCC cars and drivers,
  • Formula 1 cars and pilots.

This year the Car Show will be held between 11.00 – 13.30 while the Air Show will be held between 14.15 – 17.00.

Nascar- and DTM cars, rally, drift, and off-road machines will be race along the scenic route: the Castle Bazaar/Várkert – Clark Ádám Square- Elizabeth Bridge – Ferenciek tere route.

This year the legendary Austrian F1 pilot Gerhard Berger will be one of the stars of the show.

Note: the program can change and delays might occur due to weather, technical or other issues.

Race Car Show – The Big Drift Race, Formula 1 & WTCC Touring Cars, 1st May 2016.

Time: the event starts at 11.00 and ends at around 13.30, May 01.,/Sunday

After the air show and 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.

Some of the programs:

  • 11:30 – 11:38 – Audi TT + Audi R8 LMS demonstration (Rahel Frey)
  • 11:40 – 11:48 – Classic F1 cars – F1 Sauber C14 (Karl Wendlinger) + F1 BRM (Gerhard Berger)
  • 12:50 – 12:58 – GT cars (Ferrari, Blancpain) + BRM + Lamborghini
map of the Pest riverbank and the Danube at the Chain bridge showng the route of the car race and air show
Map of the Car and Air Show
  • At 12.20 – 12.28 6 WTCC touring cars including Norbert Michelisz, Hungary’s No. 1 touring car racer, new Honda can be seen at the Chain Bridge area.
  • 12:30 – 12:38 – Nascar show (Patrick Friesacher, Gerhard Berger, Bernard Aumger)
  • 13:00 – 13:08 – Formula Renault 3.5 show (Roy Nissany and Zsolt Baumgartner)
  • 13:10 – 13:18 – Drift show, Nissan Skyline; BMW M5
  • 13:20 – 13:28 – Dragster Show
  • 13:45 – 14:15 – F1 Russian Grand Prix Start on projectors

See more details on the event’s FB page.

Air Show Over the Danube

Time: cc. 14.00 – 17.00 May 01.,/Monday, 2017 (exact time and program to be announced later)

Highlights of the program (2016):

  • 14:15 – 14:25 – The Hungarian Army’s Parachute Demonstration, jumping onto a pontoon – (Danube: between Chain Bridge- Elizabeth Bridge)
  • 14:26 – 14:36 – Aerobathics Show by Péter Besenyei, Flying under the Chain Bridge (Danube: between Chain Bridge- Elizabeth Bridge)
  • 14:36 – 14:51 – Flying Bulls Aerobatics Team demonstration flight in 4 XA-42 (Danube: between Chain Bridge- Elizabeth Bridge)
  • 14:51 – 15:10 – Flying Bulls formation: B-25, F4U-4, P38—L, AlphaJet (Danube: between Chain Bridge- Elizabeth Bridge)
  • 15:10 – 15:22 – Flying Bulls formation: helicopter demonstration: Bell Cobra, BO 105 (Danube: between Chain Bridge- Elizabeth Bridge)
  • 15:22 – 15:32 – Gold Timer formation: PO-2, R-18C Kánya, LI-2 (Danube: between Chain Bridge- Elizabeth Bridge)
  • 15:41 – 15:51 – Wizzair Airbus A-321 lowpass.
  • 15:50 – 16:00 – F1 Russian Grand Prix chequered flag fall – broadcast on giant projectors
  • 16:00 – 16:20 – Baltic Bees demonstration: 6 L-39C Albatros
  • 16:28 – 16:36 – MI-2 helicopter demonstration flight
  • 16:36 – 16:55 – Zoltán Veres, aerobatics pilot’s demonstration and GUINNESS RECORD ATTEMPT: MXS
  • 16:56 – 16:57 – Labour Day fromation: B-25, F4U4, P38, AlphaJet, Flying Bulls Aerobatics Team, XA—42

May Day Festivals: City Park (Városliget) – Majális

Vajdahunyad Castle and City Park lake
Vajdahunyad Castle and City Park lake

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

Tabán Festival – 1st May, 2017, 15.00 – 24.00

Venue: Tabán, district I., Buda
Admission: Free

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.

This year’s performers include prestigious Hungarian rock & blues bands:
  • people sitting on the grass at a concert in TabanPribojszki Mátyás Band
  • Török Ádám és a Mini
  • Nagy Feró és a Beatrice
  • EDDA Művek

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.

The renovated Rác Spa and Hotel, a former Turkish Bath of Budapest stands at the edge of the park.. The first May Day Festival in the Tabán took place in 1968.

More May Events, Festivals…

The rest of May offers a wide range of events and programs in Budapest.

Thermal Baths, Lidos on 1st May

bathers at Palatinus Lido on a clear summer day
Palatinus Bath

I the weather allows some of the outdoor baths-lidos of Budapest open and welcome splashers on 01. May.

Baths that are more likey to be open on the first day of May are:

  • the Dagály,

The rest of the baths will open from end of May.

TIP: Perhaps the Széchenyi Bath in City Park is the most ideal choice: it has an outdoor thermal bath in case it’s cold, and it is close to the May Day Festival, and the Zoo.

It is open all year, every day, even on public holidays (with weekend hours and pricing.

Find out more on Thermal baths  in Budapest, and the Historic Turkish Baths: the Király, the Rudas, and the Veli Bej Bath.

Margitsziget – Isle of Serenity

Margaret Island in May
Margaret Island in 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.

TIP: The musical fountain at the southern corner of the island welcomes visitors with a water and music show.

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.

Related: Public Holidays in HungarySummer Things to Do in Budapest – Visit Budapest in JuneVisit Budapest in JulyBudapest in MarchApril Programs



April 30
May 1


Several Places in the City