Program and Things To Do Recommendations
Although the second month of the year is cold and the days are still short, Budapest offers a wide range of events and activities for a fun wintry city vacation.
February is also the month of masked balls, donut festivals, crazy parties since it’s the Carnival Season. Scroll down for more information.
Quick Links: Weather – TIP: Valentine’s Day – Ring Gala (Erkel Theatre) – Ball of Hungarian Wines – Doughnut Festival – Cooking Program – Ice Skating – Sightseeing TIPs – Folk Dance – Concerts – Exhibitions – Restaurant, Cafe TIPS
February is the last month of the winter season with temperatures below zero on most days and even colder at nights.
The wind often makes you feel even colder.
It snows occasionally but in recent years it melted within a couple of days.
Bring warm clothes, sweaters, coat, winter cap, scarf, gloves and comfortable, warm boots.
Dress in layers so that you can shed some when going in a museum or stopping for coffee/tea or a lunch/ dinner in a restaurant.
Carnival in the Zoo, 02 – 04. February
Ideal For Families with Kids!
Venue: Zoo and Botanical Garden – Magic Hill/Varázshegy, Állatkerti körút 6-12., district XIV.
Entry: 100 HUF for kids under 14 years if they arrive in costume or carnival mask
The 150-year old Zoo of Budapest will have a special carnival over the first weekend of February with fun programs in the Varázshegy/Magic Hill between 10. 00 – 16.00 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- make masks, puppets,
- participate in carnival face painting, and
- listen to interesting animal stories.
On 2nd February, at 11.00 you can join the carnival parade. You can also watch special animal shows each day of the event.
On 3rd and 4th February the Bóbita Band provides the music on the costume ball starting at 12.30 (venue: Magic Hill).
According to folk tradition if the the answer is yes, (the sun is shining) the bear goes back to sleep and winter lasts 40 more days. If the answer is no (the sky is overcast) then it stays out to play and spring is just around the corner.
Mangalica Festival, 08 – 10. February
Getting there: M2 metro Kossuth tér station, M3 metro Arany János utca station , tram 2 Kossuth L. tér stop (5-minute walk from each station)
A festival dedicated to a unique Hungarian heritage pig breed, the mangalica.
The event is organised for the 11th time in a central location on Szabadság tér.
It is easy to get there from anywhere in downtown Budapest.
The meat of this hairy pig is tastier and juicer while its fat contains higher ratio of healthy fatty acids.
You can taste and buy mangalica ham, sausage, salami, black pudding and other meat products prepared by farmers.
Mangalica street food will also be offered by food trucks as well as whole roasted suckling pig.
- Cooking contest on Saturday,
- craft fair,
- food market
- folk, pop, jazz concerts from early afternoon enrich the 3-day event.
Here are some suggestions to charm your loved one on Valentine’s Day:
Romantic Cruise on the Danube with Dinner
Spend a memorable evening with your partner on sightseeing boat tour with
- 4-course buffet meal,
- welcome champagne, and
- live gypsy music.
Our city is even more enchanting at night with the lights reflecting from the river and illuminating the World Heritage listed historic and cultural sights.
You can see and experience it on the two-hour long excursion.Buy Valentine’s Cruise Ticket
Tickets (several options between 35 – 56 EUR): cruise with dinner, full price: 56 EUR/person.
- a 2-hour river tour,
- welcome drink,
- 5-course buffet dinner with a drink,
- live music.
A romantic meal in a fine restaurant is always a good choice on Valentine’s Day. ARAZ, one of the top restaurants in the city centre, will have the following 4-course dinner:
Wine Tasting Programs
In a Downtown Wine Gallery, On the Danube, or in the Countryside?
Savouring fine wines with your loved one is a perfect program, not only on Valentine’s Day but any day. Here are our recommended wine programs for you in and outside Budapest!
- 1st program: A Boat Tour on the Danube with a tasting of 7 local wines incl. 3 from Tokaj, at 19.00 and 22.00
- 2nd program: In the CultiVini Wine Gallery, a modern wine bar in the city centre you can sample some exquisite wines from the various regions of the country: Eger, Somló, Szekszárd, Tokaj, Sopron, Mór.
- 3rd program: a guided tour with transfer to Etyek village: 3 cellars, tastings, snacks and a traditional 2-course dinner at one of the estates.
Valentines Day Dinner in ARAZ Restaurant, 14. February at 19.00
- Welcome cocktails: Spicy Love or Sweet Heart Punch(alcohol-free),
- Amuse Bouche: Oyster and Chardonnay Sparkling Wine
- Cold appetizer: Gratinated Goat Cheese with Pomegranate Salad, Avocado and Pistachio – Wine pairing: Figula Sauvignon Blanc 2017
- Soup: – Cinnamon Green Asparagus Cream Soup with Candied Walnuts and Truffle Oil – Wine: Fontányi Villányi Chardonnay 2017
- Main Course – Rose Pepper Duck Breast with Sweet Potatoes, Ginger Celery Cream, Spinach Praline and Blackberry Sauce – Wine: Vesztergombi Turul Cuvée 2012
- Desserts – Dark Chocolate Soufflé with Cranberry Ice Cream, Rose-Strawberry Soup and Honey Joghurt- Wine: Marcus Aurelius Reinhard’s Cuvée 2007
Price: 11 490 HUF/person (+ 10% service charge). You can reserve a table through their website.
Price: 35 EUR/prs + 10% service fee, incl. a welcome drink, 4-course dinner, 3 glasses of Hungarian wine. Reservation is recommended!
Fish Festival, 16 – 17. February, 2019
Location: ELTE University Campus in Buda (at the Petőfi Bridge)
Getting there: trams 4 & 6
The 7th Fish Festival moves to a new outdoor venue: at the ELTE university Campus next to the Petőfi bridgehead in Buda.
Besides a range of fish dishes such as
- Fishermen’s soup (Halászlé – a typical Hungarian fish meal made usually from carp: fish in paprika broth,
- harcsapaprikás (cat fish paprikash), fish and chips, the event offers a great variety of programs for all ages.
Chimney cake, lángos, churros, wines and beers, and the pálinka – Hungarian’s favourite hard drink, an essential element of all festivals – cooking competition are the other highlights of the event.
Expect crowd and standing in queue for food/drinks just like at any other big festival.
Food offer on the Fish Festival:
- More than 50 types of fish dishes: fried, baked, grilled, cooked.
- Fish street food: catfish gyros, salmon burger, fish lasagne
- strudels filled with fish and the popular sweet versions
- Fishermen’s soup cookers from Baja – the other town besides Szeged well-known for its fishermen’s soup,
This fantastic folklore evening in Duna Palota in the vicinity of the Basilica in downtown allows you to experience a bit of the Hungarian spirit.
The 2 x 45 minute program features authentic folk dances from various parts of the country presented by professional dancers dressed in traditional costumes.
Ticket prices in 3 seat categories, from 23 EUR.
Venue: Corinthia Hotel, Erzsébet krt. 43-49., district VII.
One of the most prestigious wine event in a a grand historic hotel, the Corinthia Budapest.
You can taste around 100 of the best Hungarian wines representing the 22 wine growing regions of the country. During the dinner wines of 7 wine cellars from 6 regions will be served. Tickets are available in various categories.
Program of the Ball:
- 18:00 Door opening
- 18:30 Welcoming melodies from Mr. Norbert Döme virtuoso violinist
- 19:00 Welcome speech and exclusive wine dinner
- During the dinner Mr. Mihály Liszkay bar pianist, owner and director of Liszkay Vineyard Estate
- Voice and Guitar: jazz and swing melodies from Ms. Myrtill Micheller and Mr. Tibor Pintér
- Announcement of the Gál Tibor Award
- Ms. Adrienn Zsédenyi – Zséda: “The pianist and me”
- Raffle game
- Opening dance: young talents of the Hungarian Dance Academy
- Night Cruisers Band
- 02:30 End of the Ball
Welcome drink: méthode traditionnelle champagnes by the Garamvári Wine Estate, Southern Lake Balaton
Amuse bouche: cod brandade with avocado mousse, smoked duck breast with mustard and yogurt, made by the Michelin-star Costes Downtown restaurant.
- Welcome drink, amuse bouche, 5-course exclusive dinner, ball program, unlimited food and drinks after dinner in the lobby, casino, raffle game (the value of prizes amounts to 2 500 000 HUF): Prices: diamond tables: 70 000 HUF + VAT/prs, Golden tables: 65 000 HUF + VAT/prs, Silver tables: 60 000 HUF + VAT/prs.
- Standing ticket: welcome drink, amuse bouche, 3-course dinner (standing reception), unlimited consumption in the lobby after dinner, casino: 30 000 HUF + VAT/prs
You can find out more and purchase tickets on the event’s website.
Our fun cooking courses are a perfect way to find out about
- local gastronomy,
- unique cooking ingredients and
- traditional recipes.
You can do the program with or without a visit to the iconic Great Market Hall (you can also have breakfast there).
During the course you will prepare a traditional Hungarian 3-course meal: soup, main course and a dessert, that you’ll eat at the end.
Details and BookingHungrain Cooking Courses
Things To Do in February in Budapest
Ice Rink in City Park
Address: Olof Palme sétány 5., district XIV. Getting there: M1 underground (yellow line), Hősök tere station, 2 minutes walk from there, or trollies No. 75 and 79: Városligeti Műjégpálya stop
Opening Hours (till Mid- February):
- Mon-Fri: 09.00 – 13.00 and 17.00 – 21.00,
- Saturday: 10.00 – 14.00 and 16.00 – 21.00,
- Sunday: 10.00 – 14.00 and 16.00 – 20.00
- Mon-Fri Mornings: adult: 1 500 HUF, student, senior: 1 000 HUF,
- Fri Afternoons: adult: 2 000 HUF, student, senior: 1 500 HUF,
- Sat-Sun all day: adult: 2 000 HUF, student, senior: 1 500 HUF,
- Free for children under 6.
The best place to pursue this awesome winter sport is the Ice Skating Rink in City Park (Városligeti Műjégpálya) that was completely refurbished a couple of years ago.
Ice Skating at the Bálna/Whale, till 28. February 2019
Address: Fővám tér 11-12., district IX.
- Monday – Sunday 10.00 – 22.00,
- ice maintenance: every day: 14.00 – 15.00
Entry: free, skate rental: 1 000 HUF/skate for 3 hours
The Whale/Bálna Shopping & Cultural Centre, is a wonderful, scenic location for ice skating right by the Danube in Pest.
A 450 sqm ice rink with skate rental welcomes the active ones till the end of February.
Entry is free. Skate rental is 1000 HUF for 3 hours.
A boat tour on the Danube is an ideal sightseeing program on a cold winter day.
The heated panorama boats offer a fine view of the two river banks and the landmarks lining them:
- the Parliament,
- Buda Castle with the Royal Palace,
- Gellért Hill,
- the National Theatre and the Palace of Arts and
- of course the bridges.
Tours last 1,5 – 2 hours and most are available every day. You can select from several options:
- Daytime cruise with/without lunch, at 14.00
- Wine tasting & cruise, 7 splendid Hungarian wines (8 cl each), at 14.00 and 19.00
- Evening cruise with dinner & music, at 19.00
- Craft beers & cruise at 14.00 and 19.00 (exc. on 14. February) – sample the best local artisan brews
Wintry Budapest Photos
Venue: Liszt Academy Grand Hall
With: the Budapest Festival Orchestra & Malin Christensson
Tickets: 18, 26 and 41 EUR
Concert starts: 19.45
The stunning Art-Nouveau building of the Music Academy is a popular concert venue renowned all over the world.
Get transported back to the Baroque era with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Swedish soprano, Malin Christensson in the Grand Hall of the Academy.Buy Ticket
Find more concerts on the Music Academy’s website.
Find out about more concert venues and classical music programs in Budapest!
Miniversum – Ideal For Families with Kids
Address: Andrássy út 12., district VI.
Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday: 9.00-19.00, Friday-Saturday: 9.00-21.00.
The interactive train tables of the Miniversum offer lots of excitement for both children and adults.
There’s also a playhouse and buffet where you can unwind while your kids play. An awesome rainy-day/bad weather program!
See ticket price, more details and photos about the Miniversum.
National Gallery Exhibitions
Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 10.00 -1 8.00, exhibit halls close at 17.30, ticket desk is open till 17.00
Address: Hungarian National Gallery, Buda Royal Palace, Buildings A, B, C, D, Szent György tér 2., district I.
Tickets: full price: 1 800 HUF
You can view a selection of 57 works from the collection of the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts that is closed due to renovation till 2018.
The exhibit covers the main periods of art history from the ancient times, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods to the turn of the 19-20. centuries.
Works by Raffaello, Correggio, El Greco, Memling, Bruegel, Cranach, Van Dyck, Frans Hals and Bellotto are followed by more modern pieces by Monet, Gauguin and Rodin (his the famous statue, Eternal Springtime, that the museum purchased directly from the artist himself).
TIP: The ticket is also valid for visiting the Dome of the Royal Palace, where three artworks from three different decades are placed strategically to show and symbolize death, passing, sacrifice and the ideas, beliefs related to these notions. Visiting hours: Tue-Sun, between 10.00-17.00.[/box]
Besides having a tasty meal on Valentine’s Day you really have to try new restaurants and cafes in Budapest on other days too (you don’t need a special occasion to eat good).
The restaurant scene has changed a lot in recent years.
Lots of quality places opened both in the fine dining/Michelin-star aspiring (Costes Downtown, Babel, Salon in New York Palace) and in the more budget-friendly or street food categories.
Buja Disznók in the Downtown Market (Belvárosi Piac)
Address: Hold utca 13., on the gallery
Opening Hours: Mon: 11.30 – 17.00, Tue: 11.30 – 18.00, Sat: 11.30 – 16.00
One of the iconic chefs of Hungarian gastronomy, Lajos Bíró (he runs Bock Bistro in Pest, a top-quality wine restaurant and its Buda-side sister the Vendéglő a Kisbíróhoz) opened the place in 2015 autumn on the gallery of the Belvárosi Piac/Downtown Farmers’ Market in Hold utca.
His aim is to entice its guests with breaded pork-chops/Wiener schnitzel the way our grandma makes it.
Other dishes made from less popular parts of pork are also on offer:
- breaded pork ear,
- boiled pork nose, and
- szalontüdő: a kind of stew made from the lungs and heart of the pig.
The flag-ship dish, breaded pork chop is served with potato salad. The giant portion is enough for two people and costs 2 200 HUF.Note: the Buja Disznó restaurant is usually packed to the brim – similarly to the other eateries on the gallery of the market – with office workers from the neighbourhood during lunch time.
Places to try:
- the Séf Utcája also by Lajos Bíró, focusing on tasty, everyday dishes from fresh ingredients, or
- the Stand 25 Bistro on the groundfloor that offers bistro fine dining by a Michelin-star chef.
Cafe TIP: Ambers French Bakery
Address: Fővám tér 5., district V.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 08.00 – 21.00
Ambers is a spacious yet cozy French-style cafe opposite the Great Market Hall, at the beginning of Váci utca.
The counter is filled with lush croissants, pain au chocolate, baguettes, bread, ciabattas, tarts, cakes and desserts. All sorts of coffee drinks, teas, smoothies, lemonades, iced coffee and other chilled drinks, beer, wine are all on the menu.
A lovely place for a leisurely breakfast or lunch before or after exploring the market hall or wandering down on Váci Street. In fine weather you can sit on the terrace.
TIP: Visit our Top Winter Things To Do in Budapest page for more ideas on events, activities from December till February.
Past February Events
Location: the promenade next to Allee Plaza, Kőrössy József u. district XI., tram 4
A foodie festival where the carnival season’s symbolic pastry the doughnut, fánk in Hungarian, will be in the focus.
You can choose from around 50 traditional and new wave doughnuts.
Besides the sweet treat, street food, wine, beer, pálinka and other drinks will also be available at the festival.
TIP: Browse also our post about where to experience the Carnival Season in Budapest!
Venue: Erkel Theatre, Ii. János Pál pápa tér 30., distr. VIII.
Dress code: formal
Tickets: 4 400 – 15 500 HUF
As part of the Opera’s “Around the Ring” Season you can attend a spectacular gala evening with Roberto Alagna star tenor, and his wife Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano).
The program includes the following pieces:
(the detailed pogram is available on the event’s website):
- Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Overture
- Wagn. / Gulya / Nádasdy: Ring Waltz – Opening dance
- Wagn.: Tannhäuser – Wolfram’s aria (‘O du, mein holder Abendstern’) – Csaba Szegedi
- Gounod: Romeo & Juliette – Juliette’s Waltz (’Je veux vivre’) – Aleksandra Kurzak
- Zandonai: Giulietta e Romeo – Romeo’s aria from Act III (“Giulietta! Son io!”) – Roberto Alagna
- Bellini: I Capuleti e i Montecchi – Romeo’s cavatina (‘Se Romeo t’uccise un figlio… La tremenda ultrice spada’) – Viktória Mester
- Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore – Recitativo and duet from Act I (’Caro elisir sei mio’ – ‘Chi e maique matto?’) – Aleksandra Kurzak, Roberto Alagna
- Tchaikovsky / Mráz: The Sleeping Beauty – Waltz
- Verdi: Otello – Love duet of Desdemona and Otello (‘Già nella notte densa’) – Aleksandra Kurzak, Roberto Alagna
- – interval –
- Schumann: Du Ring an meinem Finger – Viktória Mester (piano: Bálint Zsoldos)
- Bizet: Carmen – Duet of Micaëla and Don José (‘Parle-moi de ma mère’) – Aleksandra Kurzak, Roberto Alagna
- Bizet: Carmen – Les voici, le quadrille!
- Puccini: Gianni Schicchi – Lauretta’s aria (‘O mio babbino caro’) – Aleksandra Kurzak