What to Do & See in the First Month of Spring?
The first month of spring is capricious, windy and the air still carries the chill of winter.
But the days are getting longer and longer and the sun shines more and more so it is a great time to discover the popular as well as the hidden treasures of Budapest.
After the less active winter months march offers
- a couple of festivals,
- a national holiday (March 15.),
- concerts and
- some fun activities for all ages.
As mentioned before weather in March in Hungary is unpredictable.
It is still quite cold during the day (5-10 degr. Celsius) and the sharp wind often makes the air even colder than it is.
So do bring warm clothes, a light coat, sweaters, cap and dress in layers.
In some years it can even snow.
(There was a huge snow storm on 15. March in 2013, an infamous day when government officials texted everyone to sit in another person’s car if yours is down).
15. March – National Day
15. March is one of the most important national holidays in Hungary when we commemorate the 1848 revolution against the Habsburg oppression.
Commemorations, family programs will take place in the garden of the Hungarian National Museum, on Kossuth Sqr/Parliament and in Buda Castle.
Shops, markets will be closed on 15. March and public transport services operate according to holiday schedule.
Thermal Baths will be open according to Saturday opening hours and pricing.
Learn more about the historical background of 15. March and programs taking place in Budapest.
Address: Palace of Arts/Művészetek Palotája, Komor Marcell u. 1., district IX.
The festival, organised for the 3rd time, is focusing on the music of the French baroque era but pieces by Mozart and Haydn will also be featured in the program.
Some of the programs:
You can find the detailed program list on the Müpa’s website.
Venue: Tesla Budapest, Kazinczy utca 21/C. district VII.
Opening hours: 15.00 – 19.00
Tickets (includes gratis macarons):
- 2 500 HUF, (1 900 HUF if you buy it in advance on the organiser’s website),
- family (2 adults+2 kids under 12): 4 000 HUF (3 600 if bought in advance)
The idea of organising a day devoted to these cute, colourful desserts was the idea of François Payard (FP Patisserie, François Payard Bakery and Payard Patisserie & Bistro).
The first Macaron Day/Jour du Macaron was organised in Paris in 2010. New York City joined the event next year with La Maison Pierre Hermé Paris and Relais Desserts.
The Day is always held on the first day of spring, March 20.
Budapest didn’t want to lag behind and it first celebrated the extremely popular French confection in 2012.
The city’s best confectioneries and pastry shops will be there and present their macaron offer that visitors can taste and buy.
Some of the participating Macaron places in 2018 are:
- a table! boulangerie & patisserie
- Bolka Bonbon
- Cake Shop Budapest
- Mészáros Cake Shop, Szombathely
- Pausa Abbey Coffee House, Pannonhalma
- SUGAR! shop & confectionary
- Zila Coffee House – Krisztina Confectionery
Since the date falls on a Sunday in 2016 the organisers prepare with even more family and children’s programs than in previous years.
One of the most exciting program elements is the macaron competition, and this year it will be held with an interesting twist: competitors must turn traditional cakes into a macaron form.
Venue address: Vörösmarty tér, city centre, district V.
M1 underground stop, M2, M3 lines at Deák tér, tram 2., Vigadó or Széchenyi tér (a short walk from there)
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 21.00
The biggest event of the spring takes place in the very heart of Budapest on Vörösmarty tér, a spacious, historic plaza sprawling in front of the Gerbeaud cafe, and easily accessible from many points in the city.
The square also hosts one of Europe’s most popular Christmas fairs each year (usually from mid-November till 06. January).
The 4-week spring fair is similar to the Xmas fair regarding program, product and food offer -just the weather is more pleasant this time of the year.
Learn more details about the Budapest Spring Fair!
Easter Programs, Opening Hours
Besides the Easter Egg Exhibition (see below), Budapest offers a range of other things to do over the Easter weekend. TIP: It’s also good to learn about the opening hours of shops, museums, baths during the Easter holiday.
Venue: several places in the city
The season’s largest cultural festival kicks off at end of March with around
- 120 programs in various genres at
- 40 venues (including public spaces like parks, squares)
Franz Liszt‘s oratorio, the Legend of St. Elizabeth will open the 3 and half week event.
Besides Liszt’s oeuvre, the festival will also be focusing
- on Leonard Bernstein who was born 100 years ago (in 1918), and
- first time an instrument – the piano in 2018 – will also be highlighted in the program.
The early spring weather is ideal for exploring the city’s many sights on foot, bus, boat or bike.
Address: Liszt Ferenc tér 8., district VI.
Getting there: tram 4-6, Király utca stop
Visit one of Budapest’s Art Nouveau gems on a guided tour.
The renewed Music Academy founded by Franz Liszt in 1875 (the only music academy in the world founded by the composer) is a must-see building in Budapest.
It boasts a stunning interior decorated with lots of mythological elements (the meanings of which are explained on the tour).
You can learn a great deal about the history and architectural details of the academy. Highly recommended, not just for music and architecture fans!
Tours in English (for individuals) start every day at 13.30.
The tour is approx. 50 min – 1 hour long.
- full price: 2 900 HUF/person,
- students (with ID card) and for people over 65: 1 450 HUF/person.
- 50 % discount with Budapest Card.
No need to register, just be there on time (5-10 minutes before the start, meeting is usually inside at the main entrance at the stairs).
TIP: The Music Academy has a varied concert repertoire each month from classical to jazz and folk music featuring Hungarian and interanational orchestras and artists. A concert is a great opportunity to admire the architecture and enjoy the excellent acoustics of either the Grand Hall or the smaller Solti Hall.
Visit the official website of the Academy for the up-to-date programs and ticket purchase.
Bike Tours In and Outside Budapest
Budapest bike tours let you experience the city in a fun way, on two wheels. They’ll show you the major landmarks as well as the hidden spots known only by locals.
- Do the Tour with Goulash tour and you’ll be also treated to a bowl of delicious goulash soup at the end of the program. A really enjoyable program if you want to do something more exciting than a boring bus tour.
Lead by seasoned bikers as well as friendly, English-speaking guides!
We’ve already recommended the Music Academy as a superb concert venue and you’ll certainly find a concert in their March program that you’ll like.
Organ Concerts in St. Stephen’s Basilica
Dates in March 2018: 01, 08, 15, 22, 30
Tickets (based on seating): 20 EUR, 27 EUR, 31 EUR
The largest and best-known church of the city, the Basilica on Szt. István Square is a fitting venue for organ recitals.
The 70-minute program is orchestrated by Miklós Teleki, one of the most talented organ artists of Hungary.
Soloist and flute piece complement the concert.Buy Ticket!
Budapest boasts many lovely churches that regularly host concerts that are usually free to attend. Here is our selection of spiritual musical performances for March.
St. Michael’s Church
This charming little church in the bustling shopping street, Váci utca regularly gives home to concerts (Baroque concert series in each September, Organ Concerts on Wednesdays/Saturdays).
A great place to enjoy some serenity, away from the hectic city centre.
Duna String Orchestra, 23. March/Friday, 19.00
The Duna String Orchestra, a small group of accomplished musicians lead by Gyula Gabora violinist, regularly gives concerts in the city’s churches.
Part of the Concert Program (70 min.)
Johann Pachelbel: Canon
Antonio Vivaldi: “Winter”, from The Four Seasons, op. 8 no. 4
Antonio Vivaldi: Gloria/Domine Deus
Johann Sebastian Bach: Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042, 1st movement
Georg Friedrich Händel: Water Music, excerpts
Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni: Adagio in G minor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Church Sonata no. 4 in D Major, KV 144
Tickets: 33 EUR /42 EUR / 51 EURBuy Tickets
Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, March 24. 2018
Date & Time: 24. March/Saturday, at 20.00
- Bronze – 3 900 HUF,
- Silver – 4 900 HUF,
- Gold – 7 900 HUF,
- Platinum – 9 900 HUF,
- VIP – 16 900 HUF
- Premium: 25 900 HUF[/tie_list]
Ticket purchase: in front of the church on the day of the concert between 15.00 – 20.00.
The renovated Church of Our Lady or better known as Matthias Church in Buda Castle has wonderful acoustics that can be enjoyed on concerts organized on a regular basis.
The Hungarian Virtuosi Orchestra usually gives 2 concerts each month (4 in the Christmas season).
These are not free but tickets are affordable and available in various price categories.
The VIP and Premium tickets are for comfortable benches placed near the the altar, right next to the band.
These tickets also include a welcome drink, a CD and a 3-course dinner in the Hilton’s Ikon restaurant next door.
- The Gold sector is next to the altar,
- the Silver sector in the front row of seats, while
- the Bronze sector is in the back pews.
You can see numerous exhibitions in Budapest’s 100+ museums all the year round.
BODY Exhibition, till July 2018.
Address: Komplex, Király utca 26., district VI. (near Deák Ferenc tér metro and tram stop)
Opening Hours: every day: 09.00 – 20.00, last entry at 18.30 (ticket office: 08.30 – 18.30)
- Adult: weekdays: 3 800 HUF, weekend: 4 400 HUF
- Student, senior: weekdays: 2 900 HUF, weekend: 3 500 HUF
- Children (aged: 6 – 14 years): weekdays: 2 500 HUF, weekend: 2 800 HUF
- Family (max. 3 kids + 2 adults): weekdays: 10 500 HUF, weekend: 11 900 HUF
Discover the secrets of the human body at the BODY Exhibition opening on 15. February in Budapest.
The show presents the incredible human body at different stages of life. You can get a real insight into the workings of our body and various organs.
Roman Hall in the Museum of Fine Arts (FREE from 15. March)
Address: Dózsa György út 41., Heroes’ Square, XIV. district,
Getting there: M1 (yellow) line, Heroes’ Square station
Admission: free between 15. March and 02. April 2018.
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 18.00 (last entry at 17.00)Note: Pre-registration is not available so it is possible that visitors have to wait outside due to the limited space.
Although the Museum of Fine Arts is still closed due to a total refurbishment, a never-before-seen part, the Roman Hall, will be free to visit from 15. March till Easter.
The beautifully renovated Roman Hall will be first available to the public after 70 years. It is one of the most stunning rooms of the museum that closed down after WW II.
The 900 sqm hall evokes the shape of a medieval Basilica. More than 70 resturateurs worked on renovating the impressive mural paintings covering the 2500 sqm of wall surface.
The whole, renewed museum will re-open on 25. October 2018.
Venue: Duna Palota/Danube Palace, Zrínyi utca 5. (close to the Basilica)
Opening Hours: every day at: 09.00 – 18.00
An amazing collection of artfully painted Easter Eggs by Ildikó Fekete folk artist.
Eggs decoaretd with traditional Hungarain folk motifs demonstrate the skillfulness of people living in the countryside.
Fish Festival, 02 – 04. March, 2018
Location: bus parking lot at the Art Hall/Heroes’ Sqr.
The 6th Fish Festival moves to a new outdoor venue: the bus parking area at Heroes’ Square.
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,
Venue: Várkert Bazaar, Event Hall
Address: Ybl Miklós tér 2 – 6., Buda, district I.
- 03. March/Saturday: 10. 00 – 20.00
- 04. March/Sunday: 08.00 – 18.00
If you love to stock up on some local craft produce this is the place to get them!
With the approach of Easter this time ham and other pork specialties will be in the limelight.
Besides meat, you can sample the best craft foods brought to you by Hungarian small farmers.
Some of the things to look for:
- fruit preserves
- craft cheese
- homemade pastas
- spices, handcrafted mustard, chili sauces
- pastries, chocolates and sweets
- fruit distillate (pálinka) and wine
Concerts, children performances, show cooking, and tastings accompany the food fair on both days. Entry is free to all programs.