May

May Day in Budapest

Festivals, Things to Do Recommendations, 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 also become a family day with a range of festivals and programs in the capital, and other towns of Hungary.

One of the most popular event is the May Day Picnic in City Park, where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy food, drink, and live music.

There are also games and activities for kids along with a a small amusement park, making it a fun event for the whole family.

people relaxing on the grass in City park, the red-white striped balloon can be seen up in the air
May Day In City Park

This year the Hello Europe 5-day festival also offers a wide range of programs for everyone to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hungary’s joining the EU.

It begins with a traditional May Day Festival/Majális in City Hall Park / Városháza park on May 1st that lasts till May 5th. See other programs of the Hello Europe Festival below.

TIP: 1st May (falls on Wednesday in 2024) is a bank holiday in Hungary: shops, markets, most museums will be closed. Thermal baths will be open according to Sunday opening hours and ticket prices, public transport operates according to Sunday/holiday schedule.

River Tours with Dinner on May 1st

Wine & Dine Cruise

Wine & Dine Cruise with Live Music

Departures:  19:00

Duration: 120 min.

Price: From €109

hungarian folklore dance

Hungarian Dinner Cruise with Folk Show

Departure: 19:00

Duration: 120 min.

 Price: From €69

roast duck leg with gravy and green herb decor served on a round beige plate

Cruise with 4 Course Dinner & Live Piano

Departures: 19:00/19:30

Duration: 150 min.

Price:  From €97

Check availability

Hello Europe Festival, May 01 – 05, 2024

Venue:

  • Several venues across Budapest including Városháza park, Liberty Bridge, the Great Market Hall

Admission:

  • Free

In 2024 Budapest celebrates that Hungary has been the member of the European Union for 20 years.

To commemorate this significant event the capital city welcomes everyone with a 5-day long exciting program extravganza including

  • A May Day Festival in Városháza Park/city Hall Park right in the centre on May 1st, Wednesday
  • Picnic on Liberty Bridge between May 03 – 05 with concerts, fire dancers’ dazzling performance, sport activities and a lot of fun and relaxation.

Free concerts, children’s programs, theater performances, gastronomic experiences, in other words, a true urban festival awaits you!

lots of people on a May Day Festival at the main stage in City Hall Park
May Day Festival in Városháza Park, Downtown Budapest

Majális/May Festival In Városháza Park, May 01 – 05

A true Majális spirit awaits little ones and adults alike at City Hall Park from May 1st to 5th!

Venue:

  • Városháza park/City Hall park, Károly krt., Budapest 1052 (See on Map)

Opening Hours:

  • May 01 – 05: every day: 11.00 – 18.00,

What To Expect?

All-day free programs: Enjoy a non-stop lineup of activities designed to engage and entertain the whole family, including:

  • Concerts
  • Craft workshops
  • Hip-Hop dance demonstration and worskhop
  • Theatre performances
  • Clown show
  • Pantomime performance
  • Magician
festival visitors on a majális (May day festival) in City hall Park: sitting on purple benches infront of white tents
Majális In Városháza Park
an older man holding two plates of food in his hands, probbaly about to sit down to eat , a handful of other people already sitting and eating at a wooden table
Festival Food

Gastronomy delights: no majális is complete without typical festival food so you will find tasty deights like lángos, chimney cake, burgers as well as drinks in Városháza Park.

Kids’ zone: The little ones can have a world of fun and adventure in a special kids’ zone featuring a merry-go-round, an upcycled playground, and classic face painting and glitter tattoos.

Picnic On Liberty Bridge, May 03 – 05

Between May 03 and May 05 the Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge), the beautiful green crossing over the Danube, will once again become a haven for pedestrians, reclaiming its space from cars.

Embrace the liberating atmosphere as the bridge comes alive with all sorts of activity, echoing the lively summers of Szabihidas past.

Some of The Programs:

  • Live Act with Fre Dancers and the Students of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music’s Folk Music Department – May 03, Thursday at 19.30 – 22.00
  • Pepito the clown – children program – May 04, Friday, at 13.00 -15.00
  • Folk music concert by the Students of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music’s Folk Music Department – May 04, Friday, at 17.00
  • Magician show by Rolando – May 04, Friday, at 16.00 -17.00
  • Street circus performance – May 04, Friday, at 19.00 – 20.00
  • DJ Panda – May 04, Friday, at 20.00 – 22.00
  • Yoga on May 05, Saturday, 09.00 – 11.00
  • Puppet show – May 05, Saturday at 13.00 – 15.00
  • Kárpát FM Folkclassic Band – May 05, Saturday at 14.00 – 15.00
  • DJ Vibee – May 05, Saturday, 20.30 – 22.00
People sitting, walking, drinking wine on the Liberty Bridge
Picnic On Szabihíd

Central Market Hall – Light Projection Show On The Façade

The Central Market Hall‘s façade comes alive with a captivating projection show on May 04th and 05 for two evenings. The spectacular event will showcase the rich cultural diversity of the European Union.

Venue:

  • Central Market Hall (Központi Vásárcsarnok),
  • Address:Vámház krt. 1-3, Bp 1093 (View on Map)

You can witness the show between: 20.00 and 23.59 on both days.

Themes of the projection include:

  • Peace
  • Culture
  • Environmental protection
  • Mobility
  • The future
  • Development
  • Technology
  • Growth
The Central Market Hall's facade
Central Market Hall on Fővám Sqr.

Kígyó utcai Aluljáró (Kígyó Street Underpass) – Submersive by Cinema Mystica, An Audio-Visual Sanctuary

Descend into the Kígyó utcai Aluljáró (Kígyó Street Underpass) and prepare to be transported into an immersive realm of sound and light.

Cinema Mystica will transform this ordinary space into an extraordinary digital art haven, utilizing

  • Lasers,
  • Intelligent lights,
  • Speakers, and
  • Mystical fog to create an unforgettable sensory experience.

Address:

Opening Hours:

  • May 03 – 05: 18.00 – 20.00 every day
a young man and woman sitting the stairs in Cinema Mystica and watching a light show
Cinema Mystica

Light Art Museum Exhibition at Városháza Díszudvar (City Hall Courtyard)

The Light Art Museum will bring its unique brand of light art to the Városháza Díszudvar (City Hall Courtyard), presenting a captivating installation.

Venue & Address:

Opening Hours:

  • May 03, Friday: 20.00 – 24.00

Those who prefer the retro May Day experience won’t be disappointed either, as on May 1st, the trade unions will also join the program series, usually in Ciyt Park.

🎈 May Day Picnic In City Park (Városliget), May 01, 2024

Budapest’s largest recreation area, the City Park/Városliget hosts a festival on each Labor Day.

This event is a local favorite and a great way to enjoy the spring weather.

City Park is a beautiful location with plenty of green space for picnicing, and the live music and dance performances add to the festive atmosphere.

Venue:

  • Napozórét: a large field next to Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park,
  • Address: Budapest, Liezen-Mayer stny., 1146 district XIV. (See on Map)
the tower of Vajdahunyad Castle and the lake in Ciyt park
Vajdahunyad Castle

Getting There:

  • M1 metro (yellow line) get off at Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square) or Széchenyi fürdő stop, the festival venue is roughly a 10-min walk from either stops (cc. 700-800 m)

Entry: FREE

What To Expect?

In addition to the food vendors offering typical festival food (frankfurter/hot-dog, burger, lángos: the ultimate Hungarian street food: savoury dough deep fried in oil served with optional toppings like sour cream and cheese), there are also several activities for kids, including face painting and games.

  • Craft fair,
  • Food and drinks,
  • Concerts featuring local pop stars starting at 11.00 each day
  • Cooking competitions,
  • A small amusement park with boucy castle and carousel

Bring a blanket and join the locals for a relaxing day in the sun!

🍧 May Day In Pavilon Kert/City Park

TIP: if you want to avoid the madness of the May Day Picnic head for the Pavilon Kert, an awesome gastro garden and event venue, for some typical Hungarian delicacies such as

  • Buja Disznó(k)’ Wiener schnitzel and other fried stuff
  • Ligeti Lángos’ potato langos and
  • Kató Néni Finomságai for sweet treats like: chimney cake specials and artisan ice creams.

Address:

  • Városliget/City Park, Állatkerti krt. 3., Budapest 1146Opening Hours: 11.00 – 19.0
a middle-aged woman with glasses and wearing a yellow t-dhirt eating huge breaded pork chops at Buja Disznok in City park
Giant Size Breaded Pork Chops at Buja Disznók

Danube Cruises with Drinks

People drinking cocktails

Happy Hour – 60 minute Cruise

🍸1 cocktail of your choice

Departures:  11:00 / 13:00 / 15:00 / 16:30 / 18:00 / 19:30 / 21:00

Duration: 60 min.

Price: From €19

Pouring prosecco

Tokaji/Prosecco Cruise

  • Tokaji Cruise – 1 glass of Tokaji Aszu
  • Cocktail / Beer Cruise – 2 cockatils or 3 beers
  • Unlimited Prosecco / Open Bar

Departures: 19:00

Duration: 120 min.

Price: From €29

side view friends holding sangria drinks

Sunset Cocktail Cruise

🍹🍸🍹3 cocktails of your choice

Departures: 16:00 / 18:00 / 20:00 / 22:00

Duration: 80 min.

Price:  From €34.9

Majális At Normafa Hill, May 01

A Modern Twist on Tradition: The First-Ever Normafa Majális Awaits!

Step into a vibrant blend of modern and traditional at the first Majális at Normafa in the Buda Hills

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle and enjoy a day filled with

  • Family fun,
  • Delectable treats, and
  • A touch of Hungarian charm.

A Day Full of Entertainment:

Normafa Síház, Normafa Rétes, and 477 Hütte have joined forces to create an exciting program for the entire family, from morning until night!

People buying and eating strudel at the wooden shop of Normafa Rétes in summer
Normafa Strudel Shop

Schedule of Events:

  • 15.00: May Tree Decoration Ceremony – Be a part of this symbolic tradition as we adorn the May tree, ushering in the spring season.
  • 15.00 PM – 18.00: dance to the beats spun by DJ Candyman
  • 12.00 – 17.00: Animator-Led Children’s Activities
  • 10.00 – 18.00: Normafa Rétes will be serving up their famous strudel and lángos alongside refreshing ice cream, ensuring a delicious experience throughout the day.
  • 09.30 – 12.00: Family Forest Dive outdoor activities for the family (see also Facebook event):
    • warm-up movements and breathing exercises that even the smallest ones enjoy
    • introspective forest walk while teaching children to “see” and not just “watch” the nature around us
    • playful relaxation
    • sensory exercises affecting five senses, i.e. we listen, see, feel, taste, feel the forest

🍕🍷 Spring Breezes at Széll Kálmán tér: A Modern Majális, May 01 2024

Széll Kálmán tér transforms into a vibrant hub of music, delicious food, and lively entertainment for a modern take on the traditional Majális (May Day) celebration!

The festivities kick off at noon and continue well into the evening, ensuring an unforgettable Majális experience for all.

Venue:

Restaurants located on the square will offer tasty bites and activities:

  • Nemdebár
  • 101 Bistro: cheese burger bao, crispy chicken bao, spinach and tofu croquette bao
  • Pingrumba: kebab, baklava, non-alcoholic coolers and cocktails, children’s craft programs; face painting, bubble blowing
  • Sárkány: wine bar
  • Zappi: Neapolitan pizza
The terrace of 101 Bistro on Széll Kálmán Square with red tables
101 Bistro’s Terrace – Széll Kálmán Square

😎 Be Massive Horizon Daytime Party At Akvárium Klub Terasz, May 01 at 15.00

Join a crazy daytime party starting at 3:00 PM and dance under the open sky in the heart of the city until 10:00 PM.

What to expect:

  • Picnic vibes
  • Artificial grass and beanbags
  • Perfect sound system
  • Great music
  • Cold drinks

Line Up:

  • Metha
  • Robert Makai & Dubecticut
  • Lenny Lenoks
  • Abertura
  • Nick Behrmann
people chilling on the terrace of Akvarium Klub
Terrace of the Akvárium Klub

Location:

  • Terrace of the Akvárium Klub: Erzsébet tér 12, Bp 1051 (On Map)

Tickets: 6 990 HUF

🎸 Tabán Festival, May 1st 2024 – 15.30 – 22.00

Venue:

  • Tabán, district I., Buda Kereszt köz, 1016 (View on Map)

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:

  • 15:30 Alapi Power Band
  • 16:30 Mini
  • 17:45 Mobilmánia
  • 19:00 Deák Bill Gyula
  • 20:30 Bikini
  • Host: DJ Dominique
people sitting on the lawn in Tabán on May Day in Budapest
Concerts On the Tabán Festival

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.

Hungarian Railway Museum – Free Entry on 01. May

Opening Hours On 01. May/Monday:

  • 10.00 – 18.00

On May 1st, Monday, you can enter the Hungarian Railway Museum & Park free of charge.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see Europe’s largest outdoor railway experience park and try some of the machines and activities for free like the turntable demonstration.

Although admission to the park is free on this day you have to pay to try most interactive programs, except the turntable demonstration which is free.

  • Riding on the garden railway: 600 HUF/person
  • Engine shed turntable (runs at the beginning of each hour): free
  • Handcar ride: 400 HUF/person
  • Ride on the 1026 steam locomotive: 2 000 HUF

If you’re here in Budapest with kids then visiting the museum and park is an excellent program for the whole family.

🧘‍♀️ Yoga On Margaret Island, 01. May – Isle of Serenity

Margaret Island is another spacious green patch in the heart of the city; a perfect place to celebrate May Day in Budapest.

You can join a outdoor beginner Yoga class on 01. May/Monday starting at 10.00 on the Nagyrét next to a big plane tree.

The program starts with 108 Sun Salutations then continues with an Astanga Yoga Class at 11.00.

Bring some food, vegan snacks to end the program with a picnic.

Bring a yoga mat and water with you.

people performing sun salutations during yoga class on Magaret Island
Yoga on Margaret Island

Location:

  • Nagy-rét: The large green lawn between the Water Tower, the Open-Air Theatre and the Ensana Thermal Margitsziget Health Spa Hotel. (See on Map)

Price

  • The yoga classes are donation based meaning that there isn’t a set fee. You pay what you think is afair price for the class.

The outdoor yoga classes (donation based) on Margaret Island continue throughout summer on Weekdays and Sundays . In May, classes start at 17.00 on Sundays at 11.00. June-September classes begin at 18.00 on Weekdays and at 11.00 on Sundays.

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.

Read more about attractions and things to do on Margaret Island.

Unique Experiences

If you’re looking for something truly memorable to do during your visit to Budapest, there are several events that are worth checking out.

Lower Embankment In Pest Is Open To Pedestrians, Bikers Etc.

On May 1st, the Pest lower embankment will be open again for those who want to move and relax.

Enjoy the car-free environment and walk, bike or roller skate along the section between the Irányi Street ramp near the Elizabeth Bridge and Margaret Bridge on May 1st, 2024.

Budapest Street Art Tour

If you’re a fan of street art, don’t miss the Budapest Street Art Tour.

Join their guided walking tour of the city’s most impressive murals and graffiti.

The tour is led by local experts who can provide insight into the artists and their work, and it’s a great way to discover a different side of Budapest’s lively art scene.

See also our itinerary suggestion and guide to street art and firewall paintings in Budapest!

Maypoles & Wildflower Wreaths

In Hungary and many other Central European countries, the Maypole, also known as the May Tree or Maypole Tree, is a traditional symbol of the arrival of spring.

It’s usually a tall, wooden pole that’s erected in the center of a village or town square, decorated with colorful ribbons, flowers, and other decorations.

The tradition dates back to pre-Christian times, when people believed that erecting a Maypole would bring fertility and good fortune to the community. It’s usually erected on May 1st – in some parts of the country on Pentecost, both being public holidays in Hungary and many other countries in the region.

The celebration of May Day and the erection of the Maypole is a fun and festive event, with

  • Traditional dances,
  • Music, and
  • Food.

In Hungary, the Maypole is also known as the “Majális fa”, and the tradition is still very much alive today. Many villages and towns organize May Day celebrations with music, dance, and traditional food, and the Maypole is always the center of attention.

Another lovely May Day tradition in Hungary is to visit a nearby forest or park to gather wildflowers, which are used to create wreaths that are hung on the front doors of homes.

If you’re interested in experiencing this tradition for yourself, head to one of Budapest’s many green spaces, such as

  • Margaret Island or
  • Normafa in the Buda Hills.

More May Events, Festivals…

The rest of May offers a wide range of events and programs in Budapest, check this blog post for a detailed guide.

Related:

Public Holidays in HungarySummer Things to Do in Budapest – Visit Budapest in JuneVisit Budapest in JulyBudapest in MarchApril Programs – See also our Facebook page