What to Do in Budapest in May?
May is packed with all sorts of exciting events. Besides the program-packed 1st May, the whole month offers plenty to see and do in Budapest.
The weather is warm enough for outdoor programs, picnics, al fresco dining.
Events in May: Downtown Festival – Family Day at Szabadság Square – Folk Festival – Rosalia Wine Fest – Gourmet Festival – Sekler Cake Festival in the Zoo – Budapest Beer Week – Budapest 100 – Beer Festival in Újbuda – Festival of Museums
Location: several venues in the city
The Budapest 100 is a wonderful event devoted to all buildings in the city that turn 100 year old in 2020.
Historic houses otherwise closed to the public welcome everyone around the 100th day of the year.
This year the Danube riverfronts and the bridges will be the main venue of programs.
- guided tours,
- movie watching, and
- children activities.
Opening hours: 12.00 – 22.00
Venue: Október Huszonharmadika utca 8-10., Budapest, next to the Allee Mall
A great outdoor festival not just for beer lovers! Besides more than 200 local and import beer specialties, guests can enjoy
- live Swabian muisc,
- street food and
- the performance of the Budapest Circus Festival’s a acrobats.
Entry is free, prices are friendly! See also the Budapest Beer Week below.
Entry is free.
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.
Craft & Gastro Fair Opening Hours:
- 03. May/Friday: 16.00 – 22.00
- 04. May/Saturday: 10.00 – 22.00
Concerts, art and craft workshops, wine and gastro programs, activities for children welcome everyone on the first weekend of May.
On Main Square you can
- have your fill of food by Gulyásbomba,
- nibble some flat bread baked in clay oven, taste Street Food by Kolbice or Zing Burger, and
- have a pancke, churros or Chimney Cake for dessert.
Craft beer, wines, lemonade and other drinks wikll also be on offer.
You can also sip splendid specialty coffee in Gázlámpa Kioszk, the smallest outdoor cafe of Budapest housed in a former gas station.
Concerts on the Main Sqr./Fő tér
03. May – Friday
- 18.00 Kerekes Band
- 20.30 Csík zenekar
- Guest: Tibi Kiss /Quimby/
04. May – Saturday
- 10.00 – 17.00 A kackiás verklis, lovashintó
- 10.00 Judit Halász children’s concert
- 11.30 Kincső Folk Dance Ensemble
- 14.00 Langaléta Garabonciások
- 17.00 Middlemist Red
- 19.00 Intim Torna Illegál
- 21.00 Irie Maffia
See more at the event’s website.
Corvin Beer Festival, 08 – 12. May
Location: Corvin Promenade, behind the Corvin Plaza, address: Bp, 1082. Corvin Sétány
Getting there: M3 (blue) metro, trams 4 & 6 – Corvin-negyed stop
- 08. May/Wed: 16.00 – 24.00,
- 09 .May/Thurs: 12.00 – 24.00,
- 10. May/Fri: 12.00 – 24.00,
- 11. May/Sat: 12.00 – 24.00
- 12. May/Sun: 12.00 – 23.00
Kick off the weekend on the Beer Festival that welcomes everyone for 5 days behind the Corvin Shopping Plaza.
Sample the best IPAs, EPAs, APAs, exotic fruit beers, wheat beers and lagers.
Some of the brewers that will be present:
- Pilsner Urquell
- Pivovarve Kozel
- Krak’n Town
- Mort Subite
- Etyeki Sörmanufaktúra
- Sümegi Sörház
- Fehér Nyúl Brewery
- ERDINGER Weissbräu, Dab (beer), Bitburger Fan Force One
- Yeast Side Sörfőzde
- Pivovar Holba a.s. + Pivovar Černá Hora
- Hara’Punk Brewing, and more…
Grilled meats, snacks to go with the beers!
Venue: Holnemvolt Vár, Budapest Zoo
Address: Állatkerti körút 14., district XIV. (near the Széchenyi baths)
Admission: entry ticket to the Holnemvolt Castle: 1 600 HUF
The iconic kürtöskalács pastry will be in the limelight in the Holnemvolt Castle of the Budapest Zoo for three days.
It’s a great program families with little children since the event will be held in the wonderful “Once Upon A Time Castle of the Zoo that is full of activities for kids:
- close encounters with animals
- special small animals
- carousel and other amusement park games.
The pastry will be available in many flavours and new inventive shapes.
Those who watch their weight or are on a gluten-, dairy -ree diet will also find their choice.
Venue: Szabadság Square, city centre, near the Parliament
A festival celebrating Hungary’s joining the EU 15 years ago.
- A 15 km running race starting at 10.00
- concerts and children programs between 11.00 – 17.30.
Venue: Millenáris Park, trams 4, 6, M2 metro Széll Kálmán tér stop – a couple of minutes walk from there
Tickets: 15 EUR/day
- a Spiegelau wine glass,
- Jameson Whiskey tasting (for the first 500 visitors of the day),
- street food bite,
- Young wine-maker of the Year wine tasting
- Esterházy Green Veltliner or Esterházy kékfrankos tasting (for the first 500 guests of the day)
- Beer tastings: Stella Artois, Leffe, Hoegaarden or Belle-Vue Kriek beer tasting
- Rauch Juice Bar 0,33L fruit juice (for the first 1 000 guests of the day)
- Gastro shows and tastings on the stage
- Children programs and activities
Opening Hours: Thurs/16. May: 17.00 – 23.00, Fri/17. May: 12.00 – 23.00, Sat- Sun/17 – 18.May: 11.00 – 23.00
This is a must event for foodies!
Paprika, the characteristic spice of Hungary was in the focus of the festival in 2019.
Visit the Paprika Pop-Up to see how chefs use creatively the red spice and taste their creations!
You can meet Hungarian and international chef celebrities.
The cream of the crop of Hungary’s and its capital’s
- street food bars
- 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 2019.
See also our photos taken on the Gourmet Festival.
Venue: City Park, behind Vajdahunyad Castle
Getting there: M1 (yellow line) Hősök tere or Széchenyi fürdő stop
Opening Hours: 15. May: 14.00 – 24.00, 16. May: 11.00 – 24.00, 17. May: 11.00 – 21.00
Entry: free, tasting: you have to buy a tasting glass for 1 600 HUF (Stölzle crystal glass)
A festival celebrating fresh roses. sparkling wines and other splendid summer wines.
More than 50 exhibitors, including some of the best street food vendors.
This year it moves to a Pest location: the City Park-Vajdahunyad Castle – a green expanse behind Heroes’ Square, home to the Zoo and the Széchenyi Bath.
Family and children programs early afternoons:
- Bread making in the Szittya Pitta Cottage: every day of the festival
- Learning to bake Kürtöskalács/Sekler cake: Sat – Sun: 10.00 – 16.00
- Craft workshop, face painting on Sunday/14. May: 10.00 – 18.00
Venue: Szabadság Sqr., Erzsébet Sqr., Zrínyi Street, Vigadó Square
The inner city of Budapest (district V.) organizes a festival each year in May or June.
Five venues in downtown offer concerts, cultural programs, children activities during the 3-day event.
The main location is Szabadság Square, near the Parliament, where pop-rock concerts by popular Hungarian bands will be performed.
A world music stage on the revamped Erzsébet tér, and another pop music stage in Zrínyi utca welcomes everyone.
This year the Downtown Market in Hold utca joins the festival with gastronomy programs and street food specialties.
Concerts, tasty food, drinks, a design fair, street ball show ensure a great program on the last weekend of May in Budapest.
The park at Szabadság Square welcomes families with varied programs on the last Sunday of May to celebrate International Children’s Day:
- a small design fair
- art and craft workshops
- mini zoo
- face painting
- wooden and other classic toys.
Date Is Not Official Yet!
- Fonó Music House,
- Hungarian Heritage House,
- Kobuci Garden
- the TRIP Boat on the Danube
A 4-day event all about Hungarian folk music and dance.
Come and get a taste of local folklore at such stunning venues as the Hungarian Heritage House in Buda or a boat on the Danube.
Learn more about the programs of the Budapest Folk Festival!
Venue: main tasting sessions: on 25 – 26. May: Dürer Kert, Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21-. district XIV., City Park
- tasting sessions on 25 May & 26. May: 19 790 HUF / 63 EUR/day,
- two-day ticket: 32 990 HUF / 106 EUR
- unlimited tasting of the best local and international craft brews (different beer list on Friday and Saturday)
- tasting glass (1 dl)
- meeting and a chance to talk to the brewers in person
- after party on both days.
Beer will be in the focus for a whole week in Budapest’s best craft beer bars, specialty cafes and street food places.
You can also sample unlimited beers on the two tasting sessions in Dürer Kert:
- 25. May/Friday and
- 26. May/Saturday.
After the tasting sessions get wild on the after parties from 20.00 to the tunes of the best live DJ-s and rock’n’roll bands.
The venue, Dürer Kert is one of the most popular outdoor party venues in the city, near the City Park. You can have more local craft beer goodness on the parties.
List of the participating venues will be announced soon.
Local craft breweries that will be present at the event:
- HopTop Brewery
- Horizont Brewing
- Mad Scientist
- MONYO Brewing Co.
- Reketye Brewing Co.
See also the official website of the event.
Venue: Several Museums in Budapest, main event is in the Hungarian National Museum, Múzeum körút 14 – 16., district VIII., M3 metro, Kálvin tér station
The main themes of this year’s festival are
- Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition,
- 1989: Change of Regime in Hungary, the Fall of Communism.
Concerts, workshops, unique guided tours of museum exhibits and many other programs await visitors on the 2-day weekend festival.
Find out more about the Museum Festival in Budapest
Venue: ice cream parlors at various locations in Budapest
Sadly, The Day of Artisan Ice Cream held usually on 8th May has been cancelled this year.
You can still celebrate this sweet day having scoops of ice cream at one of the following places:
Dolce Fantasia – a true Italian Gelateria now at 4 locations:
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
- at Szondi utca 82. district VII.,
- at Andrássy út 61. (across from the House of Terror Museum), and at
- Árbóc utca 4., Bp. 1133, district XIII.
- István út 5., Bp, 1078, district VII.
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!
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), 30 – 31. 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, 30 – 31. May, Sunday
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.
Gozsdu Court – Children’s Day
Address: Király utca 13., Bp. 1075, district VII.
Opening Hours: 14.00 – 18.00
Take your little ones to Gozsdu Court – a series of connected courtyards – and enjoy craft programs, play corner, face painting and balloon folding.
Children’s Day in the Garden of the Várkert Bazaar
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, 31. May, Sunday
Address: Andrássy út 12., district VI.
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs: 09.00 – 19.00, Fri – Sat: 09.00 – 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.
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.
TIP: Book a Jewish Heritage Tour to visit the Dohány Street Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, and other historic and cultural sights. Small group tour with professional guiding in English. Private tours with more intimate atmosphere and the possibility to tailor made the route are also available!
The city is also ideal for Segwaying around which is a great way to quickly see all the important landmarks and attractions and the wonderful view.
The 1-hour tour in Pest city center covers all the must-see sights from the Opera House to the Parliament.
Prior the tour you’ll get a 15-minute training to help you safely ride and control your Segway. Small group, professional guide.Segway Budapest Ticket
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 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.
TIP: Take a Night Walk in the Zoo on every 2nd Thursday between 18.00 – 21.00. Find out about the Zoo’s and its inhabitants nightlife secrets
which you almost certainly can not see in daylight!
Professional guides lead you through the park and you cantake a peak behind the glass walls and runways. Price: 5 000 HUF. More info: Facebook Event
Gala Concerts in Danube Palace
Dates in May 2020: 02, 09, 16, 23, 30.
Tickets in various categories, depending on seat.
The historic palace in Zrínyi Str., close to the Basilica and the Danube in downtown has a great theatre hall perfect for classical concerts.
The 1,5-hour Budapest Gala Concert includes evergreen pieces by
- Zoltán Kodály,
- Béla Bartók and
- Franz Liszt.
Operetta performances and folk songs accompanied by cimbalom/hammered dulcimer music (a traditional Hungarian folk instrument) add to the atmosphere of the evening.
Folk Dance Shows in the Danube Palace
A 1,5-half hour cultural entertainment in the heart of the city showcasing Hungary’s colourful folk traditions.
Organ Concerts in the Inner City Parish Church
Venue: Inner City Parish Church (Belvárosi Plébániatemplom, Március 15. tér, Pest near Elizabeth Bridge, tram 2
Dates in May: 03, 10, 17, 24, 31 – concerts start at 16.00
Tickets: full price: 4 500 HUF, students, seniors: 4 000 HUF
Note: the Church is open for tourists: every day between 09.00 – 16.30
The oldest church of Pest next to Erzsébet Bridge gives home to organ recitals on Wednesday evenings.
The oldest parts of the temple dates back to the early middle ages, 11th century. According to legend, Bishop Gellért‘s remains were buried here.
Following the death of King St. Stephen in 1038 rebels killed the martyr by pushing him down a hill in Buda that bears his name since then (Gellért Hill).
The church has been nicely redone in recent years and it provides a perfect venue for concerts. It
Program of the Concert Includes the Following pieces (the list is just an example not a complete concert program):
- J. S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
- W. A. Mozart: Allegro
- Liszt Ferenc: Canzonetta del Salvator Rosa (arr. Koloss)
- T. Albinoni: Adagio, and more.
TIP: The Basilica of Budapest hosts wonderful organ concerts in May on 04, 11, 18, and 25 strating at 20.00.
The major cultural venues of Budapest:
- the Erkel Theatre,
- the Music Academy and
- the Palace of Arts/Müpa.
always have a rich repertoire. Two of the above places, the Music Academy and the Opera House can be visited on guided tours:
Opera House tour with Optional Mini Concert:
Date & Time: every day at 14.00 with guiding in English. Tours in other languages strat usually at 15.00 and 16.00.
5-minute concert (can be bought only with a tour ticket): 690 HUF/person – the concert is at the end of the tour 2 popular arias presented by a singer of the Hungarian State Opera.
On the tour you’ll explore the building and learn about its history and architecture.
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:
Kiosk Terasz – Március 15. Square
Address: Március 15. tér 2., tram 2
Sitting on the terrace of Kiosk 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 and
- a good value 2- or 3-course daily menu.
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)
- Andrássy út – Callas Cafe has a lovely terrace overlooking the Opera House
- 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.
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.
Concert tickets: from 1500 – 2 500 HUF, big name band concerts: 7 000 – 30 000 HUF
TIP: See also our May Day/Labor Day Budapest program recommendations. Note: 1st May/May Day is a public holiday: most shops, food markets are closed. Public transport operates according to Sunday/Holiday schedule.