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: Gourmet Festival – Belgian Beer Festival – Festival of Museums – TIP: Children’s Day (28-30. May) – Downtown Festival – Ice Cream Day – Óbuda Festival Things to Do: Sightseeing, Tours: Jewish Heritage Tours – NEW: Segway Tour – Wine Tastings & Tours – Concerts – Visit the Zoo – Thermal Baths/Open-air Pools – Terraced Places
Venue: Millenáris Park, trams 4, 6, M2 metro Széll Kálmán tér stop – a couple of minutes walk from there
Tickets: 3 900 HUF/day (includes a Spiegelau wine glass, wine, beer, and pálinka samples, Famous Grous Whiskey tasting, street food bite, 2 gastro magazines)
This is a must event for foodies.
Strawberry and mangalica, the indegenious Hungarian pork will be in the focus of the festival in 2017. 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 2017.
See also our photos taken on the Gourmet Festival.
May is an ideal month to sample some delightful Hungarian wines. You have several options to do so:
Visit a modern wine shop & gallery in the city centre, Cultivini, just off Váci Street: here you can taste nearly 60 wines, including some rare bottles that aren’t available for tasting at other places in Budapest.
If you prefer a more traditional setting go to a historic cellar in Buda Castle where you can choose from a couple of wine tasting menus (reds, whites, and some lesser-known interesting selections of both reds and whites called the Curiosities of Hungary.
Last but not least, if you can devote more time to wines and local viticulture we recommend a tour to Etyek village, centre of a small wine region west of Budapest.
You’ll visit 2-3 vineyards, taste wines and have a real Hungarian lunch or dinner with some more wines. Transfer to and back is included. Length of program 3.5-4 hours.)
The up-and-coming Bartók Béla út (a road starting at Gellért Sqr. in Buda side), hosts the Eleven Spring Weekend (a word game on the district number XI. and the Hungarian meaning of eleven: energetic, lively) on Saturday and Sunday.
The aim of the 3-day event is to bring more culture, designers, unique shops, and creativity in the neighbourhood that already gives home to a range of small galleries, lovely coffee houses
- Hadik Cafe and Szatyor Bar, Gallery at 36-38. Bartók Béla út
- Moha Cafe at 11. Bartók B. út,
- Cafe Créme Gottier at 9. Bartók B. út or
- La Nube Cafe
- Wine bars (Bor és Kézműves) and shops.
Venue: Whale/Bálna, M4 metro Fővám tér station, or tram 2 Zsil utca stop
Opening Hours: Indoor. Fri: 17.00 – 23.00, Sat: 12.00 – 23.00, Sun: 12.00 – 22.00, Outdoor section in front the of the Bálna: will be open 1 hour longer each day.
Tickets: 3 700 HUF, includes 4 glasses of beer (200ml) or 5 000 HUF (incl. 6 glassess of beer), and a special tasting glass
Around 200 kinds of beer ( 50 on tap) by 35 Belgian Breweries.
The VIII. Belgian Beer Festival moves to a new venu, the Whale on the Pest Danube bank, close to the Central market Hall
Some other Belgian beers that will be will be present are the Deliria, made by women beer makers, or the limited edition Hopus Primeur and Duvel Tripel Hop. You can also taste the new star of recent years, Omer.
Venue: Several Museums in Budapest, main event is in the Hungarian National Museum, Múzeum körút 14 – 16., district VIII., M3 metro, Kálvin tér statio
The main themes of this year’s festival are
- nature and environment protection,
- conservation and care of green areas,
- environmental consciousness,
- reuse and recycling.
Concerts, workshops, unique guided tours of museum exhibits and many other programs on the 2-day weekend festival.
Find out more about the Museum Festival in Budapest
Venue: Szabadság Sqr., Erzsébet Sqr., Zrínyi Street
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 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), 27 – 28. 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, 27 -28. May, Sunday, 10.00-18.00
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.
Children’s Day in the Garden of the Várkert Bazaar, 28. May, 10.00-19.00
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, 28. May, Sunday
Address: Andrássy út 12., district VI.
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 9.00-19.00, Fri, Sat: 9.00-21.00
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.
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.
The weather in May is quite warm (20 – 25 deg. Celsius), ideal for splashing around in outdoor pools and baths.
The good news is that some of the outdoor baths in Budapest are open as of 01 May (depending on the weather)
Gala Concerts in Danube Palace
Dates in May 2017: 06, 13 and 20.
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.
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 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.
Address: Naphegy utca 67, district I., buses No: 8., 112, 178 Sánc utca stop, or trams 18, 19, 41. Döbrentei tér stop,
Open: Mon-Sun: 10.00-03.00
In case you wonder Terasz means terrace in Hungarian. This one is in Buda on top of Naphegy close to Gellért hill. Geared more towards hipsters, and party people.
Stunning vista, fine wines, champagnes of the Vinopolis wine shop and restaurant (at the same address), late breakfast, lunch, dinner. DJ- s provide great music in the evenings.
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. Kosheen from Bristol will also perform on 1st May.
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.
Past Events in May
Venue: on the bank of the Danube in front of the Technical University in Buda
A university festival with
- boat competition (rowing and dragon boat races between Hungarian universities),
- running race in costume,
- other sport events,
- children programs,
- folk dance house,
- cheerleader show,
- concerts and
- lots of fun and cold beer on a wonderful scenic location of the city.
A great sport and cultural program for all ages on the first weekend of May.
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.
Concerts, art and craft workshops, wine and gastro programs, activities for children welcome everyone on the first whole weekend of May.
The festival kicks off on Friday afternoon on Szentlélek Square, with concerts by the Budapest Voices (at 18.00), and Péterffy Bori & Love Band (at 20.30). The “Gastronomy Adventures” ensure that you won’t be hungry (nor thirsty) on this beautiful spring evening.
The programs continue on Saturday/07. May with concert by children’s all-time favourite Judit Halász (at 10.00), followed by the Danubia Chamber Orchestra Óbuda ((at 11.30).
You can also wander among he stalls of a Craft fair (both days).
On Main Square you can have your fill of food by Katlan Tóni, nibble some flat bread baked in clay oven, taste Street Food, and have a cake for dessert by the Cziniel Confectionery or Rachel’s flódni and sip splendid specialty coffee in Gázlámpa Kioszk, a buffet housed in a former gas station.
See more at the event’s website.
Entry is free.
Venue: ice cream parlors at various locations in Budapest and Hungary
The second Sunday of May is dedicated to artisan ice cream in Hungary. More than 100 ice cream parlors, confectioneries have joined the vent when you can enjoy the most delicious gelatos at half price.
Some of the participating places in Budapest that we I will definitely visit with my older son are:
- Dolce Fantasia – a true Italian Gelateria now at two locations:
at Szondi utca 82. district VII. and at Andrássy út 61. (across from the House of Terror Museum): 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
They also have an ice cream van in Corvin köz , distr. VIII. (at the Corvin Cinema)
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!
Venue: City Park, behind Vajdahunyad Castle
Getting there: M1 (yellow line) Hősök tere or Széchenyi fürdő stop
Opening Hours: 12th May: 14.00 – 24.00, 13th May: 12.00 – 24.00, 14th May: 10.00 – 21.00
Entry: free, tasting: you have to buy a tasting glass for 1 000 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