Things to do in Budapest in August

If you are planning your Budapest visit for August, here are a couple of things to do, including festivals, concerts, shows, and other events and activities. But being August, please expect to see lots of tourists in the touristy attractions of Budapest, and some hot days in the city, when the fantastic open air pools are really fun in Budapest baths, the city of geothermal waters.

Budapest Fireworks Show by Miroslav Petrasko

Budapest Fireworks Show by Miroslav Petrasko

Check our tips for the top 10 things to do in Budapest, in addition to the list of things to do in August (and we hope you are staying for more than one day in Budapest).

Budapest Things to do in August

The most spectacular event in August, and in fact all year in Hungary, is the long awaited Budapest August 20 Fireworks show by the river Danube. The day is August 20, and this day alone is worth a trip to Budapest we think.

Budapest Fireworks Show in August

Aug 20 is the ultimate firework show time in Budapest. Hungary celebrates its statehood birthday and St Stephen’s Day (the first Hungarian king) on this day with big festivities, most importantly with spectacular fireworks on its UNESCO World Heritage site, by the river Danube.

Budapest Fireworks August things to do

Budapest Fireworks August – David Lukacs Photography

The fireworks are doubled in the waters of the river, which is magical in itself. A must see! The event is actually a whole day program starting on August 19, the night before the Fireworks, with concerts by the river and lots of food stalls. On Aug 20 it continues in the morning with processions and more festive events, but the fireworks and the air show are the most amazing of it all. The best place to enjoy the Fireworks Show from is either the top of the Gellert Hill near the Citadel (if it is not closed down by the authorities for security reasons), or the river Danube itself from a beautiful cruise ship: Budapest Fireworks Cruise

Sziget Festival in August Budapest

budapest sziget festival

Budapest Sziget Festival

The world famous Sziget Festival is on Obuda Island, aka Hajogyari Sziget on a former Ship Factory island in Obuda district. Sziget Festival is a huge success, one of the most well known festivals in Europe – lots and lots of great music, performances, parties, funny and daring things to do (bungee jumping too), films, etc.

Hundreds of thousands of young people flood to the self contained island to enjoy the all day parties and concerts (many people put up their tents on Obuda Island to enjoy this one week unforgettable extravaganza.

Once you have been at Sziget Festival you want to come back for it again and again (until in your mid 3o’s you may feel the need to quit for change in your lifestyle).

Concerts in Budapest in August 2016

St Michael Church Concerts Budapest

St Michael Church Concerts

Enjoy a beautiful concert in Budapest: you can choose from several classical and light music concerts in August, as well as random concerts in bars and restaurants. Church concerts are special with their unique atmosphere, and their nice cool air on warm August nights. The most prestigious performers in Hungary are either in the Sports Arena in Budapest or in the Palace of Arts.

Organ Concerts in Budapest: Organ Concerts in St Stephen’s Basilica Budapest: Monday Concerts, Thursday Concerts, Friday Concerts

As the Budapest Opera House is only open for guided tours in August, you can instead listen to the singers of the Opera House and watch the dancers and artists of the Operetta Theatre in this beautiful but light hearted 2 hour cruise: Opera and Operetta Concert and Show on the Danube Cruise in Budapest


Festival of Folk Arts in August

The Festival of Folk Arts in the Buda Castle on the Castle Hill in Budapest is definitely a warmly recommended thing to do in Budapest. The festival is around August 20, the outstanding national holiday of Hungary with fireworks show and cruise, street concerts and more. Note: Budapest Cards are not valid for free entry in the Buda Castle during the Festival of Folk Arts, but if you buy the festival entry, it will include free admission to the Buda Castle buildings.

In addition to the folksy and world music concerts, one would expect at the Festival of Folk Arts, there are art exhibitions, live shows of old traditional professions (glass blowers, smiths, etc.).

Budapest Festival of Folk Arts Buda Castle - photo by Heather Cowper

Budapest Festival of Folk Arts Buda Castle – Heather Cowper Photography

You can see the ceremonial blessing of the newly born bread of the year (consecration) as August 20 is also about welcoming the New Bread of the year. If you are in Budapest with  kids, they can enjoy various workshops, puppet theatre performances, street busker shows.

Oh, and let’s not forget the really good foods and drinks. Here are some more details and photos of the Hungarian Festival of Folk Arts.

August Parties in Budapest

Szechenyi Spa Party - Budapest Cinetrip bath parties

Szechenyi Spa Party – Budapest Cinetrip bath parties

In August there are many Budapest parties in various open air party venues in the city (even though Sziget Festival takes many party goers to the Island). Two special parties stand out from the fun Budapest nightlife events, which are unique in Hungary: the pool parties in Budapest Baths, and the river boat parties on the Danube.

August Bath Parties in Budapest mix amazing laser shows with bath discos in a phenomenal party in Szechenyi Bath after 10 pm. Just get your swimwear and a pair of flip flops to enjoy the night in this visual / tactile and all in all fun and sensual party.

August Boat Parties in Budapest are regular events in the month of August, usually on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On other days you can even book a private boat party at an affordable price. Take the 11 pm boat ride on the river Danube booze and party cruise to warm up for the next Budapest bar (A38 club) where the boat ride ends, but nightlife goes on until the wee hours.

Szecska Spa Parties are incredibly great pool parties in Szechenyi Bath: spa waters, music and party adding up as a ‘Sparty’. Definitely a must see and do for under 40 or so party goers in August.

Shows in Budapest in August

Hungarian Folk Dance Show Budapest

Hungarian Folk Dance Show Budapest

The most spectacular show of the month of August is a free event: the Budapest Fireworks Show on August 20. Some make it a special day, and combine the celebrations on August 20 with a dinner during the show. Dinners are offered by restaurants and cruise ships (e.g. the Budapest Fireworks Cruise).

Some of the regular summer theatre shows in Budapest, when theatres and concert halls are mostly on a summer holiday, include the Cruise and Show on the Danube in Budapest.

Further recommended dinner cruises are the Dinner Cruise with Bar Piano, and the Dinner Cruise with Folk Show programs. Both cruises run daily in August, including 4-course served dinner, 1 welcome drink and live entertainment.

Hungarian Folk Dance Shows can be viewed in the Danube Palace or in the Budai Vigado Concert Hall (folk dancer groups: Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, Danube Folk Ensemble, Rajko Gypsy Folk Ensemble).

The Budapest Summer Festival has shows on the Margaret Island on its Open Air Stage. Programs of the festival here. e.g. Romeo and Juliet ballet show by Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo on Aug 5, or the MAGIC NIGHT Illusionist Show on Aug 12 and 13.


Summer Festival Budapest

The Budapest Summer Festival is the cultural and music festival of the summer. The name speaks for itself: the festival launches in June and ends in September. August is full of open air and indoor concerts, musicals, operettas, theatre performances, art exhibitions, festivals and fairs on lots of venues all around Budapest. The most important festival venue is the Open Air Stages on the Margaret Island (Margitsziget) in the river Danube.

Summer on the Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge Budapest

Chain Bridge Budapest – Simon Welsh Photography

The Summer on the Chain Bridge summer festival (from June to August) is special in a way that the festival venue is the iconic Budapest attraction, Chain Bridge, which gets closed down for transport in the summer, turning into a pedestrian only festival zone – you can listen or even dance to jazz, folksy, music swing, rock etc. concerts (free), you can buy tasteful and good quality handcrafted gifts at the Hungarian souvenir stalls, or try yummy Hungarian specialties (the savoury snack Langos, the sweet cylindrical shaped pastry ‘Kurtoskalacs’ which is ideal as a ‘to go’ dessert, and drinks (e.g. wines, palinka, Unicum)

See some of the upcoming August Festivals in Budapest for more info.

Top Budapest Event Calendar / Event Guide to the current August events in Budapest, Hungary: click to see the currently highlighted events in Budapest in August this year.


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