If you are planning your Budapest visit for August, here are a couple of things to do. Expect to have lots of tourists in the touristy attractions of Budapest, and very hot days in the city, when the fantastic open air pools are really fun in Budapest, the world capital of spa waters.
Budapest Fireworks on August 20 National Holiday - photo by fori82
Summer Festival Budapest
Budapest Summer Festival is the cultural festival of the summer, the name speaks for itself, which launches in June and ends in September. August is still full of concerts, musicals, operettas, theatre performances, some operas, art exhibitions, festivals and fairs on lots of venues all around Budapest (which is reported to be more spread out than many tourists expect in their post-trip Budapest travel reports). The most important festival venues are the open air stages on the Margaret Island (Margitsziget), and in the Varosmajor region on the Buda side
Summer on the Chain Bridge
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)
Sziget Festival, Budapest
Budapest Festival of Folk Arts Buda Castle - photo by Heather Cowper
The world famous Sziget Festival is on Hajogyari island (a former Ship Factory island in Obuda district) – 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, hundreds of thousands of people flood to the self contained island to enjoy the all day parties and concerts (many young people put up their tents on Hajogyari sziget 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).
Festival of Folk Arts
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. In addition to folksy and world music concerts, art exhibitions, live shows of old professions (glass blowers, smiths, etc.), you can see the ceremonial blessing of the newly born bread of the year (consecration) while kids can enjoy various workshops, puppet theatre performances. 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.
Art Nouveau Roof, Museum of Applied Arts - Budapest - photo by omnia mutantur
Budapest Fireworks & Air Show on St Stephen’s Day
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. Although the fireworks are doubled in the waters of the river, which is magical in itself, there is a stunning air show featuring acrobatic airplane moves around the bridges. A must see! The event is actually a whole day programme starting in the morning with processions and more festive events, but the fireworks and the air show are the most amazing of it all.
Jewish Summer Festival
The Jewish Summer Festival in Budapest is a big time event: Budapest has a strong and vibrant Jewish community of about 50,000 – 100,000 despite all the unforgivable losses in WW2. The Budapest Jewish Festivalis accordingly a rich and varied event with Jewish music, classical music concerts in the Dohany Street Great Synagogue, fantastic klezmer concerts, contemporary dance performances, fine art exhibitions, film screenings at the beautiful Urania Cinema. Mind you, there are more Budapest Jewish festivals throughout the year, especially in Kiraly street, but probably this one is the most promoted. The festival is sometime in August – September in Budapest in and around the old Jewish quarters in District VI and VII (including the orthodox Rumbach street Synagogue, Gozsdu Court, Puskin Cinema, Goldmark Hall, etc.).
Budapest Synagogue - Jewish Summer Festival venue - photo by Jaime Silva
Buda Castle Beer Festival
The Buda Castle Beer Fest in Budapest is a must see and must do for beer lovers. The summer festival is usually around August – September for five solid beer days. The entrance fee is very cheap, beer prices are affordable and you can try the beers of the most popular breweries of both Hungarian and foreign (mostly Czech, Belgian and German), that is, you can dry beers like Dreher or Borsodi, as well as Edelweiss or Hoegarden. Tucked away Hungarian microbreweries also get a chance to get more visible. Concerts and live performances make the beer fest rounded – and of course the savoury and delicious beer snacks and other Hungarian delicacies.
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.
Fishermans Bastion - Budapest Castle Hill - photo by Zsolt Andrasi