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 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.
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 programme 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
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 2013
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.
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
For light concerts in August, by far the best choice is taking a tour on the Obuda Island at the Sziget Festival, where all genres are there, and you can buy daily entries, or a weekly pass too. Other choices include the Black Noise Alternative Music Festival in Budapest Cafe Durer (August 16 – 18, 2013)
Jazz in Budapest in August
Jazz fans will be glad to hear that there is a short jazz festival in August: Sambosi – Torley Jazz Festival in the Torley Champagne Factory & Palace in Budapest (July 26 – August 3, 2013), or you can check out the New Orleans Swing Festival in Budapest in the Palace of Arts (August 30, 2013)
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.).
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
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
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
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. Catherine Gallagher Queen of the Dance Irish dance show on Aug 22, or the Cats musical on Aug 30 and 31.
Jewish Summer Festival Budapest
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 Festival is 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.).
Sports Events in Budapest in August
Some of the major sports events in August in Budapest are the following:
Fencing World Championship
Date : August 5-12, 2013
Venue: SYMA Event Hall in Budapest
The official commercial spot of the Fencing Championship with Aron Szilagyi getting in a musketeer adventure:
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
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.