May is one of the best seasons to visit Budapest to avoid the crowds of summer tourists and to enjoy nice spring days in Budapest (although there is no guarantee for rain free days). There are many festivals, several of which moves to the breezy open-air all around Budapest.
Things to do in May – Spring Events in Budapest
May Day Budapest: May 1 is Labour Day, Hungarian National Holiday. Despite being a bank holiday all the museums and baths in Budapest, are open. To boot, there are various Majalis (May Day) Parties, open air concerts, etc. in the big parks of the city of Budapest. For a city central event go to Elisabeth square (by Deak square), or for bigger festivities join the crowds in the City Park or on Margaret Island.
Budapest Palinka Festival
Venue: Varoshaza Park Square, Budapest City Centre, nearby Deak Square
Dates: a weekend festival with varying dates (April or May)
If you love pleasant gastro festivals and drinking some tasty and strong spirits, you may as well dare to attend the merry gathering called Hungarian Palinka Festival, you are more than welcome to try the Hungarian brandy, a fruity smooth and powerful spirit Hungarians love. You can listen to music and eat authentic snacks and handmade chocolates too.
Gourmet Festival Budapest
Foodies are not the only visitors of this gastro festival. Eating hand made cheeses, drinking quality house wines and craft beers, tasting jams and honeys made with love appeal to many visitors. Eat, drink and be merry in gourmet style in this open air event in Budapest.
Venue: Millenaris Park & Buildings, Budapest
Date: a weekend in May
Jazz Spring in the Budapest
Enjoy high quality jazz concerts in Budapest in this lively jazz festival of the spring time. The 3 days of May brings great evenings for jazz lovers. You can even listen to Nina Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone (booking recommended)
Date: usually 3 days in May
Venue: Budapest Palace of Arts (Muveszetek Palotaja)
Budapest Bread Festival: the Budapest Bread Festival is a 3 day culinary event, a sort of bakery feast with lots of freshly baked products, traditional and gourmet breads and pastries as well as folk dance ensembles (children and adults) in the Buda Castle, Budapest.
Venue: Buda Castle
WAMP Design Fair
Venue: Elisabeth square (Erzsebet ter)
Green park, nice crafts, foods, occasional concerts and children’s activities. Buy and try the fine products of Hungarian applied artists.
After the bad weather and cold months, WAMP Design Fair moves out of its winter cave in Millenaris Park headquarters to sell the handmade crafts of Hungarian designers in the pleasant downtown square of Budapest
May Parties in Budapest
Bath Parties in Budapest are special, really unique in the historical thermal bath palaces. Tickets are cheaper online, as there is a limited issue of regular pool party tickets or group discounts. Enjoy the spring waters, the electronic vibe and being young and happy. The event is open air, swim wear is a must, getting a big towel and flip flops is a good idea (but you can buy them on the spot too)
See the May schedule, booking info and general pool party FAQ for Szechenyi Bath Parties.
Venue: Szechenyi Baths
Date: every Saturday usually
Obuda Day Festival, Budapest
Venue: Obuda Main Square (Fo Ter)
A real local and non-touristy event to attend, with lots of crafts and folksy arts as well as handmade delicacies and typical Hungarian foods. Obuda Day is in Old Buda district (District III.), about a half an hour ride from the city centre with public transport.
the Beethoven in Buda music festival commemorates the first and last performance of Beethoven given in the town of Buda (the Buda side of Budapest). The 4-5 day Beethoven festival is usually sometime in May. The venues are varied (most of them are in the Buda Castle on the Castle Hill.
Antique and Modern Art Street Afternoon
Date: fMay 16
Venue: Falk Street
This art festival is called the Falk Art Forum and usually takes place in May. There are dozens of antique galleries and art galleries participating in this artsy event. Moreover, you can enjoy some concerts in the streets and galleries (jazz, blues, classical, etc.), presentations of art historians, guided art tours, etc. The Falk Art Forum festival is a real treat for high art lovers interested in the Eastern and Central European arts.
Venue: Urania Film Theatre
Pricey entry to TedxDanubia could bring you together with forward thinkers in Hungary if you wish to have some business / science networking with Hungarian and Central Eastern European folks. TedxDanubia is usually an event which is easily sold out, so hurry up to get your entry to the talks.
International Comic Book Festival in Budapest (Kepregeny Fesztival)
The underground and alternative cartoon festival is in a cool venue in Budapest, Durer Kert Cafe near the City Park, attracting the fans of comics and comic novels.
Venue: Durer Kert Cafe, Budapest
Szekler Festival in Budapest
Szekelys are visiting the Millenaris Park in Budapest to showcase their special cultural and culinary heritage. Enjoy the music, the tastes, the dances of Szeklerland (Szekelyfold) (on the map of Romania since 1920). The festival is focusing on the Szekelys’ heritage, as part of a Hungarian subgroup of the Magyar people living on in a mixed ethnic context of Hungarians and Romanians.
Venue: Millenaris Park, Buda side of Budapest
Venue: Sports Centre on Marczibanyi Square, Budapest
Family friendly festival mostly aimed at kids, also cherishing Jewish traditions, meals, and culture, as well as other less known cultural heritage in Hungary (e.g. capoeira).
May Festivals in Budapest: see more festivals going on in the city of Budapest in May. There are specialty festivals you may like, we have only picked a few of the most popular or unique festivals.
Festival of Museums a family event in the gardens of the Hungarian National Museum with good food stalls to sample some Hungaricums. Workshops for kids and gifts shopping for the adults is also an option. The event is between Astoria square (M2 metro stop) and Kalvin square (M3 metro stop)
Jazz Spring Budapest at the Palace of Arts is a half a day event focusing on jazz and its many sub genres with Hungarian and international musicians
Other events in May that may or may not be scheduled:
Foie Gras Festival Budapest – Hungary is famous for its goose liver. Try the most flavoursome foie gras you will ever eat. The gastro festival is also a cultural event. Sometime in May or June in the Buda Castle Royal Palace atop the Castle Hill