Budapest's Top Alternative Summer Events
Budapest Summer Festival
June and September
There’s nothing like the sweet strains of live music to accompany those fresh, summer breezes. If basking in the sunshine listening to classical tunes (or jazz…or electronic…the list goes on…) sounds like your thing, now’s the time to book your ticket to the Budapest Summer Festival. Held across three different open-air venues, it’ll be on for most of the summer season.
Red Bull Air Race World Series
It isn’t summer in Budapest without daredevil pilots hurtling through the air above the Danube, as we always say. Luckily the popular Red Bull Air Race World Series will return to the city this year. Historically one of the most popular festivals in Budapest, the crowds are sure to flock to the riverbanks.
Hungarian Grand Prix
2-4 August, Mogyoród
If you’re the type who finds nothing as heart-stoppingly thrilling as the sound of dozens of engines gunning in unison, then there’s nowhere better to be than Budapest this August when the Hungarian Grand Prix comes to town. One of the highlight races in the annual F1 calendar, it’ll give locals the chance to see racing world greats compete live.
7-13 August, Hajógyári Island
The proliferation of summer festivals in Budapest means there’s live music on tap all season long. One of the top draws for audiophiles, both local and visiting, is the Sziget Festival, which can rightly be considered Europe’s answer to Coachella thanks to its top-billed acts, upbeat crowds, artistic side programming and relentlessly bohemian vibe.
St Stephen’s Day
Every year on St Stephen’s Day, Budapest commemorates Hungary’s first King with an all-day party featuring concerts, processions and special events such as a cake cutting ceremony. The national holiday concludes with a spectacular fireworks display over the Danube. Watch the show from the riverbank or board a boat for a front-row seat fit for a king.
Festival of Folk Arts
17-20 August, Castle district
A prime opportunity to discover and experience Hungary’s rich folk heritage, the Festival of Folk Arts brings together artists and craftspeople from across the country to showcase skills that have been passed down through families for generations. Visitors can watch craft demonstrations and dance performances or shop for unique souvenirs to take home at the extensive market.