This post covers the top things to do in Budapest in May (updated for 2020), including nighttime activities, free things to do, and family-friendly options.
This post covers some of the best things you can do in Budapest in May, including free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime events and activities. See our full post on things to do in Budapest (any time of the year).
Some of the attractions and activities in this post are included for free in some Budapest tourist attraction discount passes.
Some other activities to consider this month (and all year) are:
One of the best free events of the entire year, the annual Budapest100 weekend takes place on May 9 & 10, 2020.
During the weekend, the public has free access to 100 architecturally notable buildings in Budapest such as residential houses, mansions, villas, secret gardens, and rooftop balconies.
Most of these places cannot be seen at any other time if the year. There will be guided tours and various activities, some held in English.
You do not need to sign up for the event, though the most popular buildings require registration as visiting slots may fill up fast.
See the Budapest100 website for a list and description of the open buildings. The schedule is usually released in mid-April.
Tip: As the buildings are located throughout the city, you may find that a hop on hop off bus is a convenient way to move between the places you want to visit.
2) Rosalia Wine Festival
The weekend of May 15-17, 2020 is the Rosalia Wine Festival. This free festival showcases Hungarian wines other than its most famous wine, Tokay.
The festival is held in beautiful City Park. With a picnic-like atmosphere, this is a pleasant way to spend time in the city’s most popular park while tasting all kinds of wines.
While there is no entrance fee, you will have to pay for your wine. Read more about the festival here.
If you are going to the festival, you can spend additional time enjoying City Park, detailed just below.
3) Relax in City Park
City Park (Városliget) is one of Budapest’s most popular parks. It is huge, covering 1.2-square-km (302 acres) filled with green lawns, a giant pond, historic sites, museums, and the famous Széchenyi Bath complex.
In the park, you can rent a rowboat and head out on the massive pond. You can also visit Hero’s Square and the Millennium Monument.
Attractions within or just near the park include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Transport Museum, and the Zoo (the latter two are ideal for children).
Note that some of the attractions, like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Zoo are included for free with most Budapest tourist attraction discount passes.
If you have been thinking of going to the Széchenyi Baths, you can get skip-the-line entry tickets.
4) Take a Walking Tour
Budapest's center is very walkable, making it an ideal city to explore on foot. You can do this on your own but you can also take a free walking tour!
A free walking tour offers you a budget-friendly way to gain insight into the city’s history and culture from a knowledgeable and entertaining guide.
Free tours cover various parts of the city and take place at different times.
Find out more about what’s available from pour post on free walking tours of Budapest.
5) OTP Bank Gourmet Food Festival
This annual fine food festival runs from May 21-24, 2020 in Millenáris Park. Much more than a food fest, this is gastronomy at its best.
Some of the acclaimed chefs and restaurants in the region will be serving authentic Hungarian fare, plated and presented beautifully.
This event is family-friendly as there are children's’ programs scheduled. Find more information about this fantastic event from the Gourmet Festival website.
6) Save Money With a Tourist Pass
If you’re planning to visit multiple locations or enjoy a variety of activities in Budapest, using a tourist pass could save you a lot of money on general admission prices.
Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you could save 20% – 50% off or more on the following:
- Danube Wine Tasting Cruise | €33
- Budapest Tuk Tuk Tour | €47
- Organ Concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica | €20
- Szechenyi Thermal Baths | €21
- Gellert Thermal Spa & Bath | €22
- Budapest Caving Adventure | €44
- Miniversum Theme Park | €11
- Museum of Fine Arts | €9.50
- The Ludwig Museum | €4.75
- Hungarian National Museum | €7.75
- City Park Segway Tour | €32
- Budapest Night Bike Tour | €25
- and more!
For more information about how to use a tourist pass and how much money you can save, make sure to read our post covering Budapest tourist attraction discount passes.
7) Szekely Festival
In 2020, this annual cultural festival celebrating the heritage of Szeklerland, a region of Transylvania, is on May 8-10th in Millenáris Park.
This former Hungarian territory is in the heart of Transylvania in Romania. It has a unique cultural heritage that retains its Hungarian roots. You can experience that culture at this festive event.
At this festival, there will be traditional music, arts & crafts, dance, and more. Try Szekler cuisine like kürtőskalács (chimney cake), regional beers and wines, homemade jams, honey, and herbal teas.
See more at the festival’s official website.
8) Take a Food Tour of Budapest
If you can't make any of the food-related events above, but still want to try traditional Hungarian foods, a food tour might be just the thing you need!
Food walking tours are an excellent way to learn about the city while sampling delicious local food.
One tour that is popular and highly-reviewed is this Hungarian wine, cheese, and meats tasting.
If you want to see some notable sights as well as enjoying food, try this Budapest food walking tour, which also visits the Dohany Street Synagogue and Central Market.
9) Budapest Beer Week
This annual festival takes place between May 18 - May 24, 2020. Trying out new beers couldn't be easier!
For one fixed price you get an unlimited tasting session, opportunity to meet the brewers and entry to an after-party.
For fans of great brew, Budapest Beer Week is a must-do event in May.
10) Pub Crawl Through Ruins
If you miss the beer festival or you prefer your drinks with some history and culture, you should visit one of the many "ruins bars" in Budapest.
These bars are found in the 7th quarter of the city. They are located in various old buildings that were abandoned in the aftermath of World War II.
To be taken to a number of these unique bars and meet other travelers, consider the Ultimate Ruin Pub Crawl.
This tour not only gets you fast entry into a number of ruin bars but also includes free shots and tickets for drinks.
For more information see here.
11) Taban Festival on May Day
May Day (May 1) is a national holiday, and Budapestians take advantage of the day off from work to attend local free concerts and festivals throughout the city.
The most popular event is the Taban Festival in Taban Park.
There is music for people of all ages, and the atmosphere is light and easy.
Do as the locals do and sit on the grass for some free entertainment.
12) Giro d’Italia Cycling Race
The Giro d’Italia is one of cycling’s three big races, along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. In 2020, the race kicks off in Budapest on May 9.
Cyclists will compete in Stage 1 of the 3-week race with a short 9 km ride in Budapest. Tens of thousands of spectators will line the streets to watch.
See the Giro d’Italia website to find more information about the route and spectator viewing locations.
If you feel inspired by watching all those wheels turning, you can go for a bike ride yourself in Budapest. This well-regarded 2-hour small-group bike tour is very affordable and has rave reviews.
13) See Harry Styles in Concert
Catch the mega-pop star Harry Styles on May 31, 2020, when he performs at the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna.
This is sure to be the top concert of the month!
Other shows to catch this month are:
- Sofi Tukker - May 4 at Budapest Park
- Follow The Flow - May 15 at Budapest Park
- In Flames - May 22 at Barba Negra Track
- We Lost the Sea - May 28 at A38
For more ideas on how to spend your time in Budapest in May, see our post on the top things to do in Budapest.