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.
TOP EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO MAY
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).
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).
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.
This post covers each of the hop-on-hop-off bus tours in Budapest, including details about tour routes, landmarks you’ll see along the way, prices, and opportunities to save money on tickets.Read more »
February is a great time to visit Budapest. While the weather is still a bit cold, there’s plenty to do inside as well. We’ve made a list below of the top 10 things to do in Budapest in February, with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities for you to enjoy.
1. Tour the Parliament Building
The Parliament Building is an iconic landmark in Budapest. It’s impressive from the outside and beautiful inside. February is the perfect month to take a tour of it! Included with the purchase of a ticket is a 50-minute guided tour of the building. Children under 6 years can visit for free, just be sure to email them beforehand.
Hungary is a country known for the art of folk dancing, and this performance is an incredible showcase of the country’s talent. This 1.5 hour performance (with intermission) at the Duna Palota Theater showcases the Danube Folk Ensemble, the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, and Rajkó Folk Ensemble, 3 of the most highly regarded and professional Hungarian folk troupes.
The performance starts at 8pm, and you can learn more here.
If you want to see more traditional Hungarian dancing, check out the Budapest Dance Festival in the kids’ section below.
4. Mangalica Festival
Feb. 7-9, 2020
This food festival celebrates the Mangalica, a unique pig breed indigenous to Hungary. The festival takes place at the Szabadság tér near the Parliament in the city center. There will be plenty of food to taste, like Mangalica meat and sausage, but also other vendors with things like artisan cheese, honey, bread, and alcoholic drinks. This festival is free to attend and there will be free samples at a lot of the booths as well.
For more free things to do in Budapest in February, check out our free section below.
5. Warm up in a Bath House
Budapest is well known for its bathhouses, even nicknamed “City of Spas”. They’re great places to enjoy a soak and warm up on a cold day! There are a number of bathhouses around the city, and each one caters to different tastes and ailments you might have. The most popular ones are:
Most bathhouse entry fees range from $10-$30 depending on the place and when you go.
6. Take a Walking Tour!
There’s no better way to explore a new city than on foot! Explore the history and stories of Budapest on a free walking tour. You’ll have expert locals guides showing you around and teaching you things the guidebooks can’t tell you. They are great for all ages!
Not sure what to do for Valentine’s Day? Try a romantic dinner cruise or wine tasting experience!
See the sights illuminated at night on this 2-hour cruise on the Danube with live music. The wine tasting includes samples of 7 Hungarian wines, while the dinner option is a buffet with vegetarian options as well.
This exhibit lets your senses awaken as you participate in activities in total darkness. For the “invisible” experience, choose from an Italian dinner, a wine tasting, and a team-building exercise. Make your way through each experience with just touch, sounds, and scent. Tours come in a variety of languages!
If this sounds intriguing, check out more and book your experience here.
9. Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen’s Basilica (Szt Istvan Bazilika) is one of the top attractions to see in Budapest. The most notable feature inside is the mummified right hand of the first Hungarian king, St Stephen (Istvan).
The basilica has beautiful architecture and is knows for its incredible organ concerts. You can go up into the dome and get an amazing view f the city.
Entering the basilica is free, and you can get tickets for tours for extra. To learn more, click here.
10. Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts
Built between 1900-1906, the Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts is in Heroes’ Square and has over 100,000 pieces of art.
The art collection is made up of international art and is showcased in 6 departments: Egyptian, Antique, Old Sculpture Gallery, Old Master Paintings Gallery, Modern Collection, and Graphics Collection.
Nighttime is a great time for exploring Budapest. With bars and after-dark activities, there’s plenty to do around the city once the sun does down.
Below are a few things to do in Budapest in February at night.
Enjoy the Night Life
There are a number of great bars and clubs to enjoy in Budapest.
Szimpla Kert is a kooky-atmosphere multi-level pub with a number of concerts every week.
With two courtyards and eight bars, Instant is the biggest ruin bar in Budapest.
If you want a great view of the city, check out the 360 Bar, which features cocktails and an extensive wine list.
Gellért Hill If the cold doesn’t bother you, we recommend seeing the sunset from Gellért Hill. There’s a beautiful Garden of Philosophy on top, a peaceful place to see the sun go down. If you’re more of an early riser, you can also catch the sunset from there. It’s a beautiful view of the city!
Walk Along a Bridge
If you want a great view of the city, walk along the Széchenyi Chain Bridge connecting Buda and Pest. The view of the Danube is incredible at night and offers great photo opportunities of the city.
Go to the Opera
The Hungarian State Opera in Budapest is well known for its opera and ballet shows. This month’s program includes a number of Italian operas with English and Hungarian subtitles but also productions for younger audience members, like baby sing-alongs great for families.
Currently, the opera house is closed until 2021 but they are doing productions in the Erkel Theater. Different venue, same great experience! To learn more and get your ticket, click here.
Budapest has plenty of free things to do! A lot of the items we’ve listed in other sections like seeing the sunset from Gellért Hill are completely free to do!
Here are a few more free activities to do in Budapest in February.
Visit Central Market Hall
This indoor market is a great place to explore on a chilly day. At over 100,000 square feet, Central Market is Budapest’s most expansive indoor market and is a great place to shop for food and souvenirs. Shop meats, vegetables, desserts, and wines, and be sure to grab some paprika to take home!
They are open every day except Sunday.
Visit Heroes’ Square
An iconic landmark in Budapest, Heroes’ Square (Hősök Tere) is a must-see when visiting the city. It features the Millenial Monument, which includes a 36-meter column on which is a statue of the angel Gabriel. Around it are statues of notable men who made their mark on Hungarian history.
This is one of the most photographed places in Budapest!
Explore the Fisherman’s Bastion
For one of the best views in the city, check out the Fisherman’s Bastion. It features Neo-Romanesque lookout terraces and is located right across the river from the Parlament Building, so you’ll get a great view of that as well as the rest of the city. It’s free to visit, but if you want to explore the upper towers there is a charge.
Visit the Buda Castle Gardens
Buda Castle is a great place to stop on your visit to Budapest. While there is an entrance cost, you can explore the grounds and gardens for free! Although the garden is not in bloom this time of year, reviews from people who have visited in the winter say that the garden is a peaceful and impressive place to explore and relax in.
Budapest is super family-friendly! There are so many things to do, there is sure to be something to fit everyone’s tastes.
A few activities we’ve listed above are also kid-friendly, like the Mangalica festival, so be sure to read through the other sections for more ideas.
Bear Carnival in the Zoo
Feb. 1-3, 2020
Taking place at the Zoo and Botanical Garden is Hungary’s version of Groundhog’s Day, but with a bear and its shadow- will it see it? This special carnival will celebrate bears, with plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy. Programs take place at the Varázshegy/Magic Hill between 10am -3pm (15:00) each day. There will be mask making, face painting, and storytelling. There’s also a special animal show each day of the event!
Admission: 200 HUF for kids under 14 years if they arrive in bear costume or bring a toy bear.
Go Ice Skating
Two great places to go ice staking in Budapest are:
Ice Skating Rink in City Park – recently refurbished for a great experience.
Rinks will stay open until the end of February, so you have time to check out both!
Visit the Puppet Theater
The Budapest Puppet Theatre is one of the largest puppet Theatres in Central Europe and has been around since 1947. The puppet theater is a great experience for children and adults alike, with performances written by Hungarian and foreign writers as well.
You will enjoy an incredible display of puppets and beautiful music for both folk story-type shows and more contemporary productions.
The Budapest Dance Festival is an annual festival that features an array of dance, including folk, contemporary, and ballet. Local and international dance companies will be putting on performances in venues all around the city. Whether your a dance enthusiast or simply curious, this festival is a great way to immerse yourself in the dance scene.
The Csodák Palotája, or Palace of Miracles, is a really cool, interactive museum that gets kids of all ages to participate in experiments! Their mission is to get kids to learn about the world and science in fun, relatable ways. There are themed exhibits each month so there’s something new to see no matter when you come. This is a great indoor activity to enjoy on a cold February day!