The Budapest Spring Festival attracts thousands of music enthusiasts between April 10 and April 26: the variety of the programme is outstanding. Visitors enjoy everything from classical music, to opera, jazz, and folk music. There are many interesting piano recitals, operetta shows and musicals, folk dances, and orchestral concerts, but you can also visit art exhibitions, and attend literary events. Several concerts are free, especially those that take place on the open air scenes around the center of the Hungarian capital. Popular as this festival is, there are many other things to consider when you visit Budapest in the Spring.
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The Budapest Dance Festival takes place at the end of April, beginning of May (April 27-May 3). From ballet and contemporary to folk dance, this festival covers the entire spectrum of styles, with shows of superb performance, skilfully choreographed, and executed by famous dancers, as well as by up and coming stars. In the programme: the Hofesh Shechter Company, the Magyar Táncművészeti Főiskola dance school, Szegedi Kortárs Balett, and others.
Labor Day on May 1st ranks among the top Hungarian celebrations: it is an occasion for local residents to escape the city, or to party in the streets, on the Danube Promenade, at the City Park, on Margaret Island, or at Orczy-kert and Tabán. Parades, and other outdoor activities are organized to mark the event: a Red Bulls air show followed by a Red Bulls Formula 1; live concerts, children’s activities; food and beer stands; and more. This is an occasion for tourists to catch a glimpse into the lifestyle of the locals, to understand how they like to party. May 1st and Mayy 2nd are also free days, so many shops will be closed.
The Rosalia – Rosé Festival is a must for wine connoisseurs. This is Hungary’s only festival dedicated to rosé wines, sparkling wines and champagnes, and naturally, these are the wines that will be exhibited, and tasted during the event, which take place at Gesztenyés kert on May 8 to May 10, 2015. Rosalia is not just about wine tasting, don’t let your kids miss concerts, folk dance and artisan workshops, and face painting.
Mayfest at the Opera is another prestigious music festival, which takes place from May 15 to June 1, 2015. This year, the festival coincides with the Faust225 Festival, therefore, the programme will feature five splendid works based on the theme of Faust, including the premier of Gounod’s opera and the Hungarian premiere of Busoni’s work, with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra giving a concert of rarities to close this gem of a series, more than two weeks long and replete with both Hungarian and foreign artists of international renown. All performances will take place at the Opera House.
Floralia, the Roman spring festival, takes place at the end of May, at the Aquincum Museum. The event is celebrated with traditional dances, children’s activities, local culinary treats, arts and crafts workshops, gladiator fights, and much more. Dress up in a traditional Roman costume and you get a discount at the entrance.
There’s also a Belgian Beer Festival this May, at the Bálna cultural center, on Fővám tér 11-12. Over 150 Belgian beer from 31 breweries will be on display, and can be tasted. To learn the dates of the festival, visit the website of Bálna, by clicking on the link above.
Another interesting festival this Spring is Budai Gourmet at Millenáris, this year with a special focus on chicken dishes. The paprika chicken is one of the staples of the Hungarian gastronomy. Of course, other traditional dishes, like goulash, fish soup, stuffed cabbage and paprika potatoes will be available for tasting, as well as many other specialties. Two stages at Millenáris will entertain guests with live music.
Lat but not least, the Budapest Pálinka Festival on May 7, transforms Városháza Park in a paradise of gourmet dishes, and outstanding spirits. 300 different types of pálinka will compete for recognition among buyers. Several apple related food and beverage specialties will be available to accompany the fine pálinkas as usual. The festival and the concerts are free of charge.