The Buda Castle District is surely one of the main symbols of Budapest. From the Royal Palace and the Hungarian National Gallery to the Matthias Church, or the Fishermen’s Bastion, this historic district offers so much to discover with a breathtaking panoramic view of the river Danube.
The capital also has a vibrant contemporary art and design scene with hotspots such as the Bartók Béla Boulevard in the 11. district where you can find a bunch of independent galleries, antique shops, or art cafes. Szentendre, “the city of arts” also has plenty of art galleries and museums on the Danube riverbank in the neighbourhood of Budapest. Szentendre is also the home of the biggest open-air folk museum, Skanzen, where you can learn about the traditional folk architecture and way of life of various regions of Hungary in the past centuries.
The countryside has a lot to offer too: the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter in Pécs or the MODEM Center for Modern and Contemporary Art in Debrecen are internationally acclaimed cultural hubs with numerous exhibitions. During the summer it is worth visiting the very first all-art festival in Kapolcs, the Valley of Arts (Művészetek Völgye), which offers more than 500 programs with theatre, literature, concerts, new circus, and workshops in the beautiful landscape of the Balaton Uplands.
Whether you prefer classics or contemporary music, in Hungary, you always find concerts and festivals. Every year there are plenty of symphonic concerts and choirs performing all over the country, and there are many outdoor events, street music festivals and celebrations with live music. As a music lover, you should definitely visit the House of Music (Magyar Zene Háza), which is a concert venue, educational centre, and museum in one with iconic, award-winning architecture in the City Park (Városliget).
We must mention the huge festival scene Hungary has. Sziget Festival in Budapest, Campus Festival in Debrecen or SZIN festival in Szeged attracts thousands of students from all parts of the country.
With two Academy Awards in the last decade (“Son of Saul” in 2015 and “Sing” in 2016) and several significant international prizes, the Hungarian film industry has a great international reputation. You can watch several classical Hungarian movies in the Film Archive of the National Film Institute Hungary, and for the latest Hungarian films, visit local film festivals.
There is a very rich and active theatre life throughout the country. The season starts in September and ends in May, but there are some theatre festivals and open-air performances during summer-time as well.
For dance-performance lovers, we also have classical ballet and contemporary dance. Keep an eye out for the Ballets of Győr (Győri Balett) and Pécs (Pécsi Balett), or the dance and art performances of the Trafó House of Contemporary Arts in Budapest. Going to the Opera House at least once is a must. Not just because of the imposing building itself, but also for the high-quality performances.
The Hungarian design and fashion scene has a lot to offer from trendy local fashion brands to design fairs, workshops, and creative studios. Check out the latest design trends at the annual Budapest Design Week and the collections of Hungarian fashion designers at the Budapest Central European Fashion Week.
try it yourself
If you want to enjoy Hungarian folk traditions more actively, our best tip is to find your local Community, Cultural or Youth Centres, where you can join workshops, afternoon clubs, presentations, talks, sports events, concerts. A special thing quite popular among foreigners is the dance house movement, where you can learn Hungarian folk dance and music. The Hungarian Heritage House (Hagyományok Háza) regularly organises dance houses, which is a great way to understand another culture without even speaking.
Do you know?
In 2023 the West-Hungarian city Veszprém and the Bakony-Balaton region holds the European Capital of Culture title. Throughout the whole year the region will be the most important cultural spot of Europe with an abundance of cultural projects and events. Learn more about the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture title in our previous article HERE.
House of Music: https://zenehaza.hu/en
Zsolnay Cultural Quarter, Pécs: https://www.zsolnaynegyed.hu/en
National Film Institute Hungary: https://nfi.hu/en
Hungarian Heritage House: https://hagyomanyokhaza.hu/en
Veszprém-Balaton 2023: www.veszprembalaton2023.hu/en