Spring is in the air, birds are chirping. There are more and more festivals in Budapest and the countryside. Make your choice.
What to expect in April
April is traditionally the start of the season opening. Unhindered by cold weather, the first outdoor programs start this month. If April, then Easter.
This is reflected in the numerous traditional activities organized in rural towns – you can visit several of them. April is the month when the first sports events are organized as well. Join in to move those tired limbs a bit.
Programs in Budapest in April 2020
Budapest Spring Festival
- Date of the event: April 3-19, 2020
- Venue: 1061 Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 8
Budapest Spring Festival has been organized successfully for several decades. It has become the most important art event in the region over the years.
When it comes to music programs, I’m sure everyone will find something to their taste as classical music, opera, jazz, world music, and pop music are all parts of the repertoire.
Ballet and dance competitions, as well as theatre and circus performances, are also part of the festival.
Needless to say, the performances take place at several venues featuring both Hungarian and world-renowned artists’ performances every year.
Since exhibitions and literary evenings are also included in the programs, it is safe to say that it’s all about culture in Budapest in April.
International Book Festival Budapest
- Date of the event: April 23-26, 2020
- Venue: 1024 Budapest, Kis Rókus u. 16
Being the second-largest Hungarian book event after the Festive Book Week, the International Book Festival Budapest is annually organized at Millenáris Park.
Writer-reader meetings, reading sessions, dedications, book premiers, and numerous other book events pepper the several-day event.
The event hosts both Hungarian and several world-renowned foreign writers – there will be almost 100 authors from 25 countries this year.
Every year, there is a guest of honor nation with the most important contemporary writers introducing us to the literature and culture of their country.
This festival is not only for culture-loving adults, as there are several children’s books premiering at the festival and there is also a Children’s Kingdom for the young ones.
Easter Procession (Húsvéti körmenet)
- Date of the event: April 11, 2020
- Venue: 1051 Budapest, Szent István tér 1
Proclaiming the greatest news, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter is the most important celebration of the Catholic Church.
After the central Holy Mass held at 6 pm in St. Stephen’s Basilica, there is a traditional Easter Procession starting at dusk.
It’s interesting to note that the Easter Procession is only a Central European custom. It isn’t known anywhere else in the world, and without any written records, its exact origins are unknown.
Therefore, even non-religious people might want to see the procession of the religious crowd starting off from the Basilica.
- Date of the event: April 17-19, 2020
- Venue: 1142 Budapest, Tatai u. 95
If you like old cars, then the Hungarian Railway Park is the place for you to be as the largest veteran vehicle exhibition in Central and Eastern Europe is held there.
It is definitely an unforgettable experience for everyone interested. The good news is that every year, there are more and more veteran vehicles exhibited – their number has reached five hundred by now.
However, the exhibition is not only about quantity. It’s a premium quality event that also includes some ancient cars rolling on wooden wheels.
Many of the cars are over the age of 100, but the Oldtimer Show provides an unforgettable experience for fans of old motors, tractors, buses, and trucks as well.
Programs in the countryside in April 2020
Szezonnyitó Horgászverseny (Season Opening International Balaton Carp Cup)
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: 8243 Balatonakali
Balatonakali és Vidéke Sporthorgász Egyesület organizes a season opening cup in April every year where competitors can use a fishing rod and maximum two hooks to prove their worth.
Lake Balaton – a special place you must see
Registration starts at 7.30 am, but the bait can only land in the water at 9 am. Competitors have until 1 pm to trust their luck and the efficiency of the latest ground baits.
The results are announced after the fish are measured, and the fishermen and their families can spend lunch in good spirits.
Várkapunyitó (Castle gate opening) – Szigliget
- Date of the event: April 11, 2020
- Venue: 8264 Szigliget, Kisfaludy u. 29
Várkapunyitó in Szigliget offers great entertainment for both adults and kids for two whole days.
Welcoming spring could not be more colorful, as there are countless great programs awaiting visitors every year.
Music shows, puppet games, and even a real henchman inauguration are part of the programs for kids, while adults are entertained by musical bands.
But there are also a falconer show and fair comedian performances.
Easter Sprinkling – Hollókő
- Date of the event: April 10-13, 2020
- Venue: 3176 Hollókő
The traditional Easter festival held in Hollókő lasts several days. It is a festival in the name of happiness and joy where every girl is sure to be sprinkled.
There are many folklore programs awaiting everyone in the small World Heritage Village – the only one in Hungary.
Both children and adults can try themselves out in numerous activities from egg painting and using a ratchet for learning folk dance and making plum dumplings.
There is an artisan street fair in the Old Village and stage performances in the castle.
And if that is not enough, live concerts and fold dance shows are held at both venues. There is also a medieval knight camp coming to life and visitors can watch or take part in games of skills and armed demonstrations.
The wide range of colorful programs, the beautiful environment, and the cheerful village atmosphere, providing the perfect relaxation are worth visiting for several days.
Matyó Easter – Mezőkövesd
- Date of the event: April 12-13, 2020
- Venue: 3400 Mezőkövesd
Instead of sprinkling with perfume, boys dressed in traditional costumes water girls with a bucket of water in Mezőkövesd.
But this funny way of sprinkling is not the only event you can witness when visiting Mezőkövesd at Easter.
There is also traditional food dedication, egg decoration demonstration and a true Matyó ham show where it’s not everything for the eyes, as tasting is also part of the program.
However, a spring welcoming festival would not be complete without folklore – there are live folk music and dance entertaining those celebrating Easter.
Children can enjoy the petting zoo and the folk playground where they can learn the true Matyó egg-painting technique with a special kind of pencil (íróka).
But an old blacksmith’s comes to life as well introducing everyone to the crafts of the profession.
Tulip tree flowering – Szarvas Arboretum
- Date of the event: In the end of April, 2020
- Venue: 5540 Szarvas, I. Külkerület 9
Located on an 82-hectare area, the Szarvas Arboretum is open for visitors all year.
The collection includes plants from all over the world – 1600 tree and shrub species, including the tulip tree blooming in April which is definitely worth seeing.
Although officially known as magnolia, it is often called a tulip tree because during blooming it breaks fleshy tulip-like petals every spring.
The flowering of one tree is already a spectacular sight, but when the long rows of magnolia in the arboretum start blossoming all at once, it is an unforgettable experience.
St. George’s Day’s “Driving-out” – Hortobágy
- Date of the event: April 25, 2020
- Venue: 4071 Hortobágy
St. George’s day at the end of April has always been an important date in the lives of herdsmen and breeders this being the first time the animals are driven out.
Nothing has changed about this in Hortobágy, and now there is also a celebration organized around the important date. The event is organized annually at the Nine-hole Bridge.
Because of superstition, gray cattle and racka sheep are driven over the bridge in order to swell quickly and stay healthy. On the World Heritage Stage guests are entertained by folk music and folk-dance performances.
But there is also a handicraft fair, where, among others, you can buy folk crafts of healing power.
If you’d like to see Hungarian herding dogs in action, it would worth for you to visit Hortobágy.
There are films and lectures on world heritage throughout the day at the Shepherd’s Museum, and you can enjoy real wilderness specialties, such as home-made buffalo, gray cattle, or rack sheep dishes at the Hortobágy Tavern.
Hintók versenye (Carriage Race) – Sárbogárd
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: 7000 Sárbogárd
It is not only the trees blooming and the animals driven out to the field; the first chariot races also take place in April.
One of the most significant ones is the one organized in Sárbogárd where the best racers of the country get together in Sárbogárd Youth Park to compete against one another to the delight of spectators.
The whole-day event hosts barrier and hunting racing and horse shows. So, if you love horse sports, this event in Sárbogárd is a must for you.
Egri Csillag Weekend
- Date of the event: April 30, 2020 – May 3, 2020
- Venue: 3300 Eger, Dobó István Square
The stars of Eger are still shining brightly as the name of the festival was inspired by Géza Gárdonyi’s world-famous novel.
This time, however, stars refer to wine. Wineries of Eger present their latest vintage products at this popular festival.
Wine tasting is made complete with delicious snacks making the whole event a culinary delight.
A good atmosphere is ensured by continuous concerts, but the organizers of the event do not forget about children either – there are crafts and music programs for them.
Easter Bunny Party – Tihany
- Date of the event: April 12, 2020
- Venue: 8237 Tihany, Mádl Ferenc Square
Even the name sounds fun – who wouldn’t want to take part in a cool bunny party? The list of programs at the event is mostly for families with small children.
There are different activities with eggs, such as egg tree decoration, egg painting, egg rolling and the most popular of all, the exciting egg hunting.
In addition to traditional programs, the bunny party repertoire includes a huge Easter playground set up on the main square of the town with countless games, musical kids’ concerts and stage performances.
Halünnep (Fish Celebration) – Székesfehérvár
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: 8000 Székesfehérvár
The meeting promoting fish food and fishing intended to create a tradition, which goes a bit beyond the theme of fish as there are many more things awaiting guests besides the fishing competition and culinary delights.
Children are entertained by puppet shows and concerts, but there are also a street fair, horse riding and even a veteran car exhibition.
Székesfehárvár, the Most Royal Place in Hungary
The most welcome thing is, that everyone can get an insight into the tricks of this popular sport at the fishing shows.
And after the results of the cooking competition are announced, everyone can enjoy the delicious fish dishes.
Madárhangos ártér (Bird Sound Floodplains) – Szigetköz
- Date of the event: in the end of April
- Venue: More information here: [email protected]
Nature lovers or more specifically bird lovers should definitely attend the spring program called Madárhangos ártér in Szigetköz.
The Moson-Danube floodplain, with the exceptionally rich flora and fauna, provides an unforgettable experience in itself.
But within the program of the organization, we also get to learn from professionals about the wildlife here.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the program is the recognition of bird voices because if you pay attention, you will know what kind of bird is singing over your head.
Paloznaki Tekergő kerékpártúra (Paloznak Cycling Tour)
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: 8229 Paloznak
The cycling tour departing from Paloznak guides cyclists through the eastern part of the Balaton Uplands.
This time, cycling is not a performance-oriented competition, but a fun family recreation.
In addition to cycling, participants can get acquainted with the work of local craftsmen and folk artists, and have the opportunity to taste wine at local producers.
There are also a workshop and farm shows for the cycling team. The destinations are within 20 kilometers, and in addition to the above, restaurants and an adventure park are also parts of the cycling tour.