Magyar

Summer in Hungary



In summer the weather is wonderful, the scenery is beautiful, the days are long and many things can be squeezed in them. Not to mention the nights!

A new programme every day

There is always some good festival, outdoor event and party, renowned concert for every day of summer. Among the festivals you can find internationally-known festivals with camping options, consisting of long series of events, as well as weekend-long, local, smaller ones. It won’t be easy for you to choose! It can happen that you spontaneously find yourself in such a thing: free outdoor mini-concerts are organised in many locations for the pleasure of the passers-by. Sziget Festival—much anticipated every August— is not held this year, but next year it will be organised with renewed energy. The event—known briefly as ‘Sziget’—is one of the largest popular music and cultural meetings in Europe.

The most beautifully situated capital city

Many say that about Budapest. Its situation is exceptional, indeed, and it’s easy to see it for yourself: it’s enough to just walk along either bank of the Danube or cross any of the historical bridges. Even a simple tram ride can turn into a special experience: it’s a good idea to take tram line two, which regularly runs in the historical city centre alongside the river Danube, and just admire the beautiful sight. One of the most beautiful tram trails in the world runs through a world-heritage site—from Jászai Mari tér to Közvágóhíd. For the price of a single tram ticket you can see the monumental building of the Parliament, the Buda Castle and the lions guarding the Chain Bridge. The most spectacular section is the 7 stops between Jászai Mari tér and Fővám tér. The names of the stops are shown in Hungarian.

 

The panorama from the river Danube is a must-see: while you are cruising on the river you will see the most important buildings of Budapest expose themselves. From among the boats available you should choose one that stops at Margaret Island (Margitsziget), thus allowing some time in the park located in the middle of Budapest, which invites its visitors to take a nice walk or do some sports. A swimming pool and spa, outdoor workout equipment, an athletic centre, a running track can be found on the island, where the visitors can also enjoy the possibilities offered by a medieval monastery ruin, a mini zoo, pleasant terraces, an elegant hotel or the Musical Fountain. By boarding the next boat, we can get back to the port in the city centre. The city is beautiful at all times, but at the time of sunset—in the golden afternoon lights—it reveals a face that is unique. On the boats a multi-language audio guide presents the sights covered.

Art, colours and nature

Devote an extra day to visit Szentendre, an artist settlement located 22 km away from Budapest. The charming little town of the Danube Bend can be reached in half an hour from downtown Budapest (Batthyány tér) even by public transportation. There, it feels as if you arrived in a different world: Mediterranean atmosphere, tiny colourful houses, unique style, plenty of galleries, terraces, museums and a Danube bank promenade. Szentendre provides a special experience not only due to its cultural values, but also because of its one of a kind atmosphere. Its narrow, cobbled streets sometimes lead to an ice cream parlour, sometimes to a shady courtyard, the stores of the local craftsmen or the tree-lined river bank. The foundations for the fame and individuality of Szentendre were laid by the artists who had settled down here in the past; many contemporary Hungarian artists live in this special place even nowadays. The Hungarian Open Air Museum is located on the border of the town; it presents the popular architectural culture of Hungary and the typical popular buildings of its regions.

Far away, but still so close

If you want to take advantage of the proximity of lake Balaton and you find quieter places close to nature appealing, you will find the exciting villages of Balaton Uplands ravishing. The hilly landscape attached many urban artists and intellectuals to itself, therefore, the landscape has slowly transformed. The life space of the locals—who had previously worked in traditional agriculture and livestock—was taken over by new inhabitants: people who appreciate the pleasant calmness and natural beauty of the countryside, reinterpret the traditions, and enjoy admiring in the evenings the sight of the sun setting behind the hills and lake Balaton, with a glass of excellent wine in their hands on their terraces. The most exciting market of the area is also found here, where organic products of excellent quality and creative handcrafts are sold by the traders and farmers of the neighbourhood.

When temperatures soar

On really hot summer days cool yourself in one of the historical baths of Budapest, such as Lukács, Gellért or Széchenyi Bath, or by the natural waters of Hungary. On hot summer days, most Hungarians would want to enjoy the sunshine on the shore of Lake Balaton. At Balaton not only the beaches and the holiday resorts are interesting, but water sports have also a long tradition in this area. You can hire a sailboat or just admire their sight as they float on the smooth surface of the lake. It is impossible to list al the sights and programmes of the towns along the shore of Lake Balaton; if you are interested in culture, the traditional attractions of Tihany offer real refreshment on hot summer days, too. Traditionally a lot of lavender is grown here, and the fragrant products made of the plant can be found all around Tihany. The Danube Bend offers the possibility of water tours lasting a couple or days or a few hours; you can hire a kayak or a canoe in the towns along the shore. Lake Tisza is a real bird paradise. You can explore its water nature trails by boat.

 

 

Traditions

The 20th of August The national holiday of Hungary. The foundation of the State and the first King of Hungary, founder of the State, is commemorated with an official series of celebrations: they starts at Kossuth tér–in front of the Parliament—by the hoisting of the flag of Hungary, a military parade and speeches made by the state leaders, which are followed by a special mass at the St. Stephen Basilica. The right hand of Stephen I – founder of the State, later canonized – is kept here as a relic, which is carried around on this day in a formal procession. During the day, you can enjoy free concerts , the museums can also be visited free of charge on that day. The Alkotmány street entrance of the Parliament is open at this time and the masterfully designed interior, the imposing stairway and rotunda of the building can be viewed in groups within the framework of a free guided tour. Most visitors are the curious to see the crown of Stephen, the first king of Hungary, which is the symbol of the Hungarian statehood and has accompanied the whole Hungarian history. In the Castle Garden (Várkert Bazár) –located on the Buda side – the ‘Street of Hungarian Flavours’ offers tasting of the country’s typical dishes, while in the Castle District you can look around the colourful bustle of the ‘Celebration of Trades’ and get familiar with the traditional popular culture of Hungary.

 

The Flower Carnival in Debrecen is one of the most spectacular celebrations in the Hungarian countryside. The giant flower compositions enliven legends, tales, stories. The march is accompanied by dancers.

 

On this day, diverse outdoor programmes are organised in many towns of the country – from Győr through Esztergom to Zalakaros – which usually end with a fireworks show in the evening.

The Várkert Bazár

Fireworks show

In Budapest, the day is closed in the evening by a large-scale, extremely spectacular fireworks show over the inner city section of the Danube; masses of people go out to the street from early afternoon to find the ‘strategic points’ from where it can be best seen. The best way is to find a nice terrace between the Chain Bridge and the Margaret Bridge. Rooftop bars which celebrate this day with a dinner party are the most sought after at this time. The large hotels prepare for this event ahead of time and often there is a typical Hungarian menu, which usually contains goulash or mangalica dishes (Hungarian breed of domestic pig, the culinary value and quality of the meat is really high).

Weather

The hottest period of the year in Hungary is the end of July and the beginning of August. The weather is usually dry and hot at this time, a daytime temperature of around 30 °C (86 F) degrees is not rare. Summer showers may occur.

Our tip

If you feel like and have the time, get away from Budapest for a few days; you can rent a house boat or join a wild canoe tour in the northern part of Hungary, in the Tisza-Szamos-Túr triangle, which is teeming with rivers. In this case, you can embark in totally intact areas, enjoy the exceptional natural features of the river shore, privacy, as well as the sight of endless sunflower or red poppy fields, birds and wild animals from the natural reserves (hare, pheasant, heron, kingfisher, squirrel, roe-deer) which may unexpectedly show up.