May is one of our favourite months of the year. As days get longer and the weather turns warmer we are longing to spend more time outside. Budapest starts to come to life but the high season is not yet upon us so one can enjoy the reopened open-air venues without having to fight for free chairs and tables!
Here are our Budapest team’s top things to do in the city in May:
Soak up the sun in a rooftop bar
We often wander around the streets of Budapest gazing admiringly at the gorgeous buildings that have decorated our streets for generations. But how about seeing them from a different angle, say from 100ft up?! Besides offering high-quality drinks and food, our rooftop bars have the best views in town.
In the Inner City St. Andrea Wine & Skybar is the wine conniseur’s choice. Their drink list includes a wide variety of foreign wines, exceptional local varieties from the owner’s Eger winery, plus some very unique signature cocktails. If you are interested in some insider information about this place as well, join our local guides on the New York Times Journeys – Trends and Flavors of Bohemian Budapest tour.
Condé Nast Traveler chose High Note SkyBar as the best rooftop bar of the World in 2018. We couldn’t agree more! Its cleverly designed spaces, with views of St. Stephen’s Basilica in the background, and the carefully selected pairings of the dishes and drinks are the perfect combination you need to make an unforgettable memory.
We also have to mention the youngest and only Buda-side member of the rooftop bar scene of the Hungarian capital. Leo is located on the top of Clark Hotel, at the foot of Chain Bridge and Buda Castle and offers light snacks, refreshing drinks and youthful setting.
Take the Chairlift to János Hill
Besides rooftop bars, there are other ways to enjoy the beauty of the city from above. Ride Zugliget Chairlift which is a 1040 m long cable-railway connecting Zugliget lookout and János Hill, the highest point of the city, located in the 12th district of Budapest. A spectacular panoramic view to the Buda hills and forests is guaranteed during the 15-minute trip. To reach the Chairlift take Bus Nr. 291 (operated by BKK transport company) from ’Nyugati pályaudvar’ (Nyugati train station) to ’Zugliget, Libegő’ stop, the bus ride only takes 25 minutes.
Drink a coffee at Lotz Hall
Andrássy Avenue is beautiful and well worth a stroll. Among many magnificent palaces that line its pavement, Párisi Nagy Áruház (‘Paris Department Store’) is one of the most interesting of all. The original neo-Renaissance style Casino’s facade got demolished at the beginning of the 20th century. The new building is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau, while the casino’s ballroom, Lotz Hall, was preserved and was expertly integrated into the new department store.The former ballroom was closed to the public for almost two years, during this time the fresco’s of Hungarian painter Károly Lotz, were restored. Now the Lotz Hall has reclaimed its one-time glory, housing the French-style Café Párisi. Have you ever wanted to to sip espresso from Zsolnay cups? We definitely do!
Participate in foodie festivals
If you want to really understand a nation’s culture, getting to know its cuisine has to be part of your research! In May we like to celebrate our Hungarian restaurants, wineries, chefs and confectioners, brewers and producers during a 4-day long Gourmet Festival of Budapest. The outdoor event will take place in Millenáris Park with more than 100 exhibitors, exclusive lunches and dinners. 4-day tickets are available for €29.00, while daily tickets cost €15.00.
At the end of the month, all wine fans are welcome to the Rosalia Festival. Visit the City Park on these 3 days to taste rosé and sparkling wines of more than 60 Hungarian wineries and enjoy live concerts. There is no entrance fee for this event, but exhibitors will serve the wine only in Rosalia tasting glasses. These glasses can be purchased for HUF 1,600 (around €5.00) on spot.
Budapest100 is an annual spring weekend celebration of the people and buildings around us. The event emphasizes the common values of the city and aims to bring together people from varied backgrounds. On the first weekend of May you can participate in several exciting programs (exhibitions, open houses, walking tours, workshops) at various locations.
Budapest Day-trip to the Danube bend
If you have some spare time and wish to escape the noise of the city for the day, then a visit to any of the small towns along the Danube bend is a must!
Visegrád is a charming little town 30 km away from the city. During the middle ages, the residence of Hungary’s Kings was located here. Nowadays despite being one of the smallest towns in Hungary, mainly thanks to the castle, it is still a very popular touristic destination. You can either take a bus (from Budapest, Újpest-Városkapu to Visegrád, Fellegvár), train (from Budapest, Nyugati train station to Nagymaros-Visegrád), or boat (from Budapest, Vigadó square to Visegrád) to reach it and the view from the Citadel is unbelievable!
If you continue your journey with any of the transportation means mentioned above, you will arrive in Esztergom. This city was the capital of the early medieval Hungarian Kingdom, the largest religious building of the country, Esztergom Basilica, is located here as well. The city is not only rich in historical, religious and cultural sights but wandering under the chestnut trees of the Kis-Duna promenade is a unique experience as well.
Choose any of the activities mentioned above, or walk your own path, we can guarantee that Budapest won’t disappoint you in May! Book a group tour with us today or create your own personalised Urban Adventures tour that takes in any of these recommended spots (and more!).