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Summer festivals in Hungary

7th March 2008 Print

Hungary plays host to a feast of festivals during the summer months including the famous Sziget Music Festival in Budapest and the up and coming Balaton Sound at the beautiful Lake Balaton.

LISZT FESTIVAL – Sopron – 18 July – 31 July 2008
Enjoy a programme of piano recitals in honour of the composer and pianist Ferenc Liszt, who was born in Sopron close to the Austrian border in 1811 and gave his first concert there at the age of nine. Liszt is onsidered by many to be the greatest pianist ever to have lived and the annual festival is a great opportunity to listen to some fabulous classical performances and to explore this pretty historic town at the foot of the Alps. Many of the performances take place at Sopron’s oldest hotel, the Pannonia Hotel built in 1893. For more information visit or

BALATON SOUND – Lake Balaton – July 2008
This is one of Hungary’s newest music festivals and takes place on the southern shores of Lake Balaton at Zamárdi. Easily reached by direct flights with Ryanair from Stansted to Balaton or from Budapest by train or car this event attracted some big names such as Basement Jaxx and the Beastie Boys last year and well-known trance DJ Darren Emerson. The programme for 2008 has yet to be finalised so keep a check online at

SZIGET FESTIVAL – Budapest – 12-18 August 2008
The Sziget Festival is one of Europe’s largest summer music festivals and takes place on Óbudai-sziget (Old-Buda Island), an island in the Danube in Budapest. The week long festival has grown from a low key student affair to one of the definitive rock festivals in Europe attracting over 400,000 visitors each year. This year the Sziget Festival takes places from 12-18 August and amongst the bands confirmed so far are Iron Maiden and REM. Details and tickets can be purchased online at

ST STEPHENS DAY – Throughout Hungary – 20 August
Hungary’s national holiday with celebrations and fireworks all over the country. In Budapest you will find open-air markets, live concerts and street performances and magnificent firework displays over the Danube, all in honour of Saint Stephen, the Hungarian King who died in 1038 and was pronounced a saint on 20 August 1083. After World War 2 the communist regime prohibited official ceremonies and the public holiday became a tribute to Stalin. The first democratic election in 1990 decided to give the day back to its righful owner and the centruries old tradition returned to the streets of Hungary.

SZEGED OPEN-AIR FESTIVAL – Szeged – 4 July - 20 August 2008
Audiences of up to 4,000 people enjoy opera, ballet, musicals and folk dance performed on a huge stage erected in front of the imposing cathedral of Szeged. This cultural city is close to the southern Hungarian border and is often referred to as the ’city of sunshine’ because of the high number of sunshine hours it gets. The open-air festival started in 1931 but stopped for 20 years due to the war from 1939 to 1959. Since its re-launch in July 1959 it has become one of Europe’s premier open-air festivals. Log onto for more details.

DEBRECHEN FLOWER FESTIVAL – Decrecen – 15-20 August 2008
One of the most popular and colourful festivals in Hungary this five day celebration culminates with the flower parade with spectacular floral floats, decorated with thousands of flowers, and accompanied by Hungarian and international performers. Hungary’s second largest city, Debrechen, doubles in size for the event to almost 500,000. The main parade lasts for around four hours and travels around 5km through the city centre out to the Great Forest. In the evening many of the performers go back to the city to perform in the main square in front of the Great Church Debrechen. The city is easily reached from Budapest by train that takes around two and half hours. For more information log onto

JEWISH SUMMER FESTIVAL – Budapest – 31 August – 7 September
Budapest is home to Europe`s largest and most spectacular Synagogues - the Dohány Street Synagogue built between 1855 and 1859 and Jewish culture is celebrated annually at the Jewish Summer Festival. A programme of cultural events are organised from film an music to exhibitions and gastronomy where people can learn about the several thousand year old Jewish culture. Find out more at

Getting to Hungary

Fly to Budapest with direct flights with Malev Airlines from Gatwick, British Airways from Heathrow; Easyjet from Luton and Gatwick; Ryanair from Bristol, Liverpool, East Midlands and Glasgow Prestwick; Jet2 from Manchester and Wizzair from Luton. Ryanair also fly to Balaton three times a week.

Flight time is around two and half hours from London.

To find out more about Hungary visit