One of Europe’s premier cultural festivals, the Budapest Spring Music and Dance Festival takes place at the end of March each year. Fast becoming one of Europe’s leading short break destinations – upwards of 20 million people visit each year – the beautiful city of Budapest attracts a host of world class performers to its 200 or more separate events.
Budapest is justly known for its rich classical heritage, with illustrious composers such as Bartók, Erkel and Liszt to the fore – and their works are sure to be significantly featured each year. Indeed, opera, ballet, recitals and concerts have always been the cornerstone of the festival’s programme. Additionally, jazz, folk, rock, operetta, musicals, modern dance and theatre are all catered for every year, as well as musical genres from all over the world. There are also plenty of special events and activities for children – films, story-telling, circus, games and, of course, music.
The Budapest Spring Festival takes place in some of the city’s most prestigious venues – places such as the National Gallery, the Hungarian State Opera House, the Palace of Arts, the Matthias Church and the Franz Liszt Academy. Some of the most popular concerts take place in open-air venues.
Since its inauguration in 1981, the Budapest Spring Music and Dance festival has developed into not only the largest cultural event in Hungary, but also one of Europe’s major events, bringing in music and dance lovers from all over the world – and then totally captivating them. Because of the undoubted success of the festival, some of the major events do sell out quite quickly, so tickets need to be ordered well in advance. The official website of the Budapest Spring Festival contains all the information about events, ticket availability and ordering procedures.
The city of Budapest is a truly beautiful place to visit – especially in the spring when the gardens around, for example, the Royal Palace, begin to burst into bloom. Located on the banks of the Danube, and with a stunning array of architecture, this city – sometimes referred to as ‘the city of spas’ – offers plenty of interest to visitors of all ages. The development of the main Ferihegy International Airport and the encouragement of low-cost airlines, has further encouraged foreign visitors. The hotel infrastructure is now fully geared up to cope with the demands of the modern traveller and there is plenty of accommodation, at a variety of prices.
Transport within Budapest is similarly very straightforward. As well as having Europe’s second oldest underground railway system, there are trolleybuses, trams, taxis and a good suburban train system. It’s worth pointing out, however, that the airport, about 16 kilometres outside the city, is well-known for unlicensed taxi drivers offering rides into the city centre. Make sure your taxi has the Zóna Taxi company logo on. Alternatively, there are trains from Terminal 1 right into the Western Station in the city or you can catch a Bus 200 from either Terminal 1 or 2 to the nearest Metro station.
Although many people like to travel south, towards the Mediterranean countries, in the spring, there is much to be said for heading instead to Hungary. Budapest is beginning to warm up quite nicely at the end of March, and the Spring Music and Dance Festival is a wonderful reason to visit.