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A Music Lover's Guide To Budapest

A Music Lover's Guide To Budapest

Whilst there’s certainly more to this fair city than just its musical heritage, we think it’s a pretty stellar place to start!

May 2nd, 2023

From lovers of classical compositions to rocking out at ruin bars, if you are a music lover that’s on the hunt to find the musical side to a destination then you are in luck!

The beautiful city of Budapest is ideal for music lovers of all genres.

Budapest is a city that truly has something for every music lover. With its rich history and vibrant music scene, it's no wonder that Budapest has become one of Europe's top destinations for music lovers.

Music lovers guide to Budapest
Music lovers guide to Budapest

If you're looking for a classical music experience, Budapest is the perfect place. The Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in Europe and performs in the beautiful halls of the Palace of Arts.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra is another world-renowned orchestra that performs in Budapest and has won numerous awards for its exceptional performances.

If jazz is more your thing, head to the Opus Jazz Club in the Budapest Music Center. This intimate jazz club has hosted some of the biggest names in jazz and is a must-visit for any jazz lover.

If you're into rock music, then you must visit Hard Rock Cafe Budapest, which features live music performances and a wide selection of rock memorabilia.

Whether you favour dance or techno or perhaps you are partial to a bit of pop or maybe you are ready to rock, the Hungarian capital of Budapest truly has something for everyone!

Here’s our Music Editor Emma Harrison’s top tips for exploring the musical side of Budapest:

Stay in a music-themed hotel

Why stay in just any old hotel when you can stay in a music-themed hotel which has four wings which are housed in its elegant neoclassical building dedicated to a different musical genre which encompasses jazz, classical, opera and contemporary.

The Aria hotel also puts on live music every day and there’s a highly-knowledgeable music concierge/director too who is on hand with any musical questions you may have about the hotel or musical hot spots in Budapest.

Visit the Budapest Opera House

Budapest Opera House
Budapest Opera House

The Budapest Opera House is a stunning historic venue and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Here you can enjoy not only some of the best opera and ballet performances in Hungary, but in Europe.

Even if opera isn’t necessarily your (musical) jam, the splendour and the acoustics of this iconic building will leave you mesmerised and it’s an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself into Budapest’s exquisite cultural history.

The building itself is worth visiting even if you don’t make it to a show. It’s renowned as one of the most stunning examples of extravagant and ornate Neo-Renaissance architecture that is in existence today.

Attend a Music Festival

Budapest is home to some of the most incredible music festivals in Europe, and the Sziget Festival is one of the largest music festivals in the world.

Held every August, it attracts music lovers from all over the globe and offers a diverse range of music genres, from indie to electro.

The festival has an electrifying atmosphere that is sure to make for an unforgettable experience and this year sees a fantastic line up that includes Billie Eilish, Sam Fender, Foals and Nothing But Thieves amongst others.

Explore the Ruin Bars

If you're looking for a unique and unforgettable music experience, then Budapest's ruin bars are a must-visit. These bars are located in abandoned buildings and courtyards and offer an incredible atmosphere to enjoy live music and drinks.

Each bar has its own unique decor, but they all have one thing in common - an incredible vibe that will make you feel like you've stumbled upon a hidden gem.

Visit the Liszt Academy of Music

The Liszt Academy of Music is one of the most prestigious music schools in the world and has produced some of the most renowned musicians. The school offers concerts and recitals throughout the year, providing an opportunity for music lovers to experience exceptional performances by students and professionals alike.

The building itself is also worth a visit, with its stunning architecture and rich history. It's a great way to experience Budapest's vibrant music scene and immerse yourself in the city's musical culture.

Take a Music Tour

Explore Budapest's music scene with a guided music tour that takes you to the heart of the city's best music venues and hidden gems. There really is something for everyone, whether you love rock, jazz or classical.

A music tour is the perfect way to discover new artists and venues that you may not have discovered otherwise. You'll also get to learn about the history of Budapest's music scene and how it has evolved over time.

Enjoy a drink or meal at the Lánchíd Söröző

Close to the Chain Bridge is a music-themed cafe/restaurant called the Lánchíd Söröző which has the most spectacular collection of music memorabilia which includes photographs taken by the owner, music tour posters and photography from bands and artists like Peter Gabriel, the Rolling Stones and more.

You can enjoy a great selection of wines, ales and dishes like the traditional goulash, beef stew and more.

Non Music-centric things to do in Budapes

Whether you are in the city of Budapest for 24 hours, 48 hours or more, there’s still lots of fantastic things to see and do that are not necessarily music-related.

Pay your respects at Shoes on the Danube Bank

This sculpture series, designed by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer, remembers the victims who were murdered by Arrow Cross militiamen at the Danube banks; it's definitely worth a visit.

Visit Margaret Island

If you are looking for a restful retreat, head on over to Budapest’s most impressive green space, Margaret Island which is a 2.5km-long island of quiet parkland on the Danube, linked to Buda and Pest by bridges at either end.

Take a stroll around Buda Castle

The spectacular 13th-century Buda Castle is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and contains the Hungarian National Gallery, the Castle Museum, and the National Széchenyi Library. There’s no better place to get your culture fix whilst in Budapest.

Visit the Parliament Building

The neo-Gothic Parliament building in Budapest certainly warrants a visit, it’s an imposing building on the river Danube and you can go in and explore or merely view it from the river or road.

Take a dip in one of the city’s spas

There are several incredible thermal spas that are located throughout the city that are certainly worth checking out. The world-famous Széchenyi Baths is the biggest spa complex in Europe, and one of the most-visited thanks to its expansive facilities and majestic architectural elements making it an unmissable place to visit.

Many of the sight’s attractions can be enjoyed for free via the Budapest Card which also gives you access to free transportation and discounted access to museums, tourist attractions and free transport throughout the city.

It also includes free entrance to St. Lukács Thermal Bath which is a very traditional spa in Budapest. You can also enjoy free walking tours via both Buda and Pest which are incredibly enlightening.

The Budapest Card benefits are:

  • free public transportation
  • free entrance to 20+ museums and sights
  • free walking tour in Pest and Buda
  • free thermal bath entrance (St. Lukacs Thermal Bath)
  • free cave entrance

Between 5 and up to 90% discount on sightseeing, programs, gastronomy, travel. You can purchase a card in advance here.

Budapest is a city that truly has it all when it comes to music. From classical to jazz, rock to opera, there's something for everyone. Start planning your trip to Budapest today and experience the city's musical charm for yourself!

Emma Harrison

Emma Harrison

Music editor, Emma, is in her element at gigs, listening to records and has freelanced as a music and travel writer for the past 7 years.