The main Szeged Wine FestivalWine Festival this year is held in Széchenyi Tér, between Friday 5th May 2017 and Sunday 21st May 2017.
As well as the wine festival there is also the two day Bridge Festival (see below) held within this ten day wine festival.
Szeged Bridge FairSzeged Bridge Fair is an annual family fair with Puppet Shows for children, Folk & Jazz Concerts, a Wine Festival and Cultural Exhibitions.
The bridge fair begins on 19th May 2017, at 9:30am, and ends in the evening of 21st May 2017.
Szeged Open Air Festival WebsiteSzeged Open Air Festival, in Dóm Tér, has Mama Mia and Singin' In the Rain among other operas and musicals between 30th June 2017 and 27th August 2017.
Soprano Rost Andrea will perform in Puccini's opera: Tosca.
Szeged Youth Days Festival is the annual 'End Of School' summer concert for students, held at Újszegedi Partfürdő (just under the Belvárosi Bridge).
The Szin Festival attracts local and international music stars, which includes Jasmine Thompson this year. A ticket costs 15,990 HUF (£39.97).
Don't worry if do not have a ticket because you can hear this concert 2 miles away! Plus, you can drink near the bridge (outside the concert).
The Fish Festival is held on the river embankment on the first weekend of September each year. It is an international showcase of fish where fried, boiled and steamed fish can be sampled and bought.
There is also Arts & Crafts stalls, Hot-Air Balloon and Water Rafting events to be enjoyed, with the festival ending in a fireworks and laser show.
The Dejavu Festival is a 3 day music event (2nd - 4th June 2017), held at Újszegedi Partfürdő (the river campsite), costing 15,990 HUF (£42.64), on the day. You can buy each ticket for 7,990 HUF (£21.30) though, 50% cheaper, if you buy each ticket a couple of months earlier.
Hits from the 1980's and 1990's are performed by Hungarian and "foreign" bands and singers.
This is a really nice, relaxing, 'End Of Summer' Festival with plenty of wine varieties, local food and crafts stalls.
I like this festival because it falls around my birthday! So I cannot get a better excuse to have a glass of wine or two.....or three!
One hidden gem about Szeged City is the fact that it hosts an annual Wine Festival, Beer Festival and Arts & Crafts Festival, amongst others held throughout Hungary.
Hidden Gem because as an English/UK Citizen I had never heard of these festivals until I met my Hungarian girlfriend Tünde and subsequently visited Szeged and Budapest. And this is probably how the festivals get their word-of-mouth reputation; through Hungarians meeting with "Foreigners". Romanians, Austrians, Germans, Polish and other surrounding borders/nationalities already know of these festivals through their history with one another, so do not assume everyone at these festivals will be Hungarian and British only.
On the same note: Do not assume the Wine Festival (and Beer Festival) is all about drinking alcohol and getting drunk (i.e. "Party Time!"). The Wine Festival (and Beer Festival) for many Hungarians and other like-minded nationalities is an important cultural, social, meeting place where they can meet up with "Long Lost" Friends and Family Members as well as find new friends. It is also an event for international Wine Connoisseurs. Hence the attendance of young, middle-aged and old people, friends, family members, wine connoisseurs and tourists.
Family Members tend to meet up in the daytime to enjoy 'a day out' at the festival
Festivals like these are NOT promoted as a "Drinker's Paradise" simply because Hungarians like to enjoy their food and drink without the need for drunken behaviour and "Lager Louts". Yes, you can enjoy yourself and party, and even get drunk, but Hungarians do not want to see their rural, quiet, community life awoken by "A Drunken Englishman Abroad"; so please respect their wishes and way of life. Despite the just said, it is not all doom and gloom!
There are plenty of Wine Stalls, Food Stalls and Music Events at the festival that create a beautiful atmosphere; especially towards the late evening. Adults tend to visit the Wine Festival around 5pm or 6pm, even though it starts at around 3pm, to soak up the early evening and get things swinging. Hungarians in particular also go at that time because the air is cooler. Early afternoon heat can still reach 30 Degrees Celsius (86 Degrees Fahrenheit) in the summertime - Something many "Brits Abroad" will love, I am sure!
Old Friends and Students meet up in the night-time to enjoy the Wine Festival
The Food Stalls are great. Freshly cooked, beautifully marinated, spiced up, sizzling, mouth watering, pieces of chicken and other meat on an open frying area. The food looks so delicious you just have to try some. Although freshly made pizza is a favourite with the locals I would suggest trying one of the assortment of homemade, world famous, Goulash (Spicy Soup) dishes first if you really want a taste of their traditional food. The various sausages are also worth a try.
Tünde enjoying a summer Wine Festival food stalls near the Belvárosi Bridge
Typical prices are - A plate of food: 1,300 HUF. A Hungarian sausage: 2,000 HUF. A glass of wine: 300 HUF up to 500 HUF. And a bottle of wine: 1,500 HUF up to 6,500 HUF. As you can see, they are not cheap but not expensive either when using GBP. Avoid the pasta only based dishes as they are more pasta than meat. Beer and wine is normally 100 HUF more than in the shops.
Many local, student and working class, Hungarians do not mind paying these prices because they see the festivals as rare occasions whereas the really really poor Hungarians very rarely attend these festivals because they can not afford to unfortunately.
The Stage Events vary but they resemble open stages for various music artists and comedians to perform on. When I was there the music was often sang in English, to my surprise, but this could have been because the artists were catering for the youth audience. Either way, the music was not too loud or annoying. In fact, it was pleasant and easy listening. So do not think just because some of it will be sang in Hungarian you can not enjoy it; I am sure you will.
The Arts & Crafts festival (Crafts Fair) held within the wine festival week is situated on the Belvárosi híd (Downtown Bridge) that separates Szeged old town from Szeged City. There is also a park called Népliget (People's Park) on its old town side with a temporary eating area (food court) that is ideal for families to take a break from the "hustle and bustle" of the joint festivals.
Hand-Made: Wicker Baskets, Paintings, Clocks, Porcelain Plants/Fruits, Etc
At the Arts & Crafts festival you will see many hand-made items ranging from wicker baskets, oil paintings, glassware that you can have engraved, clocks made out of various materials, funny fridge magnets, beautiful porcelain/china plants and fruits, wooden cups and bowls, wrought ironware and much more.
Towards the evening you will notice the streets and surrounding squares becoming crowded, but not too over-crowded, which add to the atmosphere. There are allocated toilet areas too and again, to my surprise, even at crowded times you could easily get into a toilet by waiting less than two minutes. On the last day of the festival, around midnight, there is also a nice fireworks display to complete the celebration of wines.
Prior to the main wine festival is the May 1st festival and bank holiday that celebrates the workers of Hungary. The three day festival is a family orientated festival, located inside the Liszt Ferenc Park, that has an assortment of rides and stalls; as the photos below show.
The Dodgem Cars and Octopus Ride are favourites with all - Expect long queues!
There are many attractions for the whole family to enjoy, including scary rides!
Smaller children have plenty of attractions to try out too while the parents pay!
Festivals have traditional Hungarian food, fairground rides and childrens' activities
The fairground atmosphere makes this festival a family, fun, day out. I had plenty more photos of various activities to show you but ran out of web page! Besides the various funfair rides (i.e. Dodgem Cars, Octopus Ride and Roller Coaster), bouncy castles, trampoline bungee jumping, Childrens' rides and food stalls this year's festival also included a caricature artist, beads/bangle maker, spray paint picture artist, balloon artist and folk musicians. Enough to keep the family entertained for the day.
I have only mentioned some of the popular Szeged festivals on this web page, but there are plenty more dotted around Hungary including places such as Budapest (Famous: Budapest Sziget FestivalSziget Festival), Pécs (Famous: Pécs Choir FestivalChoir Festival) and Debrecen (Famous: Debrecen Flower CarnivalFlower Carnival).
Not all concerts, festivals, carnivals and fairs are free, open air, events. Some are expensive even by UK prices, but I suppose if you want to experience something that only happens once a year and/or something that is new to you then the prices might not seem that expensive. Example: The Sziget (Island) Festival - 9th - 16th August 2017 - 7 Day Pass, €325 (£277.49) - It is like the Glastonbury Festival in the UK.