Music transcends language barriers and bias. It teaches culture, history, and love through melodic rhythm and subtlety. Music is the great unifier and Budapest is a city of music. Walk down many a street and you’ll hear enthusiastic students practicing the cello or world class orchestras while you sip your morning tea. Make no mistake about it; Budapest delivers for music lovers in a big way. In every brick, every building, every person beats the rhythm of Gábor Szabó and Franz Liszt. The energy of Jazz and Soul. The precision of classical. Budapest is a music lover’s paradise, and musicians are your guides.
Too often in the shadow of its colonial cousin Vienna, Budapest offers a “raw” energy to its music that Vienna doesn’t. The musicians in Budapest are hungry. They have a desire to share their craft with the world and are pouring their souls out every time they strike a chord or hit a High C. These are what musicians were before all of the pomp and control that came with major record labels. This is what music should be.
But where do you start your journey? I’m here to take you through Budapest’s varied and eclectic music scene and highlight the best of the best. With a special appearance from the Aria Hotel Budapest, the music-themed luxury property that will act as an anchor for your journey to musical bliss.
This building represents everything you need to know about Hungarian music culture. Home to the Budapest Opera Ball, this 19th-century neo-Renaissance masterpiece frequently features some of the world’s most accomplish musicians. In addition to world class Opera, you can also experience stunning ballet from the Hungarian National Ballet company.
Budapest has one of the most pronounced Jazz scenes in Europe. And Opus is right in the center of it all. Offering an extensive food and drink menu, Opus is not your ordinary Jazz Club. Beyond the delicious culinary offerings, you’ll have live concerts from both local and international musicians Wednesday to Saturday nights.
From contemporary Jazz and opera to cinema and circus performances. MUPA, also known as the Palace of the Arts, promotes all art forms and ensures their preserved and passed on for future generations. MUPA’s events calendar is quite diverse and steadily changing. A testament to an outstanding staff that prides themselves on diversification and community engagement. An excellent place to explore art and passion in a less formal environment.
Billed as a concert hall, club, and restaurant, A38 is one of Europe’s unique venues. Moored on the shores of the Danube, this refurbished Ukrainian ship offers a bit of everything. Mainly smooth jazz and mainstream hits when guest DJs are in town. A38 caters to a millennial audience.
Hungary’s premier music conservatory. Named for the legendary Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, the academy today acts as not only a school but a concert hall and living piece of architectural brilliance. With it’s newly renovated Neo-Renaissance construction. If you want to see some of the world’s best young classical talent, this might be the best place in Europe to do so.
Budapest Park is the city’s newest and largest open air venue. Hosting concerts, dance performances, and exhibitions in its “round” design. An impressive venue to catch an ever-changing array of musicians and performances.
Depending on when you visit, you may be lucky to attend the Sziget Festival. One of Europes largest cultural festivals, Sziget brings some of the world’s biggest names to northern Budapest. Normally held in mid-August for a week, you’ll hear the likes of Prince, Outkast, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Kings of Leon, Korn, and Bastille. Recent events have had attendance around 400,000.
The luxury boutique hotel trend has arrived in Budapest. And in a unique way. Opened last year, the Aria Hotel Budapest is one of Budapest’s hottest hotels. The most centrally located luxury hotel in Budapest, mere steps away from St. Stephen’s Basilica and Erzsébet Tér, Aria Hotel, is the perfect place to explore the Budapest music scene. Both inside the hotel and out. With musically themed rooms and a stunning rooftop bar, Aria Hotel is primed to become the premier hotel in Budapest. Not to mention it’s stunning spa. Make no mistake about it; Aria Hotel Budapest has something to offer the music lovers of the world.
Unlike other luxury hotels, Aria embraces it’s small size by incorporating music into not only it’s decor, but identity as well. Musical Director Kornél Magyar, a Hungarian musician himself, acts as a musical concierge. Ensuring guest has the best musical and cultural experience during their stay. A unique and much-appreciated service as I discovered while speaking with him over breakfast.
Divided into four music-themed rooms and designed by Hungarian designer Zoltán Varró, guest can immerse themselves in Classical, Contemporary, Jazz, and Opera. With each of the 49 rooms being unique and brilliantly designed. But the beauty of the Aria Hotel doesn’t end in the rooms.
Aria Hotel Budapest has three unique areas that aren’t just open to guest, but anyone that wants to visit as well. The roof top bar, the Teatro Aria, and the amazing Harmony Wellness Spa. Offering beautiful views and delicious cocktails, Aria Hotels rooftop bar is the perfect place to pre-game before a night out or just to catch up with friends. Teatro Aria is a screening room located off the main hotel lobby. Here, Musical Director Kornél Magyar has screenings of concerts and other events daily. Harmony Wellness Spa is the most pleasant surprise of this property and a big reason I’ll be returning.
Located under the first floor of the hotel, Harmony Spa not only offers traditional spa packages but a melodic pool area that draws you into a blissful state that you’ll have to force yourself to leave. Worth the visit alone. Aria Hotel Budapest is the premier luxury boutique hotel in Budapest and the perfect place to explore this vibrant music scene.
Few cities have as strong a claim to being a music capital as Budapest. From Austro-Hungarian folk music to the masterpieces of Franz Liszt, all have been played and celebrated here. No visit is complete without a sampling of Budapest’s musical offerings and a stay with the musical connoisseurs at Aria Budapest. Regardless if your taste gravitates closer to hip hop than classical, or closer to Jazz than Folk. Budapest has a place for you.
We partnered with Aria Hotel Budapest to bring you our best picks for exploring the Budapest Music scene. What kind of music do you enjoy? What are some of your favorite live music venues?