The Palinkafesztival (Palinka Festival) in Budapest opened yesterday (May 16th) and it will be open until Sunday evening (May 19th). The weather forecasts do not promise beautiful weather, but if you are in town, make sure to check out what’s going on. I was there yesterday at the Erzsebet square and I liked what I saw!
Often the biggest and most popular festivals in Budapest are arranged in the Castle area. However this time the Palinka festival is arranged in the middle of Budapest, at the Erzsebet square, in front of the five star hotels Le Meridien and Kempinski, and next to the popular club Akvarium. My first comment is that I really liked the venue and the fact that it is in central Budapest. At such a location it is hard to miss out on the festival, and it is really easy to get to and from the festival at any time. Much easier than when it is located in the Castle area.
Another bonus with the location is that the festival feels much more intimate and the visitors are gathered at the same place, without giving you the feeling that it is overcrowded. Of course the wine festival could never be arranged here, because the area is to small, but for a Palinka festival this square is ideal.
Some more thoughts on the Palinka festival 2013
Inside the area there are lots of stands where you can buy all sorts of Palinka, the Hungarian fruit spirit. If you are a big fan this is an ideal place to taste new brands and get new favorites, and if you have not clue what Palinka is about, then this is a great place to get some basic knowledge.
As you buy your entrance ticket you will get the chance to enter into the festival area. Inside the festival area all payments are made with this electronic card you buy. The price is 500 HUF for the card and then you need to fill this with money. Money is withdrawn from the card whenever you make a purchase, and whatever is left on the card will be returned to you as you give back your card and leave the festival area (you will also get the 500 HUF that you paid for the card itself back). This system is quite easy to use (they used it at the Beer festival in 2012 as well), it only gets complicated if it is crowded and hundreds of people want to fill up or return their cards at the same time. However there are 4 such stands in the area, so it shouldn’t really cause any problems, I think!
The price for the different Palinkas on the inside starts from about 300 HUF, but you will of course find much more expensive Palinkas as well. If you are not a big fan of Palinka you find a DiVino bar on the inside where you can taste and drink wine, you can buy soft drinks in the Moszkva ter stands and hot and cold food at other stands.
Every evening there will be concerts, and some of the artists performing are really great, so worth to take a look and listen when in the concert area. A great plus in the festival area is that they have lots of benches and chairs, making it very easy to sit down and enjoy good company, some food and of course, something to drink.
Conclusion: If you have the chance, visit the Erzsebet square in Budapest before Sunday evening and check out the Palinka festival… even if you don’t like Palinka!