March 15th is an annual Hungarian National Day. This is a day that is celebrated to remember the Hungarian revolution against the Habsburgs and the Austrians back in 1848.
This article is not meant to be a historical introduction to the day, but instead, it will help tourists coming to Budapest know what to expect as they come to visit the Hungarian capital (and other Hungarian cities) on March 15th.
What to expect on March 15th in Hungary?
March 15th is not a big national celebration in which people rejoice and walk around eating hot-dogs and celebrating with Hungarian flags outside all day.
To most people, March 15th is simply a day of relaxation, and a nice forced “day-off” from work and school.
But, there are programs around the city on March 15th, and most of these are related to the commemoration of the revolution in 1848. And it is also a day of political meetings, meaning that the different political parties often meet with their own people to listen to what the leader has to say. Normally this is all about explaining why all the other political parties in the country are stupid.
Are stores and restaurants open on March 15th?
The normal grocery stores and clothing stores (and shopping malls) are closed on March 15th. But, restaurants, cinemas, and museums are open on March 15th. In fact, many museums run with free entrance to their localities on the Hungarian National days, making this a wonderful day to visit museums in Budapest if you are on a budget!
The thermal baths are mostly open, and the most popular of them all, the Szechenyi Thermal Bath, is running with normal opening times also on March 15th.
Recommended programs on March 15th
If you come to Budapest on March 15th, we recommend visiting some museums during the daytime. It is also possible to enjoy one of the many river cruises on the Danube, and it is also a nice day for visiting the city of Szentendre (where the stores are open).
As most restaurants also keep open, this can be a nice day for a wine tasting experience, or just a great dinner in a nice Budapest restaurant.