One year after being the European Capital of Sport, Budapest doesn’t seem to slow down with sporting events: even amidst a pandemic, the upcoming years promise a busy schedule for fans. Be it handball, swimming, tennis, football or athletics, we put together a list with all the must-see events in the Hungarian capital.
You can’t spell sports events without mentioning the European Aquatics Championship. Hungary has hosted the contest 5 times since its conception in 1926, out of which the last three came in the past 15 years. Hungarians also have the results to back it up: the national team has racked up a staggering 278 medals over the last century, placing the country 4th on the all-time medal table. And why is that important to know? Well, come 2021, the Aquatics Championship will be hosted by Budapest once again, so you can expect massive crowds at every event – not to mention that most athletes will have a realistic shot at a medal. What’s more, most events can be visited for a relatively low price (between 300-3,000 HUF or 1-10€), with only the swimming finals coming with a higher price tag (3,000-6,000 HUF or 10-20€). Tickets are available here.
Although not as popular as aquatic sports, tennis ranks 7th in terms of popularity in the general populace, and Hungarians also enjoyed some competitive success lately (like Tímea Babos, currently ranked 1st in doubles). With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the International Tennis Federation awarded the Fed Cup finals for women doubles for the next 3 years. That’s right, if you want to cheer for your favorite athletes, you can do it three times in a row! The pandemic did force organizers to postpone the event, so make sure you visit their site, so that you aren’t missing out on the event.
What could be a better venue for the 2022 European Handball Championship than the recently built Puskás Arena? Hungary will host the prestigious competition with co-host Slovakia at the very beginning of January 2022. Even though the national team has been somewhat lagging behind bigger teams like Denmark or France, Hungary’s club teams are some of Europe’s finest, so it’s only a matter of time until they can make a run at the European champion’s title. The event itself is still two years away, but you can follow the EHF’s site for updates here.
Hungary has been an unsuccessful bidder for hosting major football events for the past decades, but UEFA’s decision to split matches between 12 host cities finally allowed Budapest to organize some of the matches of the upcoming EURO 2020. Sure, the pandemic made organizers postpone the championship until 2021, but the venues remain unchanged. Come next June, you’ll be able to catch some of the greatest names in football: Budapest is hosting games of the dreaded Group F that has teams like Portugal, Germany and France. Obviously, Budapest matches kick off in the brand new Puskás Arena: with a capacity over 65,000, the stadium is more than capable of hosting such a prestigious contest in the heart of Europe. And who knows – if the national team qualifies, you might see how crazy Hungarians get when they cheer for their own team.
While it is still a few years away, the 2023 World Championship will be a major game changer not only in the life of Budapest, but potentially throughout the world of sport events. Sustainability has been an issue ever since grandiose sporting events require host cities to invest billions of euros only to see that money go to waste once the event is over. Budapest is looking to change that trend: the stadium hosting the 2023 WC will have a capacity of 40,000, with 25,000 seats only temporarily attached to the arena. The plan is to create a green leisure area for locals once the competition is over – perhaps one of the main reasons why Budapest won the bidding for the contest. As for the World Championship itself, athletics enthusiasts will get to watch the best of the best competing in a multitude of sports including 100-meter dash, pole vault, discus throw, long jump, or hurdles.
The second greatest Grand Tour in cycling, Giro has lately been known to launch its annual contest from locations outside Italy. The plan was to get the 2020 edition of the race underway in Budapest, however, COVID-19 forced organizers to postpone. Stay tuned as it’s highly likely we’ll have the Giro start in the Hungarian capital next year!
All right, so we have an entry on our list that leaves even the most sports-crazed fans clueless. What’s World Urban Games? It basically encompasses all urban sports that can’t really compete elsewhere: 3v3 basketball, BMX freestyle, breakdance, parkour, and even scooter freestyle is included in the repertoire. Apart from an extremely dynamic and engaging event, WUG is also a grandiose cultural and music festival, making it a can’t-miss event in 2021.
If you’re not that into sport events but love doing sports, check out our article on sporting opportunities[PL5] in Budapest. And if you’re looking for different programs during your stay, be sure to check out our take on the top cultural venues of the capital.
- Does Budapest host big sports events?
- Being capital of a country that’s widely known for its outstanding athletes, Budapest has been and will be home to a broad range of sports events including swimming, football, handball, and more.
- What sports events are organized in Budapest?
- Budapest has hosted the European Aquatics Championship 5 times since its conception in 1926. In the coming few years, the capital will be the scene of a number of major swimming, football, handball, and other sporting events.