Have you ever been to the Hungarian capital during the winter festival? If not, then do not hesitate, visit Budapest and the Christmas Markets!
If you’re a fan of sightseeing tours, winter is no obstacle to another great exploration trip. If you’ve been to the Hungarian capital during the summer festivals, it’s worth visiting Budapest again; if you have the opportunity, why don’t you do it in the winter? Budapest has plenty of indoor activities, but despite the harsh weather, many outdoor activities await visitors. One of the best outdoor events is the famous Budapest Christmas Market.
Budapest is a wonderful city both day and night. As the sun goes down, the city is peppered with a special atmosphere, combined with stunning views of the beautifully illuminated buildings. Imagine that this feeling will intensify as Christmas is coming. Already before the first Advent weekend, the city shines brightly with Christmas lights and decorations everywhere. The trees along Andrássy street are illuminated just like in a fairy tale. If there is snow Budapest Christmas is like Winter Wonderland. Make sure to take a walk there, and also around the Opera House, where the surroundings are decorated with the sceneries of the Nutcracker.
Budapest Christmas market is held in Vörösmarty Square, just as in the previous years since 1998. The square was renovated in 2018, since then the Budapest Xmas market opens earlier than ever before: at the beginning of November. The 5th district of Budapest is in the heart of downtown, within easy reach. It attracts many local and foreign visitors year by year, so there will certainly be crowds on site. The smells of winter spices also attract hungry visitors. Local vendors offer more and more delicious traditional food, both salty and sweet. Walnut and poppy seed cake, roasted chestnut – just to name a few of them. After eating and drinking you can start shopping.
At the Budapest Christmas market, many local merchants offer their better and better items. More than 100 craftsmen sell their products at the Christmas market. Before anyone can sell their handmade products, they have to undergo rigorous quality control and have to comply with strict rules. So we can be sure we get a good quality product for our money. However, the prices of the products sold at the fair are not cheap, so be prepared for that. You can buy fur, products from leather or wood, ceramics, ornaments, jewelry, or even homemade candles or soap.
Opening hours for craftsmen: from Friday and Sunday between 10 am – 9 pm and 10 am – 8 pm all the other days. If the weather is too cold and the hot drinks can’t help any longer, you can get warm in one of the huts or near one of the outdoor heaters. Huts are open from 10 am to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 10 am to 9 pm all the other days. In addition to shopping and walking, the Budapest Christmas market has other interesting activities.
From December onwards, the organizers will be constantly presenting stage performances too. Between the 8th of November and the 1st of December the performances start at 5 pm, 6 pm and 7:30 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus 2 extra performances for kids at 11 am and 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday. From the 2nd of December, there will be performances on weekdays too. Thanks to the program guide, everyone can pre-select the program they like in advance. If you don’t want to spend too much money you can just have a walk and look around. Adults don’t have to worry about their children in the crowd because there is a playhouse that is open every day from the 2nd of December until the 23rd of December between 10 am- 1 pm and 2 pm – 6 pm. Moreover, kids can also meet Joulupukki, the real Santa Claus from Lapland who is surprising the kids with gifts. The Budapest Christmas market is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the Christmas preparation. Even those who do not adore this holiday will find this place pleasing.
Only a few minutes’ walk from the Budapest Xmas market, in front of the St Stephen’s Basilica an ice skate rink favors the ones who are not afraid of winter sports. Under the age of 14, the rink is free to use, skates can be hired for free, and there are skating classes every Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm. St Stephen’s Basilica is a spectacular sight in itself and it is even more fantastic at Christmas time. Every day from 4:30 pm to 10 pm every half hour you can see the greatest and most beautiful visual experience of Budapest. 3D-animated cartoons on the building tell different stories. The 3-dimensional play of light and shadow on the façade of the Basilica is the largest 3D light painting in Central Europe. You can also buy mulled wine and gingerbread here. You don’t have to do anything but relax and enjoy this gorgeous Christmas swirl.
This smaller Christmas market is open from the 22nd of November until the 1st of January, from 10 am to 8 pm on weekdays, from 10 am to 10 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The market is open on Christmas days and New Years’ Eve as well. If you have no other program, this can be the perfect place to welcome the New Year.