Famed as one of the best Christmas markets in the world, Budapest’s splendid December stalls bring winter warmth of joy and delight in an otherwise cold climate. Popping up in the most glamorous locations throughout the city, and open from November through Christmas, Budapest winter markets not only sell gifts but serve the holiday’s traditional gastronomic dishes, and also feature cultural and children’s activities, plus fun extras like ice skating and 3D mapping. And do Hungarians relish their time at the markets! Join the festivities Budapest-style.
Budapest Christmas Markets, until 31 December 2022.
Vörösmarty Square: Vörösmarty Classic Xmas
The most beautiful, oldest and internationally acclaimed Budapest Christmas fair has been located in the heart of the city since 1998. Christmas flair fills the city, with spicy scents, folk art, unique Christmas-themed craft products and wonderful musical performances on the stages.
St. Stephen’s Square: Advent at the Basilica
Entering the giant Advent gate, you will find yourself among 100 handcraft stalls, with a skating rink set up in St. Stephen’s Square. See how the 3D lights and shadows play on the building of the Basilica, telling new stories every day, while exploring mouthwatering holiday treats. Food, Drink and Gifts The sweet, irresistible perfume of kürtőskalács permeates the Christmas markets like no other – fried comfort meat like sausages and bacon apart. But it is this cylinder-shaped “chimney cake” that defines the gastronomy of December markets and the Christmas season for Hungarians, complete with body- and soul-warming mulled wine. A must-have is traditional Hungarian pálinka, or fruit brandy, which vintners now make in a premium-quality form and of any and all fruits. Budapest’s December markets offer a fantastic range of artisan gifts on their stalls. Leather accessories, sheepskin vests, hand-knitted hats, gloves and shawls… handmade wooden toys and beautiful Christmas ornaments – all generations of all tastes will find something suitable at the Christmas markets.
KÜRTŐSKALÁCS (Chimney Cake)
The unmistakable sweet perfume of kürtőskalács, a cylinder-shaped cake, which some call chimney cake, is as Hungarian as it gets – Hungarians insist. A strip of sweet dough is wound around a spit, baked and rolled in sugar, which caramelises on the surface. The resulting delicacy resembles an oversize hollow tube, which you unwind as you tear bits off. Its recent renaissance has seen bakers come up with several varieties – pick your own filling or eat it the way the purists do without further ado.
New Year Concert of the 100-Member Gypsy Violins Orchestra, Budapest Congress Center 100 musicians play at the same time at the grand concert, presenting a twirling programme that combines the tradition of the Hungarian Gypsy violin with works by Khachaturian, Brahms, Strauss and Bizet. The audience can enjoy folk dance performances and taste selected outstanding wines of Hungarian wineries during the break between the two parts of the concert. Beyond the concert, our guests can also enjoy the four-course festive dinner introducing famous Hungarian dishes prepared by our master chefs, or can listen to the exclusive performance with snacks and wine.
The quaintest and most curious Christmas diversion away from the hubbub of the December markets is in the water – outdoors! Plunge into Széchenyi Baths’ open-air hot thermal pool at dead of winter and enjoy the steam, no matter how cold it might be. You may even fancy a game of chess, a favourite pool activity of the locals in the soothing water.
Dressed in truly magnificent sparkle, Advent and Christmas trams became so popular in December in Budapest that they now run on several lines across the city in the festive season. Lights outside, Advent and Christmas decorations inside, these trams cost the regular fare. Climb on board Budapest’s shiny Christmas tram and feel the festive atmosphere while city lights whizz by. Different routes run on different days until 6 January, so do check the schedule, but the number 2 line along the Danube embankment on Mondays and Wednesdays must be the most magical. Ice-Skating Rink, City Park The ‘Városligeti Műjégpálya’ is a public ice rink located between the Heroes’ Square and Vajdahunyad Castle. Opened in 1870, it is the largest and one of the oldest ice rinks in Europe, beautifully renovated. Enjoy this winter sport backdropped by the picturesque castle, in the City Park.
Indulge in culinary delights at Gastronomic Quarter Downtown Budapest at Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest.