Holiday season in Hungary: Christmas in Budapest

Holiday season in Hungary: Christmas in Budapest

Budapest is one of the "winter" cities in Europe, which is undoubtedly beautiful in any season, but in winter it has a special charm. Perhaps this is largely due to the abundance of thermal springs and baths, which are so nice to warm up in winter weather. And besides that, Budapest pleases tourists with interesting Christmas markets, beautiful Christmas illumination, delicious cuisine, and a wonderfully festive atmosphere.

Christmas markets in Budapest

Christmas markets in Budapest do not have a very long history, but they already have their own established traditions. From year to year, they are becoming more beautiful and more populous, but one thing is invariable ― in Budapest, they strive in every possible way to preserve the authentic Hungarian folk art and traditions. Here, at the festive bazaars ― only high-quality handicrafts and crafts, delicious pastries, and traditional Hungarian cuisine. Any Christmas market in Budapest, from the largest in the center to the smallest on the outskirts, has an unusually cozy, soulful atmosphere. Skating rinks, mulled wine, holiday shopping, performances by folk groups, Christmas carols, smiles, and pleasant communication ― all this is guaranteed for you. So let's walk through the most popular destinations in Budapest for Christmas!

Vörösmarty tér Christmas market

The most famous, crowded, oldest, and most beautiful fair in Budapest. It runs from early November to January 1. The market on Vörösmarty Square has a delightful variety of festive sounds, seductive smells, and colors of handmade gifts and souvenirs. Once you get here, you seem to be inside one of the old grandmother's Christmas cards depicting folk festivities on the eve of Christmas. During the fair, the main square of the city turns into a square from a fairy tale with a buzzing crowd of merchants and buyers, elegant stalls, thousands of gifts for every taste, and a rich assortment of snacks. Walking through this market, be sure to try the famous kürtőskalács ― this is the name of the Hungarian twisted kalach. It is sold at any time of the year, but on the cold days of December, it is especially pleasant to taste hot, hot, hot rolls cooked on coals. An indispensable attribute of any Hungarian fair is sausages, grilled vegetables, all kinds of street snacks, hot aromatic mulled wine, palinka (fruit brandy), the traditional Hungarian New Year drink krampampuli. Also, be sure to try and be sure to buy szaloncukor sweets with you. Every self-respecting Hungarian considers it his duty to hang this fondant in the chocolate glaze on the Christmas tree.

Tip: do not buy snacks at fairs in the morning, this food will most likely turn out to be yesterday.

The “façade” of the fair on Vörösmarty Square is also noteworthy ― the former buildings of trade offices and residential buildings built in the 19th century in the Art Nouveau style are interspersed with newer houses. One of the most famous coffee houses in Europe, the Gerbeau café, is also located here. In other years, the Advent calendar was exhibited on its facade, but now they are organizing a laser show. The most famous shopping street in the city ― Vaci, also called Fashion street, starts right from the square. It is especially beautiful at Christmas thanks to the festive decorations and discounts offered by local shops. This is also a kind of Christmas market, which is recommended for all guests of the city.

Fair at the Basilica of St. Stephen (Stephen)

The second most important and popular fair in the capital of Hungary. It runs from late November to January 1. Around a hundred tents decorated with Christmas tinsel offer a rich assortment of wonderful local handicrafts as well as Hungarian traditional delicacies. If you're lucky, here (or at any other fair in Budapest), you will meet the local Santa Claus ― Saint Mikulas (as the Hungarians call Saint Nicholas). Music and dance concerts are regularly held in front of the basilica in the evenings, such as the folk dance ensemble. At the same time, all guests of the fair can take part in their show and join the Hungarian folk dance. For everyone, there is a skating rink near the cathedral (children under 14 years old can ride it for free). And, of course, be sure to visit the cathedral itself, which is especially beautiful on Christmas. Organ concerts are periodically held there ― it is better to check the time in advance on the cathedral's website. And you can also go up to its observation deck and enjoy the panorama of the festive city. The bazaar near the basilica will also leave an unforgettable experience thanks to the light and music 3D show, which is held here on the facade of the cathedral every half hour after dark.

Christmas market in Varoshliget park

The fair is open on weekends. The shopping arcade leads towards the Vaidahunyad castle. Handmade gifts, folk crafts, Hungarian cuisine ― all this is in abundance here. And there is also a beautiful skating rink, which is made on the site of the pond surrounding Vaidahunyad Castle.


The old quarter of the city is a place where you can buy amazingly beautiful vintage items at fairs. In addition, many cultural events take place here ― everyone will find entertainment to their liking. It is also a place where you can get acquainted with the history of the city.

Gozsdu Udvar

Mini-shopping area in the city center, a passage that connects Kirali and Dob streets. A concentration of shops, boutiques, cafés, restaurants, eateries, and bars with cuisines from around the world, a shopping paradise that turns into a true Christmas fairy tale for all shopaholics and nightlife lovers at Christmas.

Ferenc Deak Square

The fair at Ferenc Deak Square is very easy to find ― it is just a few minutes from the main fair at Vörösmarty Square. In addition to buying souvenirs and jewelry, you can take children for a ride on the rides.

Food, drinks, and souvenirs

At Christmas markets with a sweet baking scent called kyrtöskalác that is impossible to resist, even the smell of fried sausages and bacon cannot be matched. This chimney-shaped "twisted roll" is Hungarians' favorite food at December Christmas markets and is best paired with body and soul-warming mulled wine. Taste the best and most famous mulled wine at Divino, opposite the Christmas market at St. Stephen's Basilica. Another must-try is palinka, a fruit brandy that winemakers now make as a premium drink from a wide variety of fruits. A fantastic variety of handmade souvenirs can be seen in the tents of the Budapest Christmas markets. Only at the Vörösmarty Christmas market, you can buy handicrafts from professional designers. Leather accessories, sheepskin vests, knitted hats, gloves, and shawls, as well as wooden toys and beautiful handmade Christmas decorations - people of all ages and tastes, are sure to find something of their own at Christmas markets. On the other hand, two design sites, WAMP and Gozsdu Udvar, organize Christmas fairs aimed at young fashion designers who showcase their products and collections of clothing, accessories, and souvenirs of all kinds.

What else to do in Budapest on New Year's Eve

During the New Year and Christmas holidays, it's good to just walk along the beautiful streets, enjoying the festive bustle and recharging yourself with the atmosphere of everyone's fun! If you get cold, check out the museums in Budapest for art or history. In the evenings, you can get out to interesting concerts or taste Hungarian cuisine in numerous cafés and restaurants. By the way, if you plan to celebrate a holiday in a café or restaurant, do not forget to book a table as early as possible ― closer to the holiday it will be difficult to find free seats. And of course, we advise you of Budapest's famous Baths! They cannot be ignored! The most popular are Szechenyi (the most crowded), Gellert (with luxurious decoration). Quieter and more intimate are Lukach, Rudash, and Kirai.

If you want to come to Budapest in advance to explore the city and its surroundings, you can rent a car on and have an unforgettable winter adventure! You can also leave an application on the website to get the best deals from car owners. Read our article about why this option is more convenient and profitable to choose a car. Don't forget to use promo code BLGLVSK5 to get an extra discount.

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