Looking for a festive destination this Winter? We share the ultimate Budapest Christmas Markets Guide, so you enjoy the perfect seasonal getaway.
Things to know before you go to Budapest
Budapest Christmas Markets
Vörösmarty Tér (Vörösmarty Square)
The Vörösmarty Tér is also a well-known spot in downtown Budapest. During winter, the scene of the entire square changes into a magic land. Covered tables are set up and filled with unique and seasonal crafts, dishes, and artisan products with a Christmas spin. Depending on your mood, there are at least 100 stalls selling various items.
Don’t forget to try the world-class Romanian goulash, sausages, and desserts. The Christmas and Winter Market at Vörösmarty Tér opens at 10 AM and closes at 9 PM daily. It’s better to come between 4 PM to 6 PM before the vast crowd arrives. It starts on November 4 and lasts until December 31.
If you are already staying near downtown Budapest, you will not have difficulty finding this location. You can get to the square on foot from the famous Hungarian State Opera in just 13 minutes. For those taking the metro, the stations near here are Deák Ferenc Tér and Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Ut.
Szent István-basilica (St. Stephen’s Basilica Advent Celebration)
In winter, the front of the stunning Basilica turns into a little Christmas corner with a lively atmosphere served with traditional Christmas dishes and drinks. Apart from that, you can also find handicrafts made by local artists and unique postcards only available during this season. The most popular snack to order is langos washed down with warm mulled wine.
What makes this Christmas market different from the one at Vörösmarty Tér is the option to scale St. Stephen’s Basicila and admire the jolly crowd from the top. Don’t miss the light show in the evening that happens every half an hour to add magic to the ambiance.
Since this market is related to the Basilica, it doesn’t open until the first night of the advent, December 2, at 4 PM. The market is open from 10 AM until 8 PM on Mondays to Thursdays and closes later at 10 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Szent István-basilica is just a 10-minute walk from Hungarian State Opera. The nearest subway stations are Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út and Opera. You can get here from Vörösmarty Tér in just 9 minutes on foot.
Central Market Hall
The Central Market Hall of Budapest is one of the most well-organized markets in eastern Europe. The stalls are nicely aligned, and there is plenty of space to walk around. The stall owners will put aside their usual products during the Christmas season and start selling Christmas articles.
The ceiling will be designed with bright Christmas lights, the speakers will blast jolly songs, and the spirit of Christmas will warm you up. One thing to remember, if you want the local experience, head to the higher floor, where most locals will enjoy their delicious snacks.
Keep in mind, though, this market is popular with tourists. Hence the prices are often higher. Put your bargaining gear on and shop until you drop. The market is open Mondays to Fridays from 6 AM until 5 AM. It closes at 3 PM on Saturdays and is 100% closed on Sundays.
You can reach the Central Market Hall via the metro, where the nearest stations are Fővám Tér and Kálvin Tér. From Vörösmarty Tér, it’s about a 9-minute walk and located right next to Elisabeth Bridge.
Erzsébet Square (Elizabeth Square)
Erzsébet Square is a local favorite. This iconic park is located in a busy area of Budapest but serves as a lovely little haven, especially during the warm season. But come winter, Elizabeth Square becomes a wonderland of festivities. Instead of tables, the stalls are made of wooden houses decorated with Christmas ornaments.
You will find food, gifts, and other winter products such as jackets, hats, and scarves. What sets this market apart in Budapest is the charming water fountain and the quintessential Ferris wheel, making it a suitable place for people of all ages.
Erzsébet Square Christmas market doesn’t set up until December, but once it’s here, you definitely don’t want to miss it if you are visiting during this time. The food you want to get your hands on is Hungarian pancakes, doughnuts, and tasty hot wine and tea.
Best Places to Stay in Budapest
For those who don’t want to spend too much money on accommodation, B3 Hostel is a perfect choice. It’s located only 600 m from Hungarian State Opera. There are spacious bunk beds and a massive shared kitchen. Another option is Avenue Hostel which is only a few steps from Oktogon Metro Station or 22 minutes from City Park.
Getting your own private room is always a good idea, though. You can get a good night’s sleep and be ready for the adventure tomorrow. Diana Club Hotel is right across Kerepesdulo Park. While at Bo18 Hotel, not only can you get a comfortable private bedroom, but you can also house your vehicle in the spacious parking space. This is an ideal option if you rent a car. However, you can also walk to Holocaust Memorial Center in just 6 minutes.
If you feel like splurging and experiencing luxury, Kozmo Hotel Suites and Spa is a 20-minute walk from Central Market Hall or 5 minutes from Rakoczi Metro Station. You can enjoy incredible amenities and well-decorated rooms. Radisson Blu is always a safe choice. The service is top-notch, and it’s right in the heart of the fantastic Terezvaros area, only a 15-minute walk to St. Stephen Basilica.
Christmas Activities in Budapest
Apart from the cozy Budapest Christmas markets, you can do other activities related to Christmas and the winter season during your visit. The best place to go is City Park. This area is filled with great activities for children and adults.
One enjoyable and exciting activity is going ice skating. It is located northeast of the city, just behind Kunsthalle and Heroes’ Square (Hosok Tere). If you have never skated before, there are also classes you can sign up for. You can bring your own skating shoes or rent one here as well.
While in the area, you might as well check out the boating option. If the lake hasn’t frozen yet, there are boating tours you can check out for a fee. When it’s not too freezing, there’s an option to ride a hot air balloon.
Apart from those, you might want to check out Vajdahunyad Castle, House of Music, and the well-known Széchenyi Thermal Bath. You can spend an entire day at the City Park experiencing various activities.
Another thing to consider is signing up for St. Stephen’s Basilica events. Every Sunday, the church has some activities for young children. From making gifts and creating ornament to lighting the candles for the advent.
There are plenty of things to do in Budapest, so plan at least 3 days in the city.
Best European Destinations to visit in December
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