A guide to what sets this city apart from the rest!
Christmas in Budapest is affordable as it is beautiful, which is why I’ve put together a couple of tips and tricks for the perfect festive city break!
The spires of the Gothic-style Parliament Building are enough to get anyone daydreaming, as are the beautiful views from the Fisherman’s Bastion. The beauty of of this city is clear to see, but that’s not the only reason why Christmas in Budapest is such an amazing idea. After all, not every capital has beautiful historic spa and baths open to the public, or ice rinks overlooked by beautiful castles! With my Budapest Christmas tips you’ll be able to enjoy your next city break there to the fullest!
Budapest Christmas Tips – a guide to what sets this city apart from the rest!
Let’s first kick things off with the most important thing of all: the markets! The staple of any festive city break, the Christmas markets are always a constant hub of activity. Not only are Budapest’s markets very beautiful, but they’re also said to be some of the most affordable across Europe!
Budapest’s main and official Christmas market takes place in Vörösmarty Square, located in the centre of the city close to the Danube Promenade. Despite becoming one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe, it still retains its cosy, traditional and family-friendly atmosphere. At the stalls you can buy genuine Hungarian handicrafts, and you’ll often be able to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts to bring home with you – perfect if you’ve been looking for a special gift for someone! Be sure to try some traditional chimney cake, kürtőskalács– the staple of any Hungarian Christmas!
Other markets in Budapest include the Szent István Square Market opposite the beautiful St. Stephen Basilica, and the ones in Obuda’s main square. Similarly you can get some proper shopping down Fashion Street or browse the markets in Városháza Park, where you’ll often find live music and choirs too.
What are the top ways to relax in Budapest?
My Budapest Christmas tips wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a visit to one of the city’s legendary baths. The most famous ones of all, Szechenyi Baths, draw from thermal waters to create an experience that will definitely leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Even the open-air pools stay open during the winter, but when you see the steam rising from the water it’s pretty magical. Think of the Blue Lagoon, but in the middle of a city!
It’s possible to book spa treatments during your time there, which is a common thing in most public baths across Budapest. The Gellert Spa also offers a wide range of luxurious massages and spa experiences too, and the Art Deco architecture alone makes this place well worth checking out.
Budapest’s public baths have been a central part of its history and culture for centuries, so you really can’t afford to miss them. Prices are quite reasonable too, so you should definitely check and see if there’s a special package you can book to make the most of your time at the spa!
Cruise Along the Danube
OK, so you can do river cruises in a lot of cities – that much is true. But Budapest has one of the most beautiful promenades you’ll ever see. It only gets even more prettier once the sun has set in the lights come on!
There are several different types of cruises you can book. Some depart during the afternoon, and will come with an audio guide and an option to book lunch. But I actually recommend setting aside a whole evening for one of one of the dinner cruises that depart later at night. My favourite one is the Budapest Dinner Cruise, where you can enjoy a 4-course dinner, piano music and even the option for unlimited drinks (€69pp). There’s nothing more romantic than sailing past the beautiful Parliament Building as you enjoy a candle lit dinner together with your loved one.
Ice Skating by the Palace
Ice skating is popular in many cities, but you can’t exactly go ice skating in Buckingham Palace just yet! Well, in Budapest that doesn’t matter, because every single skating ring that’s set up during the Christmas season is in a stunning location.
Perhaps the largest ice rink is in Varosligeti Mujegpalya, or City Park. Several markets across Budapest have their own little rinks, but once you see how big this one is there’s no going back. There’s a stunning entrance building with all sorts of domes and spires, but on the other side is the impressive Vajdahunyad Castle, built in 1896 to celebrate all the different architectural styles that have appeared throughout Hungarian history. It might be a wacky mix of styles when you first spot it, but when you’re skating at night and you see how the castle’s spires are lit up, it’s absolutely breathtaking.
It’s easy to see why Budapest has been enjoying more and more popularity over the past few years. Thanks to its beautiful buildings, wonderful views and a rich and vibrant sense of history, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend your next Christmas break!
There are plenty of deals on the blog to this amazing city that will have you feeling festive in no time at all!
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