Everyone around me has been in a festive fever for weeks. Christmas-themed pictures are shared on social media, and homes smell like cookie gingerbreads. After a while, I began to be ashamed that I had not yet come up with any creative Christmas photos, my apartment is not decorated yet and had not even managed to dress my heart in a celebration. So I decided to give a boost and I visited all Christmas markets in Budapest hoping that the excitement around the holidays would stick with me. It didn’t happen, but when the first snow fell down, I was so happy like a child.
Looks like I needed the snowfall to get into Christmas mood and start the countdown. As an inspiration for the last weeks before Christmas, I brought you the best of Budapest’s Christmas markets. If you’re still looking for the holiday mood, you’d like a delicious mulled wine with blueberries, need a nice ornament for your tree, don’t hesitate to visit one of the capital’s finest Christmas markets.
The elegant wooden shops offer everything you need. My personal favorites were Christmas tree decorations made from fruits and ceramics, as well as handcrafted cookie presses, from which I immediately bought one to decorate my future gingerbread. The specialty of the St. Stephen’s Square fair is revealed after dark when the whole square is lighted and the façade of the basilica is painted with 3D pictures every half-hour.
Summa: there are many people at the fair (mainly foreigners) during the day and in the evening, but you should not miss it if you are in Budapest. The Basilica deservedly won the second most beautiful Christmas market title in Europe!
Budapest celebrated the 10th anniversary of the famous shopping street and it was wrapped by lights pretty well. Although there are quite a few stalls selling mainly food on Deák Ferenc Street, it does not bring me the atmosphere of Christmas markets. The hanging shoes, angels, and gift boxes are a truly remarkable sight, but I couldn’t decide whether the giant golden X installation refer to the Xmas or the 10th anniversary of Fashion Street. In addition to monumental light decorations and a white light Christmas tree, you can take nice pictures with reindeers and lollipops next to a luxury car.
Summa: due to the light decorations, it is worth walking down the street and clicking on a few photos. For me, Fashion Street is more of a spectacular, well-composed production without catharsis
Average prices in Christmas markets
Mulled wine (3 dl): 900 Ft
Tea (3 dl): 700 Ft
French fries: 800 Ft
Hamburger: 2,300 Ft
Roasted chestnuts (10 pcs): 1000 Ft
Roast sausage: 2000 Ft
Chimney cake: 1200 Ft
If you want an intimate, less crowded, but also beautiful Christmas market, head to Szentlélek Square to Óbuda. On the Danube side, there is a giant 16m tall pine tree built from wood, which not only plays the role of ornament but also serves charity purposes. Thanks to the Hungarian Red Cross, after the demolition of the pine tree, it will go to families in need in the form of firewood.
With this, the fair has already stolen into my heart. There is a carousel exhibited for the greatest pleasure of young children, and super soft, handcrafted plush teddy bears and bunnies are available for sale. You can use the skating rink next to the beautifully lit Town Hall, which is much larger than the Basilica, for free (skating rental: 600 Ft)
Summa: the fair evokes a real, peaceful atmosphere, I really liked it. There is no crowd, there are interesting programs and you can find special offers in the inns. Although food and drink prices are as high as elsewhere, this seems to be a given.
I went to the Christmas fair next to Vajdahunyad Castle with high hopes. Városliget is one of my favorite places in Budapest, along with Heroes’ Square, but I think it’s not just me, it’s the tourists. The classic offer, like mulled wine, sweets and cheese stalls can be found here, but I couldn’t find anything interesting. There is a Meseliget, when children can have fun around a large gingerbread heart. There was no crowd for it, as there was at the fair in general, just people loitering.
Summa summum: It could be because it was a weekday or because other Christmas markets distract visitors, but I expected more from Városliget. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a walk here, because Heroes’ Square, the romantic Gothic castle and the artificial ice rink next to it are an unbearable sight in any season.
Summa: It could be because it was a weekday or because other Christmas markets distract visitors, but I expected more from Városliget. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a walk here, because Heroes’ Square, the romantic Gothic castle and the artificial ice rink next to it are an unbearable sight in any season.
Vörösmart Square has been home to the Budapest Christmas markets for 20 years. The official opening of the advent period took place here, which according to the press release: “It is considered one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, thanks to the specialty of the square, the high-quality programs and products, as well as the gastronomic delicacies”. I visited the square on Sunday, where the offer is quality and many special gifts can be collected, but the prices were more tailored to foreign tourists. From the lookout set up in the middle of the square, reminiscent of hunting, you can see almost the entire square and the giant advent wreath, which, together with the inscription Budapest, gives me a marketing purpose rather than a sense of Christmas preparation.
Summa: The evening light painting of the Gerbaud building is a spectacular program in addition to the offer of the fair, but for those who are disturbed by crowding and lengthy queuing, I do not recommend Vörösmarty Square for Christmas.
After all, advent preparation is a period of waiting and quieting down that cannot be received at any fair. You have to look for this inside, on your own. As Sándor Márai says: