Visiting Christmas markets are one of my favourite winter activities in Budapest. The Christmas markets in Budapest are really amazing and they are often voted as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. I love strolling around the cute wooden chalets with a mulled wine in my hand, watching the sparkling Christmas lights and admiring the festive decoration. Are you ready to explore the best Christmas markets in Budapest with me? Read along to find the best locations in the city together with recommendations about what to eat and drink!
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Best Christmas Markets in Budapest
If you are visiting Budapest during November and December then checking out the Christmas markets is a must do on your itinerary! Budapest is one of the best Christmas destinations and you can find many Christmas markets across the city. The most famous ones are located in the city centre and they are actually really close to each other so you can easily walk from one spot to another.
1. Vörösmarty Square
Opening dates: from 08 November 2019 to 1 January 2020
Opening hours: 10am-9pm from Sunday to Thursday, 10am-10pm on Friday and Saturday (the merchant stalls are closing one hour earlier)
Opening hours during Christmas and New Year’s Eve: 10am-3pm on 24 December, 10am-6pm on 25-26 December, 10am-4am on 31 December
The biggest Christmas market in Budapest always takes place in Vörösmarty square. During this period the square turns into a festive market place where you can buy some unique gifts for your loved ones and try the best of the Hungarian cuisine.
In addition to the cute wooden stalls you will also find a huge Christmas tree and two outdoor stages in the square where you can enjoy several different performances during your visit.
The Vörösmarty square is in the heart of the city so it’s very easy to get there. It’s located in the end of Váci street and the Metro Line 1 also stops here.
2. St. Stephen's Basilica
Opening dates: from 22 November 2019 to 1 January 2020
Opening hours: 10am-9pm from Monday to Thursday, 10am-10pm from Friday to Sunday
Opening hours during Christmas and New Year’s Eve: 10am-2pm on 24 December, 10am-6pm on 25-26 December, 10am-3am on 31 December
Although the Christmas market in front of the St. Stephen’s Basilica is a lot smaller than the one on the Vörösmarty Square it is still the most popular Christmas market in Budapest.
You will also find small wooden stalls there selling a selection of craftworks and typical Hungarian food. But what makes this Christmas market really unique is the ice skating ring in the middle with a 12 metre high Christmas tree right in front of the Basilica.
And if it weren’t enough, there is a custom-designed light show projected on the Basilica in every half hour between 4.30-pm-10pm. Currently this is the largest 3D Christmas Projection in Europe so it’s time to put it on your bucket list if you haven’t already!
You can also go up to the panorama viewpoint in the Basilica from where you will get a unique view over the Christmas market and the whole city. The ticket costs 1000 HUF (around 3 USD) and it is open between 10am and 4pm. The best time to go is 30-60 minutes before sunset time because this way you can see the view in daylight, at sunset and in the night too.
3. Deák Ferenc Street - Fashion Street
Operating dates: from 13 November 2019 to 1 January 2020
If you are looking for the best Christmas lights in the city you have to visit the Deák Ferenc street aka Fashion street! The street is packed with famous designer shops and it’s beautifully decorated during the festive season. You can also find a few stalls here but it’s more about the Christmas lights than the food or craftworks.
What to eat & drink in the Christmas Markets in Budapest
The typical Hungarian cuisine is very heavy in general and the Christmas meals are no different. They are really delicious though so try to taste as many as you can! It’s better to go to the Christmas markets with an empty stomach so you can try various meals.
Lángos is a typical Hungarian street food. It’s really popular in the Christmas markets but it can be found around the city any time of the year. A classic lángos is served with sour cream, garlic butter and shredded cheese but there are several other toppings that you can try like onions, sausages or bacon.
Mulled wine (Forralt bor)
Have you ever been to a Christmas market without trying the mulled wine? Hungary is really famous for its wines so drinking a cup of mulled wine is a must on the Christmas markets! If you don’t drink alcohol you can try the hot spicy apple juice or the hot chocolate instead.
The goulash soup is probably one of the most well-known Hungarian meal. This traditional soup is made of tender beef, onions, potatoes, carrots and a lots of paprika. It is a very hearty meal, usually served with white bread.
Stuffed cabbage (Töltött káposzta)
Stuffed cabbage is a traditional Christmas meal in Hungary. The stuffed cabbage is made of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around ground beef and rice and layered in a baking dish on top of home-made tomato sauce. It’s typically served with sour cream and white bread.
Pálinka is a traditional Hungarian alcoholic drink. From 2002 you can only call a drink pálinka if it’s made of a fruit spirits and it was distilled, matured and bottled in Hungary. The minimum alcohol content is 37.5% but it can go up to 86%. It’s a really strong drink and it will definitely burn your throat so take it easy! The most popular flavours are apricot, pear and plum.
Roasted chestnuts (Sült gesztenye)
You will find many stalls selling roasted chestnuts in the Budapest Christmas markets. It’s a very popular autumn and winter street food not only in Budapest, but across East Asia, Europe and the US as well.
Grilled sausage (Grill kolbász és hurka)
There are basically three type of sausages in Hungary: the ‘kolbász’ is seasoned with paprika, the ‘májas hurka’ is made from pork liver and the ‘véres hurka’ made from pork blood. They are usually served with mustard or horse radish and white bread.
Strudel is a layered pastry housing a super sweet filling like curd, sour cherry, apple or poppy seed. It is a typical dessert on the Christmas table in Hungary, my grandmother always makes it for Christmas in a chocolate and walnut flavour. They are my favourites! I recommend tasting as many flavours as you can because they are all delicious!
Chimney cake (Kürtőskalács)
Many people associate chimney cakes with Prague however it originates from Hungary. Chimney cakes are made from a sweet dough that is rolled in granulated sugar, wrapped around a cone and roasted over charcoal. During the baking process the sugar caramelises and becomes a crispy crust.
The surface of the chimney cakes can be topped with several ingredients such as walnuts, coconuts, cinnamon or chocolate. Nowadays the ice cream filled chimney cakes are becoming more and more popular so you can also find them in the Christmas markets.
Flódni is a traditional Hungarian Jewish cake with five layers of dough and four different fillings: plum jam, walnut, apple and poppy seed. It’s like all the different flavours of strudel combined. Super delicious!
Find the best places to stay in Budapest
I’ve been living in Budapest for more than 5 years now and I still can never get enough of the Christmas markets! Budapest is really amazing during winter and visiting the Christmas markets will make your stay even more magical!
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Is visiting Budapest on your bucket list or have you already been there? Let me know in the comments!