Budapest’s Christmas Markets are still some of Europe’s finest!
From the first Sunday of December, the Christmas season starts in Budapest and different fairs open all around the city.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Pest or Buda, you can easily find yourself lost in a crowded Christmas market, although the biggest ones remain in the city center.
#1 Vörösmarty Square Market
The most famous one, which is also one of Europe’s largest, is in Vörösmarty square right in the heart of the city. Since its opening in 1998, this counts as the oldest, as well as one of the most beautiful and internationally acclaimed markets in Europe. The fair attracts thousands of tourists each year!
You can find countless stalls and vendors where you can taste not only traditional Hungarian cuisine but Hungary’s finest wines as well. The must-try Hungarian delicacies include goulash soup, Fisherman’s soup (halászlé), roasted pork, paprika-spiced broth, stuffed cabbage served in a bun, and also grilled sausages and meat. You shouldn’t miss the mulled wine made from these famous wines: Bikavér (Bull’s Blood), Egri Csillag (Star of Eger), and Tokaji Aszú, also known as the “King of wines”. The other classic drinks are pálinka, a strong fruit brandy or the famous Zwack Unicum, made of more than 40 herbs. Apart from the cuisine and wine-tasting, both fairs offer quality gifts and greatly selected handcrafts – not only traditional but with contemporary designs – made by local artists.
Bonus: This fair also has a stage as well since it offers free concerts where various local bands and musicians play every day.
#2 St. Stephen’s Basilica Market
Still, in district V, about 500 meters from Budapest’s main Christmas market lies another one, in front of the St. Stephen’s Basilica. Even though it’s a much smaller fair, it offers many new features and activities while you can still find the same types of vendors and food stalls.
This year the square design got a new feature where they project laser shows onto the facade of the Basilica building. This new 3D projection allows the visitors to view the show from any angle with 3D glasses. The show happens every day, between 4.30 PM to 10 PM every 30 minutes. The square also features a small ice skating rink in front of the Christmas tree, especially suitable for children. What is also great about these fairs is that you can easily reach many other attractions on foot, like the Chain Bridge or the bank of the Danube. Apart from the main ones, there are many other markets worth visiting: Várkert Bazaar or Castle Garden, located in the Castle district (I) where you can find the folk craft fair and also food trucks, concerts, a small ice rink and various programs for children.
#3 Városligeti Lake Market
We also recommend visiting the biggest open-air ice skating rink which is located on the city park’s lake. Surrounded by the Vajdahunyad castle, the Heroes’ square, and many beautiful buildings, the architecture makes the place astonishing every hour of the day. Even though the vendors’ shops close in January, the ice skating rink stays open until late February.