Searching for somewhere to go once the markets have closed for the evening? Look no further than some of the city’s top nightlife spots – the ruin bars. On a visit to Hungary’s capital, it’s a rite of passage to enjoy a drink in one of these weird and wonderful watering holes.
Sweet market treats
Bit of a sweet tooth? Don’t leave the markets without sampling a kürtőskalács – one of Hungary’s renowned chimney cakes. These sweet and sugary cones are cooked over hot coals until they’re golden brown. Choose to dip it in melted chocolate, powdered cinnamon sugar or desiccated coconut, before filling with whipped cream or ice cream.
Seasonal retail therapy
You don’t just have to stick to the markets when it comes to shopping on a Budapest Christmas market break. Head straight to Váci Street for all your high-street favourites, including Zara and H&M. There are local souvenir shops dotted along this pedestrianised path too, so you can pick up plenty of unique gifts to take home.
Follow the trail of street art
Away from the bright lights of the Christmas market, you can wind your way around the city’s streets to uncover stunning street art. These colourful additions brighten up abandoned and dilapidated buildings, so keep your eyes peeled and see how many you can spot.
Bridge the gap
A whopping eight bridges span the Danube River in Budapest, each with its own unique story to tell. The most famous is the Chain Bridge which is the oldest in the city. It looks especially pretty when it’s lit up at night.
Explore brilliant Buda
Cross over the Danube and you’ll arrive in what was once known as Buda. If you’re on the hunt for history during your break, then this is the place for you. It’s where you’ll find Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church.
Budapest Christmas Markets
Budapest Christmas Markets
The Hungarian capital is teeming with tinkling market stalls and majestic architecture, so you’ve really got it all at your fingertips during a Budapest Christmas market break. Enjoy a cup of mulled wine, a bite of sweet chimney cake and a dash of festive cheer.
Cruise along the Danube
Glide your way down the Danube River and prepare to be spellbound by the wintry scenes surrounding the banks. Although it’ll be chilly, it’s great for all ages. You’ll see all of the main attractions, plus it’s a great way to take a break from the savvy shoppers at the bustling Budapest Christmas markets.
Enchanting afternoon tea
Forget scones and a cup of tea – Budapest ups the ante with cheesecakes, tarts and chocolate-topped cakes with a glass of wine. But if you’re looking for something festive, you’ll have to sink your teeth into sweet chimney cake. Harking from Romania, the chimney-shaped cone is not to be missed.
Hit the ice
Get your skates on and sweep across the extensive white sheet of ice in Budapest City Park. It’s a romantic way to spend an evening, all wrapped up in bobble-hats and scarves, but it’s also a hoot if you’ve got the youngsters in tow. This is one of Europe’s oldest rinks too, so it certainly pulls in the crowds.
Relax and replenish
Boasting some gorgeous thermal baths, Budapest offers spa luxury out of the Christmassy crowds. Széchenyi will leave you glowing, rejuvenated and ready to take on the stalls again. Although it’s usually something for summer, sitting in the sweltering waters mid-winter isn’t half an experience.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
As you pass the city’s trams and continue towards the Danube River, you’ll arrive at St. Stephen’s Basilica. You’ll also find one of Budapest’s Christmas markets here, which offers handmade gifts and a free skating rink in front of the church’s classical domes. The illuminated lights against the building make for a magical sight.
Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market (Nov-Dec)*
Considered one of Europe’s best, Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market is embellished with nativity scenes, handicrafts and a giant fir tree. Wandering the stalls is a feast for the senses, as the scent of cinnamon drifts from steaming cups of wine while you enjoy warm Hungarian honey cookies.
*All dates subject to change.
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Drink in the unrivalled view of Budapest's sweeping skyline from the top of Gellért Hill, 235m up overlooking the Danube. Discover the rich history of this area by exploring the Citadella, or just walk through...
Walk up to the Citadella perched above the city on a hill, and you'll be rewarded with a panoramic view over Budapest, the Danube and its eight bridges. Dating from the 19th century, this grey stone...
Stunning architecture and relaxing waters come together at the Gellért Baths – an Art Nouveau complex that's attached to one of Budapest's grandest old hotels. Hot thermal springs feed into swimming pools of...