The Christmas season in Budapest is truly the most beautiful and a delightful sensory experience of the year: full of colours, festive sounds, and enticing smells. From mid-November through December, the city comes to life as outdoor holiday markets pop-up throughout the town selling arts and crafts, unique locally-produced souvenirs, clothing and so much more. Even if you don’t plan to do much shopping, the atmosphere is fun and many markets offer fantastic seasonal foods and warm drinks. Here is our list of the best Christmas Fairs and Markets in Budapest:
Advent Feast at the St. Stephen’s Basilica
Next to the Aria Hotel Budapest, Szent István Square hosts one of the prettiest and most centrally-located holiday markets in Budapest. In wintertime a miniature ice rink is installed before St. Stephen’s Basilica, centered by a tall Christmas tree to create a magical atmosphere. Small seasonal stalls offer one-of-a-kind festive items including decorative goods, holiday gifts, local foods and drinks. On the first Sunday of Advent, visitors are invited to the spectacular opening and candle-lighting ceremony in front of Saint Stephen’s Basilica.
Christmas Market St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest (photo: Budapest Christmas)
The Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival at Vörösmarty Square
Vörösmarty Square, a lovely plaza in the heart of the city, turns into a festive market place beginning November 11th. The Square is in the heart of the city at the end of Váci utca, right in front of the prestigious Gerbeaud Coffee House. The market is an essential part of the Christmas season as it was listed among the ten prettiest Christmas markets in Europe and is extremely popular among Hungarians as well as visitors from around the world.
Christmas Market Vörösmarty Square, Budapest (photo: BudapestInfo)
Fashion Street Advent in Deák Ferenc Street
Located in the heart of the city, Fashion Street is Middle Eastern Europe’s most prestigious shopping and lifestyle destination. The open event awaits even the smallest visitors with beautiful lights and Christmas goodies.
Advent Market in Gozsdu Court
Gozsdu Udvar (meaning “Gozsdu Courtyard” in Hungarian) consists of seven buildings and a passage formed by six interconnected courtyards, which once played a very important part in the life of Budapest’s Jewish community. Located between Király Street and Dob utca, Gozsdu Advent & Christmas Market is perhaps the only market in town, where not only Christmas but Hannukah can be celebrated too.
Gozsdu Court, Budapest (photo: welovebudapest)
Advent in the Castle Garden Bazaar
Várkert Bazaar is Budapest’s unique jewelry bow, a newly restored neo-Renaissance building complex on the side of the hill that goes from the Buda riverfront up to the Royal Palace. The Várkert hosts a colourful series of programs on four Sundays preceding Christmas, between November 29th and December 24th. The most spectacular attraction of the event will be Europe’s largest Advent candles installation created by the Hello Wood international art project in front of the Bazaar.
Várkert Bazaar, Budapest (photo: welovebudapest)
Advent on the Citadella:
This special Christmas fair at the Citadel boasts the most beautiful views of Budapest. The advent market starts on November 28th and ends on January 10th.
Citadella, Budapest (photo: travelfrost.blogspot.com)
Did you know? No Hungarian Christmas tree is complete without shiny pieces of szaloncukor (chocolates wrapped in colorful foil wrappers) covering it. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, szaloncukor is sold by the kilogram and is available everywhere, from street vendors to fancier shops and bakeries.