Christmas vibes in Budapest
During wintertime, Budapest is sugar-coated with Christmas decorations. From Vaci utca to the magical Castle district, the whole city becomes extra special during the holidays.
Christmas markets can be found all over the city, selling everything from hand-crafted ornaments and leather accessories, to food delights such as langos and mulled wine. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, make sure you try their traditional kürtöskalác aka “chimney cake”. It’s a traditional Hungarian specialty cooked on a rolling pin and baked on an open fire and you can get it pretty much anywhere. But my favorite Christmas markets are the ones that line up the street that take you to the Basilica of St. Stephen. The avenue is lined up with beautiful wooden huts and the Basilica square greets you with a festive Christmas tree and small ice rink. But it’s not just Christmas markets and mulled wine that await you during the holiday season, there are many more amazingthings to do in Budapest in wintertime . If you’re into ice skating, be sure to visit the Varosligeti Mujegpaly . Footsteps from Heroes’ Square, this beautiful lake turns into an ice-skating rink in winter, with the Vajdahunyad Castle serving as a backdrop. Just make sure you’re dressed to stay warm – Budapest is windy in winter and temperatures drop below zero!
The must-visit sights in Budapest
I love walking along the banks of the Danube and admiring the stunning monuments that make Budapest such an elegant city. From the Gothic style Hungarian Parliament (which was completely restructured after the bombings in WWII), to the imposing Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion, all the way to the St. Mathias Cathedral, Budapest sure has a lot of amazing monuments to visit. Not to mention, the world-renowned Chain Bridge is the perfect place to get a bird’s eye view of the city. Oh, and did you know Budapest has Europe’s largest Synagogue? To get a 360° view of Budapest, go on Margaret bridge, the second oldest bridge in Budapest, constructed in two parts of 165 degrees. If you’re stopping by in the warmer season, be sure to visit the beautiful Margaret Island, too! Another must-visit is the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House. If you’re in Budapest during the holiday season, be sure to catch The Nutcracker ballet! The construction of the opera house was funded by the City of Budapest and Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. The opera house is currently undergoing some extensive restoration works, so its grand opening is reserved to the end of 2021. In the meantime, all performances will be held at Erkel Theater.
The Budapest restaurants to put on your list
If you want to try the best goulash in town (my Hungarian friend said so), you need to get yourself to Stand 25, situated in Hold utca’s market hall. Reservations are musts! For a mix of Austro-Hungarian cuisine in an elegant and sophisticated restaurant, Pierrot in the Castle District is the one to go! For something more trendy, Deryne Bistrot in the Buda side of the Danube is great for international food and Hungarian and Austrian classics. If you’re craving some great oven-baked pizza, Pomo D’Oro has to be on your radar. For a Michelin-starred experience, Babel in Budapest downtown serves an outstanding selection of Hungarian wines and a classic fine-dining experience. If you’re planning a trip to Budapest and want more information, read my complete travel guide to Budapest , from where to stay, what to see and where to eat and drink.