If you’re planning on visiting Budapest markets, Christmas is the best time of the year to do so! The season brings some of Europe’s best Christmas markets, scattered throughout the city and drawing thousands of visitors each year.
They offer a festive atmosphere with street food vendors or food trucks, outdoor bars, Christmas lights, a large Christmas tree or two, a massive advent wreath, and fun or exciting activities – like riding on a Ferris wheel. There is no better place to be on Christmas Eve than in Budapest.
There are various markets to choose from, including the St Stephen’s Basilica Advent Feast or Vörösmarty Square’s main Christmas fair.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the Budapest Christmas Markets and plan your own trip to this wonderful city, today!
Budapest Christmas Markets
The dates for the Budapest Christmas Markets tend to differ between locations and may change slightly each year. However, the markets typically run in the holiday season from mid-November to early January.
In 2022, the dates were as follows:
- Advent Obudan – 25 November to 23 December
- Budapest Christmas Fair in Vörösmarty Square – 18 November to 28 December (Main Christmas Market)
- Advent Feast at the Basilica in St Stephen’s Square – 18 November to 1 January
Visiting the official website of each Christmas market can be very helpful. The websites contain the most up-to-date information, market programs and dates, opening hours, and contact information. While the content of these websites is typically written in Hungarian, a simple click of a button will automatically translate the page for your ease of use.
You can visit the official website of the Vörösmarty Square Christmas market here.
You can visit the official website of the Advent Feast at St Stephen’s Basilica here.
You can visit the official website of Advent Óbudán (the Óbuda Christmas Fair) here.
Where to Stay
If you’re planning to visit Budapest for longer than a day during the advent season, you may be struggling to decide which accommodation option would be best for you. To help you decide, we have recommendations for every budget.
Budget-Friendly – Hotel Orion Várkert
This is a great budget hotel located in the heart of Budapest. The charming hotel is found next to Elisabeth Bridge, within walking distance of Castle Hill and the Danube Riverbank. It is also within easy reach of many other major sights due to its central location, making it an excellent place to stay if you plan on visiting Budapest’s Christmas markets.
Rooms feature nice furnishings, air-conditioning, tea and coffee makers, and access to free Wi-Fi. Guests can also make use of complimentary fitness and sauna facilities. The hotel is home to an inviting bar and a modern lobby. There are jogging paths and thermal baths nearby.
The hotel is six kilometers from the Keleti Train Station and twenty-five kilometers from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.
Mid-Range – Roombach Hotek Budapest Center
This is another great hotel in the heart of Budapest, that is perfect for visitors with a slightly bigger budget.
The hotel offers en-suite rooms with flat-screen smart televisions, complimentary air-conditioning, heating, and access to free Wi-Fi. Rooms have private bathrooms with showers, hairdryers, and complimentary toiletries. There are also safes, and some rooms have courtyard views.
The hotel offers breakfast each morning and has a lounge, snack bar, and 24/7 front desk. There are several bars, pubs, and restaurants within walking distance from the hotel, and an underground station about 230 meters away.
Guests can find the Keleti Railway Station two kilometers from the hotel. Seventeen kilometers from the hotel is the Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport.
High-End – Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest
If you’re looking for high-end accommodation in the heart of Budapest, be sure to check out the Kempinski hotel. With modern architecture, several restaurants, an indoor pool, and rooms with air-conditioning, it offers the ultimate luxury during your stay.
The hotel is home to hundreds of contemporary rooms with all the amenities and must-have features that travelers could hope for. The rooms are above-average size, contain contemporary art, and provide access to complimentary Wi-Fi.
Restaurants serve everything from Sushi and Japanese dishes to Viennese and Hungarian fare. There is also a bar and a café, and a daily Á la carte breakfast is provided.
Visitors can make use of the spa or visit the fitness center and sauna free of charge.
It is located just seven hundred meters from St Stephen’s Basilica, making it an ideal location for visiting the Christmas market. There is a nearby underground station and several nearby bus stops.
Locations of Christmas Markets in Budapest
Some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe can be found in Budapest. If you’re planning to vacation in this stunning Hungarian capital during early December or New Year’s Eve, you may be wondering which of the Christmas markets to visit.
Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market
Considered Budapest’s main market, the Christmas market at Vörösmarty tér (square) is the biggest and longest-running in the city. The market offers hundreds of stalls for visitors to browse through. Here, visitors can purchase nearly anything, from local crafts to Hungarian specialties like sausages and goulash.
The market is considered one of Budapest’s most important Christmas markets to visit and is often referred to as the Christmas Fair or Budapesti Karácsonyi Vásár.
Once you’ve finished walking through the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market, you can also stop by the nearby Fashion Street (Deák Ferenc Street) to look at its dazzling Christmas lights.
St Stephen’s Basilica Christmas Market
Another excellent Christmas market in Budapest can be found at St Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István-bazilika). The market is also referred to as the Advent Feast of Basilica (Adventi Ünnep a Bazilikánál) and was voted Europe’s Best Christmas Market by the public in 2019.
It offers a wide range of gift stalls and food vendors, as well as an ice-skating rink, Christmas trees, and glittering festive lights. Every night it projects lights onto the church façade, along with music playing in the background.
If you’re looking for somewhere with a magical atmosphere to celebrate Christmas, this is one of the best Christmas markets to be.
Fő Square (Óbuda’s Central Square)
If you’re visiting Budapest over a weekend, be sure to stop by Óbuda’s Christmas Fair (also referred to as Advent Óbudán or Óbduda Advent). This laid-back, cozy market is a favorite among locals and offers a less touristic atmosphere with fewer people.
This market also includes Christmas specialties, like an ice rink, a craft market, and live musical performances.
While there are many things to be enjoyed at each Budapest Christmas market, one of the main draws is the food. The markets are filled with delectable treats and a wide range of options to choose from.
Here’s a list of our favorite dishes and must-eat local specialties when you visit Budapest during the holidays:
- Lángos with Sour Cream
- Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)
- Mulled Wine (Forralt Bor)
- Apple Strudel (Almás Rétes)
- Potato Pancakes (Tòcsi)
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Töltött Káposzta)
- Fried Sausage
- Goose and Red Cabbage
- Grilled Meats
- Roasted Chestnuts
Besides the delicious food, another great part of visiting a Budapest Christmas market is, of course, the shopping opportunities! There’s no better place to shop for presents before Christmas day.
Some of the souvenirs you can expect to find for sale at a Budapest Christmas market include:
- Christmas Ornaments
- Nativity Scene Sculptures
- Handmade Toys
- Chocolate and Marzipan
- Gingerbread cookies
- Cured Meats
Budapest Christmas Markets FAQs
Why are they called Chimney Cakes?
The Hungarian name for chimney cakes (Kürtőskalács) comes from the word “kürtő”, which means stovepipe. They are named so because the cone shape of a fresh, hot chimney cake resembles a smoking chimney.
Do the Christmas markets have free entry?
Admission is free for all the Christmas markets in Budapest, which means that the only extra cost will be determined by you and these events can easily be enjoyed on a budget.
What is the Buda Castle?
This is a historical palace complex and castle that was once used by Hungarian Kings who lived in the city. It dates back to the mid-1700s and contains architecture from the Baroque, Medieval, and Art Nouveau styles.
It is also often the site of a Budapest Christmas market during the holiday season.
Is Hungary the best vacation destination in Central Europe?
Budapest in Hungary is often considered one of the best vacation destinations in Central Europe. Other popular destinations include Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Switzerland.