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Budapest in Winter – How you can Spend a Magical Vacation in Budapest

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I like Budapest in winter! Particularly through the vacation season when tinsel garlands, Christmas wreaths, and sparkly ornaments flip town right into a winter wonderland. Shops costume up with lights to create a magical expertise for consumers, accommodations welcome their company with eye-popping Christmas bushes, and meals kiosks lure you in with the scent of scorching apple strudel and chestnuts. In all places you flip it’s a vacation feeling!

Many individuals worry that winter might not be the perfect time to journey to Europe, however let me inform you: Budapest is likely one of the finest European cities to go to in December! The most effective place to go if you wish to really feel the vacation spirit!


Winter in Budapest is usually thought-about from December to February, with shoulder months in November and March. The typical temperature in December is between 1ºC and 4ºC (33º to 40ºF), however it will get colder in January.

Like most locations in Europe that have a winter season, Budapest tends to be chilly and grey in winter, with solely occasional sunny days.

Winter weather in Budapest
Winter climate in Budapest

December and January are normally dry months in Budapest, with little or no snow. However that shouldn’t put you off. Even when snow doesn’t cowl the bottom there’s nonetheless a festive ambiance on the town.


Winters could also be chilly in Budapest, however the metropolis’s busy life doesn’t come to a halt. There’s loads to see and do in Budapest right now of yr. And since there are fewer vacationers, it is a nice time to go to the Hungarian capital.

1. Go Ice skating on the out of doors rink within the Metropolis Park

There are numerous locations the place you may have enjoyable in Budapest in winter, however if you wish to keep energetic head to the favored Out of doors Ice Rink within the Metropolis Park. The large open-air rink counts itself among the many high 10 finest locations in to go ice skating in Europe.

Things to do in Budapest in winter: Ice Skating
The Ice Skating Rink on the Metropolis Park in Budapest

You don’t know how one can skate? No worries, you may study right here and it’s by no means too late to start out.

Admission costs are: 1,000 HUF ($3.50) for kids and 1,500 HUF ($5.25) for adults. The Ice Rink is open between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., from November until mid February.

2. Soak in one of many thermal baths in Budapest

Considered one of my favourite issues to do in Budapest in winter is soak in a thermal tub. As a result of they’re fed by pure springs wealthy in calcium, magnesium, and fluoride, Budapest baths have nice therapeutic and cleaning properties. 

soaking in the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest in winter
Szechenyi Baths in Budapest in winter

My winter favourite is the Szechenyi Baths which characteristic Three out of doors heated swimming pools. It could be freezing exterior and snow could also be falling, however the steaming, thermal water invitations you to attempt the expertise. It’s a simultaneous sensation of cold and hot that leaves you with a wholesome feeling afterwards. One thing you’ll undoubtedly should attempt.

Gellert Baths in Budapest
Gellert Baths in Budapest

Different fashionable thermal baths to go to in Budapest are the Gellert, close to Fortress Hill, Kiraly, or Lukacs Baths. They every have very totally different characters and a few characteristic swimming pools with varied water temperatures, saunas, therapeutic massage and spa therapies.

Admission costs differ between 12 Euros to 22 Euros (16-28 USD), relying on the baths and the package deal. The baths are open from 9am to 7pm each week day. Szechenyi Baths has prolonged hours on Saturdays and Sundays through the summer time.

3. Heat up with some mulled wine on the Budapest Christmas Markets

There isn’t a higher place to benefit from the vacation spirit in Budapest than the energetic Christmas Markets across the metropolis. And if you wish to beat the chilly winter climate, seize bag of roasted chestnuts and a cup of mulled wine. This provides you with loads of vitality to walk by the numerous stalls stuffed with items, native crafts, and confectionaries.

Strolling through Budapest Christmas markets in winter
Strolling by Budapest Christmas markets

The largest Christmas Market in Budapest takes place on Vörösmarty sq., proper on the finish of the pedestrian Váci Utca. However there are additionally others value visiting, like the comfortable one in entrance of St. Stephen Basilica, or the one in Óbuda, the place the locals go.

Christmas market in Budapest
Christmas market in Budapest

Opening hours: Christmas Markets in Budapest are open between 10 am – 8pm on weekdays, and from 10 am – 10 pm on weekends.

4. Attempt some conventional Hungarian meals on the Grand Central Market

Nagy Vásárcsarnok (the Nice Market Corridor) is a should if you’re in Budapest. The market is well-known for its nice number of native meals and recent produce. From fish, recent meat, smoked sausages, chilly cuts and baked items, you will discover all the pieces your coronary heart needs right here! 

Trying Hungarian Food
Hungarian Meals on the Grand Central Market

On the second flooring of the market are some stand-up counters serving conventional Hungarian dishes and wines. It’s exhausting to withstand the scent of the home-made meals and freshly baked strudels that tickle your nostril!

Langos, a delicious Hungarian food in Budapest
Langos, one of the scrumptious Hungarian meals

Nice Central Market is the perfect place to cease and heat up from inside out. Not hungry? Consider me, simply the sight of all of the goodies within the stalls will make your abdomen growl! And don’t miss the well-known lángos, which they fry proper earlier than your eyes.

Opening hours: the market is open from 6 am – 6 pm on weekdays, and from 6 am – Three pm on Saturday. Sunday the market is closed.

5. Watch The Nutcracker ballet on the Budapest Opera Home

Watching The Nutcracker ballet at Christmas time turned as a lot of a practice as caroling, or adorning the tree. Christmas is simply not Christmas with out it, so if you’re visiting Budapest in December, don’t miss watching a efficiency on the Hungarian Opera Home.

Watching the Nutcracker ballet at the Budapest Opera in winter
The Nutcracker Ballet

The Opera Home is likely one of the most spectacular cultural venues in Budapest. The well-known constructing exceeds for my part the fantastic thing about the opera in Vienna, after which it was modeled. 

Budapest Opera House
Budapest Opera Home

Admission costs are between: 2,990 HUF – 18,000 HUF ($10 – $62) per particular person. Admission is free for kids underneath the age of 6.

6. Deal with your self to a Kürtőskalács (chimney cake)

Okurtoskalács (or ‘chimney cake’) is a must have, whether or not you go to Budapest in summer time or in winter. This Hungarian candy deal with (a strip of dough wrapped round a spit and slowly cooked over a hearth) is offered at many stalls all through town. You’ll additionally discover it at any of the Christmas Markets on the town.

Eating chimney cake in Budapest in winter
Kürtőskalács (chimney cake)

It’s exhausting to withstand the temptation of the sugary aroma that scents the air across the cake kiosks! More often than not you’ll discover a queue for the chimney cake, however don’t hand over. It’s value attempting it.

7. Get pleasure from a winter wonderland on the Metropolis Park

If you’re fortunate to get recent snow in Budapest, there is no such thing as a higher place to take pleasure in a real winter wonderland than the Metropolis Park.

Budapest City Park in Winter
Budapest Metropolis Park in Winter

The park – which lies only a few steps from the Heroes’ Sq. – is residence to a group of replicas of well-known medieval constructions from Hungary and the area of Transylvania, in Romania. Essentially the most stunning one is the duplicate of the Vajdahunyad Fortress in Romania.

Replica of the Vajdahunyad Castle in the City Park
Reproduction of the Vajdahunyad Fortress

Admission to the Metropolis Park is free, apart from the time when the park hosts Budapest festivals.

8. Stroll alongside the terrace of the Fisherman’s Bastion

The Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya, in Hungarian) – is arguably the preferred attraction within the Previous City Budapest. The stronghold derived its identify from the guild of fishermen who have been accountable for defending this space within the Center Ages. 

Fishermen's Bastion in Winter
Fishermen’s Bastion in winter

The Fishermen’s Bastion terrace was constructed as a viewing platform after the Siege of Budapest, when Buda Fortress misplaced its navy significance. Strolling across the platform is gorgeous even in winter, as from up right here you get probably the most improbable view of Budapest.

view of the frozen River Danube in Budapest
Budapest in winter

READ NEXT: What You Ought to Know About Hungarians Earlier than You Journey to Hungary

9. Heat up with some pálinka at Budapest’s Wreck Pubs

One of the crucial weird (but enjoyable) locations to go to in Budapest are the Wreck Bars. This chain of quirky pubs and nightclubs opened in 2004 in some deserted and dilapidated buildings in Budapest’s District VII.

The Ruin Pubs in Budapest
The Wreck Pubs in Budapest

As soon as the positioning of the Jewish ghetto, this space of Budapest turned derelict within the many years following World Conflict II, after the deportation of the Jews. The one construction that survived decay within the ghetto was the Jewish Synagogue.

The bohemian, crumbling taverns are a spot to heat up with a conventional pálinka or some mulled wine.

Opening hours are 12 pm – Four a.m. Monday by Friday and 9:00 a.m. to Four a.m. Saturday & Sunday.

10. Attend a Christmas Live performance at St. Matthias Church

One of the crucial enchanting issues to do in Budapest in December is take pleasure in a Christmas Live performance in one of many many church buildings on the town. For a extra grandiose expertise you may attend a live performance within the St. Istvan Basilica, on the Pest aspect of Budapest.

However if you’d like a extra intimate expertise, I like to recommend the attractive Neo-Gothic Matthias Church within the Buda Fortress District.

Attending a Christmas Concert at St. Matthias Church
Christmas Live performance at St. Matthias Church

Matthias Church is one in every of Budapest’s oldest and most beloved church buildings and an attraction in itself. The church served because the coronation place for all of the Hungarian kings. 

St. Matthias Church in winter
St. Matthias Church in Budapest in winter

On the higher stage of the church there’s a small museum actually value visiting.

11. Sip a cup of Sisi cave at Café Gerbeaud

Situated in Vörösmarty Sq., Café Gerbeaud is one in every of Budapest’s most well-known espresso homes and the one place the place you may style the well-known Sisi cave (Sisi espresso).

This opulent café was the assembly place for Budapest elite of the 19th century, together with Sissy, the Queen of Hungary and spouse of Emperor Franz Joseph. Therefore the identify of the well-known espresso which was the Queen’s favourite.

Café Gerbeaud in Budapest
Café Gerbeaud

As we speak the legendary Gerbeaud turned a bit of touristy. Nonetheless, if you wish to see one of the conventional espresso homes in Europe, it’s best to cease for a go to. The grandeur of Gerbeaud’s chandelier-lit rooms coated with inexperienced and pink velvet is paying homage to its outdated glory.

12. Go Christmas buying on Váci Utca

Budapest’s most well-known pedestrian avenue – Váci Utca – lights up in winter like no different. The fantastically adorned shops and constructing façades make Váci Utca a fantastic place to stroll.

Váci Utca in winter
Váci Utca in winter

Wile I wouldn’t suggest any of the eating places on this space, you’ll discover some good shops shops on this avenue.

Christmas decorations in the window on Vaci utca
Window on Vaci Utca

13. Trip the Christmas trams

A few of the streetcars in Budapest flip very festive in December. The trams are coated with hundreds of hundreds of LED lights, making touring merry in Budapest.

The Christmas tram in Budapest
(Picture courtesy of BKK)

Tram #2 enjoys probably the most panoramic route, operating alongside the River Danube. Moreover tram line 2, equally glittering streetcars will present up alongside different traces in Budapest, together with trams 19, 41, and 69.

To journey on the Budapest Christmas Streetcar you should utilize your Budapest Card or public transport journey go. For extra info on operating occasions and schedule try this web site.

14. Watch the fireworks on New Yr’s Eve

Whereas there are not any “official” New Yr’s Eve fireworks in Budapest, many suburban municipalities and native residents shoot off their very own celebrations. The most effective place to see fireworks is up on Gellert Hill, on the Buda aspect of Budapest.

New Year's Eve Fireworks in Budapest
New Yr’s Eve Fireworks in Budapest (picture credit score: Pixabay)

As for New Yr’s Eve avenue celebrations, the world of Váci utca, Erszebet ter, and the Jewish Quarters will probably be full of people that have fun far into the morning hours.

15. Take a dinner cruise on the Danube

If you wish to make your vacation particular, I can’t consider a greater factor than a dinner cruise on the Danube. It’s an attractive approach to see town at evening. We normally

Dinner cruise on the Danube
Dinner cruise on the Danube

My husband and I took one for Christmas Ever one yr and completely beloved it. That they had a very nice stay band and greeted us with glowing wine as quickly as we arrived on board. Dinner was buffet model, however meals was good.

The cruise takes about Three hours and costs are from €65 per particular person.


If you’re headed to Budapest in winter, you’ll have to think about packing heat garments which can be additionally trendy. Individuals costume properly in Europe, so model issues. Additionally, dressing in layers is essential. However though it’s chilly on the streets, contained in the buildings it’s fairly heat, so that you’ll be taking off or placing on layers until you’re feeling snug.

Dressing for winter

To begin with think about a heavy hooded coat, or a packable down jacket for girls, or a parka for males. You’ll additionally want wool sweaters, lengthy sleeve shirts or turtlenecks, an excellent pair of gloves and a heat knit or fur hat. Exterior temperatures might differ between +2º to -7ºC, typically even colder, so that you’ll want to decorate warmly.

Carry additionally some thermal undergarments to put on underneath your denims, like this Fleece Line Lengthy Johns Set for males, or this Thermal Microfiber Smooth Fleece Set for girls.

Footwear can be essential. Contemplate a strong pair of waterproof boots that may preserve your heat and dry, even when snows.

Packing all these winter garments in only a carry-on will probably be a bit of troublesome, however it’s not inconceivable. I personally choose to journey with a checked bag in winter as a result of I all the time take an additional pair of trainers/footwear with me. Moreover, I like to depart some room in my baggage in case I do some buying.

Planning a visit to Budapest in winter? Learn subsequent:
Budapest Journey Suggestions and Sensible Data for First Time Guests
Attention-grabbing Issues About Budapest That You Could Not Know

Winter festivities in Budapest

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