Christmas Markets in Budapest
By Viator, November 2013
Christmas markets spawn throughout Budapest, each with their own decorative Christmas trees and wooden chalet-style stands offering stocking fillers and local foods. They can be found outside St Stephen’s Basilica, on Franz Liszt Square, in Gozsdu Courtyard, on Deák Ferenc utca, and at Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park, where there are also festive concerts and puppet shows for all the family.
But the main show stopper in Budapest is the bustling Christmas Market in Vörösmarty Square, where more than 120 stalls create a wonderful holiday atmosphere. Gifts for sale include Christmas baubles, handmade wooden puppets, hand-painted ceramics, scented candles and – a special feature for 2013 – delicate flowery embroidered waistcoats and tablecloths from the town of Kalocsa in southern Hungary.
Even though temperatures are crisp, the fragrant and warming aromas of traditional Hungarian delicacies waft through the winter air from the open kitchens around the square. Here’s your chance to sample roast goose, lángos (fried bread topped with melted sour cream and cheese), strudel and hot chocolate spiced with pálinka (Hungarian fruit brandy).
There’s plenty to amuse kids, too; gaily wrapped szaloncukor (chocolate-coated Christmas bonbons) are on sale everywhere and there is a traditional Nativity cribs and a giant advent wreath in the kids’ Varázskert (Magic Garden). An advent calendar adorns the façade of Café Gerbeaud, with the ceremonial opening of each window takes place at 5pm daily, accompanied by a light show, carol singing, and open-air concerts. St Nicholas makes his annual appearance on December 6 and there are puppet shows over the weekends.
Budapest is crammed with people at this time of year so take a walking tour of all the festive celebrations under the guidance of a local expert. See the city kitted out in its Christmas splendour, visit a couple of markets and sample some of Hungary’s finest wines. Wind up your tour with a trip to the Christmas Market in Vörösmarty Square to buy last-minute gifts and sip a glass of heartening, spicy mulled wine.