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Ways to Celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in Budapest


Ways to Celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in Budapest
Hi, I'm Mandy!

Mandy Hegarty is a writer who specializes in food and travel. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland, she’s previously lived in New York, London, and Montreal. She has written for the likes of Time Out New York, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines.

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Hi, I'm Mandy!

Mandy Hegarty is a writer who specializes in food and travel. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland, she’s previously lived in New York, London, and Montreal. She has written for the likes of Time Out New York, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines.

see more

With festive lights, Christmas markets, frozen lakes, and the smell of cinnamon-spiced mulled wine wafting through the air, Budapest is a magical place to spend Christmas and New Year’s. Here are a few ways to make the most of your festive stay in the Hungarian capital.

See the city illuminated

Budapest is especially beautiful at Christmas. Photo: BellisiMo / Shutterstock

Budapest is spectacular at Christmas.

During the holiday season, Budapest’s landmarks twinkle majestically after nightfall. Andrássy Avenue positively glitters throughout December, as do some of Budapest’s trams, which are decorated with thousands of LED fairy lights to mark the yuletide season.

Cruise the Danube

Watch the New Year's Eve fireworks from the comfort of a Danube cruise. Photo: Samuel Adam Freundlich / Shutterstock

Admire the city from the water.

Some of the best views of Budapest are from the Danube River. River cruises depart throughout the festive season, offering front-row views of the floodlit banks of Hungary’s capital, as well as dinner and drinks. Opt for New Year’s Eve dinner cruises and toast the evening with sparkling wine, dance to live music, and watch from the upper deck as fireworks light up the sky and the revelers at riverside street parties celebrate the arrival of the new year.

Shop at Christmas markets

Be sure to buy some decorations at the Budapest Christmas markets. Photo: vitfoto / Shutterstock

And stock up on seasonal treats and decorations.

Christmas markets are an annual tradition in Budapest. During the month of December, squares across the city—including the central Vörösmarty Square—fill with vendors selling handmade toys, gifts, and souvenirs, as well as mulled wine, roast chestnuts, and kürtőskalács (chimney cake)—a sweet cylindrical dough treat sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, or nuts.

Catch a Christmas concert

Matthias Church is just one place you can catch a seasonal concert in Budapest. Photo: Buffy1982 / Shutterstock

Get in the festive spirit.

Budapest is renowned for its cultural—and, in particular, its musical—offerings. Attending a classical music performance is an excellent way to while away cold winter evenings. Over the Christmas period you’ll find a packed calendar of concerts, ranging from chamber orchestra performances of Vivaldi and Strauss works to solo piano shows, taking place in venues such as the neobaroque Danube Palace.

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See all Budapest tours
905 tours & tickets
Things to do in Budapest
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10 of the Best Cities for Music Lovers Around the World
10 of the Best Cities for Music Lovers Around the World