Christmas Markets and Ice Skating in Budapest

Date: 2 December, 2015
Christmas Markets and Ice Skating in Budapest
Eating your way into a cheese coma while donning a mulled wine jacket is the perfect ways to participate in the holiday festivities. From the end of November, clusters of winter villages populate cities throughout Europe, and the Hungarian capital of Budapest is one not to shy away from the merrymaking. The city centre comes alive during the holiday season when the Christmas lights turn on, markets set up shop, and ice skating rinks open. So, if you're lucky enough to be visiting Budapest during Christmas time, make sure you tickle your festive feels by getting wonderfully lost amongst the happy holiday huts. Here are our top 4 Budapest Christmas markets and our choice for the perfect ice skating date:

Városháza Park

Where: Budapest, Károly krt
When: 21st November – January 3rd
Open Monday – Thursday 14.00 – 20.00, Friday – Sunday 10.00 – 22.00
Entrance: Free


Via Instagram - Britt.eidem

The Winter Festival in Városháza Park comes to life during the Christmas period with an abundance of edible, musical and artistic treats. Providing an enchanting atmosphere with an ice rink, an enormous Christmas tree and a life-size nativity scene, the festival is an idyllic place for a winter stroll and a indulge in local gastronomy. Renowned for its handmade souvenirs and trinkets, the market is also perfect if you're looking for an authentic gift to put under your tree. Situated next to Deák Ferenc Square, you can also take a wander to the Glass House, a venue playing host to various music, culture and literature events throughout the week.

Erzsébet Square

Where: 1051 Budapest, Erzsébet Square
When: 27th November –  23rd December
Open Monday – Friday 10.00 – 20.00, Friday – Sunday 10.00-22.00
Entrance: Free


Via Instagram - Akvariumklub

For an afternoon of festive feasting, head to Erzsébet Square for the biggest gastro-themed Christmas fair in Budapest. Home to a number of local and international vendors, you can tuck into local delicacies like Goulash soup with prunes, Jeruselum artichoke cake and flódni (a traditional Jewish cake made with poppy seeds, walnuts and a plum filling). Alongside these Hungarian winter warmers, you can sample festive treats such as white hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts, fried apple and speciality cheeses. And if you're still feeling merry after a few cups of mulled wine, check out Akvárium Klub, the underground nightclub on Erzsébet square hosting gigs and club nights throughout the festive period. To extend the festivities, you can also join our Pub crawl starting at Akvárium Klub.

Vörösmarty Square

Where: 1051 Budapest, Vörösmarty tér
When: 28th November - 31st December
Open Monday – Friday 10.00 – 20.00, Friday – Sunday 10.00-22.00
Entrance: Free


Via Instagram - aryjoves

Vörösmarty square transforms into a quaint wooden village and a bustling live music venue over Christmas time. Nestled in the heart of the city, the square is home to 122 stalls selling high quality folk art, as well as two enormous stages providing over 200 programs of entertainment. Kicking off on weekdays from 17.00-20.00 and on Weekends between 11.00 - 21.00, there will be an eclectic mix of folk, blues, soul and world music acts, as well as an exciting line-up of festive dance performances. For those looking for a hearty Hungarian feed, you can find chefs on the terrace serving up traditional dishes: stuffed cabbage, roasted goose thigh and roasted pork knuckle. What's more, if you are planning to stay in Budapest over Christmas and New Years, the market will be open on Christmas day and Boxing day from 10.00-18.00 and on January 1 from 11.00-22.00 (food and beverage vendors only).

Gozsdu Udvar

Where: 1075 Budapest, Király utca 13.
When: 28th November - 23rd December
Open Monday – Friday 10.00 – 20.00, Friday – Sunday 10.00-22.00
Entry: Free


Via Instagram, _Katszer

The Gozsdu Udvar market illuminates the downtown section of Budapest with colourful lights and a swirling concoction of rich aromas. Located between Király Street and Dob Street, the market is an ideal place to find some vintage, retro and antique bargains. Spread across the interconnected courtyards, expect lashings of Christmas sparkle with a five-metre-high Christmas tree, a small railway and a carousel. Being one of the only markets in town to celebrate Hannukkah, the Jewish holiday between December 6th and 14th, the market features traditional doughnuts, menorahs and a traditional Hannukkah bench during this time.

City Park Ice rink

Where: 1146 Budapest, Olof Palme sétány 5
When: 25th November - Mid-February
Open Monday to Friday from – 09.00 – 13.00 and 17.00 to 21.00
Saturday from - 10.00 – 14.00 and 16.00 – 21.00
Sunday from - 10.00 – 14.00 and 16.00- 20.00
Entry: Day rates start at 1,000HUF


Via Instagram - d3m3tto

Whether slow and wobbly or sleek and speedy, ice skating during the Christmas period is the best way to fuel the festive feeling. To experience one the oldest and most picturesque ice rinks in Europe, head to City Park near Heroes' square and glide past some of Budapest's most prestigious landmarks. For a day of skating, tickets cost 1,000 Forints on Mondays and Tuesdays, 1,500 from Wednesday to Friday and 2,000 over the weekend. Skate rentals are available on site.

Draped with colourful lights and bustling Christmas markets, the festive charm of Budapest undoubtedly adds extra sparkle to the city. Ideal for backpacking on a budget, the markets are a fun and affordable way to experience the fairy-tale whirlwind of a Hungarian Christmas without breaking the bank. Boasting a wide selection of winter wonderlands that brim with food stalls, folk art and live music, the markets in Budapest are enough to encourage even the biggest of Scrooges to get into the Christmas spirit. Happy Holidays!
Kayleigh Head 
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