Holiday Fairs at Various Venues
Come and explore our favourite Christmas Markets in Budapest, especially that the Hungarian capital was voted the most affordable Christmas Market destination in Europe by the British Daily Mail!
Apart from the best-known festive fair on Vörösmarty Square, the city has some other fabulous markets with
- unique craft products,
- tasty local food and drinks as well as
- great programs.
Admission is free to all events.
I love strolling in the Budapest with our 2 boys (aged 6 and 13) during the Advent period when the streets and squares take on festive decor and lighting and we try to drop by each major Xmas fair.
Here’s our list.
Quick Links: Vörösmarty Square – Deák Ferenc Street (Fashion Str.) – New: Advent in City Park – St. Stephen’s Basilica – Városháza Park – Whale (Bálna) – Várkert Bazaar – Király Utca-Central Passage – Gozsdu Court – Allee Shopping Centre – Advent in Óbuda
Location: Vörösmarty tér, district V., M1 underground (yellow line), M1, M2, M3 metro lines: Deák tér station or tram 2 Széchenyi tér stop: a couple of minutes walk from both stops
Date: 09. November 2018 – 01. January 2019.
This is the most popular holiday fair in Budapest with a central location on a plaza in front of the Gerbeaud Coffee House.
Around 100 stalls are set up around the slender Christmas tree that is decorated with different colours of ornaments each year.
Concerts, craft and play house for children, the visit of Santa Claus on 6. December, delicious food:
- stuffed cabbage,
- grilled meats and sausages,
- flat bread (lepény) baked in clay oven,
- Sekler cake, beigli, flódni and other sweets,
- fragrant winter beverages (mulled wine, krampampuli, grog, tea) are the best features of this holiday bazaar.
A varied program, folk, jazz, world music, soul, blues, crossover concerts offer entertainment on the centre stage between 17.00-20.00 on weekdays and between 16.00 – 20.00 on weekends.
TIP: Check out our list of hotels located within walking distance to Vörösmarty Square.
See our photos taken on the 2018. Xmas Market.
Christmas Market in Fashion Street/Deák Ferenc Street
You can do two markets in one visit because Fashion Street (Deák Ferenc utca) that cuts through Vörösmarty Square also hosts one: with a Christmas tree installation in front of the Hotel Kempinski Corvinus.
All sorts of
- food and drink offers,
- Sekler Cake (kürtöskalács) andother pastries,
- oven-baked flat bread with delicious toppings and of course
- pottery, ceramics,
- embroidered folk textiles to tempt you to open open your wallet.
And right after a walk along Fashion Street you can head to the Basilica on St. Stephen Square…
Erzsébet Square – Christmas Market
You will find a small holiday market along the Western side of Erzsébet tér.
- Chimney cake (kürtős kalács),
- beigli and other local cakes, pastries, Christmas specialties,
- street food by Montenegro Gourmand (pljeskavica, cevap),
- mulled wine, tea and coffee our the main offer here.
Besides food you can buy fur hats, scarfs, postcards and other nick nacks here.
Date: 23. November 2018 – 01. January 2019.
- Mon – Fri: 11:00 – 22:00,
- Sat – Sun: 10:00 – 22:00,
- December 24.: 10:00 – 14:00,
- Dec 25. and 26.: CLOSED,
- December 31.: 10:00 – 22:00
The spacious Szt. István Square in front of the Basilica gives home to an Advent Festival and Christmas Market from 23. November till the beginning of the New Year (01/01/2019).
No other venue can be more fitting to a festive Christmas fair than the St. Stephen’s Basilica in downtown Budapest.
The four and half week long event offers plenty of entertainment besides special artisan gifts for your loved ones.
Our sons especially love the 200 sqrm ice skating rink that is free for children.
Training is available on weekends: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, free for kids aged 4-14 years.
- Handmade chocolate bonbons,
- leather gloves,
- design jewelry,
- strawberry wine,
- Csabai salami and
- more to see, buy and taste on the market.
This year you also can enjoy a spectacular light show on the facade of the Basilica in the evenings every 30 minutes.
The fair will be bigger than previous years: Budapest’s best street food vendors will offer delicacies in Zrínyi utca from Sas utca to Széchenyi tér.
You can have:
- gourmet burgers by Zing Burger,
- salted kürtöskalács (chimney cake)
- BBQ specialties
- fried cheese burgers by Paneer,
- burgers, grilled sausages by KIOSK (a popular downtown restuarant on Március 15. tér)
Programs of the Christmas Market at the Basilica
You can visit the following programs and events:
- Opening Ceremony of the Market – 02. December at 16.00: the first light on the Advent Wreath next to the Christmas tree will be lighted and the occasion is also the official opening of the holiday fair.
- Light Painting this year in 3D- spectacular light show and animation with festive themes every day from 16.30 till 22.00. Put on 3D glasses available at the market (or you can use your own) and enjoy the visual show!
- Folk Dance – Performance by the Göncöl Folk Ensemble – Hungarian Dances Flash Mob performance in front of the Basilica
- Awaiting Santa Claus – 06 December (at 12.00 – 16.00 and 17.00 – 18.00): well-known local people will dress up and play Santa with story telling and singing.
Date: 23. November – 28. December 2018
Location: Városháza park, district V., city centre (M1, M2, M3 metro lines, Deák F. tér station, a short walk from there)
A Winter Festival organised for the third time this year offering a rich selection of cultural programs besides an Xmas Fair of hand-crafted goods and foodie goodies.
Dance ensembles, school groups from various parts of Hungary will come and show authentic Christmas traditions characteristic of the locale they live in.
Concerts, festive theatrical performances, several charity events and other programs will be staged in the Theatre Tent.
One of the country’s tallest Christmas Tree (16 m) will be erected in the centre of the festival.
Find out more about Advent and Winter Festival in Városháza Park.
Date: 01 – 31. December 2018
Address: Fővám tér 11-12., tram 2 or M4 (green metro) Fővám tér stop
The steel and glass entertainment and shopping centre called Bálna/Whale on the Pest side of the river is is an ideal place for a Christmas-themed event.
The terrace offers amazing views of the Danube and the Buda side that you can enjoy while listening to
- jazz & blues concerts (free),
- sipping hot wine or
- wandering around the stalls of merchants.
A 450 sqm Ice Rink awaits with amazing panorama which is free for everyone. Skate rental is available for 1 000 HUF/3 hours.
Opening Hours of the Ice Rink
(till 28. February 2018.)
- Mon – Thurs: 10.00 – 14.00, 15.00 – 22.00,
- Fri-Sat: 10.00 – 14.00, 15.00 – 24.00
- Sun: 10.00 – 14.00, 15.00 – 22.00
Christmas-New Year Opening Hours
- 24. December: 10.00 – 14.00
- 25 -26. December: Closed
- 31. December: 10.00 – 14.00, 15.00 – 18.00
- 01. January: Closed
Free ice rink with Disco from 18.00 every day.
St. Nicholas Day (Mikulás in Hungarian) on 6th December is one of the most awaited days of the year by children in Hungary because Mikulás (the local equivalent of Santa Claus) brings them small gifts, mostly sweets and fruits in a red packet.
If you have children you can await Santa at the Whale on on 03. and 04, December with programs starting from 15.00.
TIP: Find out about some great Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day Programs in Budapest: festive concerts with dance performances, boat party and many more.
Date: Sundays in December 2018 (02., 09., 16., 23. Dec)
Address: Ybl Miklós tér 2-6., district I.
The Castle Garden Bazaar at the Buda side of the Danube will host a Advent programs with
- folk craft fair,
- food trucks,
- a small ice rink
- free children programs each Sunday.
This is perhaps the most scenic Christmas fair in the city at the foot of the castle Hill overlooking the Danube and the Pest side.
After looking around the craft market you sure will be tempted by the tasty street food offered by the trucks: from local specialties (Kobe Sausages) to international favourites (burgers, piadina, waffels, pancakes) and hot drinks, the choice is ample.
Children Programs on Sundays (FREE), 11.00 – 19.00
Advent Craft Workshop:
- making gifts, ornaments,
- decorating gingerbread,
- lighting the candles on the Advent wreath
Concerts, Other Programs:
- Sleeping Beauty by the Hungarian National Folk Ensemble on 04. December/Sunday at 17.00
- Erika Miklósa & the Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, 11. December, 19.00-21.00 (tickets: 4 900-7 900 HUF).
- Choir Festival on weekends: 04., 10., 11., 17., 18. December – open-air Christmas concerts by children and adult choirs in Lánchíd utca
Location: Városliget/City Park (next to Heroes’ Sqr.)
Opening Hours: 09 – 21.00 every day, including 24-25-26 December and 01. January
Budapest’s popular leisure park, the Városliget will be decked out for the seasonal holidays and welcomes everyone with
- craft market,
- food and drinks,
- exciting family programs,
- and special surprises for the little ones (free to attend).
You can says farewell to 2018 and toast to 2019 on a fantastic rock’n’roll street party on New Year’s Eve.
In January the Advent Fair will turn into a New Year Market and will be on till 12. Januray 2019.
Location: Gozsdu Udvar, Király utca 13.-Dob utca 16., district VII., M1., M2., M3 metros Deák tér station
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Friday: 12.00 – 19.00, Sat-Sun: 10.00 – 19.00 (closed on Mon, Tues)
The party hot spot of the city hosts the weekly Gouba Designer & Antique Market: a place to get some nice, quality antique, vintage, retro, and design products.
In December the place turns into a festive market where you sure can pick up some unique gifts for your loved ones. See more on their website.
Address: Király utca 8-10., district VI.
Dates: 09., 16. December, at 11.00 – 18.00
The weekly Közös Piac Farmers’ Market is my favourite place to shop for quality homemade food stuff (cheese, bakery, sausage, ham, biscuits, chocolate, herbs, hot paprika paste, jams and preserves etc..
I’ll sure will drop by in December when the place turns into a festive fair with a wide range of producers, craft food makers, designers at present each Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 till 18.00.
The good things is that the Passage is covered and heated providing protection from the cold wintry weather.
Although I love the market because of the food, it also a great place to get other goodies on the joint events organised together with the Farmers’ Market:
- designer clothes,
- jewelry and
- other accessories on the DIP Design Passage.
Date: 23. November – 24. December 2018. Every day: 10.00 – 20.00
The small pedestrian street next to the Allee Shopping Mall also hosts a Christmas fair each year.
You will find nothing surprising at the vendors: clothes, accessories, gifts and knick-knacks, and the usual fair-staples: honey, jams, pálinka, mulled wine, flat bread/bread pizza.
Date: 30. November – 23. December 2018
Christmas Market Gastro promenade opening hours: Mon – Thurs: 14.00 – 21.00, Fri – Sun: 10.00 – 22.00
Although Óbuda (Old Buda), district III. of Budapest, is a bit out of the city centre, it is worth going to to the festive Advent fair that is starting on 01. December.
The event is held on the district’s charming Main Square with a tall Christmas tree standing in the centre but programs are also held on Szentlélek tér, a square at 2-minute walk from Main Sqr..
Genuine handmade artifacts, fragrant Christmas drinks (mulled wine, tea, krampampuli), street food (flat bread baked in clay oven), traditional Hungarian dishes (fishermen’s soup, catfish paprikash, stuffed cabbage, veal paprikash, roasted goose, grilled meats, sausages and a wide choice of programs (concerts, folk music and dance, children activities) welcome everyone.
- A nativity scene,
- animal petting area,
- an antique merry-go-round,
- lots of activities for children (ice skating, Santa Adventure Park on 05. December/Saturday)
- concerts every weekend are the other allures of the event.
The ice rink (free entry) is open from the last weekend of November till end of February, every day between 08.00 – 20.00.
Which Christmas Market Should You Visit While in Budapest?
Naturally you won’t have time to visit each holiday fair especially if you stay in Budapest only for 1-2 days and you would get sick of Xmas markets and the whole holiday anyway if you tried to do so.
To help you plan your visit we recommend three Xmas fairs we love the best:
1. The Christmas Market at Vörösmarty Square is a must (though it tends to be crowded especially in the afternoons and evenings) – it’s easily accessible (the Deák tér metro hub is close by, but the M1 Underground/yellow line has a stop at the square) and is the official Xmas market of Budapest and everybody raves about it.
2. The Advent Fair at St. Stephen’s Basilica – we felt the festive atmosphere the best at this event, might be due to the presence of the Basilica commanding the square.
3. Christmas Fair in Óbuda – you can kill two birds with one stone: explore this slightly hidden neighbourhood of Budapest and enjoy a great programs and food.
4. The Open-Air Winter Festival at the Palace of Arts is highly recommended too if you aren’t after buying something just have a good time. Ideal with families with kids.
TIP: Take a ride on the special Christmas Trams – 6 lines in 2018 – that are decorated in festive lighting and run between the beginning of December usually till 06. January 2019. Tram 2 along the riverbank in Pest is the most accessible for tourists in the city centre.