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The Best Christmas Markets in Budapest

The Best Christmas Markets in Budapest

Tis the season to be jolly and deck the halls with boughs of holly. However, If you’re still not feeling festive, or need to get some last-minute gifts. Then a trip to one the cracking Christmas markets in Budapest should get you in the spirit. Every year some of the squares in the city are transformed. With stalls selling Mulled wine, traditional festive food, sweets and souvenirs set up shop. With the help of our local insiders, we’ve rounded up the Christmas markets in Budapest that you can’t miss.

Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market

people walking in front of a decorated christmas tree at Vörösmarty Square christmas market
Photo: The calm before you enter the beautiful Christmas market storm

Located in the heart of the Budapest, Vörösmarty Square is always buzzing with activity, as thousands of people pass through or hang out here every day. Enjoying the eclectic selection of shops, restaurants and bars nearby.

crowds of people gathered under colourfully decorated trees at vorosmarty ter christmas market
Photo: The stunning trees are adorned with colourful and sparkly baubles

However, every year the square is transformed for the festive season, playing host to the longest and largest of all Christmas markets in Budapest. From November till January, vendors from across Hungary set up shop here. With a sea of stalls selling all kinds of awesome things. From food and drink to clothes, arts and crafts and souvenirs. One thing is certain that there’s something here for everybody to savour.

Bites and Sips

food-at-vorosmarty-ter-christmas-market.
Photo: Grab some tasty traditional grub at one of the many food stalls

On the menu will be a selection of classic local staples such as langos, Stuffed cabbage, grilled meats, goulash, chimney cakes, pastries and strudels. As well as a whole host of treats which are a mashup of old and new. Think dishes like fois gras with honeyed pear and roast pork knuckles with onion and potato. There are also a decent selection of vegetarian foods available if you’re a “no meat on my plate” type person.

wooden cabin kitchen with hanging meats and big pots filled with potatoes and meat at Vörösmarty Square Christmas market
Photo: A traditional log cabin kitchen serving a smorgasbord of meat and potatoes

To wash it all down, you can choose from a long list of spectacular sips. From mulled and Hungarian wines to tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Or if you fancy something with a bit more kick, try the Krampampuli or Palinka, the traditional drinks preferred by locals.

silver bowl filled red mulled wine at Vörösmarty Square christmas market
Photo: It wouldn’t be a Christmas market without some mulled wine

There will also be live cooking sessions, where local chefs will show you how some of these tasty treats are prepared. Each week will follow a theme:

  • 18 – 24 December:  Christmas Dishes: These include local classics like fishermen’s soup, stuffed cabbage and poppy seed pudding.
  • 25 – 31 December: The year will be ending with a Pork packed extravaganza.

Other Activities

wooden log cabin stalls selling fur jackets and hats of multiple colours at Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market
Photo: Wooden stalls line the square selling kinds of wonderful things. From clothes, jewellery and much more.

Food and drink aside, there will also be plenty of other activities taking place to keep you entertained. From performances on two additional stages, with musicians belting out the sounds of jazz, folk and music from across the globe. These will take place every day from the 2nd to the 28th of December. There will also some children-friendly activities taking place throughout December as well. From puppet shows on Sundays to arts and crafts at the Playhouse, which is open daily between 10am – 1pm and 2pm-6pm.

man on a neon lit stage playing the guitar in front of a sign that says "welcome to budapest"
Photo: Catch daily live performances that will be taking place throughout the festive period

Local Tip: If you’re stuffed from sampling the seasonal grub, or feeling tipsy after a few Palinkas. Then head over to PARLMNT bar to continue the fun or chill out. This cosy spot offers a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and hands down the best shisha in Budapest.

Where: Vorosmarty Square | When: 8th November 2019 – 1st January 2020

St Stephen’s Basilica Christmas Market

people browsing stalls that line the walkway in front of the 3D lit St Stephen's Basilica Christmas market
Photo: A majestic scene from the iconic St Stephen’s Basilica Christmas market

Set in the shadow of  Budapest’s architectural masterpiece, St Stephen’s Basilica. Of all the Christmas markets in Budapest, this is definately the most well known and loved around the world. So much so, that it was recently voted as the best Christmas market in Europe. Eclipsing the iconic markets of other European destinations such as Austria and Munich. This may come as a surprise to those who haven’t been before but ask anyone who has and they’ll most definately agree.

stephens- basilica-christmas-fair.
Photo: St Stephens Basilica Christmas market gets pretty crowded. But totally worth visiting

From stalls selling all kind of amazing food, drink and handcrafted goods. To a unique lighting display that you simply have to get for the gram. It’s a must-visit if you’re in town over the festive period.

Bites and Sips

langos on display at a stall in St Stephen's basilica Christmas market
Photo: You can’t leave a Christmas market in Budapest without trying some Langos

Like the other Christmas markets in Budapest, the focal point of this festive fair is the food. So eat light, and get ready to take your taste buds on a culturally rich culinary escapade. With vendors serving a mouth-watering selection of the best traditional treats, Hungary has to offer. This includes Langos, which you can lather up with toppings to match your preferred flavour profile. From traditional sour cream and cheese to the obscure Nutella variants.

food display with peppers meat bread at St Stephens Basilica Christmas Market
Photo: So much food on offer you’ll be spoilt for choice

There’s also goulash, stuffed cabbage and a selection fine grilled meats. What sets St Stephen’s Christmas market apart from the rest are the vegan and gluten-free options available. So if you have any allergies, you’ll certainly find some tasty food that will sit well with your stomach.

a stall selling different styles of chocolate treats at St Stephens Basilica Christmas Market
Photo: It isn’t all langos and goulash. There’s something for you sweet tooths out there.

Feeling thirsty, then take your pick from the plethora of sips on offer. From palate-pleasing Hungarian wines, craft beer, Unicum, palinka and more. Obviously, there is also mulled wine, with a sugar-free version if you’re diabetic, or feeling sweet enough.

vat covered with a wooden spoon filled with mulled wine and chunks of orange slices
Photo: They even have a sugar free mulled wine. Ideal if you’re diabetic or feeling sweet enough

Other Activities

stall with a display of christmas trees and multi-coloured boxes containing hand made crafts
Photo: Browse around the stalls for some unique Christmas gifts

Apart from the food, there are plenty of other things going on to convert even the most ardent scrooges into festive fairies. Firstly you have the iconic outdoor ice skating rink, which is free for children up to 14 years old. With skating lessons also available on the weekends between 2pm-6pm. If you don’t have your blades, then fear not as skate rentals are also available.

crowd of people gathered watching light display with santa claus on the facade of St Stephens Basilica
Photo: The 3D Light show transforms brings St Stephens Basilica to life

If that wasn’t enough, you’ll be glad to know there is a packed program schedule filled festive fun. From live music and folk dancing by talented local artists. However, what makes St Stephen’s stand out from the other Christmas markets in Budapest is the uber-cool 3D Lighting display. As the majestic St Stephens Basicilia is bought to life with colourful lights depicting traditional Christmas scenes. The lighting display happens daily, every 30 minutes from 4.30pm-10pm. So you’ll have ample opportunities to catch it in action.

lighting display on the facade of St Stephen's Basilica
Photo: The light show happens every 30 minutes throughout the day

Local Tip: If you’re feeling cultural, then head inside and experience the history behind the bricks of this magnificent building, with a guided tour.

Where: Szent istván Bazilika| When: 22nd November 2019 – 1st January 2020 

Obuda Advent Fair

christmas lights adorn the buildings at obuda christmas market with one display reading "bekes ooldog karacsanyot"
Photo: Entrance to the stunning Obuda Christmas Market

Obuda Advent fair is the most obscure. Unknown to tourists and frequented by locals who prefer it from the other Christmas markets in the Budapest. Located away from bustling the city centre, Obuda Advent Fair may be off the beaten track but is easily accessible by public transport.

crowd of people gathered inside the square at obuda christmas market
Photo: Fo ter is transformed into a winter wonderland

Bites and Sips

Like the others, Obuda has its fair share of scrumptious traditional delicacies to delight your stomach and palates. In line with it’s more local vibe, the food for you try has an extra layer of authenticity.

chimney cake on a skewer atop a coal lit fire
Photo: Traditional Chimney cake being prepared on a charcoal fire

Feeling something sweet, then choose from the tasty Hungarian pastries which include Bejgli. A rolled-up cake that consists of a variety of fillings, with tradition flavours being walnut and poppy seeds. However, with everything being more innovative, the vendors have come up with their own flavours.

wooden boards with a selection meats at obuda christmas market in budapest
Photo: The blood pudding is off the chain

If you’re a real cultural eater, then be sure to sample the mouth-watering selection of meats on offer. Want to be a proper local, then try the blood pudding. Sounds pretty grim, but is actually bloody delicious.

customer buying some wine from a stall at Obuda Christmas Market
Photo: A glass of wine always goes down a treat

Other Activities

If you’re not feeling peckish, worry not, there’s plenty of other fun things on offer at Obuda Advent Fair. Firstly you have an eclectic selection of stalls selling awesome arts and crafts. From handmade clothes, jewellery and more. Ideal if you’re looking to grab a last-minute Christmas gift or a memento to commemorate your trip to Budapest.

trees beautifully decorated with failry lights in front of wooden stalls selling christmas themed products
Photo: Looking for a last-minute Christmas. Then browse around the stalls for something special

There’s also the much loved outdoor ice skating rink, where you can get your skates on and slalom along the ice.  The fun doesn’t stop at that, as there will also be daily live music and performances. From jazz and gipsy to folk, traditional dances and much more. To keep the Christmas spirit alive, there will also be a nativity scene and an animal petting area. Ideal if you’re accompanied with a slightly younger crowd.

people gathered around the colourfully decorated ice skating rink
Photo: Get your skates on at the ice rink, but not after too many Palinkas

Local Tip: Experience the roman connection of this area by taking a stroll along the Római Part. A walking trail on the banks of the Danube, which is very popular amongst the locals. A little bit different from the norm but no doubt fantastic.

Where:  Fő tér | When: November 30th – December 23rd 2019


If you were scratching your head trying to find the best Christmas markets in Budapest, then this guide should be super helpful. Be sure to also check out our guide to the Best outdoor ice skating rinks in Budapest. Oh and if you’re in town seeking some quirky bars, traditional restaurants and other things to do, download the Like Locals app. Available on both iOS and Android devices.

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