- 13 Dec 2021 9:01 AM
1. Sporty: Ice-Skating Rinks
Budapest is the proud owner of one of the world’s most beautiful ice-skating rinks, so if you have nothing against getting some exercise, you should put your skates on (which can be rented, naturally) and visit the City Park Ice-Skating Rink.
Gliding through the ice next to Vajdahunyad Castle is a rather special feeling, especially after sundown, when brightly lit buildings provide a lovely backdrop for the relaxing experience. And if your fingers get numb in the sub-zero temperatures, sipping a glass of delicious mulled wine next to the rink warms you up fairly quickly.
Those who prefer to only watch the skaters in action can drop by at Varosliget Cafe & Restaurant overlooking the ice rink for a locally roasted espresso and some delicious cakes.
Ice skating is not only available in the City Park. You can also put on a pair of skates at Marczibanyi square on the Buda side, in the Csepel neighborhood, in the 8th district of Jozsefvaros or in Soroksar.
There are thirty different ice-skating opportunities in Budapest. Enjoy an outdoor rink by MÜPA (Palace of Arts) with a wonderful view of the Danube or skate at one of the largest rinks at Budapest Park or opt for a cozier skating experience among the old houses by the main square of Obuda.
2. Classical: Christmas Markets
Only quality domestic products are available at the stands of Vörösmarty Square. It is with the experience of long decades and from the most exquisite materials that Hungarian artisans create those special objects that may become the ornaments of our homes or that may make our loved ones happy.
At weekends of Advent a cosy candle lighting event is also organised, from 1st of December Christmas light painting show will embellish the building of Cafe Gerbeaud, starting every day at 5pm and every half an hour after.
There are more than 30 Christmas markets awaiting guests in and around Budapest. The markets at the WAMP, in front of the Basilica, in Szentendre and Óbuda join the well known classics this year, and some lesser known place include Gozsdu Garden, the Károlyi Palace, RAM Cultural Center, Várkert Bazár or Bókay Park - do pay attention to observing CoVid restrictions though.
3. Reinvented: Slowxmas
It will be the fourth time that the iconic streets of Budapest organize the SlowXmas event series.
The organizers are Falk Art&Antique Street (Falk Miksa Street), Bartók Béla Boulevard (Bartók Béla Street), Fashion Street (Deák Ferenc Street), KultUnio (multicultural quarter of 6th and 7t districts), Ráday Soho (Ráday Street) and The Shopping Street Management (BUM) who supports the entrepreneurs in these iconic streets.
The focus is on minimizing stress during the hectic Christmas season and to show the real message of Advent, which is the anticipation of Christmas. The organizers are encouraging people to slow down and enjoy the festive season stress-free and to switch the fast-paced preparations to enjoying art and local experiences.
There will be daily events like concerts, exhibitions, theater performances and workshops. The advent calendar will offer fun activities for families and friends until 24 December that will include live jazz, food and art walks, plays, art auctions, children’s activities, movies and showtunes.
4. Timeless: Gül Baba’s Tomb
Even though the late Dervish’s roses are not in bloom during the winter, the memorial and cultural centre, recently fully renovated, offers plenty of interesting things to see.
The permanent exhibition, created in cooperation with the Budapest History Museum, showcases the 150-year Turkish rule and focuses on the historical figure Gül Baba, the history of the Tomb, as well as the Ottoman era in 16th century Hungary. Moreover, the view is splendid from the terrace of the memorial situated in Buda.
5. Family-Friendly: Csopa Science Centre
If your family would rather take shelter from the cold indoors, the CSOPA Science Centre will surely entertain everyone regardless of their age. People actually learn here through play and are able to participate in exciting experiments and science shows while also having the chance to try more than 250 pieces of playful scientific equipment. It might be a good idea to schedule your visit on a family day.
6. Sparkling: New York Café
Budapest dwellers already consider New York Café a small wonder, and a while ago it also caught the attention of the entire world. Since CNN presented this place of unparalleled beauty, which earned the title of “The world’s most beautiful café”, travellers from all over the world have been aware that this spot is not be missed. Whether you pop in for a good coffee or an entire dinner experience, you will be following in the footsteps of the greatest Hungarian writers, who were the legendary café’s regular customers.
7. Loveable: Hungarian Museum Of Trade And Tourism
Visitors will surely not be disappointed in any of Budapest’s intriguing museums. However, if you would like to see a truly entertaining, riveting and unusual exhibition, you should pick the Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism in Óbuda. Guests will be able to participate in a veritable time travel experience while strolling among the iconic objects representing the commerce, catering and tourism industries of the past.
8. Hipster: Dinner On The Danube’s Waves
Budapest offers a lot of opportunities to marvel at the Danube shore’s wonderful panorama while rocking on the river. One of the greatest experiences is probably taking part in a river cruise while having dinner so that guests can marvel at the night lights while enjoying tasty dishes.
9. Warming Body And Soul: Thermal Baths
Budapest’s world-renowned thermal baths are the most enjoyable at the winter. While the freezing cold rages outside, visitors can relax in the medicinal water and tune out the worries of everyday life for a few hours.
At Széchenyi Baths, you can even play a game of chess in the pool outside while immersing yourself in the therapeutic hot water, while you can enter Lukács Baths free of charge if you show your valid Budapest Card.
10. Glittering: Christmas Trams
BKV, the Budapest Transport Company will be operating a fleet of unique Christmas trams during the holiday season that will sparkle with thousands of Christmas lights in downtown Budapest and in the outer districts as well.
The different streetcars start their sparkling journey on 1 December and will run until 6 January 2022. You may spot them all around the city alternating daily between 3pm and 8pm on the tracks of these lines: 2, 14, 19, 42, 47, 49, 50, 56A, 59, 62A, 69.
There is no extra charge to travel by the Christmas light trams, regular tickets and passes are valid on them. The Christmas trams are not running on 24 and 31 December and 7 January 2022. Detailed schedule of the trains can be checked on the image below or at this link.
Employees of the Budapest Transport Company have been decorating the 60 year old streetcars for 13 years with thousands of Christmas lights on the outside and festive decorations on the inside that make travelling by them a truly magical Christmas experience not to be missed by locals and visitors.
+1 Neat: Winter Igloo Above The City
Let’s enjoy the holiday lights of Andrassy Avenue from an igloo on a rooftop terrace above the city. On the top of the former Grand Paris Department Store Building, you’ll find the 360 Bar Igloo Garden.
The heated igloos will be the coziest spot during the cold season to warm you up with their specially crafted winter cocktails or their iconic mulled wine. Enjoy a cheese fondue or a gourmet burger with your drinks and do not forget to snap some photos of the amazing views of the Citadel, the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Parliament building.
Photo courtesy: BKK.hu