Budapest Christmas Markets Guide: Top Festive Spots for 2023

Immerse yourself in a winter wonderland as Budapest transforms into a festive fairy-tale, brimming with twinkling lights, the aroma of mulled wine, and the magic of Christmas markets waiting to be discovered.

Best Budapest Christmas Markets

Let’s take a look at the city’s enchanting Christmas markets.

1. Vörösmarty Square Christmas Fair 2023

Vörösmarty Square Christmas Fair

Christmas dome at Vörösmarty Square.

There’s something magical about Budapest during Christmas, and nowhere is that magic more palpable than at the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market. As you stroll into the square, the first thing to catch your eye will be the towering, twinkling Christmas tree, lavishly decorated and casting a warm, festive glow. It’s a sight that will instantly put you in the holiday spirit.

Walking a little further, you’ll find yourself amidst rows of charming wooden stalls, each brimming with an assortment of artisan gifts and goodies. From traditional Hungarian crafts like pottery and embroidery to hand-crafted leather goods and whimsical wooden toys, there’s something to delight every shopper. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the joy of stumbling upon a unique, locally-made gift for your loved ones back home. 

Now, let’s talk about the food, because trust me, your taste buds are in for a real treat. Do yourself a favor and try the kürtőskalács, a sweet chimney cake that’s a Christmas market staple. Insider tip: have it with a steaming cup of forralt bor (mulled wine). It’s a match made in holiday heaven! If savory is more your style, don’t miss out on the lángos, a deep-fried doughy delight, or the hearty gulyás soup that will warm you from the inside out.

Food at Vörösmarty Square Christmas Fair

The market runs from November 17 to December 31, with hours varying depending on the day, so plan your visit accordingly. On a regular day, the market is open from 11 a.m., perfect for a midday stroll or an evening of festive fun. But remember, timings change on special days, like December 24 and 25, so keep that in mind while planning your visit.

Here’s a fun fact: Vörösmarty Square is named after the famous Hungarian poet, Mihály Vörösmarty. So, as you soak in the festive spirit, you’re also standing on a spot of cultural significance. 

The Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market isn’t just a place to shop and eat, it’s an experience. The friendly vendors, the cheery holiday tunes floating in the air, the excited buzz of fellow shoppers – it all adds up to an atmosphere you’ll find hard to describe but impossible to forget. 

2. Advent Festival at the Basilica 2023

Advent Festival at the Basilica

Ice rink at the Basilica.

Imagine standing in the heart of Budapest, in a bustling Christmas market set against the backdrop of the magnificent St. Stephen’s Basilica. This market, my friends, is a spectacle to behold. The festive atmosphere, steeped in history and tradition, is simply unbeatable. 

As evening falls, the Basilica’s façade turns into a canvas for a mesmerizing light painting show. The show starts at 5:30 pm, just in time to add a dash of magic to your evening. 

But wait, there’s more! For the kiddos, there’s a free ice skating rink that opens at 5 pm daily. And trust me when I say, watching the little ones glide and giggle on the ice, under the starlit sky, is a memory you’ll cherish.

Hungarian crafts? Check. Nearly a hundred exhibitors showcase their fine work, ranging from ceramics and leatherwork to jewelry. And if you’re a foodie like me, your taste buds are in for a treat. The market is a smorgasbord of authentic Hungarian culinary delights, with a special emphasis on traditional dishes and seasonal flavors. 

Advent Festival at the Basilica stalls

Don’t forget to marvel at the nearly 12-meter-tall Christmas tree in Szent István Square. It’s a sight that will leave you in awe. 

If you’re into interactive experiences, make sure to check out the selfie point – it’s a hit. Also, there’s a blacksmith’s workshop, and even a VR sleigh ride. How cool is that?

Now, about the music. On Wednesdays, Fridays, and weekends from 5 pm, the market comes alive with musical concerts, leading up to the light painting show. Pro-tip: Secure your spot near the Basilica early; it gets crowded quickly. 

Having spent countless evenings at this market, I can attest to the joy it brings. The light show, the ice skating, the food – it all comes together to create a truly magical experience. 

Open from November 17, 2023, to January 1, 2024, this market operates Monday to Thursday from 11 AM to 10 PM, Friday to Saturday from 11 AM to 11 PM, and on Sundays from 11 AM to 10 PM. 

For more information head to Advent Bazilika.

3. WAMP Design Christmas Market

If you want to experience a Christmas market in Budapest that’s a little off the beaten path, let me guide you to the WAMP Design Christmas Market. Nestled in the Bálna Honvédelmi Központ at Fővám tér 11-12, this market brims with the spirit of creativity.

This isn’t your average Christmas market, my friends. Imagine walking into a winter wonderland where every stall showcases handmade products by talented Hungarian designers. From clothes and toys to unique art prints, you can find a treasure trove of innovative crafts and high-quality gifts. And the best part? You’re not just buying a product; you’re supporting local artisans with every purchase. Isn’t that what the holiday spirit is all about?

Now let me spill some personal insights. You can explore the latest in sustainable fashion, immerse yourself in digital art, and even engage in learning opportunities with professional designers and artists. So, you’re not only leaving with a bag full of original clothing, bags, shoes, ceramics, and toys, but also with a mind full of inspiration and new skills.

The entry fee here is 500 HUF, but guess what? It can be used as a shopping voucher. So, in essence, you’re getting in for free! 

The WAMP Design Christmas Market is open on specific dates in December (5th, 12th, 19th), and the doors are open from 10 am to 6 pm. So if you’re in town on these dates, make sure to mark your calendar. 

For more information head to WAMP.

4. Advent in Óbuda 2023

If you’re seeking an enchanting and lively Christmas fair in Budapest, Advent in Óbuda is the place to be. Imagine a beautifully illuminated space buzzing with festive cheer, where locals and tourists alike gather to celebrate the holiday spirit. It’s as if the entire district puts on its most vibrant outfit, transforming into a winter wonderland. 

Now picture yourself there, indulging in the festivities, and let me share some of my personal experiences and recommendations for this market. What to admire? The captivating Christmas lights for sure, they set the stage for an unforgettable holiday experience. What to touch? Try your hands on some traditional Hungarian crafts at the stalls – a great way to take a piece of Budapest back home. And what to savor? The sweet aroma of mulled wine and chimney cake, a local favorite, filling the air.

One of the highlights of this fair is the variety of concerts, featuring both pop and world music. The rhythm of the music combined with the festive atmosphere makes for a perfect evening. And let’s not forget the culinary stalls offering traditional festive treats. From goulash served in bread bowls to the variety of sausages, there’s something for everyone.

Advent in Óbuda caters to all ages. For children (and the young at heart), there are free ice skating rinks at Fő tér and Békásmegyeri Piac Közösségi tér, open during Advent and January. Don’t worry about packing your skates; there are facilities for changing and skate rentals. They even offer skate sharpening services at Fő tér.

This market is open from December 1st till December 23rd. On weekdays, it’s open from 14:00 to 21:00, while on weekends it extends until 22:00. Plenty of time to soak up the festive spirit!

What I particularly love about this fair is its commitment to sustainability. They use energy-efficient lighting and encourage the use of reusable cups. And in the spirit of Christmas, there are charity drives to collect food, toys, and other necessities for needy families. They even have specific days for pet food collection drives to support local animal shelters. Now, isn’t that a wonderful way to spread some holiday cheer?

For more information head to Advent in Óbuda.

What to Eat and Drink at the Budapest Christmas Markets

Nothing says ‘Hungarian Christmas’ quite like the tantalizing smells wafting from the markets. You’re wrapped up warm, snowflakes are gently falling, and you’re strolling through the bustling market, lured by the scent of traditional Hungarian dishes. 

Kürtőskalács (Chimeny Cake): This is no ordinary cake. Imagine sweet dough spiraled around a wooden cylinder, then baked over charcoal until it’s warm, fluffy, and slightly crunchy. The finishing touch? A sprinkling of sugar, cinnamon, nuts, or cocoa. You can almost taste the sweetness, can’t you?

Lángos: A deep-fried delight! This flatbread is topped with sour cream, cheese, garlic, or ham. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and customizable to your heart’s content. 

Gulyás: Now, this is a dish that’ll warm you to the core. A hearty soup of beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and a generous dose of paprika. It’s a traditional Hungarian dish that’s perfect for those cold winter nights.

Goulash at the Christmas Market

Order Goulash soup at the Christmas market.

We can’t overlook the festive drinks. After all, what’s a Christmas market without some liquid cheer?

Forralt bor: This is mulled wine with a Hungarian twist. Spiced with cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and orange, it’s a sweet and aromatic drink that’s sure to put you in the festive spirit. Just a word of caution – the alcohol and sugar content can vary, so sip responsibly!

Let’s round off our culinary journey with a couple more Hungarian favorites.

Sausages: In all shapes and flavors! You can opt for blood sausage, liver sausage, or smoked sausage. These are typically served up with bread, mustard, and pickles. 

Sausages at the Christmas Market

Potato pancakes: Thin, crispy pancakes made of grated potatoes, eggs, and flour. Best served with sour cream, cheese, or meat.

Potato Pancakes at the Christmas Market

Roasted chestnuts: Simple, yet delicious. Roasted over an open fire and peeled by hand, they’re a nutty, sweet, and energy-boosting snack.

While Christmas markets are a treat for the senses, they can be a bit heavy on the pocket. If you’re working with a tight budget, consider dining at local restaurants or butchers for a better deal. 

Tip: Craving a chimney cake? Look for stalls where they’re made fresh, right in front of you. The fresher, the better! 

Remember, Budapest’s Christmas markets are all about the experience. So, take your time, savor every bite, every sip, and soak up the festive vibes.

What to Buy at the Budapest Christmas Markets

Walking through the bustling Christmas markets of Budapest, you’re certain to marvel at the array of crafts and goods that stand as a testament to Hungarian culture and craftsmanship. Let’s take a closer look at some unique items that you might want to bring back home.

Handmade Folk Art

Hungarian folk art is a colorful representation of the country’s rich traditional heritage. The markets teem with handmade pottery, intricate embroidery, carefully carved wooden items, and beautifully crafted leatherwork. These one-of-a-kind items make for unique gifts or souvenirs. 

Hungarian Paprika: The Spice of Life

No visit to Budapest is complete without picking up some Hungarian paprika. This spice is at the heart of the country’s cuisine, offering a distinctive flavor and vibrant color. Choose from a variety of grades and flavors – from sweet to hot and mild to strong – each providing its own unique culinary experience.

Palinka: A Toast to Hospitality

Palinka, a fruit brandy, is a national drink in Hungary and a symbol of their warm hospitality. The markets offer a wide selection of flavors including plum, apricot, pear, or cherry. Take a sip and you’ll find it’s more than just a drink, it’s a cultural experience.

Szaloncukor: The Sweet Taste of Christmas

One of the most delightful Hungarian Christmas traditions is szaloncukor, a festive candy hung on the tree and enjoyed throughout the season. Wrapped in colorful foil, these chocolates cover a fondant with fillings like jelly, marzipan, or nuts. These sweet treats are sure to brighten your Christmas celebration.

Ornaments: A Touch of Hungarian Christmas Magic

Christmas ornaments at the market

The Christmas markets are filled with beautiful, delicate ornaments made from a range of materials including glass, metal, wood and even dried fruit. From angels to snowflakes, each ornament carries a piece of Hungarian Christmas magic.

Honey: The Sweetness of Nature

Local Hungarian honey is another must-try. Produced by local beekeepers, the honey comes in various flavors such as acacia, linden, or sunflower. Honey-infused products like candles, soaps, and cosmetics also make for thoughtful, natural gifts.

Honey at the Christmas market

Try some local honey products from the Christmas markets!

Bargain Like a Local

When shopping, take time to compare prices and quality at different stalls. Don’t be shy about asking for a discount or a free sample. Remember, bargaining is part of the experience, but do so without being rude or aggressive.

Be mindful of the exchange rate and currency. Some stalls may accept euros or dollars, but the rate might not be in your favor. Always double-check your receipt and change, and consider using a reliable currency converter app.

As you wander through the Budapest Christmas markets, let your senses guide you. Each stall, each item has a story to tell, a slice of Hungarian culture to share. Soak in the festive atmosphere, the twinkling lights, the warm mulled wine, and make your own memories. After all, that’s the true magic of Budapest at Christmas.


What is special about the Budapest Christmas markets?

Budapest Christmas markets are renowned for their unique, festive atmosphere. As one of Europe’s top holiday destinations, these markets boast not only a variety of traditional Hungarian crafts and cuisine but also live cultural events like folk dancing and concerts. The markets are set in stunning locations in the city, such as Vorosmarty Square and St. Stephen’s Basilica, adding to the magical ambience.

What can I buy at Budapest Christmas markets?

Budapest Christmas markets offer a wide range of items for purchase. You’ll find traditional Hungarian handicrafts, from hand-painted ceramics to embroidered textiles. Foodies will love the variety of local delicacies available, such as chimney cake (kürtőskalács), mulled wine, and goulash served in bread bowls. You can also buy festive decorations and unique gifts.

When do Budapest Christmas markets usually start and end?

The Budapest Christmas markets typically begin in late November and run until the end of December, sometimes extending into the first week of January. However, these dates can vary slightly each year, so it’s recommended to check specific market dates in advance.

Are the Budapest Christmas markets open every day?

Yes, Budapest Christmas markets are usually open seven days a week, including public holidays. The markets generally open in the morning and run until late in the evening. However, operating hours may vary for each market, so it’s advisable to check the specific times before your visit.

Is there an entry fee for Budapest Christmas markets?

The majority of Budapest Christmas markets are free to enter. This means you can take in the festive sights, sounds, and smells without any added cost. However, keep in mind that goods, food, and drink at the markets are not free, so bring some money if you plan to shop or eat.