During the festive holiday season in Hungary, Christmas markets take over the cities. Traditional stalls, showcasing tasty treats and handmade goods, are open for business from mid-November until well after the New Year. Here’s how and where to enjoy the best of Budapest’s Christmas markets.
Over 120 stalls in Vorosmarty Square make up the biggest Christmas market in Budapest. Vendors sell festive gifts and traditional arts and crafts, with everything from baubles and handmade puppets to hand-painted ceramics and scented candles. Of course St. Nicholas makes an appearance, and carol-singing takes place near Café Gerbeaud at 5pm every day.
St. Stephen’s Basilica Christmas Fair
Organized by the National Association of Folk Artists, the St. Stephen’s Basilica Christmas Fair is among the best Christmas markets in Budapest. It takes place in St. Stephen’s Square, beneath the festive Christmas tree and the grand towers of the basilica. Highlights include the diverse handicraft and food stalls, and the festive illuminations animating the basilica’s neoclassical facade. There are folk dances every Friday and Saturday evening, and a skating rink within the square for children aged 4 to 14.
Advent Fair in Obuda
The Obuda (Old Buda) Advent Fair is a quieter and wonderfully charming Christmas market that comes alive on December weekends, typically attracting more locals than visitors. Taking place in the historic Fo Ter square, it’s the perfect option for travelers hoping to explore Budapest off the beaten trail. There’s a festive program of concerts and puppet shows for kids, craft stalls, and an ice-skating rink.
Erzsebet Square Christmas Fair
The Erzsebet Square Christmas Fair takes place around the Danubius Fountain on Erzsebet Square, near the banks of the Danube River. The market traders offer up the best of traditional Hungarian produce—selling everything from biscuits, cheese, honey, and wine to preserves, sausages, street food, and pastries. With plenty of Christmas decorations to admire and the heady scent of hot mulled wine on the air, it’s the perfect place to sample some of the flavors the locals love.