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Fabulous Advent – Discover Budapest in Winter

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It’s a heart-warming experience to walk through the streets of Budapest as they entice you with Christmas decorations, wonderful smells and festive lights. Especially if you have a glass of mulled wine or a freshly-baked chimney cake in your hand. 

December is a time for calm and intimate togetherness at the end of the year. There is no better time to get dressed up and take a serene wander with your partner, a friend or family members in the beautifully decorated city. The Christmas lights and the sweet scents wafting through the air create a wonderful backdrop to a lovely conversation. If you stumble across an Advent market on the way, throw yourself into the hustle and bustle, taste the street food, drink a spicy punch or hot tea with honey, and look around to see if you can find a nice gift to put under the Christmas tree.

In the heart of the city centre

Vörösmarty tér is an iconic spot in Budapest where you can always get in the mood for the winter festivities. It’s worth coming by underground, as Vörösmarty tér is the last stop of Budapest’s historic metro line 1, which was the first on the European continent and is still in operation today. You can also visit the legendary Gerbeaud Café, admire its impressive facade and its peaceful interior while tasting French-style desserts. Stepping out onto the square, you will see the fair, which regularly offers craft activities and a mini train for children as well as traditional shows for adults.

Sounds of the organ

The Advent fair at Saint Stephen’s Basilica – which is also a must see in itself – offers hand-crafted products and gastronomic specialties as well as a photo exhibition, an ice rink and a selfie machine. If you get hungry, have some goulash, stew, stuffed cabbage or sweet poppy-seed beigli. In the afternoon you can enjoy light shows on the basilica’s facade and watch celebrities, instrumental ensembles, acapella singers, and gospel and chamber choirs perform on stage. If you have time, listen to an organ or choir performance in the basilica or in the Matthias Church in the Buda Castle district. Lots of churches hold concerts during the Advent period, helping people get into the holiday spirit. 

In steaming water

If you want to warm up afterwards, try one of the thermal or adventure baths in Budapest where you can soothe body and mind in natural thermal water. Many of the baths have saunas and salt rooms, while each has its own wellness experience for total relaxation. It is a great experience to hop on the festive trams decorated with strings of lights and admire the most beautiful buildings and bridges of the city. 

Starlight above the Danube

It's an unforgettable experience to go skating on the ice rink in City Park, next to Vajdahunyad Castle, which looks like an enchanted palace in winter. You can also visit the nearby Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art, both of which offer world-class exhibitions every year. If you feel like taking a longer walk, go up to Normafa, which is a popular hiking spot for the residents of Budapest, with the Buda hills offering a beautiful view all year round, but especially when it snows. You might even run into Saint Nicholas, with his big white beard, who traditionally arrives on 6 December, bringing presents to children who have been good all year.