Full of festive anticipation, Central Europe’s famous Christmas markets will cajole anyone partial to grinch-like behavior into a giddy spin of holiday cheer.
Budapest holds Hungary’s most celebrated version of the open-air winter fair, which usually begins in mid-November, running through until early January the following year.
Open day and night, Vörösmarty Square is filled with pine wood cabin-like stalls, fairy lights are in abundance, and the air is redolent with the teasing smells of glühwein (mulled wine), cinnamon, fig and freshly baked treats.
Shop for traditionally crafted Christmas decorations or gather around open makeshift kitchens to learn how to make strudel and other classic Hungarian dishes. The air will be cold, and the likelihood of snow falling is high, yet stay warm by filling up on the heartiest comfort food, from roasted pork knuckle, goulash soup and cabbage stuffed goose thighs to toasted chestnuts, sweet honey cookies and Krampampuli, a frequently reached for Hungarian hot punch.
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- Enjoy a low-key evening meal. While anytime is a good time to visit, the Budapest Christmas Fair is most magical after dark. There’s often entertainment scheduled for nighttime, and the vibe is infinitely more animated. Stop by during the day to shop for gifts that reflect the city’s creative industry.
- Continue the festive theme at Philanthia, the Art Nouveau-period florist shop on the pedestrian-only street of Vaci Utca. From November, the shop shifts gear, becoming a dreamy Christmas grotto with a high concentration of holiday fantasy. It’s as if the selection of traditional toys and interior decorations has been pinched straight out of a children’s storybook. A must visit for both adults and their younger counterparts.
Visit Budapest Christmas Fair