Since it is also the busiest shopping season, a long walk through the Andrássy Avenue, the Fashion Street, Vörösmarty Square, and the Chain Bridge is an unforgettable experience when hunting for presents. The enlightened buildings of the city are heartwarmingly beautiful, compared with the spirit of Christmas, this period of the year is the most romantic of all to visit the city. The centre-ville feels like a real box of jewel. During your walk or shopping stride you can stop for a cup of hot wine of or a funnel of burnt chestnuts, the tastes of Christmas. On Vörösmarty Square every year you can browse the Christmas fair with tons of adorable presents, or any kind of Christmas belongings. If you’re a high end shopper, Andrássy Avenue is your place! At this period of the year you can find exceptional sales even at designer shops.
Whether you are before Xmas, excited by the preparations or had already got the December celebrations behind you, it will always do you good to enjoy the blessings of thermal water.
Just sit in the hot steam bath and rejuvenate after a long city tour, while outside the chilly wind is blowing or let the warm heal your frozen body as it is snowing on your forehead. Simply unforgettable!
We crave in winter, but one can only enjoy such environment after they paid a visit to the skate ring in Városliget or slid down the slopes of Mátraszentistván, Kékestető or Visegrád. Eventhoug the facilities are not first-class, it has a great advantage: ski-lovers and snow-fans remain close to nature, there is no crowd but the friendly village atmosphere. For instance the only way to get up to Nagyhideghegy is to leave your car down at Királyrét and hop on an old lorry– which is the only local shuttle service up to the ski resort.
The closing of the year is spent noisily either in the streets or having a party. The choice is so wide that one would feel like going to each of them. Even if the weather is chilly party goers would put on their best clothes and would be hurrying off to a classy restaurant which indulge their guests with the special New Year's menu and entertainment, including mainly stand up comedies. Outside it is busy and exceptionally lively. Most of the people buy paper trumpets and tiny souvenirs - the symbols of Szilveszter, for example a piglet or a figure of chimney sweeper. They say these small objects bring you luck for the new year. But if you decide to spent the New Year's Eve in Budapest you are already a lucky one!
New Years Eve: The New Year’s Eve (Silvester) is a perfect opportunity to explore the party places of the city. You may celebrate at your hotel where everything is being taken care of, on the streets with the overwhelmed crowd, or at fancy night club and party all night long with the best DJs of the country, within high standard club design surroundings.
Christmas: Hungarian Christmas is s bit different from the rest of the world. It is not Santa who brings the presents, but little Jesus. Santa comes on the 6th of December for the children and reward the good ones, while little Jesus brings presents on Christmas for the whole family, but not on the morning of 25th, but we open presents at around 6 PM on the 24th December.
Do you find it complicated? Spend the Christmas season here and get your own experiences! Remember not to miss the wonderful Christmas fair at the Vörösmarty square from late November till new year!
Hungary’s has numerous world famous spas, whereas Budapest is the only capital in the world bearing hundreds of thermal springs.
The leading and most beautiful bathes are the recently restored Gellért, Rudas, Lukács and Széchenyi Thermal Bathes, all being set in different style and atmosphere. Relaxing massages and thermal amenities make these places your prior destination. If you do not which to interfere with the wider public head to one of the thermal spa hotels in the city; Ramada plaza and Thermal Hotel Margitsziget are worth a try. After all, the long awaited Baglioni Boutique Hotel, beside the reconstructed Rácz Turkish Bath, is yet to come.. We are waiting..
Csángó bálin Petőfi Csarnok always takes place in February. (Csángó people are a Hungarian ethnic group living in the far Eastern part of Romania - Moldavia. Their peculiar dialect, their culture and religion have been in danger for decades, and dedicated musicians, artists joined with politicians to save the Csángós. The ball is an annual assembly of Hungarian and Csángó people, to enjoy the remaining folklore which is miraculously more and more alive despite the hardships of this handful of peoples.)
The Opera ballis the biggest a flashiest social event in winter. You can dine, dance and watch an opera show of world famous performers all night long. Meet the rich and famous at the Opera House and spend an unforgettable night, so prepare your evening dress or tuxedo. It is usually held at the end of the ball season, as a peak event at the end of February or the first weeks or March.
Tastes of winter:
Sült kolbász, hurka (Sausages)– Hungarians love sausages. There are different types, such as black sausage, liver sausage, fried sausage and so on… They’re sold under the name kolbász or hurka, and serviced with mustard and white bread.
Mézeskalács (gingerbread)– Making gingerbread is part of the Christmas preparations. One can form figures or build a ginger bread house as well. It is not uncommon that the beloved woman’s or man’s name appear on heart shaped, red colored gingerbreads. A perfect gift for everybody!
Mulled wine – If you’re strolling in the enlightened city and start to freeze as the time passes by, visit one of the mulled wine stands and warm up your body and soul with a mug of wine. You can top these winter pleasures by buying a funnel of burnt chestnuts. These stands can be found everywhere in the city during the advent season.
Halászlé (fish soup)– Fish soup is a compulsory additive of the Christmas menu. This traditional Hungarian dish can not be missed by anyone visiting this country. The soft flesh of Hungarian fishes, paprika and goulash cream meet in this soup. All you have to do is to enjoy it, but beware the sneaky fishbones, as your Christmas dinner might turn into a medical affair if you’re not cautious!
The Hungarian Christmas cake, the bejgli has been the favorite of children and grownups for centuries. It is a rolled cake, primarily filled with nuts and poppy seed. If you can’t visit a Hungarian grandma to taste the original, try it at one of the Christmas fairs or at a confectionery!
Szaloncukor– Szaloncukor (literally saloon-candy) is a real Christmas-related hungaricum. they’re small filled bonbons, packed in colorful tissue paper. Hungarians usually put them on the Christmas tree or in a bowl, but if they’re on the tree, after a couple of days there are only the gently replaced papers remaining… somebody is always tempted to eat the bonbons out of them. Bring back hone a box of szaloncukor as a special gift! It is sold in thousands of types from the Tesco issue to the fanciest and best confectioners’ issues!