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Best places in Budapest to feel the spirit of Christmas

In this most unusual of Advents, every little reminder of Christmas cheer is appreciated to get us in the festive mood. Never before have we been so excited about takeaway mulled wine or shop windows decorated with glittering lights, and all easily perused with your mask on and at a comfortable distance from others. Here are plenty of suggestions for places around Budapest full of Christmas cheer!

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Apacuka ceramics

The bright, colourful ceramics of Apacuka’s workshops are back! The otherwise suburban-based company moved into the city centre in pop-up fashion for Advent in District VI. The store is a feast for the eyes: all different colours, patterns and shapes, including cake-holders, serving dishes, festive plates and other eye-catching products. The shop is open Saturdays and Sundays, 2pm-6pm.


2/10

Grumpy

Szilvi Ispán’s one-woman business is a small bistro which opened in November on Klauzál utca, where home-made flavours and the comfort foods of French cuisine dominate the menu. Like all other food operations in the city, the eatery has switched its operations to takeaway. A small Christmas section has also popped up in the shop, selling works by Hungarian designers with prints, posters, booklets, T-shirts and bags. A nicely furnished Christmas table and mouth-watering scents greet you upon entering, and aromas of mulled wine or coffee will follow you upon leaving.


3/10

Projekt Showroom

This is the eighth year which has seen a Christmas pop-up store open at Project Showroom. Nearly 100 domestic and foreign brands are represented in the shop, on showcase Andrássy út. Here we find gifts for the kitchen, gastronomic selections, fluffy blankets, pillows, interior decorations, prints, candles, advent wreaths and ornaments.


4/10

Zsebi

It’s no surprise that trendy Bartók Béla út has been one of the first places in town to start offering Christmas goodies, its shops adorned in tinsel and lights. Recently opened in the area are Zsebi and Kő fagyi?, which are like a Christmas card come to life. Fresh sourdough bread is lined alongside festive specialities: think poppyseed or walnut Hungarian bejgli cake, chocolate-and-walnut babka cakes, pistachio swirls – truly irresistible. Warming beverages are also waiting for you to order, including Italian-roasted coffee, Zhao Zhao tea, hot chocolate and steaming mulled wine. You can’t sit in the shop, and sometimes the waiting time means standing outside in the cold – but the end result is worth the wait.

5/10

Pancs, Czakó Piac, MOM Park & Római-part

Outdoor markets remain the best option for filling your fridge while keeping a responsible social distance – not to mention supporting domestic producers. Many of Budapest’s small farmers’ fairs are planning special Christmas events, such as Advent Sundays at Czakó Piac, with Hungarian handicrafts, cakes, mulled wine, Advent wreaths and plenty of mouthwatering delights for sale. At MOM Park, check out the XMAS POP-UP market with artisans and craftsmen displaying their wares, or head to the Római shore where small-batch vendors have a full Christmas set-up with lights, handicrafts, gifts, decorations and delicious snacks.


6/10

Basilica/DiVino

Named the best Christmas market in Europe last year, the Advent Feast at the Basilica has been replaced with an online fair this year. Its symbolic Christmas decorations can be admired though, with a beautiful nativity manger, a glistening Christmas tree and a gigantic Advent wreath on the square. DiVino has set up an outdoor stand on surrounding Szent István tér, so visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere with fine mulled wine keeping them warm. The wine bar has also opened up a pop-up stand at Normafa Ski House, too, high up in the romantic Buda hills. 


7/10

Fashion Street/ÉS Xmas Terrace

A different side of the city is revealed to those venturing from deserted streets, where the festive lights are already shining bright. Budapest’s Fashion Street, Deák Ferenc utca, along with Vörösmarty tér would be teeming with people in any other year by now, but this year we can admire the dazzling Christmas décor in a more tranquil way. Here’s where the Christmas Terrace of the ÉS Bisztro is also located, offering takeaway burgers, cakes, traditional Hungarian Christmas bejgli and mulled wine until 2 January, Mon-Thur (5pm-7.30pm), and Fri-Sun (noon-7.30pm).


8/10

Gozsdu udvar/Tasting Room

The once bustling Gozsdu udvar is bereft of (mainly foreign) visitors, an unusual sight after being inundated with revellers year upon year. Some of the local restaurants have remained open and offer takeaway options, with the wine bar and bistro Tasting Room, a hot tip for warming drinks and delicious mulled wine.


9/10

Óbuda/Esernyős & Vasmacska

The cobbled streets of Óbuda’s Fő tér are most beautiful at Christmastime. And, although there’s no Advent fair this year, you can walk amid the dazzling festive lights. The Esernyős Galéria offers takeaway coffee, sweets, lunch and sandwiches, while the pet-filled Vasmacska, currently hosting a fundraiser for stray animals, awaits with a Christmas tree and takeaway holiday treats, such as churros, mulled wine and hot chocolate, as well as lunch menus. They open until 3pm on weekdays and until 6pm at weekends. If you visit, make sure to check out how the chinchillas are doing.


10/10

Pozsonyi út/Briós & Édesmindegy

One of the key streets in Újlipótváros, Pozsonyi út is a charming place for a stroll winter and summer. A favourite venue for locals, Briós is offering takeaway options with lunch menus and other treats to choose from, including mulled wine. So is nearby Édesmindegy, with Christmassy desserts, hot alcoholic beverages, hot chocolate, tea and more.

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