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10 best things to do in Budapest this winter

The weather is cold and crisp, the coronavirus regulations remain in full force and it may feel like everything fun has been deemed off-limits this year. Luckily, WLB is here to help, and we have curated a list of ten best things to do in Budapest this winter to keep the blues away!


Drink mulled wine to go

Nothing says winter like a steaming mug of mulled wine, forralt bor. This hot treat is best enjoyed around a warm fire surrounded by friends, but when that option is not available to us, we must find a way to improvise. Luckily, several establishments around town have adapted, and begun serving mulled wine in takeaway cups. The ÉS Bisztró near Déak tér, Lumen in District VIII and the Normafa Síház in Buda are all serving this boozy beverage, so grab your coat, muster a few mates and defy the cold with a little cup of happiness. 


Tour a famous cemetery

There are many famous Hungarians buried in the sprawling cemeteries of Budapest, and the solitude and peacefulness of the grounds make them a pleasant spot for inner reflection and an escape from the daily metropolitan grind. There are four cemeteries in Budapest which dwarf all the others: Kerepesi, housing statesmen Ferenc DeákKossuth Lajos and other key national figures; Farkasréti, with famous composers like Béla Bartók and numerous Olympians; the Kozma utca Jewish Cemetery, one of the largest of its kind in Europe; and the neighbouring New Public Cemetery, which is still in use today. When the snow begins to fall, the stillness and tranquillity is enhanced tenfold, so it's a winter must. 


Do a puzzle by Hungarian designers

Several Hungarian artists are featured in a new project launched by Kirakós Budapest, with the artists' works turned into amazing 300-piece puzzles. What better way to pass the time than putting a jigsaw together? Proceeds support local creatives, and once the puzzles have been completed, you can hang them on the wall like the pieces of art that they are! More information on the project can be read here, and updates on available puzzles can be found on the group's Instagram page


Admire street art

One of the best way to experience a city is through its street art, and Budapest has some incredible pieces on display. On the sides of buildings, under bridges, in bustling squares and looking down from rooftops, there's a lot hiding in plain sight. Street art can tell you a lot about the people who live here, too, and what inspires them to create art. We have a whole article on the street art of Budapest here, or you can check out Budapest Flow's comprehensive map of Budapest's street art


Take a walking tour

Budapest is normally abuzz with walking tours, but during corona times we have to look a bit closer and follow strict safety measures in order to participate. Nonetheless, some tour companies have begun reopening, offering tours such as General HistoryAlternativeOuter 8th District and Communist Tours. One of the most unique tours offered in Budapest is the Mysterium Tours' Bloody Tales within the Castle Walls, an immersive storytelling experience covering the tumultuous history of Budapest's many battles and invasions. 


Hike around the Buda Hills

The hills of Buda are full of hiking trails, often leading to spectacular views without lookout towers to get you even higher. We have written extensively on hiking tours in the past, but here are a few to get you started if you're looking for some quick inspiration: 

Dobogókő - 700-metre-high vantage point, the highest peak in the Visegrád hills. How to get there: HÉV train to Pomáz then local transport to Dobogókő.
Nagy-Szénás - the most revered of Buda hilltops, with sweeping panoramas and the Csergezán Pál Lookout Tower. How to get there: From Hűvösvölgy take the 63 bus to Nagykovácsi, then turn down Antónia utca past the cemetery, heading north along Bánya utcaZsíroshegyi utca and Gémeskút utca
Róka-hegy - an old limestone quarry, full of interesting nooks and crannies waiting to be explored. How to get there: Szentendre HÉV to Csillaghegy, then walk up Ürömi út.
Remete-szurdokthickly-forested valley named after the 18th-century hermit who once lived here in a cave. How to get thereBus 57 from Hűvösvölgy or bus 63 from Remeteszőlős
Ördög-orom - one of the oldest protected habitats in Budapest, with a view from the top of Széchenyi Hill, Gellért Hill, Sas Hill and the Tétényi Plateau. How to get there: Tram 59 to the terminus at Márton Áron tér or bus 8E to Eper utca.


Warm up with hot soup

We went out to discover who was selling the best soups in Budapest, and the results are in. Check out Bors Gasztrobár, serving a curd cheese-based sweet pancake soup – inspired by Hungarian Túró Rudi bars – or head to the Oriental Soup House - Balzac utca to try the oriental pho with shrimp and quail’s egg. Spatula on Bartók Béla út serves its soups in an edible cup which can be carried for up to 20-30 minutes without leaking, featuring recipes like curried cauliflower cream, or everyone's childhood favourite, good ol' fashioned tomato soup


Check out a new underground gallery

On the search for art, it probably seems counterintuitive to duck into an underground car park, but here in Budapest, that's exactly where you'll find one of the latest art galleries in the city! This winter, the hotly awaited (and debated) Liget Project unveiled its latest completion, the car park for the new Ethnographic Museum. But rather than keep the space dull and drab, the lot has also included the work of 12 prominent Hungarian artists, including László Moholy-NagyIlona KeserüDóra MaurerImre Bak and Victor Vasarely. If you haven't been yet, go check it out!


Follow a new nature trail

A new nature trail honours acclaimed Hungarian children’s writer István Fekete. Winding around Kis-Hárs Hill, the path is lined with information boards equipped with QR codes depicting this celebrated figure of Hungarian literature and the natural attractions in the vicinity. The trail stretches for nearly 800 metres from Széher út and is already a popular excursion spot.


Work out in the open air

The number of public-fitness parks has grown in Budapest in recent years, great news for those wanting to stay in shape during the pandemic. Of course, they’re also free to use, and even though the weather is getting colder, that doesn’t mean you can’t head outdoors for a little training. A user-friendly map has even been created so you can locate the nearest one to you. Popular options include City Park, Bikás Park and Városmajor.


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