12 best things to do for Advent in Budapest


  • Zsófia Nagy

08/12/2021 11.34am

With Christmas in full swing this year, it's time to switch off, relax and give in to seasonal indulgence. You can also get active, skate, explore a magical castle or soak in a panoramic spa. Here are 12 great tips to enjoy Advent in Budapest – one for every day of Christmas!

Photo: Balkányi László - We Love Budapest

Browse a Christmas market


The beautiful hand-crafted wares and shiny decorations are back on view at the Basilica and Vörösmarty tér, Budapest’s main downtown Christmas markets. Delicious food, light shows, Advent wreathes and other cosy activities also await. Proof of vaccination required to enter.

Photo: Recirquel/Bálint Hirling

Enjoy a winter show


What could be more Christmassy than taking the family to a show? Performed by Budapest’s amazing Recirquel cirque danse team – no linguistic skills required – Kristály takes the audience into a magical winter world. Running over several days in a special marquee, the entertainment forms part of Müpa Christmas, with a skating rink alongside.

Photo: Bódis Krisztián - We Love Budapest

Explore Vajdahunyad Castle


Backdropped by the City Park ice rink, Disneyesque Vajdahunyad Castle is cannot fail to be a spectacular Christmassy setting. Over Advent, special activities include guided tours, walks and baking workshops but even if your Hungarian isn’t up to it, a stroll around this strange landmark should do the trick.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Ride the Christmas tram


Climb on board Budapest’s shiny Christmas tram and feel the festive atmosphere while city lights whizz by. Different routes run on different days until 6 January, so do check the schedule, but the number 2 line along the Danube embankment on Mondays and Wednesdays must be the most magical.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Sip hot chocolate


Take a break from shopping with a sweet, soothing hot chocolate. Set aside Christmas responsibilities and indulge yourself with a marshmallow hot chocolate at Ahoy or choose a classic version from the Nothing Coffee-Aztek Choxolat! selection. If you feel like getting cosy, then pop into the Csészényi Kávézó and sit right beside the traditional stove.

Photo: Újbuda / Facebook

Skate away


Before all the rich Christmas feasting, you can get a little fitter and enjoy outdoor winter sport at several rinks around Budapest. The main one in City Park is backdropped by the Disneyesque Vajdahunyad Castle while Müpa’s allows you to skate then take in a show.

Photo: Alpha/Flickr

Snack on roast chestnuts


After a winter walk or skating, it’s great to gather around the nearest chestnut vendor and have them place a warming little bag into your mitts. Then, of course, you can hardly wait for the shell to cool down just enough to unwrap the delicacy. It’s okay to be a bit messy – no-one can wait to get to the heart of the matter.

Photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest

Soak in the Rudas


Experience real Advent relaxation in Budapest by visiting a spa and soaking your tired limbs in thermal waters. The Rudas, right on the Danube, also has an upper pool with wonderful views of the city decked out in festive lights.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Stroll around Buda Castle


Let’s hope for beautiful snowy days, when the narrow little streets of the Castle District glow under atmospheric street lights and people’s window decorations brighten up the Baroque façades. To pop in to warm up somewhere, buy a delicious hot drink on your walk at the 4minutes Café on Országház utca.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Take in a church concert


Let the spiritual atmosphere of Christmas surround you with a live performance of classical music in one of Budapest’s beautiful churches. Concerts are takin place at Matthias Church and St Stephen’s Basilica, to name but two.

Photo: Mudra László - We Love Budapest

Warm up with mulled wine


Admire the wonderful lights of the city decorated for Christmas with a warming glass in your hands. Pick up a mulled wine at Czakó Kert and head up to the Philosophers‘ Garden, with Budapest spread out down below.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Zoom on the Christmas trolley


Riding Budapest’s bright Christmas trolleys, done out like Santa’s grotto inside, is not only fun, you can also help children in need by donating a small, wrapped gift being collected on board. Services run on several routes until 19 December.

Related content

Admin mode