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!
Farmers' markets & advent fairs
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.
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.
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
It’s no surprise that trendy
Bartók Béla út has been one of the first places in town to start offering
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
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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.