Winter isn’t winter without ice skating. And Budapest has some of the most beautiful outdoor rinks in Europe. Here we pick six of our favourites, soon to open in good time for the Christmas season.
Santa Claus brings the ice rink to the Bálna this year, welcoming skaters to the outdoor rink from St Nicholas night of December 6 to the end of February. The panorama of the Danube and Gellért Hill makes sliding especially exciting here, plus this is the largest free outdoor facility in Budapest.
Opens: 6 December
Fő tér (Óbuda)
Similar to the ice rink at Szent István tér, skating is integral to the Christmas market happenings at Óbuda as well. Visitors of all ages can come here to slide around on their skates until February. On Saturdays, novices have the chance to polish up their skills during training sessions, and skate hire is available.
Opens: 30 November
Intermezzo Ice Terrace
Want to ice skate on top of the world? The Hotel President transforms its rooftop terrace into an ice rink each winter, delighting guests with this unique opportunity. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy this romantic setting, the mulled wine and panoramic views. Open-air heaters keep you warm when you’re not skating.
Opens: November 18
Admission: 2,500 forints
The Müpa Winter Series is back for another year, offering concerts and new-circus performances on a huge rink from early December. With the spectacular light projections over the building, you can practise your ice dancing then warm up between shows at the heated buffet.
Opens: 1 December
Szent István tér
The Advent Fair by St Stephen’s Basilica is Budapest’s most spectacular Christmas market, all 3D lights and projections, and features a rink for youngsters under 14. And if they leave their skates at home, you can borrow some for free on the spot. Those not so steady on the ice can get a little tuition every weekend.
Opens: 22 November
Located in Budapest’s Városliget, the City Park, this ice rink is not only the most popular in Budapest, but also the oldest, built in 1870. And it’s the biggest outdoor rink in Europe. Surrounding it are Heroes’ Square and Vajdahunyad Castle, providing sightseeing and outdoor activity all in one.
Opens: Mid-November, depending on the weather.
Admission: Mon-Thur 1,000 forints, Fri-Sun 2,000 forints