Christmas time in Budapest is all about fairy lights, mulled wine, outdoor ice rinks, illuminated avenues, and a wide variety of Christmas fairs. To help you navigate in the labyrinth of the heaps of urban winter fun provided by Hungary''s capital, we''ve collected a trio of must-dos and a duo of mustn''t dos.
A nook of design gifts
This year’s AT Xmas (Gift Terminal), the annual Christmas fair of Design Terminal, has three goals. First and foremost, it aims to popularize the works of Hungarian designers. Secondly, it tries to pull paserssby into the parallel reality of contemporary arts, this time around with Christmas goodies. And, last not least, it looks to serve as a peaceful nook where you can slow down and tune out the gift shopping pogo of Váci Street and downtown Budapest. Between 8 December 2012 and 23 December 2012, Design Terminal morphs into a spectacular winter time showroom, where a hundred Hungarian designers will exhibit their creations, and a one-of-a-kind selection of jewellery, pieces of furniture, clothes, articles for personal use, and children’s goodies will also be available. The latter category seems to be the spearhead of AT Xmas (Gift Terminal) with heaps of plush toys, fairy tale books, tiny stools usable as treasure chests, clothes, and other unique bric-a-bracs.
If you’ve had the fortune to scan through real estate advertisments, you surely are familiar with an overused term that goes “in the heart of the city”. Most of the time, it’s an exaggerating sales tool, but in the case of downtown Budapest’s Vörösmarty tér (Vörösmarty Square), it’s more than valid. Deák Ferenc tér is just around the corner,Váci utca (Váci Street), the Danube Promenade, Gerbeaud Confectionery, and (Chain Bridge) are well within sight, and chic clubs such as Trafiq and are as close as Rudolph is to starring in a nasal spray TV spot. Vörösmarty Square’s Christmas Fair is characterized by wooden stands, mouth-watering scents, Hungarian dishes and spirits, a giant Advent crown, charity donations, a magical realm and a playhouse with arts and crafts for children, concerts every single day between 5 pm and 8 pm, and, of course, mulled wine. It’s all dandy and fine, but the fair is extremely overcrowded and a tad too touristy, so if you’re only hunting for a mug of mulled wine with a hint of holiday spirit, follow the lead of our article discussing the best sources of everyone’s favourite winter beverage.