Winter is pretty much with us now so don your skates and draw figure eights! Whether you amaze people with your smooth moves on ice or amuse them with epic falls, you can slide and glide alfresco at many skating spots around town. Settings stretch from stunningly historic to cool and modern, and all have tasty treats to boost your mood between laps, too.
Bálna Budapest Ice Rink
This is the largest free ice rink in Budapest, enhanced with beautiful riverfront views. You can skate here for free enjoying a picturesque panorama of Gellért Hill, Liberty Bridge and the intriguing edifice of Bálna Budapest itself. Note that the rink closes between 2pm and 3pm every day for maintenance. And from 6pm daily, an ice disco entertains those who can dance on ice – or are willing to try after some mulled wine. A Christmassy arts and crafts playhouse also entertains children within the Bálna Budapest building.
This ice rink opens on 1 December.
Open until: End of February
Opening hours: Mon-Thur, Sun 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-midnight. 24 December 10am-2pm. 27-30 December 10am-10pm. Closed 25-26 December, 1 January
Address: District IX. Fővám tér 11-12
Skates are available to rent.
Basilica Ice Rink
This small ice rink is only open for children under 14. While the kids skate safely – and for free – around the Christmas tree, adults can sip on tasty wintry booze and browse the Advent fair. For extra entertainment, 3D light shows are projected on the Basilica’s façade every half-hour after dark. Skates can be rented for free.
Open until: 1 January
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm
Address: District V. Szent István tér 1
City Park Ice Rink
Steps from Heroes’ Square in City Park, one of Europe’s largest open-air ice rinks is backdropped by beautiful, fairytale-like Vajdahunyad Castle. When darkness descends, pretty lights illuminate this massive space, transforming it into a winter wonderland. Frosty-faced children have heaps of fun, lovebirds skate while holding hands and groups of friends race and then refuel with glasses of mulled wine and hot tea. This is the most popular ice rink in the city, home to many merry scenes.
Open until: End of February
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-1pm & 5pm-9pm, Sat 10am-2pm & 4pm-9pm, Sun 10am-2pm & 4pm-8pm
Admission: 1,500-2,000 forints
Address: District XIV. Olof Palme sétány 5
Skates are available to rent for 2,000 forints.
Csepel Ice Corridor
A former industrial zone, Csepel island is hardly ever visited by those who don’t live there. But with one of the coolest ice rinks in the city set up here, you have every reason to visit. The ice rink awaits skaters of all levels, while a curving ice slide is suitable for racing and performing speedy stunts – and is a perfect location for winter photographs. Hot drinks and cinnamon-scented treats are available at the surrounding wooden huts. Those looking for something a little more special can take the frequent HÉV commuter train from Boráros tér on tram routes 2 and 4-6, and alight at Szent Imre tér.
This ice rink opens on 2 December at 5pm.
Admission: 700 forints
Address: District XXI. Szent Imre tér
Skates are available to rent for 700 forints.
Óbuda Fő tér
Throughout Advent, Fő tér in Óbuda, north of Margaret Bridge on the Buda side, fills with love and laughter thanks to its charming Christmas fair and a free ice rink. Here you can learn how to skate from friendly tutors, and enjoy traditional Hungarian chimney cake and mulled wine while catching your breath between laps. Locals love this annual attraction and flock here every winter.
This ice rink opens on 30 November.
Open until: 3 March
Opening hours: Daily 8am-10pm
Address: District III. Fő tér
Skates are available to rent for 600 forints, 400 forints for children.
Skating after sunset with beautifully illuminated Budapest at your feet while Christmas hits play in the background is unforgettable. For this elevated experience – and a 360° panorama – head to the Intermezzo Roof Terrace atop the Hotel President, now dressed up for winter, where an intimate atmosphere is guaranteed thanks to numbers being limited to 20-25 skaters at any one time. This 110-square-metre ice rink is the highest in Budapest – head here for a romantic rendezvous and you won’t be disappointed.
Open until: 28 February
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 4pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-8pm
Admission: 1,250 forints
Address: District V. Hold utca 3
A limited number of skates are available to rent for 750 forints.
MÜPA Ice Rink
An open-air ice rink awaits all visitors right outside the enchanting cultural location of the Palace of Arts. Here, skaters can do laps while listening to the two channels of Müpa Radio, Easy and Symphony. A bar temps taste buds with mulled wine, hot chocolate and classic wintry flavours, while a massive tent houses all kinds of cultural attractions during the festive season.
This ice rink opens on 2 December.
Open until: 27 January
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Closed 7 & 24 December
Address: District IX. Komor Marcell utca 1.