What is Budapest Like in December?

December is a magical time to visit Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. The city comes alive with festive cheer, beautiful decorations, and a plethora of activities to enjoy. In this blog post, we will explore what Budapest is like during this winter month and highlight some of the must-see attractions and events.

The Winter Wonderland of Lights

One of the highlights of visiting Budapest in December is experiencing the stunning winter decorations and lights that adorn the city. The main streets, such as Andrassy Avenue and Vaci Street, are transformed into enchanting winter wonderlands. The facades of buildings are covered in twinkling lights, and large Christmas trees are set up in prominent squares.

A particularly popular spot is Vörösmarty Square, where the annual Budapest Christmas Fair takes place. Here, you can find wooden stalls selling traditional Hungarian crafts, local delicacies, and handmade gifts. The aroma of mulled wine and freshly baked chimney cake fills the air, creating a truly festive atmosphere.

Ice Skating and Thermal Baths

No winter trip to Budapest is complete without ice skating and visiting its famous thermal baths. The City Park Ice Rink, located close to Heroes’ Square, offers a magical ice-skating experience with a backdrop of the Vajdahunyad Castle. Whether you are a beginner or a skilled skater, gliding across the ice is a delightful way to embrace the winter spirit.

After an exhilarating ice-skating session, warm up and relax in one of Budapest’s thermal baths. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the largest and most popular, featuring several indoor and outdoor pools. Soaking in the warm, mineral-rich water surrounded by snow-covered landscapes is a true winter indulgence.

Gastronomic Delights

Budapest offers a wide array of traditional Hungarian dishes that are perfect for warming up during the winter months. Indulge in classics such as goulash, a hearty beef stew, or langos, a deep-fried dough topped with various savory or sweet toppings.

For a unique dining experience, visit one of Budapest’s many Christmas markets. Alongside the crafts and gifts, you can find a variety of street food options including sausages, roasted chestnuts, and kürtőskalács (chimney cake).

Festive Events and Christmas Markets

In December, Budapest hosts numerous festive events and Christmas markets throughout the city. The St. Stephen’s Basilica Christmas Market is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Enjoy live music, take a ride on the Ferris wheel, and be captivated by the stunning light show projected onto the basilica.

Another must-visit market is the Christmas Fair at the Budapest Castle. With a backdrop of the iconic Buda Castle, this fair offers a unique shopping experience where you can find handcrafted souvenirs, jewelry, and local artwork.

Tips for Visiting Budapest in December

  • Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes to explore the city’s attractions.
  • Check the opening hours of museums and attractions as they may have special schedules during the holidays.
  • Book your accommodation and attractions tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Consider purchasing a Budapest Card, which provides free public transportation and discounts on various attractions.


Budapest in December is a magical destination offering beautiful decorations, festive events, and culinary delights. Whether you choose to stroll along the illuminated streets, visit the Christmas markets, or soak in the thermal baths, the city has something for everyone during the winter season. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the charm and warmth of Budapest in December!





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