What to do in Budapest at Christmas?

As this is an upcoming trip, I am compiling a list of things to do in Budapest at Christmas.  I will be there four days before Christmas Day and leaving on Boxing Day.   

Internet Resource

Budapest Christmas Things to Do appears to be an excellent website which tells all there is needed to know about being in Budapest at Christmas!  I have looked through the website and summarized some of my findings below.

Weather

The typical weather in Budapest at Christmas is 3 to 4 Celsius during the day and 0 to -2 at night.

As a comparison, where I live in central Alberta, Canada, the day time temperatures are -5 to -7C during the day and -14 to -16C at night.  While -5 to -7C is a comfortable temperature to spend the day outside, -14 to -16 is not. 

So I think the temperatures in Budapest are very comfortable both day and night.  Although, I am guessing that because it is near the water, it will feel colder than it is.  Best to wear a good winter coat, hats and mitts, a scarf and perhaps long johns or stockings.  It won’t be unheard of to wear a pair of outdoor pants if you intend on spending the entire day outside.  If you go to a good outdoor supply store such as MEC or Camper’s Village, they will have some excellent options which don’t look or feel like ski pants.  But if you tend to get extremely cold, then wear what keeps you comfortable. 

Markets

There are two markets on December 24th of note, operating from 10 to 3 and the Basilica from 10 to 2: 

I just found this excellent article in the Telegraph about Christmas in Budapest.

Christmas Church Services in Budapest

I had the good fortune to visit Helsinki’s Temppeliaukion Church, a church carved out of a rock, at Christmas and it was a memorable experience for me.  I didn’t understand a word, but the themes and songs were easy to hum along to and grasp.  I look forward to visiting a church in Budapest for Christmas, either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve Church Concert in Budapest at the St. Anna’s Church begins at 6:00 and you need to book tickets ahead of time.  When I took a look, the concert date was in July so it appears to be an ongoing concert.  I suppose if you take a look in the future and if you desire to go on Christmas Eve, the details are all online. 

Walking Tour

There are guided walking tours available on December 24th of the Buda Castle.  The hours are 2pm to 4pm and the cost is EUR 10 for adults and EUR 5 for Children 0-12. 

The main thermal baths are open from 6am to 2pm on December 24, and you can make reservations online. 

‘City of Baths’

Chances are you plan to go to a bath house when you visit Budapest.

Information about Budapest’s bathhouses

Budapest is known as the ‘City of Baths’.  The waters are natural and come for thermal hot springs, as many as 1,000 sources of this warm water which they say is good for the soul, has healing properties and just plain relaxing.  The baths are open year round. 

Budapest Bath Etiquette, and questions answered

  • Check the dates carefully as some days are men only or women only. 
  • Check the clothing policy.  All require bathing suits on mixed-sex days.
  • Some pools require a bathing cap
  • Most pools rent towels
  • Some pools offer medical treatments
  • Some pools offer spa-like services such as massages, pedicures

Wear flip-flops for cleanliness as well as for when the floors are slippery

Links to Budapest’s Baths here:

Food

What are the typical foods that you will encounter at Christmas in Budapest? 

My mouth is watering already – well, I don’t know about the rooster testicle stew

  • Chimney Cake (kürtőskalács)
  • Goulash soup in a bread bowl (gulyásleves) …
  • Mulled wine (forralt bor) …
  • Roasted chestnut (sült gesztenye) …
  • Rooster-testicle stew (kakastöke pörkölt) …
  • Parlor candy (szaloncukor) …
  • Spiral strudel (beigli) …
  • Strudel (rétes)

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Comments

  1. Lisa Manderino says:

    I would really be looking forward to the food! What a fun adventure!

    1. Lori Gerrits says:

      I am looking forward to seeing what they serve for Christmas.

  2. Lori Nielsen says:

    Looks like some fun plans! Hope it turns out perfect!

    1. Lori Gerrits says:

      Thank you, Lori. I hope it turns out perfect too!

  3. Stacey says:

    Rooster testicle stew, LOL… who knew that was a thing. I’m a big planner when I take trips, so I can really appreciate your sharing this article.

    1. Lori Gerrits says:

      I can’t imagine how that stew will taste…

  4. kmf says:

    A destination Christmas sounds like a intriguing option!

    1. Lori Gerrits says:

      I really enjoy travelling off season. I hope it turns out well too.

  5. Stacey says:

    It looks like you are going to have an amazing trip! It will be so magical at Christmas time. I’m looking forward to the posts when you return.

    1. Lori Gerrits says:

      I hope to take loads of pictures and get some great ideas to share!

  6. Way to plan ahead and very smart thinking. I’m not a fan of surprises most of the time so I would research too. I hope you have a wonderful journey to Budapest, it looks pretty awesome!

    1. Lori Gerrits says:

      Thank you Shirley. When I have travelled without first researching I feel like I missed some important sites. Although I suppose no matter what, I can’t see it all!

  7. Cynthia says:

    Ok the rooster testicle stew made me LOL! Sounds like a fantastic trip-I hope you have a wonderful time!

  8. Pam says:

    Looks like lots to do! Have a great time.

  9. Amanda says:

    Sounds like you are going to have a great Christmas holiday! However, I would skip the rooster stew haha

  10. alison says:

    That is such a fun time to go and so festive. What a treat to be able to go to the service and explore those markets in a beautiful city.

  11. Hera says:

    Budapest for Christmas sounds awesome! My niece served in Budapest for 18 months 2 year ago and she loved it. Have a blast this Christmas and so great you’re already preparing! The food looks yummy too

  12. Lisa says:

    Great Budapest recap. Have an amazing tkme!

  13. It looks like a beautiful city, especially at night.

  14. Taci- Life Beyond Zebra says:

    Looks like it’s going to be a great trip! Lots of good research.

  15. The concerts would give me goosebumps!!

  16. Heather says:

    This sounds amazing. I hear the Christmas markets are amazing.

  17. Missy says:

    That would be a wonderful vacation. We enjoy learning about the local culture.

  18. Nicole Cruze says:

    I love your pictures, I’ve been to Budapest many years ago!

  19. kmf says:

    Looking forward to reading about your destination Christmas adventure!

  20. Jen says:

    Beautiful pictures! Budapest sounds like a must-see!

  21. I love Christmas travel and Budapest looks like the perfect destination!

  22. alison says:

    Oh that sounds like a fun trip coming up. Good idea to plan ahead. Cold, but seems you are totally used to it so no biggie.

  23. Lisa says:

    I love going to church in different places! I love to see the cultural differences!

  24. Trisha says:

    This looks like it can be such a magical place during Christmas. Thank you so much for sharing!

  25. Missy says:

    I would enjoy walking tours. I like seeing the neighborhood. 🙂

  26. Sarah says:

    I had chimney cake for the first time at the farmer’s market in San Diego a few weeks ago! Yummy! Make sure you try that one.
    My time in Budapest seems like a lifetime ago. It has always seemed like a mystical place to me. Not sure why.
    Enjoy!

  27. Clara says:

    I never would have thought to visit Budapest for Christmas but it sure seems like an epic idea. Christmas in foreign countries is always fascinating.

  28. Trish says:

    Wow, Budapest during Christmas seems so appealing until you say how cold it is. This Florida girl could not handle that well.

  29. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all
    that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

    1. Lori says:

      Sorry that you lost the comment! Thank you for the kind comment!

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