The Hungarian capital is vibrant and beautiful throughout the whole year; however, it definitely has a unique charm in the winter, especially during the festive season. The streets are dressed in glistening lights at this time of year and the alluring scent of roasted chestnuts, cinnamon-flavoured chimney cakes and mulled wine fills the air, as Budapest locals head outdoors to discover the many wonderful fairs, cultural events and other exciting attractions their city offers.
No matter the cold, it is definitely worth bundling up and leaving your hotel room to explore the city centre of the Hungarian capital in the winter. This is especially true for the evenings, when Budapest’s major streets and roads sparkle with bright Christmas lights, filling both visitors and locals of the city with a joyous feeling. Even taking public transport can be an unforgettable experience as some of the trams are decorated with blue and white lights at this time of year, making you feel like you are travelling in the warm embrace of the festivities of the season. You can take a stroll on the illuminated Andrássy Street under its line of trees, feasting your eyes on the magical scene of sparkling fairy lights covering the branches, then make a stop at Liszt Ferenc Square where you can grab a bite and enjoy the joyful atmosphere of the Advent bazaar.
Other Christmas fairs in the city are not to miss either, with their irresistible aroma of cinnamon, roasted chestnut and other freshly baked delicacies. These bazaars also welcome visitors with their wooden stalls, a wide and colourful variety of Hungarian merchandise, such as ceramics, special honeys, uniquely designed clothes, bags and jewels, candles, handmade toys and other handicraft products. Freshly roasted and baked delicacies are being sold at the various food stalls, offering passers-by a chance to gorge on heavenly chimney cakes, roasted chestnuts or such Hungarian specialities as goulash soup or spicy sausages.
The Christmas fair on Vörösmarty Square also holds concerts, puppet shows and workshops the whole family can enjoy, while the Advent Festival located beside the Saint Stephen’s Basilica welcomes visitors with skating lessons for kids or live music among the wide selection of handicraft goods. There is also a lovely fair at the Várkert Bazaar with giant Advent candles, craft workshops and other fun activities, and the Advent Fair at Erzsébet Square (Deák Ferenc Square) is well worth a visit because of its spectacular Christmas tree installation. A large Ferris wheel called the Budapest Eye can also be found here, mesmerizing those who take a ride on it with a spectacular view over the city lit up in the evenings.