Christmas Bucket List: 10+1 Fun Budapest Holiday Activities To Do.

Are you planning a trip to Budapest this winter but worried about not finding any fun and interesting activities in the city? Then we have a great news for you: Budapest is a wonderful city for winter holidays!

We’ll share 8 awesome things to do in and around Budapest in December, January and February!

There’s no time like winter. Budapest is one of the most amazing cities on the planet around Christmas – between Christmas lights, markets and signs in the shop windows. Winter is also the time for ice skating, winter festivals, cozy pop-up cafes and rooftop bars.

Budapest in winter

Weather in Budapest in Winter

You might be asking how bad/cold is the weather in Budapest in Winter. If you are lucky enough to find it covered in pure white snow, its romantic atmosphere will fascinate you. But even if the temperatures are above zero, Budapest around winter and Christmas time has a lot to offer.

Rain is not that common in Budapest throughout the year as you may think, but – on the other hand, it is often windy, yet Budapest is still beautiful on those blue sky winter days, when the wind blows all the clouds away.

Dress up warmly, get into a Chrismas Spirit, and before leaving, check out this guide of top 8 reasons to visit Budapest in winter to help you enjoy the city even in the coldest months, making the most of festive Hungarian atmosphere.

Budapest in December and Christmas

Bathe in a Thermal Spa! 1

Wondering how to warm up on a cold day in Budapest?

You can pick your baths located near Budapest’s most famous landmarks, our favourite thermal baths are the Széchenyi and Gellért Baths, yet there is a variety of other options to try – prices usually range between €15 and €20 for a full day pass and most remain open until night.

Budapest in winter

Whilst it seems crazy to head outside in the freezing temperatures in your swimsuit, that’s not such an unusual idea to the locals. The warmth of the thermal waters will prevent you from the biting cold, and making it one of the best activities during freezing winter Budapest.

Budapest in winter

Taste some of the excellent samples of Hungarian cuisine 2.

Visiting Budapest around the Holiday Christmas season blesses you with a perfect opportunity to explore culinary traditions.

Budapest Christmas Market is well-known for its palatable street food and sweets.

We made a list of 6 MUST try dishes to try while in Budapest in Christmas.

  • Fisherman’s Soup
  • Fried Fish
  • Stuffed Cabbage
  • Potato Salad in Vinegar
  • Traditional Homemade Goulash Soup
  • Pulled Pork
  • Hungarian made sausages
Budapest in winter

Get lost in a Budapest Christmas Market. 3

Spirit of the holiday season feels better with Christmas Markets in Budapest.

Nowadays, it gets dark and cold painfully early, Christmas Markets in Budapest 2018 are here to warm you up with its hot wine and amazing street food, as well as winter-themed activities for the whole family, including ice skating.

The traditional Vorosmarty Square Christmas Market, is the ‘daddy‘ of all Christmas Markets in Budapest

With over 80 huts, numerous food stands and attractions often gets crowded, so you might consider heading to a family-friendly Budapest Christmas Markets by Basilica, which features a ice-skating rink, Christmas Tree among many huts, hot wine stands and more.

Budapest in winter

And as a bonus, St. Stephen Basilica gets 3D illuminated every night during the Market’s opening days, which is a nice experience.

Skate on the biggest European Ice Rink in Budapest! 4.

Straight out of fairy tale. You know it’s almost Christmas in Budapest when ice-skating rinks start popping up.

Afternoon skating on a ice rink in Budapest’s City is simply something you cannot miss when visiting Budapest in winter.

Our favorite amongst Budapest’s ice rinks is City Park, surrounded by Vajdahunyad Castle and you ice-skating right next to it to the rhythm of music. Not too shabby, right?

Budapest in winter

In fact, outdoor ice skating is a popular activity among locals during wintertime and the music coming from the overhead speakers sets the mood and keeps you going on cool winter days and nights.

Budapest in January to February

Ruin Bars Budapest experience in winter. Warming up! 5.

The ruin pub phenomenon has taken over Budapest’s nightlife a couple years ago to establish a far-reaching success formula.

Budapest in winter

However, it’s not only the rickety furnishing, the psychedelic interiors, and the hipster crowd that make these ramshackle properties popular.

The dilapidated edifices also boast a distinct charm.

Here are the Best Ruin Bars in Budapest Not To Miss according to Nomadic Matt.

Wander the beautiful, colorful streets on a Budapest winter walk. 6.

Winter is a wonderful time to walk around Budapest.

Like any city at Christmas time, Budapest’s major roadways get spruced up with a number of festive and non-festive lights.

Budapest in winter

Who wouldn’t take couple stops by this tram?

It makes for a real treat to enjoy the glowing trees and lamps alongside the hectic nightlife.

And while it might not be the sole reason to travel to Budapest, it will all the same make for a special moment as you take in the bright lights and wonderful sights.

Our favorite location for a winter walk in Budapest is a top of Gellert Hill – Citadela.

Budapest in winter

Make sure you walk all the way up the hill to see Budapest from above, and if you are lucky enough and visiting around Januray – February, It will be covered in snow.

Then, end your winter walk at Gellert Baths, a famous Budapest Hotel with Thermal Spa, where you can enjoy the rest of your day.

Winter Food Festivals 7.

Locals don’t need a reason to celebrate, and we definitely don’t need an excuse to head out for something delightful to eat.

Budapest in winter

There are a numbers of festivals throughout the winter time, all focus on Budapest or Hungarian food and specialities.

Farsang – and its accompanying ‘Fat Thursday’ where restaurants offer 50% off – is when the feasting starts, but there are other, specialized festivals that specifically celebrate a type of food such as pork, fish or cheese!

Enjoy the traditional Hungarian Chimney Cake – Kürtőskalács! 8.

Kürtőskalács or “Chimney cake”- is a spit cake specific to Hungary and Hungarian-speaking regions in Romania.

Chimney cake is made from sweet, yeast dough (raised dough), of which a strip is spun and then wrapped around a truncated cone–shaped baking spit, and rolled in granulated sugar.

Budapest in winter

It is roasted over charcoal while basted with melted butter, until its surface cooks to a golden-brown color. The surface of the cake can then be topped with additional ingredients such as ground walnut or powdered cinnamon making it unbelievable!

Kürtőskalács is definitely worth trying on your winter visit to Budapest!

A winter classic – Hungarian Mulled wine! 9.

This sweet and spicy alcoholic beverage is an ultimate favorite all over Europe, especially by locals in Budapest during the winter season.

Budapest in winter

Most of the times it is made of red wine, but white wine versions are not rare neither.

Where to find mulled wine in Budapest during winter?


Yet the Christmas Market in Budapest opening dates are dating till 2nd of January, Mulled wine keeps its place.

Hungarians are wine drinkers, and we do like to comfort ourselves with mulled wine during the cold winter days.

New Year’s Eve in Budapest! 10.

One of the most unique and unforgettable experiences is cruise on New Year’s Eve on a boat.

Budapest in winter

Celebrate the New Year in Budapest on a special program. NYE Budapest Parties are available to book, but don’t hesitate much as tickets are selling fast.