In case last semester’s parties left your piggybank empty, don’t worry, you can choose from many wallet-friendly options if you want to make the most of the winter break in Budapest. Discover the Hungarian capital city from a different perspective!
#1 Visit the fair
Lights, ornaments, smells. These three words might describe all Christmas fairs, but there’s something unique about each one of them that we adore. Renovated in autumn 2019, Vörösmarty tér awaits everyone with exciting programs, a wide range of food choices, winter-style desserts and sweets, exigent gifts, more than 100 artisan booths and a premium category, sumptuous fair, while Óbuda is known and loved for its cozy and familiar Advent market. Additionally, the popularity of the area of St. Stephen’s Basilica is due to its central location, environment-friendly approaches, and a monumental 3D video mapping which transforms the religious building into a festive postcard.
#2 Hop on the light-up tram
Polar Express what? We, Hungarians have illuminated trams! The very first festively decorated tram appeared on the rails of tramline 2 in 2009, and Budapesters and city visitors couldn’t get enough of it so nowadays you can spot more of them on both sides of the Danube. Lit up by thousands of LEDs, these vehicles are inevitable during the winter; from Sunday to Tuesday they run on tramline 2, on Wednesdays and Thursdays you can catch them on tramline 19, and on Fridays, they might appear on the tramway tracks of tram 47 and 49. Until 4 January, the illuminated trams run on different lines every Saturday.
A quintessential winter program, ice-skating will help you shed kilos the healthy way after the Christmas feast, but it is also a winning idea if you’d take your sweetheart out on a date. During the winter, numerous ice rinks open, and the most beautiful of them, situated in City Park, has been around since 1896. Surrounded by a breathtaking scenery, it is actually Europe’s largest artificial ice surface that you can access after purchasing your tickets online. If money is an issue but you’d prefer to spend your free time in a historical milieu, head to Óbuda’s Fő tér where Baroque buildings and a lovely Advent fair are awaiting you, as well as a smaller but free-to-use ice rink.
Is there anything better to warm yourself up with than a mug of mulled wine on a cold winter day? Yes there is, one of the capital city’s public baths! With a student card, enjoying centuries-old Király Bath’s formerly sparkling Ottoman luxury costs only 2000 HUF for a whole day, and guess what, an entrance ticket to Budapest’s most modern bathing complex, Csillaghegyi Árpád Strandfürdő costs the same. The latter offers a list of ways for pampering yourself: saunas, pools, wellness facilities, slides and a gym are available for everyone seeking to recharge their batteries and relax.
You are over 12, so what? You don’t have to give up on the joy of sledding. All you need is a classic sled, a plastic tray or a snow shovel and the perfect slope of course that you’ll definitely find in Budapest. Prepare yourself that on the Pest side, more or less your only option is City Park’s Királydomb (King’s Hill) where you’ll face families with little kids. Buda is a much better direction; on the slopes of Tabán a spectacular view to Buda Castle adds to the sledding experience, but you can also sled down the Hármashatár-hegy or Normafa which are likewise beautiful.
Have you already ticked everything off your list from skating to sledding? In case your inner Duracell bunny is still high on energy, take a walk in the city as long as your feet can bear. Andrássy út, Deák Ferenc utca, the Castle District, Duna-korzó and City Park are all worth a visit.