The Budapest Christmas market usually opens in November. It lasts about a month and a half and closes shortly after the New Year’s day. Budapest’s oldest and most spectacular Christmas market is open all week, although on December 24–26 the market closes earlier. Note that crafts stalls are usually open until December 29, while food stalls remain open until the very end.
The Budapest Christmas Market is first and foremost a food festival. Food stalls offer an extensive and sophisticated choice of Hungarian specialties such as lángos (deep friend flatbread), kolbász (smoked sausage), rétes (Hungarian strudel), szaloncukor (sweets made with chocolate-covered fondant which are wrapped in shiny colored foil and hung on the Christmas tree), bejgli (poppy seed rolls), roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, pecsenye (grilled meat), goulash (Hungarian stew), kürtőskalács (a type of cake similar to Czech trdelnik) and more.
Of course, there are also drinks that will keep you warm during chilly weather. They include famous Tokaji wines, forralt bor (Hungarian mulled wine flavored with honey, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, pepper and other spices), and pálinka (Hungarian fruit brandy).
Crafts stalls offer a wide array handmade products made exclusively by Hungarian craftsmen. They include wood and ceramic items, dolls in natural costume, bags, hand embroidered garments, unique jewelry, souvenirs, and more. Here you can buy something really original and unique for your loved ones.
A Christmas market can’t do without entertainment, and the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market is no exception. There are festive concerts held in the late afternoon, even on weekdays, with music ranging from folk to jazz, choirs singing, dancing, puppet shows, and nativity plays (betlehemezés in Hungarian). In the evenings, there are famous light painting shows on the facade of Cafe Gerbeaud. Originally, the cafe had a big Advent calendar on its facade, but in the last few years, it has been replaced by the laser ray painting.
Along with its main Christmas fair, Hungary’s capital hosts at least two more Christmas markets. One takes place at St. Stephens Basilica, the other is held in the Park Town Hall of New Pest.