All posts in Budapest Christmas

Budapest Christmas: places, events, markets, festivals, etc.

Obuda Christmas Market 2012 is a much awaited Christmas market, mostly known by locals, but less by Budapest expats and tourists visiting Hungary.

Obuda Christmas Market Budapest

Obuda Christmas Market Budapest

While the Advent Fair is an all day event, the weekends offer special concerts and performances on top of the daily markets, smith shows, etc. On weekdays (from Monday to Friday) you can see some programs from 4 pm (e.g. the performances of local schools, kindergartens, clubs, etc. like the traditional Bethlehem play by Hungarian school children, choirs singing etc.)

Let’s quickly add that while the market in Obuda is open from December 1 to 23, the skating rink on Fo Square (Fő tér) is open from Dec 1 to Dec 31, from 8 am to 8 pm.

You can take a peak at how Obuda is preparing for the Advent Fair on Fo Square in Obuda district (District III, Fő tér)

Here are some of the events of the Obuda Christmas Market in the Old Buda district of Budapest (District III, by Arpad Bridge)

December 1, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair


11:00 The devil and the fairy – Andrea Malek and Eva Korpas concert

16:00 – Concert by Csintekerinto Band, Szilvia Bognar and his Band

18:00 Opening Ceremony

The Magma Fire Theatre performance

Balazs Bus, mayor of Obuda-Békásmegyer gives a ceremonial speech

Skating rink Initiation

Concert: Good Tidings – the opening concert of Kaláka World Music Band (a huge favorite of locals)
Kalaka is one of our favourites too, listen to this beautiful song (“Somebody is walking atop the trees” poem by Sandor Kanyadi, music by Kalaka Band):

December 2, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair


11:00 the concert and show of the Folk Music School in Óbuda: singing together for the Advent

15:00 Travel Mail Concert by the MagyarVista Social Club (inspired by the Buena Vista Social Club)

16:00 Waiting for Santa’s elves with Finnish Lessons to learn the song for Santa Claus – Broccoli and Rocket, alias Bela Agoston singer. The clown and the music clown accompanied by the Ilona Andor School children’s choir

16:30 Youlupukki, the real Santa Claus from Finland arrives

18:00 Veni, Veni, Emmanuel – Bolyki brothers singing a capella

The first Advent candle lights are lit by Dr. Vilmos Khirer papal prelate, Hon. canon, judicial vicar

This is a video of the Bolyki Brothers Christmas Concert at the Obuda Christmas Market:

December 8, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair

 December 8 SATURDAY

11:00 Music Fairy – tale of Esther chain band

16:00 Singing Santa – Gryllus Vilmos concert

18:00 Winter sunshine – Day concert

December 9, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair

December 9 SUNDAY

11:00 Folk Music School in Óbuda the show – singing together for the Advent

16:00 Concert: I am bringing Fire – Agnes Herczku and her Band

18.00 The great Music Mountain – Lovasi and the accidental (Helicon Audio Book Series)

The second Advent candle lights are lit by Mihaly Varga minister


Christmas Skating in Budapest

Christmas Skating in Budapest

December 15, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair

December 15 SATURDAY

11:00 – Toldi, the story of a Hungarian hero shown by Gabor Boka in an old style of retro movies at fairs and markets (story told in pictures)

16:00 Concert (New Folk style): Start of Life – Budapest Nufolk Revolution

18.00 announcing the winners of the Christmas tree decorating competition and drawing competition. Delivering the Xmas gifts and the Christmas toy collections to needy children. On stager: Balazs Bus, Óbuda-Békásmegyer Mayor (the mayor of District III)

18:30 Concert: Pearls to Men by the Mistral Band

December 16, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair

December 16 SUNDAY

11:00 Folk Music School in Óbuda the show – singing together for the Advent

16:00 Shepherds, wake up! – Bela Szerenyi and his family

18:00 Concert (world music, raggie folk) Hear, Nazarene? – Gyorgy Ferenczi and Rackajam Band

The third Advent candle lights are lit by Elizabeth Menczer, Member of Parliament

Christmas Concert in Budapest Obuda

Christmas Concert in Budapest Obuda

December 22, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair

December 22 SATURDAY

11:00 Come to Bethlehem with us! – Gyöngyi Écs and Marcell Kovats performs a fabulous interactive story for children

16:00 Concert: Kétháné – by the Romengó Band

18:00 – Concert: Playing at Christmas – by the Sebő Band (Ferenc Sebo)

December 23, 2012: Obuda Christmas Fair

December 23 SUNDAY

11:00 Folk Music School in Óbuda the show – singing together for the Advent

16:00 Concert by the Buda Folk Band: Frequent Wanderers’ Christmas

18:00 Concert by Kalaka Band: Can I Come in with the Bethlehem? – The final concert of the Advent Fair in Obuda is performed by Kaláka

The fourth Advent candle lights are lit by Bela P. Abraham SDB Salesian Provincial

Budapest Christmas would not be complete without a bit of public transport in a Xmas mood: the Christmas streetcar / tram. One of the loveliest Budapest Christmas sights is the Budapest Christmas Streetcar number 2, and some more Budapest trams turned into a festive sight with many thousands of lights (in 2012: 39,200 white and blue LED lights).

Budapest Christmas Streetcar

Budapest Christmas Streetcar – Mark Mervai Photography

There is no surcharge to travel on the Budapest Christmas Streetcar, you can use your Budapest card or public transport travel pass, tickets as on any vehicles of the BKV company in Budapest. However, there will be special Christmas tram rides too (see details below). The trams are not well heated, so do get dressed well for the rides!

2013 Schedule of Christmas Trams in Budapest

The 2013 schedule of the Budapest Christmas trams has not been issued by the official Budapest public transportation company (BKV for short) yet. Please take a look at the schedule below to get a rough idea of what to expect in 2013.

2012 Schedule of Budapest Christmas Streetcars

2A Streetcar in Budapest at Christmas

There are streetcars bearing number 2 or 2A on their cars. In 2012, the trams 2A have been dressed up for Christmas. When are they running and where? Tram 2A is running along the river Danube as if it was a land based Budapest river cruise:

Tram 2A leaves from Boraros square (Boráros tér) by Petofi Bridge (on the Pest side), which is the terminal of the 2A streetcar line, at the following hours: 16:30, 17:15, 18:00, 18:45, 19:30, 20:15. The other terminal of the 2A tram is Jaszai Mari Square (Jászai Mari tér) by the Margaret Bridge, where the Christmas streetcars leave at 16:50, 17:35, 18:20, 19:05, 19:50, 20:35 on the following days in 2012 and 2013 in the New Year:

December 10, 2012
December 11, 2012
December 12, 2012
December 13, 2012
December 14, 2012
December 17, 2012
December 18, 2012
December 19, 2012
December 20, 2012
December 21, 2012
January 2, 2013
January 3, 2013
January 4, 2013

19 Streetcar in Budapest at Christmas

In addition to the Pest side ‘sightseeing streetcar’number 2A – 2A and 2 trams chosen as the most beautiful scenic streetcar routes in Europe by National Geographic magazine – you can also get a Christmassy ride on the Buda side, parallel with the river Danube promenade. The tram is number 19, whose scenic route starts from the Liberty Bridge (by Gellert Baths and Hotel Gellert), up until Batthyany Square, which is just opposite the Hungarian Parliament. Although the full route of tram 19 in Budapest is much longer, the most scenic part is between the Danube bridges.
You can take a festive tram trip 19 on the following dates in 2012 from the two terminals or at any of the tram stops. The Christmas trams will leave Batthyany Square (Batthyány tér) at 16:30, 17:30, 18:30, 19:30, 20:30, and the other terminal Kelenfold Train Station (Kelenföldi pályaudvar): 16:55, 17:55, 18:55, 19:55, on the following dates in 2012 and 2013 in the New Year:

December 25, 2012
December 26, 2012
December 27, 2012
December 28, 2012
December 29, 2012
December 30, 2012
January 1, 2013 (New Year’s Day)

47 Streetcar in Budapest at Christmas

Budapest Christmas Tram

Budapest Christmas Tram – Mark Mervai Photography

The route of streetcar number 47 is from Deak Square, calling at Astoria stop, Kalvin Square stop (National Museum), Fovam Square (Budapest Market Hall: Central Market Hall), St Gellert Square (Gellert Bath, Gellert Hill), Bartok Bela Way (Cafe Hadik), Moricz Square. Tram number 47 leaves Deak Square (Deák Ferenc tér) at the following hours 16:30, 18:00, 19:30, 20:50, while the trams will also run from the southern termainl in Budafok – in the south of Budapest (Torley Champagne Museum) – at 17:15, 18:45, 20:15 on the following days in 2012 and in the New Year season of 2013:

December 9, 2012
December 15, 2012
December 16, 2012
December 22, 2012
December 23, 2012
January 5, 2013
January 6, 2013

Special Budapest Christmas Tram Rides

The special rides are longer and special fees are charged for them by Budapest BKV company.

Two festive Light Trams will leave Boraros Square (Petofi Bridge) on Dec 14 and Dec 21, which costs HUF 800 when the trams visit the hills. On Dec 14 the Christmas Light Tram will take a ride to the Buda hills (Huvosvolgy, Farkasret, Kamaraerdo), and on Dec 21 to the outskirts of Pest side of Budapest (Pesterzsebet, Kispest and Pestlorinc). Both night Light Trams leave at 9 pm and will wander about in the night (tram fans in Hungary love these night rides).

In addition there will be a special tram trip for those who love Photography. Taking festive photos with many stops in Budapest. The Christmas Photo Streetcar in Budapest will leave from Szell Kalman Square on the Buda side (at the foot of the Castle Hill), on Dec 15 and Dec 28 at 10 pm. The fee is HUF 2,000. On Dec 15 the tram will take a trip on the Pest side, while on Dec 28, on the Buda side. Again, do get dressed well and bring your gloves as the trams are not heated well, and you will need warm hands for steady shots of beautiful Budapest Christmas sights.

Please note that there are no Christmas trams on Dec 24 (Szenteste / Holy Night), and on New Year’s Eve in Budapest (Dec 31).


Budapest Christmas Cruises (Dec 24, 25, 26)

Budapest New Year Cruise (Dec 31)

Mark Mervai Photography (beautiful Budapest photos)

Source: Christmas news. BKV is the official public transport company in Budapest, Hungary.

Budapest Christmas Tram Timetable

Budapest Christmas Tram Timetable

The Opera House in Budapest is a must see during your Christmas holidays, or winter visit in Budapest, even if you are not an opera sort of visitor.

Christmas at Budapest Opera House

Christmas at Budapest Opera House

In late November, the Budapest Opera has its huge Christmas tree standing in its luxurious hall at the lavishly decorated main stairway.

Luckily the Hungarian Opera House is open even at Christmas, and throughout December. This makes the Opera House one of the best Hungarian Christmas gifts. Getting a ticket for the Christmas performances is not easy, so do book in advance via online.

Budapest Opera Christmas opening hours

Budapest Opera in December: here is the list of 2012 December Events in the Hungarian State Opera House, lots of operas, and the fantastic Christmas ballet, the Nutcracker (shown each year for many decades now)

Budapest Nutcracker Festival

  • free Christmas concerts in Budapest
  • Hot Drinks booth by the Budapest Opera
  • Christmas Installations of Nutcracker Ballet

Budapest Opera in November 2012

More Concerts in Budapest:

Budapest Christmas Concerts
Budapest New Year Concerts

Hungarian Folk Shows are a mixture of folk dances and folk music. Lively shows to make your Budapest Christmas break more festive, though the dance choreographies themselves are not especially Christmassy (they are folk shows of traditional dances, beautiful clothes and nice music).

Hungarian folk show December

Hungarian folk show December

Further info, videos, ticket prices here: Hungarian Folk Dance Show

Instant booking in advance online here:

Booking Folk Show

It makes a nice Christmas gift for the whole family as the programs appeal to all ages.

Dates of Hungarian Folk Shows in December 2013

  • December 7, 2013: 8 pm Folk Show
  • December 26, 2013: special Christmas folk show on Boxing Day! 8 pm Folk Show
  • December 28, 2013: 8 pm Folk Show
  • December 29, 2013: 8 pm Folk Show

Hungarian Folk Packages in December

Cruises Budapest Christmas

Cruises Budapest Christmas – Steve Calcott Photography

Hungarian Folk Show tickets can be combined with a Christmassy cruise on the river Danube: Budapest Folk Show + Christmas Dinner cruise or Budapest Evening Cruise with 2 Drinks (we think it is a good deal for Dec 26):

Folk Show & Cruise: starting from €27.85 (2 Drinks) and €47.3 (Dinner & 2 Drinks)

Dates of Hungarian Folk Shows in December 2013 in case you are planning your 2013 Budapest Christmas

2013, December: 2, 26. 28. 29.

Hungarian Folk at Christmas

At the Budapest Christmas markets you will see lots of traditional Hungarian folk crafts along with recent designs of contemporary craftsmen. You can buy lovely little Christmas decors with Hungarian (folk) motifs or beautiful potteries and jewelries. Hungarian folk is in the limelight of Hungarian Christmases, which strive to preserve as much tradition as possible. Of course, outside the traditional Christmas markets you can get all sorts of commercial, international products (at shopping malls, or in fashion boutiques).

The Nutcracker Festival of the Budapest Opera House launches on November 30, 2012. There is a 30 meter majestic Christmas tree set up in front of the Hungarian State Opera House as well as a small wooden booth selling hot drinks in the afternoon. The Nutcracker Festival of the Budapest Opera will last until Dec 31 2012.

Nutcracker Festival Budapest Opera 2012

Concerts by Budapest Opera

There are several open air concerts scheduled for the festival, which are free. In addition to the official chorus of the Budapest Opera, including its children’s choir, further 17 choirs (like the School Choir of St. Stephen’s High School, or the School Choir of the Bela Bartok Secondary School) lined up to perform Christmas concerts in front of the Budapest Opera House (until December 23 2012).

Christmas at Budapest Opera

Christmas at Budapest Opera – Pal Csillag Photography

The choirs will sing in front of the theater, to the right of the word Sphinx statue.

The official opening ceremony of the Budapest Nutcracker Festival is at 5 pm on Nov 30, 2012 (and we can assume it will be the same day in 2013 and 2014 too).

Hot Drink Booth by the Opera

In the elegant and stage prop like Christmas Booth of the Budapest Nutcracker Festival you can buy mulled wines, or hot tea. This is a charity booth. Besides the hot drinks, you can buy little gifts from Russia and France, the two outstanding countries of ballet. All the proceedings of the charity booth will be given to the Ecumenical Organization (Ökumenikus Segélyszervezet) to help families and children living in poverty and need.

The Nutcracker ballet has been performed in the Budapest Opera House for over 60 years now with great success, and international acclaim.

Stars at the Budapest Nutcracker ballet: Aliya Tanykpayeva (member of the Budapest Ballet since Sep 2012) and on Dec 24 Denys Cherevychko

7 Nutcracker Installations by the Budapest Opera


Budapest Nutcracker Festival Installations

Budapest Nutcracker Festival Installations – source:

On Karoly korut (Karoly ring road) and by the Opera House you can see special installations. Old style cylindrical news posts turned into artsy displays: the decade old props and figures of the Nutcracker shows of past years have been included in the transparent posts to call attention to the Nutcracker Festival, like the Mouse King, the Nutcracker, the Ballerina, Drosselmayer, etc.

On the evening of December 12, 2012, at the open air Christmas concert (dubbed the Kiskaracsony or Little Christmas concert) more than 1,600 people with disabilities have been invited to participate in the Budapest Christmas festivities and the Nutcracker Festival of the Hungarian State Opera House.

The concerts of the Nutcracker Festival are around 6 pm, and from 5 to 6pm, you can buy your hot drinks from some of the singers, artists and ballet dancers of the Opera House.