All posts in Xmas Gifts

Christmas gifts from Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Christmas Market by St Stephen's Basilica

The Christmas market on St Stephen’s Square is right in front of the beautiful St Stephen’s Basilica (St Istvan Bazilika), one of the tallest buildings on the Pest side of Budapest, and one of the biggest churches in Hungary.

Budapest Christmas Market Basilica

Budapest Christmas Market Basilica – photo by MPeti

The first Advent Fair by the St Stephen’s Basilica was held in 2011, organized by the National Association of Folk Artists. The skillful members of the Association of Hungarian Folk Artist are selling their unique and high quality traditional crafts (rated by the panel of the best Hungarian folk artists) in the wooden market stalls of the Basilica Christmas Market.

Entering the giant Advent gate, you will find yourself among a hundred handcrafts stalls, and a sizeable skating rink set up on St Istvan Square (Szent István tér) in the heart of the city of Budapest.

Where is the Budapest Basilica Christmas Market?

Luckily, the location of the Basilica Christmas Fair is very close to the oldest and most well known Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square, so you can easily visit two of the biggest and most popular Xmas fairs of Budapest during the Christmas holidays.

When is the Budapest Basilica Christmas Market?

2019 Dates: Nov 22, 2019 – Jan 1, 2020

The Budapest Basilica Xmas Market is in fact a winter festival, which starts in late November, and ends in the New Year. The Christmas Market by the St Stephen’s Basilica opened late November in 2011 (its very first year, started in 2011), a bit later than the fair on Vorosmarty Square (running since 1998).

St Stephens Basilica Budapest in December

St Stephens Basilica Budapest in December (Mishpan photography)

Similarly to the latest years, the St Stephen’s Basilica Xmas market will be open throughout December.

As for the daily opening Hours of the Christmas Market on St Stephen’s Square:

The Opening ceremony is on 22 November, 2019
Opening times between Nov 22, 2019 and Jan 1, 2020:

Monday – Thursday: 10:00 – 20:00
Friday – Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 – 22:00

Dec 24: 10:00 – 14:00
Dec 25: 10:00 – 18:00
Dec 26: 10:00 – 18:00
Dec 31: 10:00 – 03:00
Jan 1: 11:00 – 18:00

Drinking mulled wine, eating some roasted chestnuts or filling Hungarian snacks attracts hundreds of thousands in Hungary and tourists from many countries.

Video Mapping – Christmas Laser Projection on the Basilica

Schedule of Light Painting:

In every 30 minutes, every day between 4.30 pm and 10 pm you can see the Basilica’s facade turning into a beautiful Christmas visual narrative. This year’s special attraction will be a 3D projection on the Basilica, that can be viewed from all corners of St Stephen’s Square with 3D glasses.

Budapest Basilica Christmas Market Video Mapping

Budapest Basilica Christmas Market Video Mapping / Light Painting on the Facade

Skating Rink at the Budapest Basilica Christmas Market

Budapest Basilica Christmas Market Skating Rink

Budapest Basilica Christmas Market Skating Rink

Enjoy the artificial skating rink right in the middle of the Christmas Market at the Basilica in Budapest downtown. Skating courses also available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The age range of the course is 4-14 year old children. The price is not a question: they may join the free skating training on the nicely decorated rink at the center of the market.

Size of Skating Rink: 200 square metres

Entry Fee: Free of Charge for Kids aged 4 – 14

Opening Hours: daily (weekend skating classes scheduled, see below)

From the beginning of the Basilica Advent market, you can use the skating rink.

Skating Class Hours: Friday from 2-8 pm, Saturday from 10am-6 pm and Sunday from 10am-6 pm.

Free Skating Classes for children aged 4 – 14 years old. Wrap them up in warm clothes and let them enjoy the Advent Market in Budapest!

Folk Dance at the Budapest Basilica Advent Market

Every Friday and Saturday in the evening (starting 24th of November), the Goncol Folk Dance Ensemble, who aim to keep traditions alive and show its beauty to each generation, will give twenty minute shows. They either improvise a ‘dance house’ that all the guests of the fair may join or surprise the audience by vivid flash mobs.
Do join the dancers on Fri and Sat to try your legs at Hungarian folk dance. Or enjoy a festive Hungarian Folk Dance Show in Budapest in the winter season.

Goncol Hungarian Folk Band at Budapest Christmas Market by Basilica

Goncol Hungarian Folk Band at Budapest Christmas Market by Basilica

Budapest, the Perfect Christmas Destination

In fact, Budapest has often been chosen as one of the best Christmas destinations in Europe, and the Christmas markets are warmly recommended by many of the travel books about Europe and (Central) Eastern Europe.

St Stephens Basilica Budapest Candles

St Stephens Basilica Budapest Candles – Yellow Cat photography

Don’t worry, although some places are closed on Dec24-26, many places remain open, and many of the best places: restaurants, brunches, baths, sightseeing river cruises, etc. There is a lot to do in our cosmopolitan city.

You can be the part of this festive merriment. Come and visit Budapest and listen to the beautiful concerts in the Basilica (Advent Organ concerts, choirs, charity concerts, etc.). You can also attend the masses, light a candle, and be filled with the warmth of Christmas.

Past Christmas markets by the Basilica in Budapest

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

 

Budapest Christmas Fair Basilica

Budapest Christmas Fair at the Basilica

 

Budapest Christmas Market by St Stephens Cathedral

Budapest Christmas Market by St Stephens Cathedral

If you are enjoying a Christmas break in Budapest, Hungary, you may wish to do some shopping too. The Budapest Christmas markets will offer handmade design gifts, the shopping streets of Budapest (Vaci utca and the Fashion Street near Deak Square) will have loads of international brands (usually of the lower end), while Andrassy Avenue will have lots of luxury boutiques with high end, high brand products. But what about shops and shopping malls in Budapest?

Budapest Christmas Shopping

Budapest Mammut Christmas 2012

Budapest Mammut Shopping mall Christmas

The shops in Budapest are regularly open from Monday to Saturday noon in Budapest, but during the Advent period, until Dec 24 many of them are open all week from 9am to 6pm. Shopping mall shops and boutiques are usually open all week from Monday to Sunday from 9am to 8pm.

December 24 is a special day, and by law, standard shops can only be open until 2pm. The exception to this rule are the many little 24/7 so called nonstop shops, shops by tourist attractions, petrol station convenience stores and florists. Shopping malls on Dec 24 are typically open between 8-9am and 2pm in the afternoon.

The Real Christmas Sales in Budapest

On Dec 25 and 26, the shopping malls are open, but only the entertainment facilities are permitted to stay open through the Christmas holiday, i.e. movies and cinemas, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs, but not the shops. From December 27 everything goes back to the regular opening hours, and most people do their Christmas exchanges and sales shopping after the Christmas holidays until the end of January (this is the period when you get the best winter sales in Budapest, Hungary).
On Dec 24 the Christmas markets in Budapest are only open until 2pm, and this is the last day of the markets (until Dec 31 only the food stalls and gastronomy vendors of the Xmas fairs remain open, the wooden booth selling handcrafts are gone once the Advent is over).

The shops and the markets, market halls, shopping malls re-open on December 27, so expect to find closed doors of shops on Dec 25 and Dec 26 in Budapest, and schedule something else for these two days. See what is on in Budapest on Dec 25 and Dec 26:

Budapest Westend Shopping Mall Christmas

Budapest Westend Shopping Mall Christmas

handmade chocolates from Cafe Gerbeaud

Budapest is one of the gems of the European Christmas Market Tours offered by various companies. One of them has made a short video of what to take home with you as Christmas gifts from the cities where the Xmas cruise in Europe stops at, like the Sacher torte from Vienna, or the handmade chocolates from Cafe Gerbeaud.

handmade chocolates from Cafe Gerbeaud

Handmade chocolates in wooden box from Cafe Gerbeaud, Budapest

Indeed, if you want to take home something elegant, and Hungarian as an affordable Christmas gift, the chocolates of the 19th century popular cafe and confectionery, simply called ‘the Gerbeaud’ by locals, will make anyone happy. Delicious, beautifully and elegantly wrapped in a wooden box.

You cannot miss Cafe Gerbeaud in the heart of the city on Vorosmarty Square, the square where the biggest and oldest Budapest Christmas Market can be found: Christmas Fair Vorosmarty Square.

Try their hot chocolate if you don’t want to drink the mulled wine of the Christmas market.
As you sail with the Viking river cruise visiting the European Christmas markets, each new day brings a different port, a different city, and different traditions. Also the new port cities offer plenty of time for shopping. Join Karine from Viking River Cruise is as sharing her favorite sweet gifts to be found in Passau, (Germany) Vienna (Austria) and Budapest (Hungary). At the end of the video you can see the beautiful Chain Bridge spanning the river Danube in Budapest.

Another good Xmas gift idea, is another Hungarian sweets, the masterful marzipan delicacies of Szamos, like the fancy fondant candy, which Hungarians traditionally put on the Christmas tree as a decor, the ‘szaloncukor’ from Szamos (yummy marzipan!).