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A merry little Christmas is nestled in the Buda Hills and twinkling along the banks of the Danube, skipping through the stalls of festive markets and down the steps of Budapest’s Baroque castles. The city’s thermal baths are the perfect cure to the wintry wind and rain, but if that isn’t enough, the scent of mulled wine from the Christmas markets that ornament the city sneaks around street corners as a reminder that Budapest brings a special warmth to the holiday season.

Vorosmarty Square Fair.

The markets are the star atop the Christmas tree, glowing and often the most popular events of the season. The stalls feature a neat balance of the expected—handmade hats, holiday cards, and intricate ornaments—and the unexpected—artisanal oddities like ceramic chameleons decorated in swirling, colorful patterns, handwoven tote bags with original screen-printed designs, and hand-painted tiles and dishware. Budapest’s Christmas markets are a true display of the country’s singular artistry. The Vörosmarty Square fair is open until New Year’s Eve and the Advent Feast at the Basilica, located in St. Stephen’s Square, offers activities and shopping until the first day of the new year.

Gellért Thermal Bath.

For those who love winter sports, there’s ice skating at Vajdahunyad Castle, which boasts the largest rink in Europe. After a frenzy of activity, Budapest’s famous thermal spas with spring water restore muscles in their warm embrace. Rudas Bath’s hot tub presides over a sweeping view of the city while Gellert Bath lulls its bathers to tranquility with its sparkling Art Nouveau tile work and pools of effervescent water.

Beyond Budapest, Christmas Cheer Abounds

Outside of Hungary’s capital, events abound in the towns and countryside. The Szeged Christmas market features a traditional dish of fish soup while theatrical performances and candle lighting ceremonies brighten the night in Debrecen.

For clients arranging last-minute holiday plans, Hungary is just the place to make merry. For those who can’t make it this year, sugar-plum fairies will be dancing in Christmas cheer in 2023 and beyond.

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