Travelling year-round is exciting, but the holiday season is extra special. Wherever you go, people are getting ready to receive relatives, put together comforting dinners and share the Christmas spirit with their loved ones. Some destinations, though, are especially enthusiastic about the season, and amongst them, there’s Budapest.
The dramatic skyline along the Danube, the old neighbourhoods, and the inspiring bridges, all look better under the Christmas lights. Here’s what the holiday season looks like in ‘The City of Bridges’. A holiday weekend to remember.
Where to Stay in Budapest During the Holidays?
Places to stay in Budapest abound, but some are just on another level. Here are this year’s recommendations.
Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. The larger-than-life palace is European grandeur at its finest. Two million mosaics adorn the building and are brought to life by the dim light from the Preciosa crystal chandelier. The decor evokes the most exuberant lifestyle of the 19th-century. The Four Season’s SPA is one of the most relaxing places in the city, and Kollázs, the hotel’s flagship restaurant, is the very definition of fine dining, where European classics meet innovation.
Mystery Hotel Budapest.
Offering awe-inspiring grandeur and 5-star amenities doesn’t mean there’s no room for creativity and a bit of fun. The Mystery Hotel is as majestic as the finest hotels in the city, but there’s magic in the air. The Grand Hall Restaurant and Lounge is drop-dead gorgeous, and the pearl-white Secret Garden Day SPA is in a category of its own. The Sky Garden has the most astounding view of the Danube and is reason alone to leave your stylish room, where otherwise, you’ll want to spend your entire weekend.
Prestige Hotel in Budapest.
At the heart of the city centre, this towering hotel is inspirational. In two words: timeless elegance. For the most memorable dinners in the calendar, the Prestige hotel’s Michelin-starred Costes restaurant is a superb choice. Besides the lively open kitchen, the chef’s table is one you want to look out for.
Budapest’s Christmas Markets
There’s more to Budapest than luxurious rooms and world-class dining rooms. During the holiday season, the city itself dresses for the occasion.
The Christmas market by St Stephen’s Basilica is infused with holiday spirit. Baking treats, hearty sausages and mulled wine guarantee there’s something for everyone, and the lights, with the splendid chapel in the background, it's all just picture-postcard perfect.
Head on to the Skating rink in Basilica square. Music, lights, and skating make this market a family-friendly experience that just feels like Christmas.
Vörösmarty Square is also home to a lively market, perhaps the largest in the city. It comes without saying these are ranked amongst the finest in Europe, and once you feel the magic and smell the food, you’ll know precisely why.
Don’t forget to try the chimney cake, the cake rolls, and chocolates. All with a warm cup of spicy mulled wine in hand.
Other Things You Can’t Miss in Budapest
There are countless thermal baths in Budapest, being the Szechenyi Bath is the largest and most popular. The century-old hot spring comprises 18 pools, and they’re not only therapeutic but also incredibly relaxing, especially if you dive in during winter’s chilly nights.
The Fisherman Bastion is a neo-gothic terrace overlooking the city of Buda. The fortification was built in the 19th-century and is today one of the city’s highlights. The architecture is remarkable, and the seven turrets that once served as guarding posts give the edification a romantic feel. You’ll find a great cup of coffee here, better enjoyed with the old city in the background.
You don’t want to miss the Buda Castle at night. The mystic fog gives the already impressive building a timeless aura that’s simply hard to describe. This is the city’s Royal Palace, and it’s now a museum. The entire neighbourhood surrounding Castle Hill is worth walking up and down; this is one of the city’s oldest quarters.
Budapest is Pure Magic
There’s no doubt the timeless city is a special place and worthy of a visit any time of the year. Still, with a snowy background, Budapest becomes something else, a magical place infused with the most heartwarming and comforting feelings.
It’s not just the impressive architecture or the old streets infused with thousands of years of history. It’s not the world-class food and the well-known Hungarian hospitality. It’s not even the luscious, sweet wine and the buttery pastries. Spending the holiday season in Budapest just feels like home.