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Winter in Budapest

10 Reasons to Visit Budapest in Winter


Winter in Budapest

Budapest attracts much more visitors during the summer period compared to the winter time, same as any other European city.

True, the city offers a lot more to do during the warm months of the year when the city really comes to life. But during the winter, Budapest turns on its specific charm, opening a way for a whole different set of activities.

To help you plan your time, we have composed a list of ideas to read while taking your airport transfers, together with the things you should know before traveling to Budapest.

Thermal Baths

Budapest is globally known for its thermal baths as part of their culture, with facilities offering both inside and outside bathing areas. As the water sources in the Budapest baths are natural – and healing some would add, many have a temperature of 23 degrees and above, making the visit a true pleasure, especially if it is freezing cold and snowing outside. Having this said, we encourage you to visit the outside swimming pools during the winter. The feeling of having a warm swim while it is below 0 degrees outside is really unique. Consider visiting Széchenyi Bath, as one of the most popular ones in the city.

Museum Visits

Budapest has over 220 museums, offering a rich choice for all travelers and tourists who wish to absorb part of the city’s history and art. A museum visit is actually a great opportunity to escape the snow and the cold weather, all the while educating yourself. It is up to you what you would like to see, so make your choices in accordance to the length of your stay.

Sledging and Skiing at Normafa

Normafa is a beautiful recreation area located in the west part of Budapest, where you can put on your skis or sit on your sledge and have a ride in case there is snow. Don’t expect a spectacular ride though, since the place is a popular location to practice skiing. If you plan a visit during the weekend, do note that it can be crowded. Additionally, you can warm yourself with a cup of hot tea or a mulled wine when having a break.

Christmas Market on Vörösmarty tér

If you visit Budapest during the Christmas period, check the Christmas market at Vörösmarty tér. There are many Christmas markets throughout Budapest, being mostly a collection of the usual food, gifts and drinks (with mulled wine as a favorite). However, the Christmas market at Vörösmarty tér is one of the most popular ones in Budapest where you can feel most comfortable. So make sure to drop by for a cup of hot wine and a bite of tasty sausage.

Visit some famous landmarks

There are a lot of historical buildings and churches you should visit in Budapest. Most of the visitors simply glance at these buildings from the outside, but the winter months are great to actually pop-in inside. Some of them are free of charge and some of them require a small entrance fee, but this experience is really worth it.

Andrássy Avenue at night

If you happen to be visiting Budapest during Christmas, make sure to stop by the Andrássy Avenue at night. The trees along the street are decorated with lights and when nighttime falls, the Christmas lights light up the street. This is without a doubt one of the most romantic views you can experience in Budapest, especially if there is snow on the streets and not too many cars are passing by.

Coffee houses

Budapest has a specific coffee house culture, influenced by Austria during the Hungarian-Austrian period. You can find many small coffee houses that are full of history and hear stories about writers and other artists who came by, spend their day in the café and wrote a poem or a song. Make no mistake, these are not Starbucks-like coffee places. They offer full enjoyment in drinking coffee as a ritual and are not simply a caffeine need satisfaction.

Budapest shopping centers

If you had enough of sightseeing and culture in the freezing cold, a good opportunity is to spend some time (and money) in one of the many large Shopping Centers around Budapest, placed nearly at every corner. Both in Buda and in Pest, you won’t have to walk long before finding a shopping center, offering everything from clothing to electronics and food. Mainly lined with big brand shops, the shopping centers are really similar to one another and you’ll find the same things wherever you enter.

Ice Skating on the Városligeti Tó

The Városligeti Tó (or the city park lake) is sitting right behind the famous Heroes’ Square in Budapest. During the summer, the little lake is visited by ducks and fishes and is very popular for having a stroll. But during the winter when the water is frozen, the lake turns into an ice rink where many people go ice skating until late evening. At times, ice hockey matches and speed skating competitions are organized. With the picturesque Vajdahunyad Castle in the background and the statues of Heroes’ Square, the ice skating experience is really unforgettable.

A night at the cinema

How long has it been since you’ve been at the cinema? If it’s been too long, this is your chance. You can find a Cinema City or Palace Cinema complex in nearly every shopping center in Budapest. Even though most of the movies are dubbed, you can find many movies subtitled to enjoy them in original language (mainly English). Additionally, there are some small independent movie theaters, where you can see alternative movies. A combination of a good movie with popcorns and soda is ideal for a cold winder evening.

Winter time can be truly magical in Budapest, so be brave and hop on to the shuttle to Budapest city center. For an even more pleasurable experience, book your stay at one of the best downtown Budapest hotels and enjoy the magical season of snow.