Shopping & more at Christmas markets!

As Christmas approaches, you may notice Christmas markets popping up like mushrooms everywhere. These are great places to spend a romantic evening tasting local seasonal specialties, wandering the stalls and perhaps picking up a few souvenirs-cum-Christmas presents for those back home.

The Daily Mail Newspaper even listed Budapest as the cheapest and best place to experience the Christmas Market phenomenon! here are some of the best:

Christmas Markets 

Though perhaps originally a speciality of Vienna, a growing attraction is the  now-common sight of these little villages of wooden huts in various squares of Budapest and other large cities in Hungary, that offer a warm welcome as the nights grow colder. They all offer things to eat and drink to ward off the cold, a range of olde-worlde gifts, wrapping papers and winter clothing, and some have a few extra attractions. Here are some in the capital:

Vörösmarty Square (Nov 27th-Dec 31st)
One of the two most popular Christmas market in Budapest is located at here at the terminus of the yellow metro line and the northern end of Váci Street, the capital's main pedestrian/shopping street. The gift stalls here often have superior wooden items.  You can buy warm sausages, mulled wine and also just a few steps away, you can get a mug of hot chocolate and  an exquisite cream cake at the famous Gerbaud Coffee shop.

Christmas Market or "Advent Feast" in front of St. Stephen's Basilica (Dec 1st-31st
The latest of the Christmas markets (since 2011), but rapidly gaining popularity, due to its excellent setting and great added attractions is the extravaganza taking place in the large square in front of the main steps up to Saint Stephens Basilica. Although the fare on offer is mostly the same, here a skating rink takes pride of place in the middle by the oversized Christmas tree, and this together with the great romantic lighting, the backdrop of the Basilica, makes for a romantic atmosphere. The basilica also offers many concerts at this time of year, so take a look at the program and book some tickets if you would  like to take advantage of the great acoustics of this amazing building.

There are also smaller more discrete Christmas markets with just a handful of stalls at:

Szél Kálman Square (still known as Moscow Square on old tourist maps)
Right opposite the entrance to the No. 2 (red) metro line, and just a few metres from the No.16 busline up to the Buda Castle, is this little collection of huts where you can always find a woolly hat to keep the chill off when viewing the Fisherman's Bastion in sub-zero temperatures.


Next to the Allee Shopping Centre
Not far from the Moricz Zsigmond transport hub in Buda, is this merry place to enjoy some sweet funnel cake and a warming cup of mulled wine. Its also just a 5 minute tram ride(number 47) away from the  Gellért Thermal Baths.

Liszt Ferenc Tér (Franz Liszt square)
Just a stone's throw from Oktogon, is the large sqaure dedicated to Hungary's most famus composer and home to many bars, so after a glass of mulled wine , you could progress onto the non-mulled sort or just dance the night away in a fetching new scarf and pullover combination.

Advent Budapest on Városháza Square
This is basically at Deák Ferenc Square, the terminus of trams number 47 and 49, and the intersectionof three metro lines, so getting here should not be a problem.  It runs from Nov 29th – Dec 24th and is supposed to be a good place for candles and gifts of all sorts.

If you are not in the mood to browse for bargains, don't worrx, there are also lots of other festive activities available this christmas that are not shopping-based!