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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Visit in Hungary for Christmas Cheer
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Best Places to Visit in Hungary for Christmas Cheer

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Hungary for Christmas cheer.

As the festive season approaches, Hungary transforms into a winter wonderland, offering expats and digital nomads a unique European Christmas experience. From the bustling holiday markets in Budapest to the quaint, snow-dusted streets of smaller towns, there's a magical atmosphere that permeates the country. Whether you're looking to indulge in traditional Hungarian holiday treats, shop for artisanal gifts, or simply soak in the Yuletide cheer, these destinations are sure to fill your December with holiday spirit.

Budapest's Vörösmarty Square

Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is home to one of the most renowned Christmas markets in Europe, located at Vörösmarty Square. This festive market comes alive in December with twinkling lights, wooden stalls, and the scent of traditional Hungarian pastries wafting through the air. Visitors can browse through a plethora of handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and seasonal items. The market is also famous for its culinary delights, such as kürt?skalács (chimney cake) and hearty goulash. The Christmas market typically opens in late November and runs until the end of December, offering a full month of holiday cheer.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try the famous Hungarian chimney cake, a sweet, spiral-shaped pastry that's cooked over an open flame and coated with sugar and various toppings.

Szentendre's Main Square

Szentendre, a charming town near Budapest, is known for its baroque architecture, cobblestone streets, and art galleries. During December, the Main Square turns into a picturesque Christmas market. Here, you can find unique handmade crafts, traditional Hungarian Christmas decorations, and an array of local specialties. The town also hosts various cultural events, including live music and folk dance performances, adding to the festive atmosphere. The market usually starts in early December and continues until Christmas.

We Recommend: Be sure to taste the szaloncukor, a traditional Hungarian Christmas candy that comes in a variety of flavors and is often used to decorate Christmas trees.

Debrecen's Kossuth Square

Debrecen, known as the "Capital of the Great Hungarian Plain," hosts a delightful Christmas market in Kossuth Square. The market features beautifully decorated stalls selling everything from Christmas crafts to delicious local foods. The highlight of the season is the Advent candle lighting ceremony, which takes place on each Sunday leading up to Christmas. The city also offers an ice-skating rink for some winter fun. The festivities in Debrecen typically begin in late November and last until the end of December.

We Recommend: Warm up with a cup of forralt bor (mulled wine), a popular drink at the market that's sure to keep you cozy while you explore the stalls.

Gy?r's Baross Gábor Square

The city of Gy?r, with its baroque city center, becomes even more enchanting during the holiday season. The Advent market in Baross Gábor Square is a must-visit, with its impressive Christmas tree and Advent calendar. Visitors can enjoy the festive lights, live nativity scenes, and a variety of concerts and performances. The market offers a range of traditional Hungarian Christmas foods and handcrafted gifts. Gy?r's Christmas market typically opens in late November and runs through December.

We Recommend: Try the bejgli, a traditional Hungarian pastry roll filled with poppy seeds or walnut, a staple at any Hungarian Christmas celebration.

Pécs's Main Square

Pécs, a city known for its Mediterranean vibe and rich cultural heritage, hosts a charming Christmas market in its Main Square. The market is adorned with festive decorations and offers a selection of handcrafted goods, perfect for holiday gifts. Visitors can enjoy the Christmas concerts and the unique Advent calendar, where each day a new window is opened in the city hall, revealing beautiful artworks. The market in Pécs usually starts in late November and continues until the end of December.

We Recommend: Indulge in a bowl of halászlé, a spicy Hungarian fish soup that's especially popular during the winter months.

Eger's Dobó Square

Eger, famous for its historic castle and thermal baths, also boasts a festive Christmas market in Dobó Square. The square is transformed into a winter fairytale with its ice-skating rink and a variety of stalls selling traditional crafts and seasonal treats. The town's Christmas market is known for its intimate and cozy atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for holiday shopping and savoring local delicacies. The festivities in Eger typically kick off in early December and last until Christmas Eve.

We Recommend: Sample some of Eger's renowned wines, such as Egri Bikavér, at one of the market's wine stalls, offering a taste of the region's rich viticulture.

Veszprém's Óváros Square

Veszprém, often referred to as the "City of Queens," invites visitors to its quaint Christmas market in Óváros Square. The market is a smaller, more intimate affair, perfect for those looking to escape the larger crowds. It features beautifully crafted items and traditional Hungarian festive foods. The town also hosts a variety of cultural programs, including choir performances and children's shows. Veszprém's Christmas market usually opens in early December and continues until just before Christmas.

We Recommend: Enjoy a slice of mákos guba, a poppy seed bread pudding that is a beloved dessert during the Hungarian holiday season.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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