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Christmas Markets of Budapest (And Our Mulled Wine Recipe)

Budapest Christmas Fair

Budapest Christmas Fair

Budapest remains our favorite European city even after three years of traveling extensively throughout Europe. We love the architecture, the mystery of the once secret caves snaking beneath the city, and the beautiful buildings spanning the banks of the Danube that twinkle as dusk sets upon the city. I love Christmas Markets, so we decided to combine our love of the two by returning on another short break to experience the Christmas Markets of Budapest.

We’ve been quite lucky on our two previous trips to have gorgeous weather; this time the weather had a different plan. It was rainy and foggy the entire time we were in Budapest, but we still managed to make it out to two of Budapest’s Christmas Markets: The Budapest Christmas Fair and the Budapest Basilica Christmas Market.

Hungarian pottery at the Budapest Christmas Fair

Hungarian pottery at the Budapest Christmas Fair

We're always suckers for cute hedgehogs

We’re always suckers for cute hedgehogs

The Budapest Christmas Fair takes place on Vörösmarty Square in the heart of Budapest. We visited after taking a scenic Danube River cruise and despite the pouring rain, it was still lively with a band on the main stage entertaining market goers clutching mugs of mulled wine and hundreds of booths selling traditional Hungarian handicrafts, leather products, and Christmas ornaments. The world famous Hungarian confectionery Gerbeaud draws crowds for its sweet treats year round, but in December the windows of Gerbeaud serve as Budapest’s most famous Advent Calendar. In a grand display and to the tune of the chimes of Szilvia Kárászy, a new window is opened everyday precisely at 5pm to reveal a new contemporary work of art. Because of the rain, we sadly didn’t spend much time at the Budapest Christmas Fair.

C'mon dad! I smell food in there!

C’mon dad! I smell food in there!

Our next evening the rain had finally stopped and so we headed out toward the Budapest Christmas Fair, stumbling upon Budapest’s newest Christmas Market, the Budapest Basilica Christmas Market. The beautiful setting drew us in through the Advent Gate to another market sprawling around the central ice skating rink. We caught whiffs of the spices of mulled wine, the sweet, sugary scents of Kürtőskalács (chimney cake), and delicious roasting meats and sausages as we strolled around the wooden stalls.

Hungarian gingerbread

Hungarian gingerbread

Roasted meats and fried sausages

Roasted meats and fried sausages

Chimney cakes

Chimney cakes

We happily settled in to one of the wooden booths lining the ice rink, the blankets provided and hot mulled wine keeping us warm. We dug into fried Hungarian sausages and homemade Hungarian potato chips while listening to the Christmas music and taking in the beautiful lights in the square.

Jdombs-Travels-Budapest-Christmas-6We were surprised to notice that both the rink and ice skate rental were even free at the picturesque market!

Making mulled wine

Making mulled wine

Mulled Wine

Luxe Adventure Traveler's Mulled Wine Recipe
One of our favorite things about this time of year is mulled wine! Christmas Markets only last about 6 weeks, so we make this mulled wine recipe at home. It’s also great for snuggling up together on a cold night while enjoying steaming mugs of the spiced wine. So we thought we’d share our recipe with you!
Servings Prep Time
6servings 5minutes
Cook Time
20minutes
Servings Prep Time
6servings 5minutes
Cook Time
20minutes
Luxe Adventure Traveler's Mulled Wine Recipe
One of our favorite things about this time of year is mulled wine! Christmas Markets only last about 6 weeks, so we make this mulled wine recipe at home. It’s also great for snuggling up together on a cold night while enjoying steaming mugs of the spiced wine. So we thought we’d share our recipe with you!
Servings Prep Time
6servings 5minutes
Cook Time
20minutes
Servings Prep Time
6servings 5minutes
Cook Time
20minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a stock pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Be sure not to boil! Strain out the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Serve hot with a dusting of freshly ground nutmeg.

Know Before You Go

  • The Budapest Christmas Fair is open 10am – 9pm daily November 15 through January 1, 2014. Holiday hours: December 24 from 10am – 2pm, closed December 25 and 26, December 27 from 12pm – 9pm, December 31 from 10am – 4am.
  • Only food and drinks stalls are open from December 27 – January 1.
  • Getting there: M1, M2, M3 metro lines Deák tér station (a short walk from there), M1 metro (yellow line) Vörösmarty tér station, tram 2 Vigadó tér stop (a couple of minutes walk form there), trams 47, 49 Deák tér stop.

  • View Larger Map
  • The Budapest Basilica Christmas Market is open Monday – Thursday from 11:30am – 8pm, Friday from 11:30am – 10pm, Saturday from 10:00am – 10pm, and Sunday: 10:00am – 8pm November 30, 2013 through January 1, 2014. Closed December 25 and December 26.

  • View Larger Map

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

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9 comments

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  1. Larry

    Now that looks like a nice Christmas outing. Much much nicer that the overly commercial Christmas we have in the U.S.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I’m not sure if it was the weather, but the Budapest Christmas Markets were the least crowded of any we’ve visited. It was nice to be able to enjoy the markets without pushing through hoards of people.

    [Reply]

  2. Cathy Sweeney

    Thanks for the recipe! I love Christmas markets and hot mulled wine. Almost made it to Budapest on our trip this month, but ran out of time. Next trip….

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Definitely go on your next trip, Cathy! And let us know how you like the mulled wine if you try out the recipe. :)

    [Reply]

  3. Andrea

    We’ve been enjoying the mulled wine in London at the markets – great post! =)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thanks, Andrea! Mulled wine is the best! We’re making a pot tonight and having a bonfire.

    [Reply]

  4. Ali

    We just went the cheap and lazy route and bought some powdered stuff in a packet to try to make our own Gluhwein. Haven’t tried it yet though, and I imagine this version is better than what we’ll end up with! Although the water surprises me, I didn’t realize they did that.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    We’ve been making this recipe for 3 years now and love it! Let me know if you try it and how you like it!

    [Reply]

  5. Heather

    This looks so amazing! Budapest is also my favorite European city and I cannot wait to return!

    [Reply]

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