Travel made in December 2018
Duration: 4 days
Welcome to Budapest!!
Have you ever dreamed of spending Christmas in Budapest ? To live a magical Merry Christmas atmosphere? Welcome to Myoxybubble Budapest, city of the East, cold, but also a city with monuments to unique architecture, thermal springs and lively ruins bars!
Budapest transports you to the heart of the magic of Christmas, with the scents of the markets, its churches, its illuminations, its decorations and animations. Christmas in Budapest is a much more important family celebration than in France! December 25 and 26 are public holidays.
We will give you the necessary tips to enjoy your stay despite the closure of many traders at this time. Follow me in my oxygen bubble to find out more!
You can click on all the photos in this article in order to view them in large format
A Christmas in Budapest!
Day 1: Széchenyi Thermal Baths, Heroes’ Square and Parliament
We arrived on Christmas Eve in Budapest. On December 24, shopkeepers and restaurants close very early to meet with their families and celebrate Christmas. Nevertheless, there are restaurants open in the Jewish Quarter but often sold out. It is therefore better to do it in advance if you do not want to find yourself walking the streets in vain like many tourists. We advise you to book several weeks in advance to be sure to enjoy your Christmas Eve with dignity and without worries.
You can book your New Year’s Eve table at the Araz restaurant directly by email! The setting of the restaurant is chic and cozy at the same time. The dishes are refined and served with excellent wines (if you take the menu that combines 1 different glass of wine with each dish). Very good value for money for a New Year’s Eve (count 33 € for the menu without wine and 38 € with wines).
The service is perfect!
Another tip; the restaurants of the large hotels are open, but the tables are reserved primarily for the residents of the hotel.
The restaurant was a 10 minute walk from our accommodation.The latter was very design and well heated. It felt good there, so we recommend it! Very good value for money for small budgets. (Editor’s note: the accommodation is no longer available).
It’s December 25th, Christmas Day! Relax and swim early in the morning at the Széchenyi thermal baths!
The baths are very pleasant with water at 37°C. The setting is splendid, with neo-baroque architecture dating back to 1913.
We were even able to witness a game of chess of old Hungarians! The water of the thermal baths has recognized therapeutic virtues. At this time of year, only the outdoor baths are accessible.
Simplify your life by booking before you leave your skip-the-line entrance ticket directly on their website. You have the choice between the so-called locker locker (a locker at your disposal without a change cabin) or the cabins for more privacy, but it pays off!
As for the rental of bathrobe and towels, you will pay more on the spot! This rental is not included in your entrance ticket. It is expensive (7000 Ft including 3500 Ft deposit). You will pay in full and once the linen is returned, only half of the amount will be refunded in cash. It takes a whole morning at the thermal baths, 3 hours, to enjoy the place.
Once your spa treatment is over, you can cross the road and go to the city wood and stroll there. Here you will find the magnificent Vajdahunyad Castle and its lake.
The place is magical day and night. You’re going to feel like you’re immersed in a fairy tale. During this festive period, there is a Christmas market with many chalets and the trees are decorated in addition to being illuminated at night.
At the edge of the city’s woods is an outdoor ice rink.
It is the largest in Europe! You can’t miss it! It is really beautiful and all the more so from the view of the bridge leading to heroes’ square. Not only will you admire the ice rink but also the castle in the background.
Arriving at Heroes’ Square, Budapest’s vast monumental square, you can admire the statues created in honor of the chiefs of hungary’s seven founding tribes. This square is worth a look, but it is much more beautiful at night.
Tired ? Or do we continue? For the bravest on the way for a good 45-minute walk down the long Street Andrássy út to get to St. Stephen’s Basilica. For others, don’t panic! I propose the same path by taking line 1 of metro. So, you get there quickly! Your feet will thank you and you will have the privilege of admiring the shortest and oldest line in the city. The Budapest metro lines have 4 metro lines. Line 1 is characteristic with a wooden decoration and tiles. This line is a must see!
You can pick up a ticket directly at the ATM. Be careful, checks are frequent!
During our stay, we had the opportunity to take the 2 transport solutions to travel along Andrássy Street: by metro and on foot. with the 2nd solution, the path is longer but also more pleasant. In addition you will cross, along the way, the house of terror, many luxury shops and beautiful villas.
Now, welcome to St. Stephen’s Basilica in Pest! I invite you to go inside and admire its architecture, discover the nativity scene and its little Jesus. And yes, he was born the divine child!
Then, stroll through the square in front of the main entrance and enjoy a beautiful Christmas market. On December 25th not all the chalets are open, but there are enough to enjoy and taste a transilvanian brioche “wallnut” for the greatest pleasure of your taste buds.
We went back on 27/12 at the end of the day to fully enjoy this fairyland. Once through the Christmas market, you arrive at Széchenyi Square located in front of the Chain Bridge along the Danube. Along the bank leading to the parliament to the north, you will discover by the river, a memorial dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Shoah / It is represented by shoes on the banks of the Danube. We can count about sixty metal shoes, sealed forty five meters long. Those shot had to take off their shoes before their execution and then be thrown into the river (men, women and children).
A lot of sadness runs through this place thinking of these people. A minute of silence is necessary to pay tribute to them!
In Budapest, at nightfall, the neo-Gothic parliament, bridges and historical monuments light up with a thousand lights on either side of the bank. You will take full eyes so it is beautiful! Go to Parliament Square. Remember, it’s Christmas! The whole square is illuminated, including the trees, the beautiful Christmas tree, not to mention the trams that sparkle with their bright blue garlands! You will be immersed in a wonderful world and find your child’s soul. A real show!
It’s time for us to take a break, take the subway and head to the famous New York Palace located not far from our rental. Allow at least 30 minutes of waiting before a place becomes available and you can finally take yourself for Sissi the Empress! The room is luxurious and exceptional with its decorations and high ceilings. A décor that reminds us of Versailles. Prices remain affordable given the location. The service is very neat and the menu enticing. We fell for a delicious hot chocolate very creamy and creamy, accompanied by an apricot cheesecake. Their pastries are also very famous.
The New York Café is a must-see place that I recommend! Your taste buds will thank you! The exit is through the interior of the palace crossing a magnificent Atrium that will surprise more than one. This day ends after this busy program rich in discoveries and wonders.
Day 2: Mount Gellért and castle hill
Wake up gently this morning. We invite you to start this day with a good breakfast rich in protein or sweet and sweet flavors with the pastries of Hauer restaurant This period restaurant, founded in 1899, is therefore 120 years old. It is composed of three rooms with very chic decoration.
The waiters are friendly and very smiling. The prices of the card are correct. The little extra: it was 50 meters from our rental.
Then, head to the Gellért thermal baths for a new moment of relaxation and well-being. To get there, you will cross the magnificent Bridge of Freedom. The architecture of the work is very beautiful.
The Gellért baths are very exotic with its mosaics and baths up to 40 ° C! The pool is very nice as well. The complex is huge and it is a real labyrinth to access the different spaces. So do not hesitate to get lost to discover all the rooms with its baths at various temperatures, saunas, hammams, cold baths and its swimming pool. Possibility also to be massaged with supplement. Towels are included in the rental, but there is a deposit.Gellért baths are very different from Széchenyi baths, but just as relaxing.
Once your thermal cure is over, on your way to explore Mount Gellért. It is right across the street. The discovery begins with a small visit to the troglodyte church of Mt. It is a Roman Catholic church inspired by the sanctuary of Lourdes.
Continue, climbing to the Statue of Liberty (not the one in New York!). Don’t forget to stop at the different viewpoints throughout the ascent, each more magnificent than the last! You will have a view giving the choice of the Danube, the bridge of freedom, the baths Gellért, Buda or Pest. The mount is a majestic dolomite in the city reaching 235 meters in height. The hill is named after Bishop Gerard or “Gellért” in Hungarian.
At the top of the mountain is the Statue of Liberty hoisting a palm symbolizing the liberation of Budapest by Soviet troops.
Behind is the citadel, a fortress overlooking the city and erected by the Austrians.
Behind it, you will discover other magnificent views of the city of Budapest, the Royal Palace, the Castle, the Chain Bridge, and Margarita Island in the distance.
I now propose you to go down Mount Gellért along the right of the citadel. You will walk to the Buvadár Royal Palace also called Buda Castle, formerly the castle of the kings of Hungary. Today it houses the Budapest Historical Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery. Don’t be discouraged! You’ll get there! The path has some nice surprises in store for you to discover! Starting with the very peaceful garden of philosophy where you discover 8 prophets (Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Lao Tzu, Abraham, St Francis, Buddha, Daruma Taishi and Akhenaten).
The sculptor of this work, Nándor Wagner, was very clever in circumventing the Judeo-Muslim prohibition to depict the human figure, especially with regard to the prophet. Then you will be captivated by the depiction of the wedding of Prince Buda and Princess Pest.
The fault separating them represents the Danube with on one side the district of Buda and on the other that of Pest. The meeting of the 2 gave birth in Budapest. The union took place through the construction of eight bridges. The first connecting the two cities being the famous and majestic Chain Bridge.
Then descend again and again to finally land in the heart of Buda Castle. I invite you to visit it and its gardens. It was the favorite residence of Sissi the Empress.
The view of Mount Gellért, the Danube and the city is splendid.
The castle is also accessible from the Chain Bridge by the funicular.
The Budapest Historical Museum can be visited but not the interior of the castle. But you will enjoy crossing the esplanade of the latter for the point of view!
Continue along the castle and you arrive at the beautiful Fisherman’s Bastion. You’ll love its medieval atmosphere with its conical-shaped turrets. A fish market took place there, hence its name.
The visit is paid during the day and not paying at night (more info in your favorite guide: backpacker, lonely planet etc). In the square, you must visit the Matthias Church ! It is beautiful because everything is painted there. The architecture is beautiful and the stained glass windows are splendid. It is a mythical place because Sissi the Empress was crowned Queen of Hungary! His entrance costs 5 € / person. Visit Essential!
Do not hesitate to walk around, in the district of Buda which is very charming.
The view from the ramparts of the Fisherman’s Bastion overlooking the parliament and the Danube is just grandiose. Your eyes will not get tired of it, we guarantee it. Moreover, I strongly advise you to climb into the big main turret where the HB Lounge Bar is located to have a drink inside.
In winter there are heated umbrellas, plaids and music for your comfort. We fell for a divine hot chocolate that I do not regret! At that time, there was no one and had the impression of having privatized the bar. It was just beautiful and romantic. Good to know, they only accept Hungarian cash for the settlement of consumption. You have access via a staircase from the bar on the upper level. Do not hesitate to borrow it.The access is not private and the view is incredibly beautiful.
The Fishermen’s Bastion is just splendid day and night. You will be immersed in a fairytale world.To end this day, I recommend you book a table not far from Matthias Church at 21 Hungarian kitchen restaurant. The cuisine is refined. The room has a direct view of the kitchen. The staff is friendly and helpful.
End of this new day rich in wonder! Budapest seduces us, certainly!
Day 3: The Jewish Quarter, Parliament and ruin bar
On the program this morning, visit the Jewish quarter in Pest ! During your walk, raise your head to see some street art (including the Rubik’s cube invented by Mr Rubik). you will also discover in this district the famous ruins bars and street food. At the end of the walk is the largest synagogue in Europe, the 2nd largest in the world after that of New York.
The Great Synagogue is located in the district of Ersébetváros. Its entrance is quite expensive (about 10 €).
In addition to its breathtaking exterior architecture, you will be able to visit its interior with exceptional Moorish architecture, the cemetery, the tree of life, the park of memory and the museum. The tour can be provided by a guide in order to better understand the history of the city. All men must cover their heads or wear the kippah to enter the synagogue and all women must have their shoulders covered.
The tree of life is a magnificent weeping willow made of metal, each leaf of which is engraved with the name of a missing Jew. It pays tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. The visit of the synagogue will take you 1 hour without the museum and 1h30 with.
From the Great Synagogue, you have the opportunity to walk down the great Károly Krt Avenue and continue on Krt Museum. You will pass in front of the Hungarian International Museum. It was under construction during our visit to Budapest but it is one of the monuments to see during your stay.
Then continue to the central library and then to the museum of decorative arts whose façade is really atypical. This building has a particular Moorish style but unfortunately for us it was also under renovation during our visit.
From there you can take the metro to go to the Freedom Square to continue your discovery of the city.
Indeed, we want to visit the parliament district in order to see it by day this time.It is rich in buildings to discover, especially the facades of the National Bank of Hungary, the Savings Bank of the Royal Post Office, the house of Hungarian secession. The sculptures in Freedom Square and buildings around it are also worth a look. Finally from the Freedom Square you can take Vecsey Street to reach the parliament. On the way, you will come across a statue of Ronald Reagan and another of Imre Nagy on his bridge.
It is possible to visit the magnificent interior of the parliament for about 8€.
We then advise you to take a break at the House of Hungarian Secession. The 1st thing that catches the eye is the façade. Then inside you will discover a museum of art nouveau with furniture, paintings and antique trinkets like an antique dealer. Inside you can eat very good pastries and drink a drink. We tried their very creamy hot chocolate. A real delight! Atypical and pleasant place with a smiling manager.
You can push your walk to the Marguerite Bridge, cross it and why not walk on Marguerite Island. The Marguerite Bridge is recognizable by its yellow color. In addition to crossing the Danube, it also gives access to Margaret Island from its center.
This island is a park of relaxation and leisure, a place of greenery in the city, very popular with Hungarians on sunny days.
Crossing this bridge, you will pass from the Pest district to the Buda district. Turn left of the Marguerite Bridge, walk along the bank and still admire the view of the parliament. We never get tired of it!
Then continue to the chain bridge called Széchenyi lánchíd. Cross it, admire the view and the four tongueless lions of the bridge.
It is beautiful by day and even more so at night when illuminated. The view is beautiful on Buda, Pest, the Danube, the parliament, the Fishermen‘s Bastion on one side and Mount Gellért on the other.
You just made a beautiful loop! It digs! We suggest you admire the chain bridge from the other side of the bank and then go up not far from there to the Christmas market of St. Stephen’s Basilica. Sit down at a table and let yourself be tempted by a specialty of the country.
It’s December 27th, the holidays have passed. The city lives again! All the chalets are open and the square is very lively. Every 30 minutes, the city projects on the basilica a sound and light, each time different, for the pleasure of young and old. You will enjoy. The party continues!
Let’s go to the wood of the city! Put on your ice skates for 10€ (locker and skate rental included) and go sliding to the rhythm of the music at the ice rink. Atmosphere assured in the open air! There is a crowd but you can move freely because it is so vast. You will not regret it. Also take the opportunity to go around the Christmas chalets nearby at the castle. This time they will all be open and the neighborhood is lively. Night illuminations are magical.
It’s late but we’re not tired, so on our way to the Jewish Quarter ! We take the metro to get to the famous ruin bar Szimpla Kert. But before you go, make a jump to the Gozsdu Udvar passage. It is a covered pedestrian crossing of several hundred meters, lined with bars and restaurants very trendy and lively to the rhythm of the music. Nightlife is king.
Welcome to the ruin bar Szimpla Kert! It is an abandoned building in ruins, converted into a bar. Szimpla is very trendy and has 2 floors. The decoration is atypical with lots of recovered objects. The atmosphere is young and very trendy.
Good place to end your day and extend it to the end of the nui!. Possibility to eat on the ground floor in addition to drinking. On the 2nd floor you will find several rooms with offbeat and different styles. Sit down (well, if you find a free place) and drink cocktails or smoke a hookah to enjoy this very cozy atmosphere. There is a crowd but we are good there. It’s a party!
Day 4: The central halls
Last day in Budapest ! We pack our suitcases and drop them off at Budapest Luggage Storage. Our flight being in the middle of the afternoon, we wanted to fully enjoy our last hours in Budapest, hands free. If your accommodation does not offer to keep your suitcases, this address will do you a favor for a very fair price. There are several places to drop off your luggage in the city. They offer several services, in addition to keeping your suitcases in luggage storage, such as providing you with a transfer to the airport directly from their agency. Direct vehicle payment + on-site deposit.
Suitcases deposited, on the way to the central market of Budapest with the architecture imagined by Gustave Eiffel.
Not to be missed because the building is magnificent! Market of 2 floors where we find meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, spices, pastries but also souvenirs of all kinds.
If you want to discover even more activities and places to visit in Budapest and its surroundings, we invite you to click on the banner below:
I hope you enjoyed this new trip with me. I look forward to seeing you soon for new adventures with a new Myoxybubble destination!
Feel free to leave your comments on this article and share your own experiences in Budapest (the form can be found a little further down).
Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me!
In the meantime I wish you my best wishes in this new year 2019! May it be rich in travel and discovery!
It is recommended to book in advance via the https://tickets.szechenyibath.hu and https://www.gellertbath.hu sites. This will save you from queuing.
If you do not have a towel or bathrobe, we strongly advise you to rent one. The price is high, especially in Széchneyi, but the bathrobe really supports the exit of the bath when the outside temperature is 5 ° C
We advise you to move mainly on foot and by metro, it is the most convenient.
The taxi can also be used as it is relatively affordable. In this case, the Fotaxi app will help you book the latter.
The currency is the Hungarian florint. 1 € is worth about 330 Ft.
CB is accepted just about everywhere.
Tipping: it is customary to leave between 5 and 15% tip in restaurants and bars, unless it is mentioned that the service is included.
For taxis, it is enough to round off the price of the ride.
Before you go
Do not forget to check that your passport or ID is still valid. No visa required.
There is no need for special vaccines.
For electrical outlets, they are identical to those in France.
Don’t forget your swimsuit to enjoy the terms.
As mentioned above, if you are looking for a luggage storage to fully enjoy the city on the day of your arrival or departure, we recommend the Budapest Luggage Storage website. They can also arrange your transfer to the airport at a reasonable price.