The Christmas season kicks off with Mikulás-nap (St. Nicholas Day) on December 6th when children polish their shoes and set them out for Miklulás to fill with goodies. (However, if you’ve been bad, Mikulás’ helper, krampusz, will leave twigs instead.) Bakeries and home cooks are busy baking roulade cakes filled with walnuts or poppy seeds (bejgli), which are a crucial part of the holiday season. On December 24th children are banished from their living rooms while the angels and Jézuska (baby Jesus) bring presents and trim the tree, and angels ring bells. No Hungarian Christmas tree is complete without shiny pieces of szaloncukor (chocolates wrapped in colourful foil wrappers) covering it. In the weeks running up to Christmas szaloncukor is sold everywhere, by the kilogram from street vendors and at fancier shops and bakeries.
Budapest’s many Christmas markets are also an essential part of the Christmas season. This tour will include visits to four very different ones, from the most traditional one in town, to a luxury one with more high-end gifts. Since the markets (which are all in central Pest) are in a few different neighborhoods, you’ll see some of Budapest’s prettiest neighborhoods decked out for the holidays. As you wander around the markets, your guide will fill you in on what you are seeing, and discuss Hungarian Christmas traditions, foods, and stories. Of course, food is also a major part of the tour! You’ll taste a variety of different seasonal foods and drinks (so come with an appetite, it will be enough to serve as lunch).
This will be an excellent opportunity to do some Christmas shopping. Your guide will direct you to our favorite vendors where you can find things such as handmade notebooks and paper products, puppets, ceramics, folk arts, Christmas decorations, food products, and more.
A private 3-hour tour is available upon request.