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‘Tis the Season

December is now upon us in Budapest and we have so much to look forward to and celebrate with 2017’s final weeks now in sight. This majestic city is preparing for the holidays and so are its citizens. Budapest has several offerings inside and outside to see, do and eat. One that combines all three would be the Christmas markets located at the end of Váci utca on Vörösmarty tér.  

This square is about 15 minutes walking distance from Deák tér at most. These markets are iconic of the city, let alone the country. With numerous wooden stalls selling a variety of local handmade goods, be sure to take a stroll there with friends or family. Keep an eye out for the delicious mulled wine. This festive beverage will keep one toasty on a chilly winter day and your mood extra cheerful. The atmosphere is very welcoming, and no one will regret spending time here. There are over 160 programs taking place from now until the 31st of December.  Beautiful fairy lights create a magical atmosphere during the evening.  

Vajdahunyad castle in Budapest

An activity for the evening or anytime in general during the winter season would be the Rudas fürdő, a truly splendid spa which can be found on the Buda side of the Erzsébet Bridge at Döbrentei tér 9. The discovery of medicinal waters date back to the year of 1550, back when the Turks ruled the country. There are six thermal baths and a large swimming pool with temperatures varying between 10-42 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that on Tuesdays the baths are open to women only. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday serve men only, while Saturday and Sunday are for men and women. While there, my friend and I found the staff to be helpful and inviting. Be sure to check out the rooftop bath especially during sunset or late in the evening. The views are truly spectacular. With the bath being located on a slight bend of the Danube one can see various bridges and magnificent buildings.  

If you fancy outdoor winter sports, then ice skating at Városligeti Műjégpálya is a must for you. This historical ice rink is located between Hősök tere and Vajdahunyad Castle. A quick history lesson: the construction took place in 1869 and the rink was officially opened on the 29th of January 1870. Soon the rink will celebrate its 148th birthday! During the other three seasons it is transformed into a pond for boating. This rink is one of the largest and oldest functioning ones in Europe. One can skate from the middle of November till February. It is open from Monday to Friday from 09:00 – 13:00, then 17:00 – 21:00. The hours vary on Saturdays and Sundays – more information can be found on their website. Ticket prices range from 1,500-2,000 HUF not including rentals, which is an additional 1,800-2,000 HUF plus deposit. This venue is perfect for a date or a group outing. Either before or after skating, put aside some time to walk around the park. Once inside you’ll discover lovely architecture. With the Vajdahunyad castle’s golden walls and crisp white trim melded amongst abundant vines, it is a daydream in the morning and a winter fairy tale romance in the evening.  

Csaba Roszik 

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