Most Budapest attractions have special opening hours on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You can find the list of the most important museums and other tourist attractions of Budapest on Dec 31 and Jan 1 below.
The Danube in New Year’s Budapest
Walking along the river Danube in wintertime is beautiful, when all riverside cafes, floating restaurants and hotels are already decorated and nicely lit in anticipation for the celebration of Christmas and the New Year. Of course, you can best admire all the attractions and sights along the Danube from sightseeing cruise. Enjoy 7-Tier Wine Tasting Cruise or upgrade to a Dinner Cruise by Candlelight.
Should you choose to have a nice walk along the river, there are tours with professional guides. At this time of the year, the Evening Walking Tour & Night Cruise program can be a great choice too.
Thermal Baths in New Year’s Budapest
The hot thermal pools of the Budapest Baths are extremely popular at wintertime – it is an absolutely must see during your end of the year holiday in Budapest. You might wish to skip the lines at the cashier with an online ticket, so booking in advance is highly recommended.
Most of them are open every day during Christmas and New Year too, although the opening hours might change, so please check the actual hours before your visit.
Apart from the thermal water, most of the baths of Budapest also offer a great range of relaxing massages, but make sure you book your treatment minimum a few days ahead.
Winter Markets around the New Year
Both of the greatest Budapest Christmas Markets (the one at Vorosmarty Square and the other one in front of the St. Stephen’s Basilica) are open until Jan 1. Visiting them is absolutely recommended during your winter holiday in Budapest (free of charge), but what’s even better: you can book a Budapest Christmas Market Guided Tour too, which includes Chimney Cake and Wine Tasting as well.
Other markets not to be missed: are the Great Market Hall and the Downtown Market Hall – both can be visited by yourself or during an interesting Guided Market Hall Tour.
If you wish to visit a Sunday’s Farmer’s Market, we recommend Szimpla Kert’s market in the city center, which is held every Sunday from 9am to 2pm with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, jams, mushrooms and meat products directly from producers to customers.
Castles in Budapest around New Year’s Time
With its beautiful sights, the Buda Castle offers a great walk both outside the courtyard, and inside the Royal Palace building with exhibitions and concerts. All kinds of Buda Castle Guided Tours for various budget are available in the Castle area during Christmas and New Year too.
Do not miss the Fisherman’s Bastion, and admire the amazing winter panorama of Budapest – visiting is free of charge during the whole month of December.
If you really wish something special, we recommend the Concerts in Matthias Church.
Another castle in Budapest, lesser-known but a fantastic place is the Vajdahunyad Castle in the middle of the city park. This fairy tale castle with a little lake offers a nice walk surrounded by the beautiful winter park of Varosliget (City Park) right next to the great Ice Rink. Vajdahunyad Castle is one of the romantic castles in Budapest, with its mixed architectural style, lots of little towers and fantastic statues – it’s worth a visit in itself, but can also be visited inside, where the Hungarian Agricultural Museum is located.
Most of the Budapest Guided Walking Tours also feature the Vajdahunyad Castle.
Special Vehicles in Winter Budapest
The Funicular in the Buda Castle (one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Budapest) is a famous attraction, and of course a fun way to travel up and down the Castle Hill. Book a comprehensive Castle Tour with Funicular Ride and Danube Cruise, for a great half-day program in Budapest.
Segways are interesting, fast and great way of discovering the city, and the Budapest Segway Tours are welcoming guests in the winter season too.
Speaking of special vehicles, we must mention the historical underground (“Metro M1” on maps), also called as Millennial Underground, which is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage, and connect the city center (Vorosmarty Square) with the City Park – and Szechenyi Baths.
Outdoor Activities in New Year’s Budapest
Parks in Budapest
The City Park (Varosliget) is the biggest park in Budapest (approx. 122 ha). City Park offers a great place for refreshing winter walks to escape the teeming city center, and it is also the home of some great attractions, such as the Budapest Zoo, the Capital Circus of Budapest, Szechenyi Spa Baths and the Vajdahunyad Castle.
Another beautiful park for taking walks if you are longing for some calm re-connection with mother nature is the Margaret Island. The island can be accessed via 2 bridges on each end, but the nicest way to get there is by a boat. There are several Sightseeing Cruises daily that stop on Margaret Island, so you will have plenty of time to discover the sights of the island (the cruise voucher offers some great discounts, but there are also a lot of free attractions to visit).
Ice Rinks in Budapest
Ice skating can be and ideal afternoon or evening program during your winter holiday in Budapest. Visit with your better half for a romantic event or have a fun family program with kids – the Budapest Ice Rink at the City Park is a perfect choice to spend a few hours on the fresh air.
Walking Tours in Budapest
Budapest offers amazing guided tours in wintertime too. On the Buda side, the popular Buda Castle Tours are worth to mention, but if you wish to book a more comprehensive tour in both the Buda and Pest side, the Budapest Guided Walking Tour is recommended for you. There are some great themed tours as well, for example the Jewish Heritage tour which can be booked as a package with a nice Buffet Dinner Cruise. For those who wish to see the less touristy side of the city, a good choice can be the Alternative & Street Art Walking Tour or a real nice Guided Pub Crawl visiting the best Ruin Bars of Budapest.
Hiking in Budapest
One of the best venues for hiking and winter sports is the Normafa Park, located on Svabhegy (part of the Buda Hills). Easily accessible by public transportation from Szell Kalman Square. There are plenty of hiking routes, various tracks for excursions in the Buda Hills either on foot or by bicycle and if there is enough snow, you can even ski or snowboard! Don’t forget to visit the Chairlift and the Elisabeth Lookout Tower too.
A bit closer to the city center, also on the Buda side you can find the Gellert Hill (right next to the famous Gellert Spa). The hill offers some great walking routes too, but also worth getting on the top to see the iconic Statue of Liberty and the Citadel providing a breathtaking panorama of Budapest.
Shows and Concerts in Budapest New Year
Looking for cultural programs during your winter holiday in Budapest? You’ll have plenty to choose from. There are several Concerts in Budapest in December in different genres, at various locations (theaters, churches, cruises, etc.). On Dec 29 and Dec 30 the pre-NYE celebrations begin, leading up to of course the big night of New Year’s Eve.
The great list of festive programs does not end with Dec 31, there are some unmissable events and concerts on New Year’s Day too.
Attractions in Budapest Anytime
There are many attractions and sights in Budapest that are worth visiting, regardless of the season. These places are open throughout the year, and must be seen at least once on a Budapest trip.
Heroes’ Square – absolutely stunning, and absolutely free. Heroe’s Square is one the most iconic venues of the city of Budapest. Located right next to the City Park, Szechenyi Spa Baths and the Vajdahunyad Castle.
Opera House – the Hungarian State Opera is a fascinating building, it is highly recommended to visit on a Guided Opera Tour. If you are lucky enough to attend to a show or concert too – don’t miss the chance. Check the Christmas & New Year Program in the Opera House.
Hidden Gems in Budapest
If you want to get more ideas about your New Year holiday in Budapest, Hungary: find some off the beaten track Hidden Gems in Budapest.