Celebrate New Year’s Eve and welcome the New Year with a bang in Budapest, Hungary. We have put together some great tips to guide you through the New Year Craze in Budapest, whether it is Dec 31 or Jan 1, or just any day around the end of the year. Feeling young and fun, stylish or classy, evergreen or relaxed? You will find a wide range of excellent programs to book for (as booking is a must if you want to get in).
New Year in Budapest
Budapest New Year’s Eve is full of parties, special NYE menus in the hundreds of restaurants, street parties, various concerts (from rock to classical), and of course NY cruises on the Danube. Many of the parties sell out by early December, while others only start to open the cashiers in mid Dec. Keep up to date with us to find your best ever NYE in Budapest!
Is it the best place in Europe to ring in the New Year? Pining for tropical heat? Avoid Budapest in December and come back in July, August. But let’s see the best things about Budapest New Year’s Eve, this love or hate day for many.
In the following list you will find events and ideas for all sorts of interests and age groups.
Budapest New Year’s Eve & Day 2018 – 2019
The end of 2018 is offering some exciting things to do in Budapest. The list is getting longer day by day, so do check back for dozens of more events.
- Party on December 30, 2018: Budapest Bath Party in Szechenyi Baths, the Cinetrip winter edition is the best party you can think of if you are in the 20-40 age gap and love parties. Details: Szechenyi Bath New Year’s Eve Party. The list of Budapest NYE Parties is updated on a daily basis, and there will be more options for those who do not want to splash around in a thermal bath party.
- Party on Budapest December 31, 2018: if you are attracted by the idea of taking a cruise, and partying on a big ship, with various shows (from Fran Sinatra to Hungarian Folk show), and gobble endless drinks, there are more Budapest New Year Cruise events to pick from, and sail through into 2019 in style. The sights are beautiful (UNESCO World Heritage), and if you love to have your drink, it sounds a good deal. The list of Budapest NYE Parties is updated on a daily basis
- Dinner on December 31, 2018: enjoy a special dinner with live music on the river Danube, or in one of the best restaurants in Budapest. Booking in advance is everywhere essential, as all places will be full house by Dec 31. It is just that day.
- Concert on December 31, 2018: say farewell to the Old Year with classical music, salon music, operettas, or opera, or even with a local percussion concert: New Year’s Eve Concerts in Budapest are open for booking from September or October.
Tips for Budapest New Year’s Eve
Here are some ideas for spending am amazing New Year’s Eve in Budapest, Hungary.
There is a wide range of NYE options in Budapest to choose the best setting for your ideal New Year’s Eve. Some want to do clubbing, others only want to have a nice dinner, a concert, or a festive river cruise in Budapest. There are dozens of excellent clubs (from techno to metal), literally hundreds of restaurants with dinners (and many with shows and live concerts), several nice concerts, and yes, even New Year Eve cruise in Budapest.
Accommodation at New Year in Budapest
First of all, book your NYE flights and accommodation well in advance to save some money. The nearer the NYE days come, the more expensive the hotel / hostel rooms get: check out a hand selected list of top Budapest hotels and for a cheaper budget solution, the best hostels in Budapest. Do check out the rental apartments options as often they will get you a great deal, especially if your are a group of friends visiting Budapest late December for the New Year’s Eve. Once you have booked the basics, book your party / make your restaurant reservation in advance too (3 weeks before the event takes place, many parties and restaurants have been fully booked).
Weather at New Year in Budapest
Secondly, Budapest winters are quite cold, so hats, gloves, thick coats, boots will help you to have a lovely NYE in Budapest, or to have a peace of mind that you have the basic necessities. While heating in public buildings, metro cars, etc. is warm or often too warm (around 21-25 degrees Celsius), the weather outside is cold, often getting below freezing, especially at night (Dec, Jan and Feb are the coldest months in Hungary). Most parties on New Year’s Eve (pre and post parties too) will have taxis waiting outside. Oftentimes, however, waiting time for taxis increases to 20-30 min on Dec 31 in the city of Budapest.
After Party & New Year’s Day in Budapest
Thirdly, make some after party plans to start the New Year well, relaxed, happy, as we all should. Despite all appearances, there are many things that are open on January 1 in Budapest, even though this is a public holiday (unlike Dec 31). Mostly importantly, the Budapest baths are open offering naturally warm and refreshing spring waters and very affordable massages. But places are limited, so if you pick the two most popular thermal baths in the city, make sure to book tickets (fast track) and massages online in advance: Gellert Spa and Szechenyi Baths will be open with shortened opening hours.
Slowing Down on New Year
Fourthly, NYE is the night when the phone lines and Budapest taxis are hyper busy. Do not be surprised if you cannot shout Happy New Year via your mobile phone. Everyone is using their cell phones to text, to send crazy photos, to connect, to skype. With 1.7 million residents plus hundreds of thousands of tourists, the lines are just too busy to be able to handle the traffic.
Do expect to have some telecommunication difficulties when it comes to using your phone between 11 pm and 1 am, the peak hours of Budapest NYE. Try to make sure that you can reach your beloved ones before these phone rush hours, or arrange your taxi before, after that. It does not mean that you will not be able to call a taxi company at all, or get connected, but you may have to try it more times or wait 15-25 min to get hold of a phone line, which is not typical in Budapest at other times of the year.
If you are staying in Budapest on New Year’s Eve with friends, relatives, have a set time at a certain meeting point to avoid losing contact with each other. It is reassuring to have a plan. But if you should lose your original company, never mind. Just join some other party people temporarily, and feel the NYE impetus.
Eating Out at New Year in Budapest
Eat and drink? You will have plenty to eat and plenty of cuisines to choose from. Budapest is a real cosmopolitan city with hundreds of restaurants and at least 50 great restaurants (from Hungarian through Italian to French or Greek), even floating restaurants on the river Danube with Budapest Dinner Cruises.
Many restaurants have special NYE menus featuring both international and traditional Hungarian dishes. Outside restaurants, what is traditional Hungarian New Year’s Eve food? Well, most Hungarians would have some party assortments, including the must have NYE frankfurters with mustard and rolls, as well as Lentil soup or Lentil fozelek for NYE (the many lentils act as imaginary coins, which can make you rich … Ar we rich? No, but lentil is still good, and the superstition, deeply rooted in Hungarian folk, is still thriving).
Another traditional meal offered on New Year’s Eve is Stuffed Cabbage (cooked cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of minced meat and rice, cooked all for a few hours). Restaurants and NY cruises will serve this typically as a buffet style Midnight Dinner option.
Restaurants in Budapest on NYE will typically offer some live entertainment, especially in the more touristy areas of the city, like District V, VI, VII on the Pest side and District I on the Buda side (Buda Castle).
New Year’s Eve Parties in Budapest
Budapest New Year’s Eve parties are all over the city of Budapest, in all genres, for all ages and interests. NYE parties are both inside (cafes, bars, clubs, flats) and outside.
The event starts with a series of pre New Year’s Eve parties in the city, on December 30th, working up your party muscles for Dec 31. The most popular pre NY party is the Budapest Bath Party in Szechenyi Baths on Dec 30.
NYE Parties on Budapest Streets
NYE Parties on Budapest Streets focus on 3 major hot spots in the city, downtown Budapest: Vorosmarty Square, Oktogon Sq (by Andrassy Ave) and Eiffel Square at the Nyugati Train Station. It is hard to predict when these places get really busy, but usually around 11 pm. Entry is free to the street parties.
First of all, in the very heart of the city, on Vorosmarty Square (also the location of the famous Budapest Christmas market), there are hundreds, then thousands of people on and around the square to celebrate New Year’s Eve with bottles of champagnes, wearing sparkly party hats or thick winter hats, and making lots of happy or I-want-to-be-tonight noise. There is a smaller scale Fireworks Show on Dec 31, also visible from the river Danube.
Vorosmarty Square being the most central can get pretty crowded, often with many tourists mixing with the locals. As in any crowd, you may need to stay alert enough to take care of your values and belongings, or not to lose your friends. As mentioned above, you may not be able to reach your own merry company, either because of the many people in the streets, or because of the busy phone lines. If you split up, have a meeting point at a given time.
Vorosmarty Square can be a good point to start an NYE walk in the city. Head towards Deak Square (also lots of people on both Deak Square), cross the neighbouring Elisabeth Square (check out Aquarium Club), then take a walk on Andrassy Avenue to Oktogon Square (and Octagonal shaped square at the crossing point of Andrassy korut with the big ring road with the trams 4 or 6). On Oktogon, you will see thousands of more people (especially young guys and girls in their 20s/30s), from here, you can turn left, and in 5 min you will get to Eiffel Square where the third big open air party is at Nyugati Railway Station.
On Oktogon Square there are some live concerts with Hungarian bands, lots of cheering, friendly people dancing, clinking, drinking, and dealing with the cold with a big smile. This is also a good place to be at when the clocks strike midnight.
Unfortunately, there is no official website or well published info about the upcoming street parties, so we are relying on the customary party info, and the fact that NYE street parties in Budapest have been running on for many years now.
Budapest New Year Fireworks Show: many assume that Budapest celebrate the New Year with a huge fireworks show like many other cities on December 31. However, Budapest has the huge fireworks in the summer time on August 20, rather than on Dec 31. That said, there are some smaller scale fireworks usually by the river Danube, but they are not as spectacular as the summer fireworks (see the one in the picture from the summer. Now on NYE if you see fireworks it will be smaller).
NYE Parties in Budapest Clubs and Bars
Basically, all clubs and bars throw a New Year’s Eve party on December 31, and many have pre parties as well as after parties too. See our list of Budapest New Year Parties or the top Budapest bars to get an idea where you could head to, where your will need to book a ticket in advance to be party of the best clubbing on NYE in Budapest. Some of the best Budapest New Year Parties we have collected here.
New Year’s Eve Parties in Budapest Hotels
Needless to say, many of the best hotels in Budapest are organising a NYE party to say farewell to the old year in style. Luxury Budapest hotels, like Corinthia, Hilton, etc. as well as top tier hotels like Hotel Gellert. Please visit the hotels website to learn more about their New Year’s Eve packages, shows, dinners.
New Year’s Eve Parties on Budapest Ships
Those who love great panoramic views of Budapest, live entertainments (cruise shows with music or Gypsy music, dancers, etc.), a la carte or buffet dinner and open bars can book their New Year Eve river cruise and party on some of the ships of Budapest. Budapest NYE cruises are quite affordable: check out the vast array of programs for Budapest New Year Cruise on Dec 31.
New Year’s Eve Parties in Budapest Baths
While the thermal baths of Budapest are open on Dec 31 and Jan 1, and the spa baths are often the venues of amazing, awesome and unique bath parties, on NYE there won’t be spa parties (sparties) in Budapest, sorry. But don’t be disappointed.
- Dec 30, 2018: a huge and spectacular New Year party at Szechenyi Baths: Cinetrip is over 15 years old, and the party will be unforgettable. Do not miss it. It is a bit of Ibiza in Budapest. One of the best ways to get warmed up for the New Year’s Eve Parties. Mixed ages (20’s-40’s), hiphop, trance music, laser shows and live shows.
Midnight on New Year’s Eve in Budapest
At midnight, as if by a magic stroke with a wand, the happy, cheering crowds turn into solemn mood in Budapest for 2 min. Instead of loud cheers, laughs, jumping around, and big hugging, Hungarians, yes, we locals, go singing our national anthem with as much dignity as the consumed NYE alcohol allows. It is an emotional moment for us, Hungarians.
This is a very Hungarian thing to switch from the friendliest party creature into a sort of ‘matter of life and death’ faced, “I painfully love my mother country even if all things seem to be against her” solemn mood. Do not be surprised, once the anthem is over, this shocking insight into the Hungarian national psyche is over, and the party mood is reset, as if nothing has happened.
After the anthem, the smiles, cheers, loud shouting and big hugs come back with full force. Want to hear what we sing at midnight on New Year’s Eve in Budapest? Now, this is the Hungarian anthem, a really solemn hymn (of course, the lyrics is about a plead to God to bless the Hungarians and get help in good or bad, followed by a reflection of hundreds of bad and bloody years. How could we not go solemn singing about such turmoils?).