Across the country, small towns and big cities alike are preparing for Christmas. Squares and public places are decorated with Christmas ornaments, creating a festive mood, while crowds sip mulled wine and shop in the many Christmas markets. In this year’s Travelmag.com selection of the best Christmas markets in Europe, the Debrecen one made it to the fifth place. On the list that was dedicated to the most charming small Christmas markets in Europe, Debrecen’s market came fifth after the Czech Cesky Krumlov market. Markets, where local and seasonal handmade products are available, were prioritized on the tourism website’s annual list. The Debrecen Christmas market is located in the Eastern Hungarian city’s main square, in front of the Great Church. The iconic Great Church was built in the 19th century and with its 1,500 square metres it is the largest Reformed church in Hungary. The market in Debrecen has 90 market stalls, a large outdoor ice rink and is the venue of many performances and activities for adults and children alike.
Budapest has two major Christmas markets—one on the Vörösmarty Square called the Vörösmarty Classic Xmas and one in front of St Stephen’s Basilica. The Advent Basilica, located in one of Budapest’s most picturesque spots, features a 12-metre-tall Christmas tree and light painting. Else than the market stalls that sell traditional Hungarian Christmas food and quality handicraft merchandise, an ice rink as well as a selfie point are also to the visitors. One of the highlights of the market is the annual light and shadow play screened onto the façade of the Basilica. Not far from the Advent Basilica the Vörösmarty Classic Xmas offers a different – but equally wonderful – set of activities for visitors. The square’s iconic statue of the famed 19th century poet Mihály Vörösmarty in a new winter cover this year that includes excerpts from poems in Hungarian, German and English. The square’s Lion Fountain also received a festive decoration.
SchengenVisaInfo.com has also included Budapest as one of the top destinations to visit during the holiday season. According to the website, the Hungarian capital is the second-best tourist destination for Christmas. SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that in the 2021 Christmas season, Budapest was the favourite destination of American and British tourists, and the third most favourite of Italians.
But it is not just St Stephen’s and Vörösmarty squares in the heart of Budapest that are adorned with Christmas lights and decorations, but all the central squares of every district of the capital. This year, Budapest’s 2nd district has come up with a creative way to light up the Christmas tree that stands in Mechwart Grove (Mechwart liget). With the country hard hit by increasing energy prices, the municipality has devised the Christmas tree lighting in such a way that the ornaments can be lit up by a pedal power generator. Passers-by can pedal a bicycle to generate electricity for some of the ornaments, while some others are powered by solar panels. This innovative way of lighting the Christmas tree is partly a fun activity for children and adventurous adults alike, and also an environmentally friendly way of celebrating the festive season.