18 Dec 5 Unusual Winter Experiences in Budapest
It can get a little cold during winter in Budapest, but that shouldn’t put you off coming. The city is truly magical around Christmas, with colorful lights illuminating the streets and pretty much everyone in a good mood.
While plenty of guides will tell you what to do when the sun is out, not many give winter tips other than to stay inside and drink mulled wine. Well, we decided to give you a few more unusual ideas to try in winter time.
Sauna in an unusual location
Mobile sauna – photo: facebook.com/valyovalyo/
I mean, who doesn’t love to sauna when it’s nippy outdoors? Sure, you could go to one of the many luxurious bath spas that Budapest has, or, you could go to Valyo Sauna – a mobile sauna van that parks up in a different spot near the Danube each winter and gives you the and up to 5 others the chance for a good steam at the bargain price of about 50 Euros. The service is available from 5th January 2019, you can book your ticket here.
360 Rooftop Bar Winter Igloos
360 Bar Bar – photo: facebook.com/360barbudapest/
Rooftop bars used to close come the end of summer – after all, why would anyone want to freeze to death, no matter how good the view? Well, a trend that started last year in London has finally made its way to Budapest – with ‘igloos’ now available to reserve at one of the city’s best rooftop bars – 360 Bar.
The igloos are transparent domes accessible by a zip-up door, decorated with designer furnishings, with electric heaters to keep you warm and room for up to 9 people to stay cozy and enjoy panoramic views of the Hungarian Parliament, St Stephen’s Basilica, Buda Castle and Gellért Hill.
Location: 360 Bar, VI district, Andrássy avanue 39.
Christmas Shopping With a Twist
Projekt Showroom pop up store – photo: facebook.com/projektshowroom
Souvenir shopping is a must in Budapest, but if you’re not a fan of crowds and inflated prices, then you should avoid the Christmas markets and enjoy some of the city’s boutique retail offerings instead.
Budapest’s famous ruin bar Szimpla hosts a farmers’ market on Sundays for example, and craft beer hub Élesztő runs a gastro market. And, if you’re a sucker for old stuff, check out Antik Placc antique market and hunt for Communist memorabilia – or even something older. Meanwhile, for art lovers, Printa is hip cafe and art shop promoting the work of local artists or you can visit one of the city’s pop up store.
Non-Touristy Thermal Baths
Veli bej thermal bath – photo: termalfurdo.hu
Ok, so we mentioned the baths before. You should visit for sure, but try to go to one of the ones that doesn’t feature on the tourist trail. Veli Bej is the most luxurious the city has to offer and hidden inside a hospital next to the Danube, while just down the road is Lukács Baths – grander and older, but not overcrowded.
Finally, if you find yourself out in the city’s industrial IX district – perhaps visiting the Unicum Factory – check out Dandár Baths. It’s a humble location with a no-frills vibe. They have a small and steam inside bath and a wellness section that includes a charming, heated outdoor pool.
Try an escape room
Escape room – photo: scavengerescape.com/en/budapest
If you are going to stay indoors, at least do something interesting. Escape rooms are the world’s latest tourist trend that some claim originated in Budapest (or at least in this region of Europe). Regardless, they are an absolutely great way to spend an afternoon with friends – especially if you’re a problem solving, competitive sort of bunch.
Basically, you’ll get ‘locked’ in a room that’s been decorated to fit a theme. You’ll get clues that fit a storyline – a murder mystery, thriller type thing, or maybe something more futuristic and less sinister – and the goal is to solve the clues within 1 hour so you can all escape. While just hard enough that not everyone will manage, you’ll have fun doing it, and someone is always on hand to give a few extra clues if needed.