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December!

We will fly into Budapest on 12-13. Our son attends University in Pecs and will be joining us on the 15th. We are staying a couple of nights on our own prior to his arrival in Buda, specifically the Victoria Hotel. We thought we would take a couple of nights to adjust to our time travel. Now I have to secure accommodations for the three of us. I am thinking that we will move to downtown Pest. I have been checking out airbnbs but have yet to find exactly what I want. 2 bedrooms is a necessity. Not quite in downtown there is Mamaison Residence Inn which looks wonderful. Definitely a little more expensive than the airbnbs but tempting. I also notice that in December, some places are not open, like Momento Park. We will probably take the evening river cruise even in the cold. Any input you have for December activities will be appreciated. The 2nd part of my ask is where to travel out of Budapest. We have 10 days overall and an additional two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (leaving on the 26th). Eger? Lake Balaton? Pecs? Someplace else? We are three active people who have no physical limitations. In fact, I have been in contact with a group of pickleball players in the city who are receptive to having us play with them. We are super excited to visit!!!

Posted by
6727 posts

How many days are you staying in Budapest, and how many days are you looking to travel elsewhere in Hungary? Or is that not determined yet? (sorry, I’m having a little trouble figuring out how many days you are trying to fill.)

Posted by
6 posts

A definite lack of clarity! So… We have 12 days which includes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the end before flying out on the 26th. The first two nights upon arrival we are staying in Buda, just my husband and I. From the 15th through the 25th we’ve got nothing but flexibility and will be joined by adult son. I figured that at some point we would travel out of Budapest for a bit. Wondering where would be a good option. Also looking for a hotel/apartment with a kitchenette as I can’t imagine eating out the whole time. Thanks!

Posted by
19203 posts

I gather from James E's posts that there have definitely been some restaurant closures in Budapest, but at the time of my 2018 visit, the food was very good and very reasonably priced.

I spent 3-1/2 weeks in Hungary. It was May. I loved Budapest but also really enjoyed the other cities/towns I visited. I was underwhelmed by Lake Balaton, but it was May (not a lively month) and I didn't have a car. I sort of doubt it will be a happening area in December, but I could be wrong.

Pecs was my favorite destination outside Budapest. I like decorative arts a lot, and the Zsolany ceramic museums were great.

Szeged is a lovely, sizable Art Nouveau city in southern Hungary, very near Serbia and Romania. Border controls permitting, one can hop across the Serbian border to Subotica, also with much Art Nouveau architecture, though visibly much less affluent than Szeged.

Between Budapest and Szeged in Kecskemet, a smaller city also with Art Nouveau architecture.

With a car one could make a loop trip hitting Kecskemet, Szeged and Pecs. By public transportation it seemed easiest to return to Budapest between Pecs and Kecskemet/Szeged.

In the west I went to Gyor and Sopron. Both are worthwhile, but there's considerably more to see and do in the larger Gyor (a bunch of small art museums, a larger historic area, etc.), and Gyor is also a good base for seeing Pannonhalma Archabbey. I ran into a problem there: I visited on a Saturday and much was closed because of a special religious occasion I didn't know about. So check the abbey website carefully and maybe avoid Saturday in any case, because I'm pretty sure there wasn't anything on the website about the ceremony I ran into; certainly the tourist office in Gyor didn't mention it to me when I sought information on the bus schedule.

There is much more to see in Hungary. I plan to return to some of may favorites and see additional places.

If you skim back through the Hungary forum, you'll find some suggestions for destinations outside Budapest from several folks, but especially from James E.

Posted by
12560 posts

Sure, put me on the spot.

For a place to stay i would suggest the area bordered by Dob u. , O u. and the inner and outer ring roads. Maybe if you can't find a 2 bedroom, you can find 2 adjacent 1 bedroom units. But do make sure they are legal. Ask for the registration numbers and be suspicious if they don't as for you passport information.

December in Budapest can be lovely, but outside of town ..... My choices would be first Vienna, second Pecs, third Eger.

There is a lot closed, but a lot open too. I posted a list of some of my favorites. Check their web pages before you leave.

Posted by
12560 posts

Anything specific I can help you with, just ask. Don't forget your metro card.

Other than the zone, can't help much with accommodations. Peoples taste and needs vary too much. But do check out the K&K and the Ambra. And if you find an interesting airbnb, send me the details and maybe I can tell you about the area

Posted by
5689 posts

Sounds counterintuitive, but we have loved the Szechenyi baths in winter -- soaking outside in heated water. SO relaxing!! Just make sure you leave your towels close to the place you will get out of the pool.
If the Opera is open for guided tours, it's worth seeing.

Posted by
6 posts

The baths sound like a fun experience for Christmas Day! Also, what do you think of this idea… What if we schedule lodging for the first 6 and the last 4 nights—leaving 3 nights without reservation so we have the flexibility to plan on the spot. Is it unrealistic to expect to find decent lodging in December at the last minute…in general that is?

Posted by
12560 posts

Tiurism is down,, I suspect you will not have much trouble making last minute reservations in any of the suggested towns.

Posted by
12560 posts

You know, I can't find anything official, but my friends in Budapest all say they have heard yes. I will know first hand in about 3 weeks. Just booked my flights.

Posted by
14414 posts

about 4 years ago I spent a long weekend in Budapest in late September, then 2N in Pecs, and 1N each in Szeged and Kecskemet and back to Budapest for another long weekend. I got to all but one by train. I can't remember if I took the bus Pecs-Szeged or Szeged-Kecskemet. It was more efficient than going in and out of Budapest each time.

I'm in Budapest now, since Sunday. I've had no trouble finding good restaurants, many have reopened and none are so crowded there's a wait line. There are Halloween decorations going up here and there. I suspect everyone's happy to be able to go out and find an occasion to celebrate. So even if there's not much of a Christmas market, there should be lots of holiday decorations and good cheer - and mulled wine.