Spring & Easter Market at Vörösmarty Square – March 23 – April 22
Spring Fair… This annual festival actually began with the Christmas season, as in Vörösmarty Square has always been home to one of the big Budapest Christmas markets. At one point somebody must have realized that no matter how popular the market gets, they just can’t earn enough money for the whole year in three or four weeks. This is when the little brother of the Christmas fair, the Easter market was born.
Easter Market: crafts, food, music
This place is perfect for little souvenirs – arts and crafts dominate the wooden huts, with handmade pottery, baskets, wooden thingies and all that. Every year, there are presentations when traditional craftsmen showcase their skills of blacksmithery or basket weaving. Family-oriented opportunities to try felting, beading and the like also make this a great place for kids.
A few things you definitely have to try at the Budapest Spring Fair:
Kürtőskalács or chimney cake: baked on the spot, this treat with a crisp outside and a super soft sugary lining comes in varieties ranging from cinnamon (traditional) to Nutella (progressive).
Mulled wine: the typical drink at the Christmas market that’s sometimes available in the spring too. You’ll never understand why they told you to drink wine cold.
Artisanal marzipan: Hungary’s not the only country to make this, but definitely the only one to have a Marzipan Museum with life-size marzipan Michael Jackson and Princess Diana statues. (Seriously.) Naturally, you’ll also find gingerbread houses and other favorites, including, just as importantly, great wine, craft beers, pálinka, and of course, goulash and stews galore.
You can also look for lángos, or ‘flame cake’, a potato-based dough served with sour cream, garlic and cheese, and other traditional Hungarian dishes.
Meanwhile, concerts with mostly folk music create the country fair atmosphere.
Vörösmarty Square in downtown Budapest – where is it and what to do around it
Named after a 19th-century poet, this square is in the heart of the business/shopping district and historic downtown.
End station of the millennial subway line: this is the very first stop of the very first subway line on the European continent: even if you get around on foot, take a minute to go down and take a pic of the beautiful station.
The fashion street of Budapest, aka Váci utca starts here. Most stores tend to be overpriced and often touristy, but it’s certainly worth a passing glance.
Gateway to the Danube embankment: the square is between Elisabeth/Erzsébet Bridge and the Chain Bridge – focus on the latter if you’re into beautiful historic bridges. (All bridges of Budapest were rebuilt after the Second World War, but the Chain Bridge was redone in style!) On your way to the bridge, you can stop at the Shoes on the Danube Promenade, a touching monument to the mostly Jewish victims of the Nazi regime shot into the river over 60 years ago.
Also, just a stone’s throw from the Buda Hills: walk over the bridges or take a bus to discover Gellért Hill and the Citadella (via Elisabeth Bridge) or the fancy Castle District (via the Chain Bridge). Gellért Hill is the perfect choice for a romantic spring stroll, while the Castle is popular in any season.
To get there: M1 subway line, Vörösmarty tér station (or Tram 2, Vigadó tér)
Admission: free (to all events including crafts shows and concerts)