Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Budapest

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Budapest | Expat Press Hungary Magazine 2

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Such choices! Any type of celebratory activity is available in Budapest on New Year’s Eve, so check out just a few of them below.

Have you decided yet where to celebrate New Year’s Eve? If you plan to celebrate in Budapest, first of all it’s important to ensure good fortune in 2016 by following some Hungarian traditions. Eat roast pork and lentils on New Year’s Eve and you’ll be lucky throughout the year. But alas, if you eat poultry or fish, they are said to scratch or run away with your fortune. So now that you know what to do to be lucky all year in Hungary, let’s see the best places to celebrate.

Unusual and Unique

What could be better for a mega Pre-NYE party than the Széchenyi Baths on 30th December? You can expect a fabulous and unusual event, electronic music, an amazing light show and crazy swimwear designs. It will be anything but boring.

Related article: The Best Winter ‘Sparties’ in Budapest

For Hotel Fans

Most Budapest hotels offer special packages for the New Year’s Eve period. Choose a hotel in the city centre and you’ll find many places of entertainment within walking distance. But be careful, you have to book these offers well in advance. 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 Gellért, all join in the fun to make your New Year’s Eve special. For example, one of Budapest’s most stylish hotels, the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace hosts a fabulous party on NYE: Latin rhythms, oysters and champagne, plenty of elements that certainly go a long way towards guaranteeing a spectacular and elegant event.

Please visit the hotels website to learn more about their New Year’s Eve packages, shows and dinners.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Budapest

For Outdoorsy Types and Street Parties

NYE Parties on Budapest Streets focus on three major hot spots in downtown Budapest: Vörösmarty Square, Oktogon Square (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.

On Vörösmarty Square, also the location of the famous Budapest Christmas market, a three-day celebration captivates revelers. On 30th-31st December and on 1st January live bands from different countries will perform. The nights begin with 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-crazy-tonight noise. There is a smaller scale Fireworks Show on Dec 31, also visible from the river Danube.

If the crowds get to be too much, take a walk on Andrassy Avenue to Oktogon Square (at the intersection of Andrassy Ut with the big ring road). On Oktogon, there will be more thousands of people (especially young guys and girls in their 20s/30s). At Oktogon an outdoor celebration will take place till dawn featuring popular Hungarian DJs. There will be 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.

From here you can take a five-minute stroll to Eiffel Square where the third big open air party is at Nyugati Railway Station. At Nyugati Square Hungarian pop-rock bands will entertain anyone who braves the cold weather. The good news is that in Hungary, firecrackers are banned, but paper horns are welcome and are plenty loud enough to usher in the new year.

The Classy Venues

How about a New Year’s Eve cruise on the Danube?

What could be more enjoyable than a boat ride along the glorious Danube, surrounded by festive lights and fireworks, viewed from a warm and cozy environment? A NYE Dinner Cruise with Piano Show in Budapest could be a really chic option. Classical melodies, Frank Sinatra songs and champagne certainly help to set the tone. Those who love great panoramic views of Budapest, live entertainments (cruise shows with standard pop music or Gypsy music, dancers, etc.), a la carte or buffet dinner and open bars are all quite affordable; check out the vast array of Danube cruise programs for Budapest New Year’s Eve on Dec 31.

In addition to cruising, the impressive building of the Vigadó Hall on the Pest bank of the Danube is home to an exclusive New Year celebration. You may opt for a shorter two-hour concert or enjoy a full seven hours of fun and merriment.

Or how about a concert on December 31, to 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.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Budapest

Fireworks Budapest

Many people assume that Budapest celebrates the New Year with a huge fireworks show like many other cities on December 31; however, Budapest’s big fireworks display comes in the summer 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.

NYE Parties in Budapest Clubs and Bars

Basically, all clubs and bars throw a New Year’s Eve party on December 31, and many also have pre-parties as well as after-parties. See our article related to Budapest New Year Parties or the top Budapest bars to get an idea where you could head to and where you will need to book a ticket in advance.

New Year’s Eve Parties in Budapest Baths

While the thermal baths of Budapest are open on Dec 31 and Jan 1, 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.

On December 30, 2016, there will be a huge and spectacular New Year’s Eve party at Széchenyi Baths. Cinetrip is over 15 years old, and the party will be unforgettable, so try not to miss it. It is a bit of Ibiza in Budapest. It’s one of the best ways to get warmed up for all the other New Year’s Eve Parties. Revellers include people of all ages, from 20s to 40s, along with hip-hop, trance music, laser shows and live shows.

And finally – Midnight on New Year’s Eve in Budapest

At midnight, as if by the stroke of a magician’s wand, the happy, cheering crowds turn solemn for two minutes. Instead of loud cheers, laughs, jumping around, and big hugging, Hungarians, yes, we locals, sing 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 do, 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. When this happens, don’t 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 else has happened.

After the anthem, the smiles, cheers, loud shouting and big hugs come back with full force. The Hungarian anthem is a very solemn hymn; the lyrics are about a plea to God to bless the Hungarians and to get help in good or bad times, followed by a reflection of hundreds of bad and bloody years. How could we not go solemn singing about such turmoil?

And so, to all, wherever you are on New Year’s Eve in Hungary, Boldog Új Évet Kívánok!