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We have put together some great tips to guide you through the beginning of 2018 in Budapest. Here are your tips for New Year in Budapest.
Budapest New Year’s Eve is full of parties, special NYE menus in the hundreds of restaurants, street parties, various concerts (from rock to classical), and of course NY cruises on the Danube.
Tips for 2018 in Budapest #1: Accommodation
First of all, book your NYE flights and accommodation well in advance to save money. The closer the NYE days, the more expensive the hotel/hostel rooms get. Check out a hand-selected list of top Budapest hotels and for a cheaper budget solution, the best hostels in Budapest. Also check out the rental apartments option, as often they will get you a great deal, especially if you and a group of friends are visiting Budapest late December for New Year’s Eve. Once you have booked the basics, book your party/make your restaurant reservation in advance too (three weeks before the event takes place, as many parties and restaurants are fully booked early on).
Related article: Romantic Activities In Budapest
Tips for 2018 in Budapest #2: Weather
Secondly, Budapest winters are quite cold, so hats, gloves, thick coats and boots will help you have a lovely NYE in Budapest, or to have peace of mind that you have the basic necessities. While heating in public buildings, metro cars, etc. is warm, or often too warm (around 21-25 degrees Celsius), the weather outside is cold, often getting below freezing, especially at night (Dec, Jan and Feb are the coldest months in Hungary). Most parties on New Year’s Eve (pre and post parties too) will have taxis waiting outside. Oftentimes, however, waiting time for taxis increases to 20-30 min on Dec 31 in Budapest.
Tips for 2018 in Budapest #3: After Party
Third, make some after-party plans to start the New Year off right, relaxed and happy. Despite all appearances, there are many things that are open on January 1 in Budapest, even though this is a public holiday (unlike Dec 31). Mostly importantly, the Budapest baths are open, offering naturally warm and refreshing spring waters and very affordable massages. But places are limited, so if you pick the two most popular thermal baths in the city, make sure to book tickets (fast track) and massages online in advance. Gellért Spa and Széchenyi Baths will be open with shortened opening hours.
Tips for 2018 in Budapest #4: Slowing Down on New Year
Fourth, NYE is the night when the phone lines and Budapest taxis are hyper busy. Do not be surprised if you cannot shout Happy New Year via your mobile phone. Everyone is using their cell phones to text, to send crazy photos, to connect, to Skype. With 1.7 million residents plus hundreds of thousands of tourists, the lines are just too busy to be able to handle the traffic.
Tips for 2018 in Budapest #5: Eating Out
Eat and drink? You will have plenty to eat and plenty of cuisines to choose from. Budapest is a real cosmopolitan city with hundreds of restaurants and at least 50 great restaurants (from Hungarian through Italian to French or Greek, including several Michelin-star places), and even floating restaurants on the river Danube with Budapest Dinner Cruises.
Many restaurants have special NYE menus featuring both international and traditional Hungarian dishes. Other than restaurants, what is traditional Hungarian New Year’s Eve food? Well, most Hungarians would have some party assortments, including the must-have NYE frankfurters with mustard and rolls, as well as Lentil soup or Lentil főzelék for NYE (the many lentils act as imaginary coins, which can make you rich … does it work? Well, maybe, but whatever the outcome, the superstition is still deeply rooted in Hungarian culture and is still thriving).
Another traditional meal offered on New Year’s Eve is Stuffed Cabbage (cooked cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of minced meat and rice, cooked for a few hours). Restaurants and NYE cruises will serve this typically as a buffet-style Midnight Dinner option.
Restaurants in Budapest on NYE will typically offer some live entertainment, especially in the more touristy areas of the city, like District V, VI, VII on the Pest side and District I on the Buda side (Buda Castle).