A city with a double soul – romantic and nostalgic, dynamic and modern – Budapest is a destination that even at New Year’s Eve really satisfies everyone: couples looking for magic and charm, young people willing to go to bed as late as possible, families who want to live a good New Year’s Eve without the anxiety of firecrackers and drunks.
New Year’s Eve in Budapest is everything you can find in London and Paris but on a smaller scale, safer and more intimate. Another good reason to choose Eastern Paris as your end-of-year vacation destination is that it’s much cheaper – but no less charming – than other overblown European capitals.
You can celebrate New Year’s Eve in the traditional way by taking part in street parties or enjoying a sumptuous dinner in a chic restaurant, enjoy the romantic experience of a night cruise on the Danube with a view of the fireworks or the even more original experience of swimming outdoors in a pool of warm thermal water.
And for those looking for nightlife? Do not worry, Budapest has a quantity and variety of clubs that can satisfy your every desire for the night and many of these organize theme parties for New Year’s Eve.
Things to do on New Year’s Eve in Budapest
How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve in Budapest and what are the best proposals for those who visit the city? Here is a mini-guide that will help you to live your dream New Year’s Eve.
Square parties and fireworks
The parties in the squares of the New Year’s Eve in Budapest are more sober than those that take place in more popular capitals, such as London, Paris or Amsterdam.
Even in the Hungarian capital are guaranteed fireworks, uncorked bottles, smiles and good wishes, but without the excesses that spoil the party in other situations more crowded and rowdy, such as firecrackers fired randomly on the crowd, immoderate amounts of alcohol, objects thrown from balconies.
In the squares and streets you will see many people dancing the czarda, the most famous traditional Hungarian dance: soon you too will want to join the fray and try your hand at this exciting dance.
The nerve center of the outdoor festivities is Vorosmarty Square, where people gather to wait for the 12 chimes that mark the arrival of the new year. It is easily accessible on foot along Vaci Utca, the pedestrian street in the center of Budapest and the most famous among tourists. The best view of the fireworks, however, is from the banks of the Danube or even better from a boat.
On the evening of December 31, the square is animated by street food stalls open until late at night, perfect for those who do not want to close themselves to eat in a restaurant or for those who are taken from an attack of hunger after midnight.
If you want to experience the festivities outdoors like a local, remember that Hungarians like to wear wigs, masks and hats in bizarre shapes and flashy colors. You can easily get them in the small stores in the center.
Where to have New Year’s Eve dinner
Compared to other European capitals, in Budapest it is easier to find a restaurant where you can eat without a reservation on the evening of December 31. However, there is the risk of having to make a long queue before being admitted to a table, something definitely not pleasant.
Moreover, as in all big cities, the best restaurants are all sold out on the evening of December 31: if you want to be sure to eat well it is better to book a table in advance. The good news is that the New Year’s Eve dinner in Budapest does not have exorbitant prices: with 50.00 euros you can already eat in a good restaurant.
What to eat at New Year’s Eve in Budapest
According to Hungarian tradition, eating pork and lentils on New Year’s Eve brings good luck while eating chicken or fish brings bad luck. It is actually a tradition carried on by families, while restaurants offer varied menus. You choose whether to follow taste or superstition!
For lovers of New Year ‘s Eve dinner we have selected the best restaurants for New Year’s Eve dinner in Budapest, all characterized by fine cuisine and elegant environments.
Budapest, Dohány u. 42-44, 1074 Hungary (Website)
ARAZ is the refined restaurant of the luxurious Continental Hotel, located in the heart of the Old Jewish Quarter and converted from a former spa in art nouveau style. The contemporary decor has been designed to enhance the features of the historic building and create a classy environment with a warm atmosphere. For December 31, it proposes a gala dinner with an exclusive menu that will satisfy even the most demanding palates.
21 - Magyar Vendéglő
Budapest, Fortuna u. 21, 1014 Hungary (Website)
Traditional with taste: 21 is a restaurant that offers typical Hungarian recipes reinvented with modern taste. With an elegant contemporary décor, it is located in a historic street in the castle area and is particularly renowned for its carefully selected wine list, which includes the best Hungarian wines.
Budapest, Zrínyi u. 5, 1051 Hungary (Website)
Looking for something typically Hungarian? The restaurant of Duna Palota, the sumptuous theater of Budapest where the unity of the city was declared, is the best choice for you. For the evening of New Year’s Eve organizes a gala dinner with 5 courses followed by a concert of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra that will play traditional Hungarian music and a midnight reception.
Events, clubs and discos in Budapest
The nightlife in Budapest is wild and New Year’s Eve is no exception. If you do not want to waste time looking for a club on the spot here are three discos recommended for New Year’s Eve in Budapest.
Liget Club & Bar
Budapest, Népligeti út 2, 1101 Hungary (Website)
With a capacity of over 5000 people, the Liget Club & Bar is a megaclub with 4 floors recommended for those who like to do things in a big way. For the New Year’s Eve party offers a musical experience of pure fun, with dj-set dance, r’n’b, retro, international hits and Nu Disco. Spectacular visual effects will add further suggestion to your night of wild fun.
Budapest, Kazinczy u. 21, 1075 Hungary (Website)
Excellent sound system, trendy music (mostly house and electronic), a trendy bar that offers exclusive cocktails and a casual-chic clientele make Madam (former Hetkert) one of the most popular clubs in Budapest, even at New Year.
Budapest, Zrínyi u. 4/A, 1051 Hungary (Website)
The Ötkert is considered a guarantee of fun for everyone. Housed in a beautiful nineteenth-century building a few steps from St. Stephen’s Basilica, is a three-storey club loved in equal measure by Hungarians and tourists. It offers different musical genres such as rock, hip hop and minimal sound.
New Year’s Eve Cruise
The most romantic and suggestive way to spend New Year’s Eve in Budapest is undoubtedly the cruise on the Danube. One of the top experiences to do in Budapest at any time of the year, the evening of the 31st is simply magical: you will see before your eyes the city lit up and you will have the unique opportunity to admire both banks.
The New Year’s Eve cruises in Budapest also include the dinner; in some cases instead of the full dinner are served fine snacks. At the stroke of midnight you can toast watching the fireworks from an unusual perspective, without the crowds and the cold of the squares.
Duration and prices of cruises on the Danube on New Year’s Eve vary greatly depending on the company chosen and the services offered.
New Year’s Eve at the spa
Do you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve in an original way with something that only in Budapest you can do? Then don’t miss the New Year’s Eve party at the historic Géllert Thermal Baths, a magnificent art nouveau establishment built at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Géllert Bath s are one of the most famous tourist attractions of Budapest and definitely deserve to be included in the program of your vacation. Why not do it on the evening of December 31?
On this particular date the opening hours of the spa is extended and you can experience the transition from the old year to the new one immersed in hot water, regardless of the cold temperatures that grip the Hungarian capital in this period. Lights and DJ sets enliven the evening, so in addition to the pleasure of hot water you will also have entertainment and fun.
Even the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, the other historic spa of Budapest, usually organize New Year’s Eve parties. This is the largest spa in Europe, with 3 giant outdoor pools and 15 indoor pools: a truly unique location for an original New Year’s Eve.
How to plan New Year’s Eve in Budapest
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Budapest is an ideal choice for those traveling on a budget because prices are generally cheaper than in other European capitals.
It is however necessary to plan the vacation in advance because the word has long spread about the good prices in Budapest and the many proposals it offers for New Year’s Eve, so there is the risk of finding sold out planes, the best hotels, the best restaurants and the best parties.
You don’t want to miss out on the best, right? So start now to planning your New Year’s Eve in Budapest: book in sequence the flight, the hotel, the restaurant or the dinner cruise and/or the disco party. There is no need to go to an agency: doing it yourself is easy and allows you to save on commissions charged by tour operators.
It is also advisable to book in advance the activities to do before and after December 31: entrance tickets to museums, monuments and tours are generally cheaper if purchased in advance online.
Tips for celebrating New Year’s Eve in Budapest
There are no special tips to keep in mind to live a New Year’s Eve in Budapest without bad surprises. There are the usual recommendations for safety (watch your wallet and valuables) and some attention to resist the winter temperatures.
As already said, the most popular experiences, such as the best restaurants, the most exclusive cruises and the parties in the most famous clubs must be booked in advance. In particular, tickets for clubs are put on pre-sale many weeks before December 31, with prices that gradually increase as the fateful date approaches. Some clubs impose a dress code: find out before your departure to avoid arriving without adequate clothing.
Weather and temperatures at New Year
Thewinter in Budapest is rather harsh, with temperatures around zero and not infrequently below zero. To avoid spending New Year’s Eve chattering your teeth for the cold, put in your suitcase heavy clothes, caps and scarves. A waterproof jacket and shoes are also recommended since precipitation is not uncommon.
With the right precautions you can enjoy the magical winter atmosphere of Budapest, perfect for New Year’s Eve celebrations, and maybe even admire this beautiful city whitewashed by snow.
To know the Budapest weather in real time and to see the forecast for the coming days visit the Budapest Weather page.