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New Year's Eve in Budapest

By Erzsebet Dobos

If you plan to celebrate New Years in Budapest you won't be bored. There'll be plenty of programs to entertain you from an upscale ball to local house parties. Let's not forget the spectacular fireworks at midnight.

Hungarians are very good at partying. We're people who look for every occasion to eat and drink well. One of these special occasions is the last day of the year, Szilveszter in our language. People start preparing for New Year's Eve several weeks before. In some popular entertainment places you have to book your New Years Programme months before.

New Years in Budapest - Restaurants, Bars, Caf's

Most people in Budapest head for a restaurant, bar, caf or pub to carouse on 31st December. You have to book well in advance, especially in popular places.

If you have no reservation, go early and you might get in with some luck. There's usually a substantial dinner that includes special dishes. A glass of champagne is usually included in the price to clink glasses at midnight.

The New Year starts with more eating: frankfurter sausages with horseradish and mustard, lentil soup, roast pig and other traditional Hungarian New Year dishes are served after 24.00. You can dance away this entire calorie intake.

Prices are 40-240 €, depending on how popular and upscale the place is.

Our tip: Liszt Ferenc Square on Andr'ssy Avenue offers many trendy caf's and bars. Pick a place here and you'll be close to the outdoor fesitivities on Nyugati t"r and Oktogon.

New Years in Budapest for Free- Celebration in the Streets

Three major places are the focal point of outdoor festivities.

* on Vrsmarty Square a three-day celebration awaits you, on 30th-31st December and on 1st January.

Live bands from different countries will perform.

* Nyugati Square (M3 metro line, trams No 4, 6).

Hungarian pop-rock bands will entertain people.

* Oktogon (trams No 4, 6)

Disco till dawn with popular Hungarian DJs.

Spectacular fireworks welcome the New Year on all three places.

Don't forget to put on warm clothes, because last days of December tend to be chilly in Budapest.

You'll find many people in the streets, especially around midnight. Even those who've been carousing in a restaurant or bar, pour out onto the streets and welcome the New Year with singing, dancing and blowing paper horns.

Luckily the government has banned the use of firecrackers this year, so celebrating will be safer in the crowded streets, than it was in previous years.

New Years in Budapest - Partying In a Hotel

Most Budapest Hotels offer Special Packages for the New Year's Eve period. Usually you have to stay for at least 2-3 nights. A festive dinner and entertaining programs are included. Choose a hotel in the city centre and you'll find many places of entertainment within walking distance. You can join the happy crowd in the streets and enjoy the fireworks as well.

Prices: approximately 80-250 €

Upscale Celebration of New Years in Budapest-Ball In the Opera House

The New Year's Eve ball in Budapest's beautiful Opera House is an exclusive party where you have to dress up and wear a mask. The program starts with a Gala Concert performed by singers, ballet of the Opera House and the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. Afterwards you can fill your stomach with delicious dishes and dance till dawn.

Prices start from 288 €, but make sure you book early.

New Years in Budapest on Boat

Operetta Boat

Say farewell to the old year from a boat on the Danube. Talented singers, dancers and musicians of the Hungarian State Opera House and the Operetta House will perform classical masterpieces. Programs also include belly dancing, step dance and Hungarian folk dances. Fine dinner and beautiful vista of illuminated Budapest make the night unforgettable.

This is another classy way of celebrating the New Years in Budapest.

Price: about 160 €, includes a cocktail, substantial dinner with wide selection of cold and hot dishes, desserts, a glass of champagne, coffee, mineral water

New Years in Budapest - Home Parties

If the above programmes don't appeal to you, stroll in Budapest on New Year's Day afternoon and someone might invite you to a home party. Hungarians are famous for their hospitality and we tend to be even more welcoming on New Year's Eve. Drink local bubbly, beer or wine, have some homemade snacks and make new friends.

Some Hungarian New Year's Traditions

Most Hungarian New Years traditions are related to food. Having lentil or bean dishes on New Year's Day makes you wealthy. Pigs root out your fortune, while poultry scrapes it away. Eat roast pork on New Year's Eve and you'll be lucky throughout the year.

For hangover we eat a special soup (korhely leves) made from sour cabbage and sour cream.

Washing and hanging out the washing is forbidden, because someone will die. According to common belief, the whole year will be like the way you behave on 1st January.

You'd better be happy to drive away gloominess in the New Year!

Why celebrate New Years in Budapest?

You have many options where to say good bye to the old year in the Hungarian capital. From an exclusive ball to classy hotels, trendy restaurants and bars, or a boat on the Danube. Make sure you book early!

The best place to make friends and see how Hungarians welcome the New Year go to a homeparty. Hungarians are very friendly and hospitable.

Champagne is cheap here, about 2-2,5 €, and illuminated Budapest is beautiful at night.

I hope you will come and have a good time!

Happy New Year or Boldog "j "vet in Hungarian!

About The Author
Erzsebet Dobos

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Erzsebet lives in Budapest with her husband and son. She loves the Hungarian capital very much. Erzsebet's goal is to share her insider knowledge about Budapest with tourists visiting the city.

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