Whether you're a fan of loud and flashy firework shows or low-key and cozy river cruises, Hungary's capital can do it all. Although Budapest is often underestimated when it comes to New Year celebrations, the city actually has a bunch of exciting activities to offer. So be sure to check them out and opt for what sounds best to you.
Yes, Christmas isn't exactly around the corner, and this is a NYE-related post, but hear us out: traditional Christmas fairs in Budapest kick off in late November and last up until December 31. From tangy scents of local food and famous mulled wine (or Glühwein, as the Hungarians call it) to an abundance of New-Year-inspired candy and spectacular laser shows—Budapest Christmas markets have a little something in store for you.
Budapest can't be called unique for celebrating the advent of the new year with fireworks, but they sure do it differently from any other city—at least because you can watch them from ancient castles. You'll be able to enjoy the broad spectrum of colors and the fantastic lights flowing across the sky. The best locations for firework-watching are the Buda Castle and the Fisherman's Bastion. But if you prefer something less fancy, save yourself a spot on the banks of the Danube river.
Outdoor thermal baths
What other capital can boast these for a NYE celebration? Budapest is famous for its outdoor spa parties (also known as sparties), perfect both for pre- or post- New Year celebrations. While they do sometimes throw NY countdown parties until around 3 am, most baths lock their doors to visitors at about 6 pm on December 31 and open the following year (we mean, the morning of January 1). So check out the schedule of the ones that sound most exciting beforehand and, you know, soak it up!
Budapest is brimming with a diversity of boat rides along the Danube. The river not only separates the Buda and Pest parts of the city (which it was called after) but also offers glorious views of it. Whether you book a big cruise or a modest boat ride, pretty much all of them provide a delicious dinner, great music, and gorgeous views of Budapest. The best sights include the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and the Hungarian Parliament. And, of course, you can also watch the fireworks from a boat.
Danube Palace NYE gala concert
Budapest and the Danube river have inspired many poets and artists for centuries. Sure thing, this is reflected in modern Hungarian culture. For example, the Danube Palace annually hosts a New Year's Eve gala concert featuring classical melodies and folk music pieces. The show takes two hours and is preceded by a five-course dinner with extravagant meals and suitable wines. In other words, you'll definitely get a New Year's vibe at this event.
For the details and latest announcements, please visit the official websites (see External Resources below). Additionally, you might want to book accommodations next to desired locations—look for the options on the map.