In the rush of the end of the year, we all need to stop for a moment and simply enjoy the beauty of the Christmas season. For some it's a good sleigh ride, for others it's a craft or a concert, and for others it's a glass of mulled wine. There will be a Christmas craft and design fair with performances and creative activities, a classical music concert series with special national and international artists, snow sledging on the snow rinks and a party on the ice-skating rink, gastronomic experiences, exhibitions and guided tours, and much more, from the beginning of December until the end of winter.
Day and night sledging in GyárKert
Although the popular Gyárkert Culture Park has been quiet for a while, the summer season is back in December and the bands are back in full swing. From the second weekend in December, it's a winter wonderland, where you can jump on a snowmobile and slide down one of the five trails, even when nature doesn't want you to. Skaters can skate laps on the ice rink in their own or borrowed skates, or simply take a stroll through the cosy winter park, where you can enjoy warm drinks, roasted chestnuts, horn scones and other delicacies alongside the sports facilities. Admission to the Factory Garden is free, but tickets for the snow sledding and ice skating rinks will be available on site.
If you are looking for a unique gift, Portéka - Crafts and Design Fair
On 9 and 10 December at ActiCity you can choose the most unique Christmas gifts from dozens of exhibitors. From lavender soaps to fashion items made from recycled materials and rugs for pets to handcrafted jewellery, you're sure to find everything on your Christmas wish lists. The handcrafted and artisan goods will be accompanied by demonstrations and baking, an eco-friendly wreath-making workshop and much more. If you fancy a market before or after the fair with a glass of mulled wine, the Old Town Market is a few minutes' walk from ActiCity in Erzsébet liget during the Advent weekends.
Special experiences in the city of music
Music lovers can enjoy jazz concerts in the winter season at the Papírkutya Culture Bistro next to Old Town Square, but there will also be no shortage of larger musical events. The Fructus Labiorum Music Festival, which kicks off on the first weekend of Advent, will feature the Budapest Bach Consort, the world-famous brass band His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, who come all the way from the UK, and the Tempvs Fvgit, a vocal ensemble that will dazzle audiences with songs in the ancient Corsican polyphonic tradition of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage site. On 5 December, the legacy of the composer György Ligeti will be explored by outstanding artists from the Hungarian jazz world in a major Ligeti 100 concert at ActiCity, featuring ensembles such as the Modern Art Orchestra, the Ligeti Ensemble and the Miklós Lukács Trio. And for a real, unadulterated gospel experience, head to the Veszprém Arena on 11 December, where the Virginia State Gospel Chorale will perform as part of the Gospel Christmas.
From puppet dance nativity to contemporary art
The Christmas atmosphere cannot be missing the revival of festive folk traditions: the Christkindl Spiel, a centuries-old tradition in the Bakony villages and a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage site, can be joined in Városlőd between 15 and 18 December, and on 16 and 17 December you can watch the puppet dancing nativity scenes in Hollád, Litér and Veszprém. If you want to spend your winter days in the company of art, the exhibition "Troubled Waters", which reflects on the ecological relationship between Lake Balaton and the Balaton Highlands and was created as part of the Balatorium project, will be on show in the House of Arts in Veszprém until 31 December, Imre Bukta and his friends can also be seen in the Castle Gallery at the Blue Lake, Vöröstó exhibition, where works inspired by the Vöröstó Artists' Camp and Free University will be on display. In the Dezső Laczkó Museum, guided Advent tours will take you through the Egry 140 exhibition, while in the Agora, gingerbread baking and family craft activities will contribute to the festive preparations.
Between the two holidays and even on New Year's Eve, the city shines!
At ActiCity, music and dance take centre stage between the two holidays. The Hot Jazz Band on 27 December, István Pál and his Band on 28 December, a rousing ABBA Tribute Show on 29 December, a tribute to the 70s and 80s, and the Stefánia Allstars on 30 December, preparing the New Year's Eve party. On 31 December, we can sing and dance together at an all-day year-end street party. From 2pm, the terraces of the Old Town Square will open, inviting young and old alike for a musical stroll with mulled wine. And in the evening, the city's leading DJs will take turns to create a great musical mix to celebrate the glorious months behind us and the New Year ahead with a lively tune.