The Budapest Christmas Market on Vörösmarty Square has been among the ten best Christmas fairs in Europe for several years, and it attracts 300-400 thousand visitors each year. Although the market has been recently named the sixth cheapest Christmas market on the continent, if we compare the prices to Hungarian salaries, the market proves just about unaffordable, and it’s not a surprise that paying customers comprise mostly of foreigners, writes.

The vendors are chosen by a professional jury, the products have to adhere to strict quality standards – all in all, you’re getting great products and tasty food for your money, but the prices themselves have become unrealistically high. 900 forints for 3 decilitres of mulled wine (2.88 euros), or 450 (1.44 euros) for the same amount of tea still might make the cut, but 1300 forints (4.16 euros) for a rum punch or 1650 (5.28) for some grog will probably prompt some consideration for the average customer. Hot chocolate costs 1500 with rum (4.80 euros), 900 without rum (2.88 euros), while a shot of pálinka goes for 1300-1500 forints (around 4.40 euros). Beer costs 650-750 forints (around 2.24 euros) but, still, there aren’t many people seen around the market with it.

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A portion of 10 chestnuts costs 1000 (3.20 euros), a portion of 15 costs 1500 (4.80 euros) and there is no bulk discount. It’s still not too late to turn back at this point, as prices are only getting higher for those who venture onto the 1200 square metre food terrace. Here, the scent of cinnamon is replaced by that of oil, and traditional Hungarian dishes take the place of Christmas specialties. A whole pork knuckle goes for 5500 forints (17.58 euros), a half for 3300 (10.55 euros), a quarter for 1800 (5.76 euros). Both the goose leg with red cabbage and the (somewhat less traditional) spaghetti Bolognese cost 2800 (8.95 euros), while visitors can get a plate of stuffed cabbage for 2500 (7.99 euros). Choices narrow under 2000 forints; sausages, roasted chicken breast and spare ribs go for 1900 (6.07 euros), the goulash in bread bowl costs 1800 forints (5.76 euros). Chimney cake costs 1500 at the market (4.80 euros), while it can be found cheaper in many places around the city.

Of course, an abundance of artisan products await those who don’t come to the market for the food. A gingerbread house can cost anywhere between 2000 and 5000 forints (6.39-16 euros), while wicker baskets of various sizes can be found for 3-6000 forints (9.59-19.18 euros). The priciest items this year are the hats: a fur hat costs 45-55 thousand forints (around 160 euros), while leather hats can be purchased for 60-70 thousand (around 200 euros). Leather gloves cost much less, around 12-18 thousand forints (around 48 euros).

As always, there are positive aspects to the Christmas market, too. Many cultural programmes and programmes for families are hosted during the Advent period, as well as a charity book collecting for social institutions in the capital.

Photo: MTI

Copy editor: bm


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