Mulled wine, lángos, chimney cake, chestnut, delicious smells and a lot of people. This is probably what most people imagine when they think about the Christmas market. But why is everything so expensive in these markets? Does it only bother us, Hungarians, if a lángos costs 1500 Ft (~5€) or do foreigners also find it expensive? And what about the vendors; can they pay the steep prices of their booths?
Vörösmarty square in Budapest has been the host of the Christmas market for the twentieth time this year, it is no wonder why there are so many foreigners here from all over the world.
Teodóra Bán, the lead organizer of the market has shared that they propose tenders every year, and only those can open booths who meet their requirements. “We want to keep the standards high, so Wien or Prague does not get ahead of us. Take for example the product range. In contrast to Wien or Prague, we make sure that the booths at Vörösmarty square do not sell cheap or poor-quality products. If this occurs anywhere, the organizers make sure, that sellers take those products off their shelves, even though hand-made items might cost more than manufactured plastic.” – Teodóra answered Atv.hu‘s questions.
Among the most loyal vendors is Zoltán Perjési, who has been selling his goods here for twelve years. Zoltán can speak to his customers in many languages. He was able to help a family from Texas, but he can communicate with customers from the Eastern countries, as well.
30 Million (94,000€) in Budapest, while 7,5 Million (23,000€) in Wien
Vendors in Wien usually pay around 23,000€ to rent a booth for 6 weeks. The prices in Budapest, however, vary greatly. Hand-crafted vendors, who sell their own goods pay 1 Million (3,000€), while smaller food vendors, such as your typical chimney cake and lángos makers pay 20 Million (63,000€) and finally, the biggest restaurants pay around 30 Million (94,000€) for their booths.
This is for 7 weeks, the entire duration of the Christmas market, as well as their booth, lighting, security and cleaning with waste disposal, not to mention the 1 Million customers who attend the market at Vörösmarty square.
In both cities, the vendors are out for 6 weeks every day, no matter how cold or windy that day may be: they serve customers from the morning to the evening. And, as the saying goes, ’Nobody works for free’ neither do these vendors. In addition to earning their own wages, they must overcome a serious initial cost in order to have a little to spare.
Concerning the prices, only one foreigner, an Australian noted that the market in Budapest is expensive, but he admitted that similar markets at home are similarly pricey. The others clearly stated that the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square is cheap.
3,600Ft for two lángos (~12€)
One of the new products of the Wien Christmas market is the well known Hungarian ’lángos’. You can order one in many different flavours: pizza, normal and many other. What makes it interesting is that every flavour costs the same: 5€, which is around 1,600 Ft. The price is a bit trickier in Budapest, as vendors like to sell the normal on a fixed price and the other flavours a bit higher with every added ingredient.
This makes the ’lángos’ in Wien cheaper.
There are not as many heavy foods in the advent market in Wien, as in Vörösmarty square, but the Austrians make up for it with their wide-array of doughnuts. Just to tease you, here are some of the flavours: chocolate, marzipan, punch. The price of these desserts is about the same as the chimney cakes in Budapest.
There are no major price differences between these two famous Christmas markets, so choosing the one to visit should be a personal preference (although we would still recommend Vörösmarty square in Budapest). If you plan to visit them with your family, be warned that you can spend a lot of money really fast.
If you consider visiting Hungary during Advent, read our article about the country’s most beautiful Advent markets, there is a plenty to choose from.
If you chose Budapest as your destination, there is even more to see during the Christmas season. Check out the Light Tram.
Featured image: Advent Feast at the Basilica