Archive for the 'Christmas Markets' Category


Author: admin
April 17, 2010

Budapest

Blinding sun, blue sky, an iron chill in the air and a flurry of snow over the Austro-Hungarian rooftops… Budapest at Christmas is one of the most romantic cities in Europe. The icy Danube flows through it, dividing Buda and Pest – the latter is home to the markets. Biggest and best is the one at Vorosmarty Square, where sounds and aromas from the open-air stalls reverberate and mingle among the tall buildings on every side. One houses the Gerbeaud coffee house, a Viennese whirl that counts down the days to Christmas Eve on a giant Advent calendar in its windows. The festivities kick off on November 29, stalls open at 9am and the pace quickens as the day wears on, especially when the office-workers arrive for a meal and an evening concert. Copy them with kolbasz (fried sausage) and mulled wine, then strudel.

The city has decreed that all goods must be handmade and traditional, so quality reigns. Look out for inexpensive wrought-iron candlesticks, wooden toys, intricate porcelain and glassware. There are glinty Christmas decorations aplenty.

A 10-minute walk from Vorosmarty Square, the Pest Hotel at Paulay Ede u 31 (00 36 1 343 1198, www.hotelpest.hu; doubles from £88 B&B) is family-run, with 25 rooms in a restored 18th-century building. Ask for one overlooking the quiet courtyard. Airlines serving Budapest include Malev (www.malev.hu) from Gatwick and Dublin, and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) from Glasgow and Liverpool.

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