All about Budapest
The UK Post Office Travel Money ranked Prague among the top budget-friendly destinations for UK travelers in 2017. The Czech capital follows European destinations like Algarve (Portugal), Sunny Beach (Bulgaria), Costa del Sol (Spain), and Marmaris (Turkey). The top continues with Paphos (Cyprus), Budapest (Hungary), Sliema (Malta), Corfu (Greece), Porec (Croatia), Sorrento (Italy), and Nice (France). Tokyo (Japan), Cancun (Mexico), and Cape Town (South Africa) are also considered to be among the most affordable destinations for UK vacationers according to the Holiday Money Report 2017.
The UK Post Office Travel Money monitors the price of eight tourist items – comprising dinner for two with wine, a range of drinks, suncream and insect repellent to generate its Holiday Money Report. Out of 44 resorts and cities around the world, the report has found that Europe takes 9 of the top 10 places – with Tokyo at number 8 before Sliema and Corfu.
Prague and Budapest offer excellent value accommodation and dining opportunities, as well as quality entertainment year-round. For visitors interested in luxury without paying an arm and a leg, Mamaison offers a good choice of accommodation and dining at the two destinations: Mamaison Hotel Riverside, Mamaison Residence Belgicka, and Mamaison Residence Downtown in Prague, and, in Budapest, Mamaison Hotel Andrassy and Mamaison Residence Izabella. Booking directly on our corporate website guarantees guests the best online prices and a variety of other perks.
Our hotels and residences are centrally located and close to some of the most interesting and attractive tourist and cultural landmarks of the two cities. You can choose Mamaison hotels for accommodation when you travel on business too, as well are equipped to satisfy your needs, offering free WiFi and business amenities. You have dining choices at your Mamaison hotels, or you can explore their neighborhoods to find something for your budget too.
The New Year’s Eve in Budapest is a celebration of light and joy, livelier than Christmas, and full of hope.
The Mohács Busójárás is one of the highest anticipated Farsang events in Hungary. Mohács is a good three-hour drive from Mamaison Hotel Andrassy, and about two and a half hours from Mamaison Residence Izabella, but it is all worth the trip if you want to see authentic Hungarian traditions.
The program for the 2017 edition of the Busójárás festival has already been announced, as many visitors plan their trips to Hungary to see the event early. It is wise to book your hotel early too, to take advantage of the early bird offer with Mamaison.
The festival kicks off on February 23, in the morning, at 9:00 am, with preparations for the youth center, and a wealth of activities for children. The carnival procession on the route Táncsics utca – Szabadság utca – Széchenyi tér starts at 15:30. The day ends with traditional dances at Duna Irodaházban- Szabadság u.4-6.
The second day at the carnival starts at 13:00 and features contests, folk dance groups, live folk music, the „Busók és Jankelék” drawing competition, an exhibition of folk art objects at Kossuth Filmszínházban, followed by a concert (admission charge) featuring guitarist Szörényi Levente, and a concert by the Slavic dance orchestra at the same address mentioned above.
Saturday is full of exciting events, starting early, at 9:00. Among these, don’t miss the Serbian cultural gastronomy, folk dances in the Serbian Church yard; dances and presentations of Busós masks at Szechenyi Square; mask-carving demonstrations, carnival games, and chariot decorations at Síp utcában; wreath-laying at the statue of the three soldiers in Széchenyi Square; plus other events revolving around the Busós tradition.
The popular art and craft fair opens Sunday, February 26 at 9:00 am – this is the most interesting part for tourists who want to leave Hungary with something handmade, culturally representative, and valuable. The prices are competitive and attractive, as the purpose of the festival is to promote local heritage and values.
A note for foreign women attending the festival: traditionally, Busós dance kóló with the girls and the women, and make inappropriate jokes. Do not feel offended, though: this is not personal, it’s tradition.
It may be colder, it may be rainy, it may seem dull and gray, but, in fact, October is a very exciting month to visit Budapest. There are many festivals that turn autumn into a season of true celebration.
The month begins with Oktoberfest when Felvonulási tér becomes the capital of beer. Popular breweries, as well as small microbreweries and craft breweries, will line up the stalls at the City Park. This is the fourth year when festival participants can experience the celebration in the Bavarian Paulaner Oktoberfest tent. A 40-meter high Ferris wheel will offer visitors the opportunity to see the city from up high. The festival begins the last weekend of September, on the 29th, and lasts till the second day of October.
Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival is the second festival of the month, brightening the city with a wide range of events, from contemporary classical music to theatre premieres, from popular music to contemporary circus, from dance to visual art and beyond. The venues of 2016 include Müpa Budapest, Liszt Academy, A38 Ship, Budapest Music Center, Castle Garden Bazaar, Vigadó, Akvárium, Millenáris, and Bálna Budapest.
Who could miss the Budapest Pálinka and Sausage Festival, which takes place at the iconic Buda Castle on Castle Hill in the first two days of October? There will be several types of palinka available for tastings and purchase. Palinka is usually paired with sausages, so visitors will also enjoy such regional specialties. Music and live entertainment make this event even more appealing.
Kürtőskalács, the Chimney Cake Festival, is another interesting event that you shouldn’t miss. It takes place in the second weekend of October at the City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle. This festival celebrates the Hungarian kürtőskalács pastries and will present various technique of preparing chimney cakes, over charcoal or fried in oil, in many sizes, and different flavors.The highlight of the festival is the great chimney cake bake-off.
Art Market Budapest will take place from October 13 until October 16 this year. The international art fair at Millenáris will feature a variety of art and crafts objects for purchase. There will also be an exhibition, CHIM: Children of the War, and other interesting events.
The Budapest Restaurant Week ends this list of festivals with an invitation to gourmet cuisine. It takes place from October 10 until October 16 in several participant restaurants, including our own
La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy. If you plan your vacation in Budapest during the restaurant week, we invite you to check out our Joy of Autumn City special offer, which is available throughout the season, until December 1st, 2016. Booking directly on our official site you can save 15 % of the usual rate when staying 2 nights, and 20 % when staying 3 nights or more. See you there!
If you wonder what’s hot and what’s not next month in Budapest, the answer is pretty simple: everything is hot (and we are not talking about the weather!). The month kicks of with the Dance Bazaar – in fact, this event begins at the end of July, and extends fourteen days in August. It takes place July 29 – August 14 at Castle Hill, Várkert Bazár, with tango, flamenco, contemporary and traditional performances, as well as a dance program at Táncbazárban. The festival is organized by the National Dance Theatre of Hungary.
The hottest festival of the season is the Sziget Festival – but tickets are already sold out. The festival will welcome more than 450000 spectators from over 102 countries, eager to watch performances by the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, John Newman, Kodaline, M83, MO, Naughty Boy, Parov Stelar, and Sigur Rós, among many, many others. Sziget – Island of Freedom – is held between 10-17 August. Art lovers will enjoy the Sziget Festival art zone, featuring contemporary sculpture, installations, and much more.
The Festival of Folk Arts Mesterségek Ünnepe (August 23-26) at Buda Castle gives you the opportunity to see and purchase authentic arts and crafts: pottery, painted eggs, wood objects, textiles, and more. Palika tastings are also traditional at this festival, where you will also be able to taste local fare, and to enjoy a folk artistic program with music and dance.
St. Stephen’s Day is a national holiday in Hungary, celebrating the foundation of the Hungarian state. It is held all over the country, with open air concerts, gastronomy events, art fairs, and more. Just walk around the Capital and you will find the locals enjoying their free day in style: Danube embankment in Buda, Várkert Bazár, and St. Stephen’s Basilica are the most important locations.
Another interesting event is the ‘Junibor’ Wine Festival at Szent István tér, which appeals to the public with over 100 varieties from 30 winemakers. Of course, the organizers also offer food pairings. The event ends the month: August 27-30.
And finally, the Jewish Cultural Festival introduces Jewish culture to the general public through a rich program, featuring theater, music, dance, and art. Venues of the festival include the Dohany Street Synagogue, the Goldmark Hall, and the Rumbach Synagogue. The festival begins August 30 and ends September 6, 2016.
June marks the beginning of the summer, and the festival season in Budapest, with the 10th edition of the Belvárosi Fesztivál – a celebration of music in all its forms. Visitors can attend free performances at three locations in the heart of the city: Szabadság tér, Erzsébet tér, and Zrínyi utca.
The festival begins Friday, June 3, and lasts till Sunday, June 5, 2016. The program is rich and diverse, featuring a variety of indigenous bands and performers. To name but a few: Bognár Szabolcs, Esti Kornél, Intim Torna Illegál, Aradszky László, Korda György és Balázs Klári, Kovács Kati, Minimyst, Irie Maffia, Meglepetés Fellépő, Peller Anna és Kocsis Dénes, Dolly Roll, Palma Hills, and the list could go on. These cover a variety of music genres, ranging from jazz and rock, to pop, folk, alternative, disco, and alternative rhythms. Some of the performer, like Irie Maffia and Intim Torna Illegál, are returning to the festival almost every year, and are highly popular in Hungary – which is indicative of the quality of the lineup. Most of the program is only available on Facebook, on the festival’s official page, BelFeszt.
This is an event for the entire family, so you can also expect something for little guests at the festival: a petting zoo, design fairs, reading park, and even music for the young generation. Fashion shows, film screenings, and dance performances are also part of the program. The festival ends with the „Fölszállott a Páva” gala.
Like every other year, the organizers will also offer a few surprises, like free museum entry options, and unconventional city tours. There will also be several food stalls selling local street food in the proximity of each stage. This is also a shopping opportunity: local designers and craftspeople sell their creations: jewelry, souvenirs, small art objects, and so on. Get ready to face the crowds – as a free event, the festival attracts many locals and tourists. The festival will also be celebrated by unofficial venues in Downtown Budapest. You will have a great end of the week if you are in Budapest at the very beginning of June.
Picture this: Széchenyi’s amazing architecture, totally transformed by the light. It’s the SPArty experience, with light effects galore, new-age electro music, and rivers of tasty concoctions. The pool party, redefined by SPArty, is what draws hundreds of tourists at the Széchenyi Baths every Saturday night, from April to November. And how cool is this?
Of course, for the traditionalist, the Széchenyi Baths remain the iconic, over-advertised, spas of Budapest, and for good reason. The benefits of the thermal waters — rich in sulphate, calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate — are undeniable, and the architectural significance of the complex makes this one of the city’s most important landmarks. Spa goers also enjoy here professional massages, sauna, and other spa treatments, like balneotherapy, mud treatments, carbon-dioxide baths, underwater jet massages, underwater curative gymnastics, and even more complex treatments. But with SPArty you can count on the unexpected: dance as therapy, or just as entertainment: as you like it.
Just keep in mind that these parties are designed for people without inhibitions, for those who like to party hard, for those who do not mind loud music. The SPArty atmosphere is always incendiary, and there are always unexpected situations: mesmerizing strobe lights, water splashes, loud cheers. Come prepared to join in, or, if you want to relax, choose a different day to see Széchenyi.
Still, no matter when you choose to visit Budapest’s thermal spa gem, Széchenyi is worth it, because it is a symbol of the city. At the end of the day, the “been there, done that” that seems to come into topics after every trip to unusual destinations is something that will keep your friends interested. And the photo ops at the SPArty are simply fascinating.
Book your stay at one of our two Mamaison, as individual as you, hotels in Budapest, and prepare for the experience of a lifetime in our beautiful city!
Budapest is a complex, multifaceted city, with a wealth of attractions to explore, with lively nightlife, and world-class restaurants. It is a city well known for its spas, for its green gardens, and magnificent, palatial architecture. What Budapest is not well-known for, is its love for sweets and treats, and it’s a pity, because there are countless candy shops, cafeterias and ice cream parlors with a lot to offer in Budapest.
To discover the sweet side of Budapest is to explore its main shopping streets, but also to adventure off the beaten path, for the original, authentic and unexpected. Among the must-see shops for sweets and treats, the following five stand out:
Sugar! reveals itself as a design confectionery and candy store, but it is really much more than you’d expect from an ordinary candy shop. It is a world of colors, and desserts in fascinating shapes and flavors. It has the stuff of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and the appeal of an exotic garden. They have all kinds of treats, for all ages: jelly belly in all possible colors and flavors, sugar figurines, macarons, cotton candy, marshmallows, chocolates, lollies, designer cakes and way, way more. They also have accessories for parties of all kinds, and a great selection of gifts.
On to Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé, the mecca for chocolate addicts, this chocolate factory shop offers a wide variety of artisan sweets, including single origin chocolate tablets made with quality cocoa from Venezuela, bean-to-bar chocolates, Calabria bergamot rinds in chocolate, “rusty chocolate tools,” hot chocolate, delicious whole caramelised hazelnuts sprinkled with ginger and covered with Venezuelan chocolate, and much more.
Szamos is a cultural icon in its own right. They even have their own Marzipan Museum, well worth it of a visit if you find the time. But drop in store for their signature chocolates and marzipan treats. They are also famous for their macarons, plus, if you are feeling peckish, they have a great range of breakfast, lunch and dinner specials. The experience here is truly gourmet.
And then, there’s always Cukorka, the main destination for handmade lollipops. This is a world of bright colors, the stuff of childhood dreams. Just entering their workshop is an experience worthy of Instagram moments. Everything they sell is handmade on site, in a traditional workshop. You can even observe the whole process of candy making if you want. They offer many different treats to taste before you buy. Can you think of a better stop to stock the kids’ stockings at Christmas, for example?
Last, but not least, Zangio is a family-owned chocolaterie, with a tiny workshop, which was founded in 2010. They offers handmade artisan chocolates and bonbons. They have a signature line, but may also offer seasonal specials for Easter, Valentines and Christmas. And, if you want to learn how to make your own chocolates, they do have classes and workshops. Check them out!
And, as an added bonus, check out the Candy Store, which is another favorite of the locals for everything sweet and delicious. They have a good selection of indigenous sweets, but they count more on international items, like Marabou Swedish chocolates, Jelly Belly, Captain Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunchies, Hershey’s, Pop tarts, and so on.
If you happen to be in Budapest for Easter this year, you will enjoy some of the country’s most interesting tradition. A sacred holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter is, in Hungary, also an occasion to revive ancient, so-called pagan traditions. They have a spring welcoming dance and procession on Easter Sunday, March 27, at the Buda Castle, during the traditional, annual Easter Festival, which will last till Easter Monday, March 28.
The Buda Castle Easter Festival, officially Budavari Husveti Sokadalom, is an occasion for tourists to celebrate with the local, enjoying a rich, diverse program of song, dance, culinary delights, and other forms of entertainment. It is a family event, with plenty to do for young and old. There will be many hands-on activities for children, including Easter egg painting and a fun-filled Easter egg hunt. Little visitors may also pet Easter pets at the petting zoo (lambs, bunnies, ponies) , and enjoy a puppet show, designed for their entertainment. The Easter labyrinth is one of the beloved attractions of the festival, present this year too.
Hand painted Easter eggs from Budapest (Image © mirtya – Fotolia.com)
During the Easter festival, there will be several food stalls with traditional Hungarian Easter fare, plus a wine terrace, where adult visitors can taste several regional wines. Plus, with a ticket to the Easter festival at the Royal Palace on Buda Castle Hill you also gain access to other must-see attractions, including the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
After the festival at Buda Castle, enjoy a romantic, special Easter cruise on the Danube. These are affordable, and usually include live music, welcome drinks, and a delicious food menu.
Easter is also a great occasion to purchase authentic local crafts. The Easter Market on Vörösmarty tér is the most popular option, but there will also be an Easter market at the Museum of Ethnography, where many other programs will reveal more about the local folk traditions. There will be Easter egg painting workshops, Easter-themed arts and crafts, and programs designed for children, too.
Last, but not least, Easter at the Zoo promises to be a fun activity, with the annual Green Easter featuring penguin and elephant feeding, seal performances, and sure, petting Easter bunnies.
Outside of Budapest, the Easter in the UNESCO listed village Hollókő is one of the most interesting attractions. It is famous in the country, and very popular among tourists. Visitors can experience true rural living traditions: a rich folklore program, culinary traditions, folk customs, and concerts, which offer an unforgettable experience to guests of all ages. This year promises an even richer, more colorful and spectacular program than what was displayed during the previous editions of the festival.
Speaking of rich and colorful, guests staying with Mamaison, will enjoy gourmet cuisine at La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge, the jewel in the crown of Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest, plus other surprises.
Farsang, the carnival season in Hungary, kicked off January 6, and will last till February 10, just before the Fat Thursday (Torkos Csütörtök). It is a special time for the locals, but also for tourists who can attend a variety of events that celebrate authentic local traditions. Among these, you shouldn’t miss the Busójárás in Mohács, which is well worth it the day trip from Budapest.
This end-of-winter festival takes place at the beginning of February, from the 4th till the 9th. The festival was added to UNESCO’s representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.
The “devils” (Busós) take to the streets of Mohács: fantastic, pagan creatures, who play and dance. There’s music and dance, plus a great choice of local delicacies to tame your hunger, plus busópálinka for the daring ones. This is not only an occasion to party: it is believed that the Busós scare off the winter cold. There will be many interesting events, including pipers and Buso demonstrations, followed by a Busó boat crossing of the Danube. The main amphitheater is set in Széchenyi tér. This is where you can see folk dances, and live folk performances. Here is where the Busós come on horses and on carts, gathering to start the free carnival.
If you are a woman, this celebration may appear a bit strange for you, because one of the main occupations of the Busós is to tease women. The Busós also dance kóló with the girls and the women, and their jokes are not always “appropriate.” Do not feel offended, though: this is not personal, it’s tradition. Embrace the spirit of the party, and have fun. You will never know who is behind the mask of the Busó – it can be anyone. A true Busó never reveals his identity.
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