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chocolate festival

If you took advantage of the special offer of the season, Colours of Autumn, you are now staying at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy or at Residence Izabella, in Budapest. As you read this update, the city is preparing two outstanding cultural events for you, both this week, between September 19 and September 21: the National Gallop and the Sweet Days – Chocolate and Candy Festival.

colors of autumn hotel deals

First, the National Gallop (Nemzeti Vágta) in transforms the iconic Heroes’ Square into a race course, where some of the finest horses and jockeys will compete in international competitions, acclaimed by the local public, and by city visitors from all over the world. It’s a time of great pride for Hungary as well, as this festival celebrates Hungarian equestrian traditions, and the famous hussar culture. Children and adults alike are expecting this event with great interest. More than races, the National Gallop is an opportunity for Hungarians from all over the country to get together, united in a common passion: the love for their national horses.

National gallop

Sweet Days – Chocolate and Candy Festival lines up the finest hand-made chocolates and sweets, cakes and ice creams in a mouthwatering display of proportions, uniting not only local and international artisan chocolatiers and candy-makers, but also some of the world’s most popular brands. A day pass is HUF 2,000 for adults and HUF 100 for kids (6-12 years old). Entrance is free for children under 6 years of age.

chocolate festival

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Baked fillet of cod fish with black lentils

After the five star dining experience of a Mamaison restaurant, going back home to something less sophisticated doesn’t really make sense. To satisfy your craving for peerless cuisine, and following numerous requests after out Mamaison Winter Cookbook was received with so much excitement, we now offer the Mamaison Summer Cookbook, a collection of outstanding dishes, exclusively created by our celebrity chefs for our patrons and fans.

Chef Paweł Oszczyk Summer Menu

The first stop is La Rotisserie, Mamaison’s elegant restaurant in the Old Town of Warsaw, at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina. Here, Chef Paweł Oszczyk continues to surprise hotel guests and foodies with contemporary fare, based on the freshest, local produce. His high respect for traditional techniques, together with a distinctive feel for culinary art, blend to bring to the table the best of French and Italian cuisine. But the dishes are truly unique, each a masterpiece in its own right. The first chapter in this edition of the Mamaison Summer Cookbook is dedicated to Chef Paweł Oszczyk, and presents a refined summer menu: Beef tartar with green asparagus and summer truffle; baked filet of cod fish with black lentils, celery and caviar sauce; and for dessert, buttermilk with rhubarb and strawberries.

buttermilk with rhubarb and strawberries

Semyon Zharkikh from Meat & More, Moscow

Meat & More’s Chef Semyon Zharkikh is young, but he already has an outstanding background. He served as a cook in the Russian Navy for more than two years, and then he worked as a chef for Baltschug Kempinski Hotel in Moscow. He trained with some of the best chefs in the world, and now brings his extensive experience to guests of Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow, and to guests of Meat & More, the celebrated steak restaurant of the hotel. His Summer menu this year features Borscht with beef tongue; Scallops and prawns with pumpkin puree and paprika milk foam; and Cottage cheese soufflé with strawberry sauce and sabayon, decorated with berries and strawberry sorbet.

Scallops and prawns with pumpkin puree and paprika milk foam

László Koncz from La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge, Budapest

La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge is the crown jewel of Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest, and the playground of László Koncz, a young Hungarian chef, whose stunning culinary creation revam Hungarian cuisine with a bit of French flair. His summer menu boasts Yoghurt and strawberry cream soup with roll sticks; Butterfish steak with mashed sweet potatoes and vegetables; and Cottage cheese dumplings with rhubarb and vanilla ice cream.

Cottage cheese dumplings

Vojtech Poštulka from La Brasserie, Ostrava

If the three chefs featured here inspired you, the culinary art of Vojtech Poštulka from Mamaison Imperial Ostrava, will convert you. His light menu is an excellent choice for foodies who value healthy, fresh ingredients, and discrete flavors: Thin slices of tuna with marinated radish and coriander salad, wasabi mayonnaise; Warm smoked eel with beetroot, horseradish and watercress; and Rhubarb marinated in chamomile syrup with almond crumb and ginger cream.

Warm smoked eel with beetroot, horseradish and watercress

To get these recipes and to enjoy Mamaison refined gastronomy at home, download our recipe book free of charge, here.

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Steamed salmon with dried apricot chutney

Many of our guests, who enjoy gourmet dishes at Meat & More, now have the opportunity to recreate one of these exclusive dishes at home, with a superb recipe offered by Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow. Meat & More ranks among the best restaurants in Moscow, and it is one of the top choices for wedding parties and other events, due to its psychedelic decor, but mainly for its outstanding seasonal menus, born from the best traditions of European and Russian cuisine, and created with great flair.


Today, we offer you one of the most acclaimed dishes of the season, a superb steamed salmon with dried apricot chutney and chili pepper, carrot puree with ginger and lemon sauce recipe, easy to cook at home. When you miss the outstanding textures and flavors you enjoyed at Meat & More, or if you would like a “preview” of what could be before you come to us, put on your apron, and woo your family and guests, with this sophisticated, yet easy to prepare, dish:

Steamed salmon with dried apricot chutney and chili pepper, carrot puree with ginger and lemon sauce (150/60/50/30 gr)

Dried apricot chutney

  • Dried apricots – 40 gr
  • Chili pepper – 10 gr
  • Shallot – 2 gr
  • Water – 100 ml
  • Olive Oil – 5 ml
  • White wine – 10 ml

Cut apricots, shallots and chili pepper into cubes. Fry shallots in olive oil, add chili pepper, dried apricots and mix. Then add white wine and cook till it evaporates. Add water and simmer until thickened.

Carrot and arugula puree with ginger

  • Carrot – 50 gr
  • Ginger – 7 gr
  • Shallots – 4 gr
  • White wine -10 gr
  • Water – 60 gr
  • Cream – 40 gr
  • Arugula – 30 gr
  • Olive oil 5 ml
  • Butter – 5 ml
  • Salt – 1 gr

Sauté carrots in olive oil and butter, add the ginger, shallots, white wine and water. Simmer till all the water has evaporated, then add the cream and cook for 2 more minutes.

Boil the arugula, then cool it in ice cold water to keep its vibrant green color.

Pour the sauteed carrots and the arugula into a food processor, and blend till smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve.

Lemon sauce

  • Lemon juice – 10 ml
  • Lime and lemon zest – 2 gr
  • Butter – 5 gr
  • Honey – 2 gr

In a small stew-pot warm up the lemon juice, then remove from heat, add the honey, butter and stir constantly till all the ingredients incorporate into a beautiful, golden sauce. Finish with lime and lemon zest.


  • Salmon -180 gr
  • Egg – 1 piece
  • Sea salt – 1 gr
  • Parsley – 5 gr

Cut the salmon steak (without skin) and roll it up. Boil in a water bath. Strew salt mixed with the parsley on the edges of the salmon (grease the salmon’s edges with egg white before).

Divoká Voda

Postcard pretty Bratislava, known mainly for its iconic castle that stands on a rocky hill directly above the Danube, is a romantic city, close enough to the Little Carpathians to be also a favorite in Slovakia for active travelers. There’s so much to do here, that you will need at least a couple of weeks to enjoy the city, and the surrounding countryside, at their fullest.

Water sports and rope courses

Start with Divoká Voda, a favorite for activities like rafting, kayaking, boating, and wakeboarding, and even for paintball and beach volleyball. The resort offers babysitting during your training, teambuilding and sports programs. There is a kayak school, with classes for all levels, plus rentals for professionals and beginners alike. They have affordable aquazorbing and aquarolling for all ages, and even quad bikes, on a short, very safe, yet wild route. The little ones can even ride a pony.

Location: Vodné dielo, 850 09 Čunovo
Phone: +421 918 993 647

Action Park is an entertainment and adrenaline campus, offering a wealth of activities, some more challenging than others. The highlight of the park is its rope course, with 26 activities, 30 high rope obstacles and other great fun attractions. They also offer paintball tournaments; archery and crossbow shooting; a bungee trampoline, safe for both kinds and adults; zorbing, which is quite a trend in Eastern Europe; and even kiting.

Location: Shengenská ulica, Čunovo, 851 10 Bratislava
Phone: +421 904 22 33 33

Action Park zorbing

Action Park zorbing, one of many exciting activities for Bratislava visitors. (Photo courtesy Action Park on Facebook)

For swimming in Bratislava, check out Letné kúpalisko Delfín, in Ružinov, a Summer swimming pool with water slide, showers, changing rooms, sauna, and playground for little guests.

Location: Ružová dolina 11
Phone: 02/534 155 53

Another excellent swimming pool, Letné kúpalisko Rosnička is surrounded by greenery, and offers pools for adults and children, plus a playground and beach volleyball.

Location: M. Schneidra Trnavského 2, 84101 Bratislava – Dúbravka
Phone: 02/643 609 60

Letné kúpalisko Tehelné pole is the most beautiful, and most famous swimming pool in Bratislava. This is also the nearest swimming area if you stay at Mamaison Residence Sulekova.

Location: Odbojárov 9, 83104 Bratislava
Phone: 02/443 728 28

Also for swimming, this time in a natural area, head to Zlaté piesky, northeast of the capital city Bratislava, in a quiet environment, surrounded by lush greenery. You will find crystal clear waters, beautiful sandy beach, plus 2 tennis clubs, 7 tennis courts with artificial lighting, 2 volleyball courts, 2 playgrounds, waterslide and mini golf.

Location: Zlaté piesky Bratislava – Ružinov
Phone: 02/442 570 18

The world from up high

Balony.sk takes you up in the sky, in a romantic ride with the clouds, to see the beautiful city from up high. Their sightseeing flights take about 1 hour, and are available rain or shine, year round. During the flight you are offered champagne, cold beer, soft drinks, and even food, depending on the package you booked.

Location: Pluhová 2, 831 03 Bratislava
Phone: +421 911 22 55 77


A romantic ride with the clouds. (Photo: BALONY.SK on Facebook)

Commando for all ages

Devils Paintball Club offers military-style paintball in Kalinkovo, 10 km from Bratislava, in a pleasant forest. This is one of the largest paintball fields in Slovakia, an great fit for professionals, but suitable for newbies too. You will find bunkers, trenches, fortifications, tanks, buildings, and all kinds of natural obstacles. They have tents where you can relax when the weather is not that friendly, and even grills for a barbeque celebration after the game.

Location: (GPS) N48.06388° E017.24912°
Phone: +421 905 743 454

For more adrenaline-pumping team games resembling paintball, check out Laser Arena, the perfect venue to enjoy fun and action with your family. Unlike paintball, laser tag is not painful: children and the elderly can join in too. Game sessions are usually short – no more than 15 minutes – so no one will get tired.

Location: Prešovská 45, 821 02 Bratislava
Phone: +421 903 914 386

Laser Arena Bratislava

Laser Arena Bratislava, a fun time for all ages. (Photo: Laser Arena Bratislava on Facebook)

Horseback riding in Bratislava

For horseback riding at the foothill of the Little Carpathians, you could choose Jazdecká škola Elán Čierna Voda, which offers year-round riding courses for both adults and children, 7 days a week, under the guidance of experienced instructors. They have an indoor riding hall too, so you can come to practice rain or shine.

Location: Čierna Voda 611, 83107 Bratislava
Phone: +421 903 722 330

Another great place to learn how to ride, or just to enjoy leisurely horseback riding sessions, are the Stajne Epona stables. This is where you can escape from the city to the beautiful nature around Vajnory. Besides riding, the area is popular for agritourism, farming, cycling, roller skating and other activities.

Location: Rybničná 34, 83107 Bratislava
Phone: +421 905 880 333

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Budavári Sörfesztivál

Budapest is a year round destination, with outstanding events every season. This Summer, you will enjoy some of the most exciting festivals on both sides of the Danube.

Our first recommendation is a treat for your taste: the Budai Gourmet Festival in Millenaris Park. More than 25 of Hungary’s top restaurants will showcase some of their best culinary creations. This year, the festival begins May 30, 2014 and ends June 1, 2014.

Gourmet Fesztivál

Also from May 31 to June 1st, don’t miss the Belvárosi Fesztivál, which take place on Erzsébet tér, Szabadság tér and Zrínyi utca. It is a free music festival, where you can enjoy music in all genres, from live jazz, to rock, pop and folk.

If you like beer, don’t miss Főzdefeszt, the craft-beer festival in Mikszáth Kálmán tér and Szabó Ervin tér, from June 6 to June 8, 2014. 18 microbreweries from all over the country will participate in this edition.

Another beer festival, Budavári Sörfesztivál, takes place at the Buda Castle from June 12 to June 15, 2014, at the Royal Palace’s Oroszlános and Hunyadi courtyards, and the Savoyai terrace. You get to choose from over 200 domestic and international beers.

The cultural quest for the sun culminates in June with the Budapest Summer Festival, with live music at the Margaret Island Open-air Stage and Városmajor Open-air Stage. Don’t miss it if you stay at one of our hotels between June 14 and August 20, 2014.

Don’t miss the Danube Carnival between June 15 and June 23, 2014, an outstanding celebration of art, music and dance, which brings together contemporary dancers, international artists and traditional Hungarian folk dancers. Venues: Danube Promenade, Vörösmarty Square, Margaret Island.

Summers are always filled with beer festivals. Another important event of this kind is the Czech Beer Festival in Budapest, this year at its 6th edition. 25 different Czech breweries will come to tame your thirst at the Városháza Park, between June 17 and June 30, 2014.

For culture buffs, the Night of the Museums on June 22nd is a must. Participating museums, which keep their doors open till 2:30 am, include the Hungarian National Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Budapest History Museum, the House of Terror Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery and many others.

Festivals and special events aside, if you would rather enjoy a lazy walk in the sunshine, or an active day in nature, you don’t need to “escape” Budapest to find the perfect spot. Hike up the Janoshegy to get closer to the burning ball of gas in the sky.

If you want a tan, the Budapest Plage in Castle Hill, an urban beach very popular with the locals, will provide just what you need, if you don’t mind the crowds.

At the heart of Margaret Island, Palatinus Strandfürdő is powered by thermal springs. Albeit touristy, this is the place to come to unwind after a busy week, sightseeing the historic heart of Budapest.


Update: Now a Private Label Hotels group property, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Ostrava changed its name back to Imperial Hotel Ostrava in 2015, to reflect the long history and tradition of the hotel. While it no longer operates under the Mamaison brand, the hotel remains in the CPI Hotels family, which includes Mamaison Hotels & Residences hotels, four-star Clarion congress hotels, Spa & Kur Hotels, Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague, three-star Fortuna hotels, and the Private Label Hotels group.

A fertile land, blessed by no less than four rivers, Ostrava is the land of the plenty, offering an amazing diversity of produce, which are enjoyed in different ways, every season. The soft, yet fresh flavors of the Spring can be found in gastronomic treats in every local restaurant. Plus, there’s plenty to do to help you work up an appetite, including adrenaline-filled activities, scenic walks in the wild, horseback riding, and more, much more. This May, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Imperial Ostrava invites guests to enjoy the best of the Spring in both its restaurants, Restaurant Legend, and Café La Brasserie.

fig dessert

The first event of the month takes place this Sunday, and honors Mother’s Day with a gourmet family brunch. For information and reservations call 599 099 706, or email gastro@mamaison.com, with Mother’s Day Brunch Ostrava in the subject line.

On May 16 to 18, 2014, Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Imperial Ostrava will participate in a city-wide gastronomic event, “Karneval chutí”, in English “Carnival Taste,” at Výstavišti Černá exhibition grounds. This is the second edition of the culinary event, an occasion for hotel guests, but also other city visitors, to sample specialties prepared by the best chefs from 14 restaurants from around the Moravian-Silesian Region. As one of the best chefs in the country, our Chef Vojtěch Poštulka couldn’t miss the event. He will prepare an outstanding tasting menu, and will offer a live demonstration on Saturday, May 17, at 12:45.


Last, but not least, between May 21 and May 30, 2014, both our restaurants will celebrate the asparagus season, with outstanding creations. If you visit Ostrava in May, don’t miss these events.

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Girl with flower wreath, on a swing.

May 1st is an occasion for Hungarian people to welcome spring in style. They party in the streets, in parks, they gather together for a barbeque or for a picnic, they sing and celebrate for days. For our guests staying at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest and Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest, we have several suggestions of venues and events that will allow them to experience May Day like and with the locals.

Peter Besenyei

Peter Besenyei of Hungary flies during a demo flight to announce the return of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2014 in Putrajaya, Malaysia on October 7, 2013.

Most of the events and festivals on May Day are free to attend. If you walk on the Danube bank in Pest, head towards the Chain Bridge in front of the Hungarian National Academy around 13:30. The folks gathering there are waiting for the Air & Race Car Show, the “live” part of the programme, which begins at 08:00 in the morning with a race car exhibition in front of the Hungarian National Academy. The acrobatics show, featuring the famous Hungarian aerobatics pilot and world champion air racer, begins at 13:45 at the Danube embankment in front of the Parliament. The performance will be followed by the Flying Bulls old timer aeroplanes at 14:30.

Formula 1 & WTCC Touring Cars can be seen on the route Erzsébet tér – Chain Bridge – Clark Adam tér from 14:00 to 17:00.

Don’t miss the Danube regatta, a spectacular event, with rowing and dragon boat racing, open air cinema on the lower quay, DJ programmes in the evening, live music, as well as contests and surprises for young and old.

As usual, Budapest’s largest park, the City Park (Városliget), will host a large open air festival, with music, crafts, competitions, fair and children’s programs. Outdoors events will take place on the superb Margaret Island as well. The third outdoor area to celebrate Labor Day is in the 1st district of Budapest, in Tabán, between Buda Castle and the Gellért Hill. The festival here is filled with live concerts from early afternoon till late night.

In fact, Budapest celebrates the entire month, with its Urbitális Majális festival, which kicks off tomorrow, and lasts till May 31st. This year’s theme is “Budapest as a Creative City.” Numerous venues around Budapest, including the Holnemvolt Park (the former Amusement Park), will participate, an occasion for visitors to admire, and buy, local arts and crafts. Don’t miss the concerts at Secessio Cafe in the Szecessziós Múzeum (Art Nouveau Museum).

Dagály Strandfürdő

Dagály Strandfürdő

Gellért Fürdő and Dagály Strandfürdő are open on May 1st too, although some of their services may not be available. Both sites are very popular with the locals.

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Millennium Tandem Team

Budapest is a city of outstanding beauty, with remarkable architecture, and important tourist landmarks, well advertised in travel brochures, and guides of all kinds. Besides its over-mediatized baths and spas, music festivals, cuisine, and cultural events, Budapest offers visitors a wealth of other attractions, not many people know about. Although the city is not seen as a Mecca for adrenaline junkies, Budapest does offer a lot to those who enjoy more “extreme” activities.


Aquaworld Budapest – Ramada Resort

Already famous with locals and tourists, Budapest’s Aquaworld offers the ultimate family experience, but it is also a must for thrill seekers. Strip down to your swimsuit, and book a lesson at the surf school – yes, you can learn how to ride the waves in one of Europe’s most romantic inland cities. Those in search of treetop thrills will find enough to challenge their skills at the Adventure Park, part of the same Ramada Aquaworld.

Location: Íves út 16.
Phone: +36 1 231 3760

Challengeland Kalandpálya

Challengeland Kalandpálya is closer to nature, in a real Hungarian forest, and offers a richer experience for all ages, including nighttime climbing, individual rope course for all ages; dual rope course, for adults and children to race together; racing rope course; an earthy obstacle course known as the Giant Labyrinth; a log castle, ideal for family fun; and so much more.

Location: Konkoly Thege M. Út 21.
Phone: +36 20 599 8501

Orczy Kalandpark

Similar to Ramada’s Adventure Park, and the Challengeland Kalandpálya, the Orczy Kalandpark is especially recommended for younger thrill seekers. It has several racing courses designed exclusively for children, as well as activities for adults, including camping, laser tag, and even go-karting.

Location: Orczy út 1.(Nagyvárad tér)
Phone: +36 20 236 1214


eXbox Adventure Park, is the largest extreme indoor adventure park in Budapest, so you can enjoy adrenaline rush rain or shine. It’s not the same as flying along the wires in nature, but you are still suspended far above the ground, and you have 20 obstacles challenging your completion of the course. If a ropes course is not enough, you can test your climbing technique, conditioning, and technical skills at the climbing wall. Inside the same park, the Lab Skatepark challenges BMX, roller skaters, and skateboarders. You will discover many other adventures for young and old.

Location: Hunyadi János út 4.
Phone: +36 30 232 5108

Millennium Tandem Team

Nothing quite compares with the intense rush provided by a 200 km/h free fall and parachute descent from 3500 metres, and yes, Budapest can accommodate cloud riders too! Tandem Skydiving offers the closest skydiving location to Budapest, at Dunaújváros (Kisapostag) Airport, about an hour drive from the city center. The company offers transfer to customers, plus excellent prices, and even your own tandem skydive video if you want to keep the memory alive.

Location: Dunaújváros Airport Highway no. 6 – at 76th km (close to Kisapostag)
Phone: +36 20 341 2704

One of the newest attractions for active pursuits in Budapest is the G1 Kart Center, a facility designed for experienced drivers, who can test their skills driving GT5 go karts in a sound proof, safe environment. Drivers wear professional racing overalls and helmets for safety, but also for a complete, professional experience.

Location: Róbert Károly körút 54-58.
Phone: +36 30 2390743

Budapest offers many other opportunities for active travelers who enjoy nature. There are several companies that offer canoeing and kayaking tours on the Danube, wakeboarding, bicycle tours of the city, and especially hiking on the Buda side of the Danube River. No matter who you are, no matter what outdoor pursuits you like, there are thousands of different ways to discover this noble city.

Wedding Bliss at Mamaison Pokrovka Moscow

Earlier this month, on a beautiful Sunday, Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow enjoyed the stellar visit of Sati Kazanova, who was the celebrity guest of the “Wedding School,” a special event organized by the Wedding magazine and Wedding Factory agency.

Sati Kazanova in a wedding gown by Vanilla.

Sati Kazanova in a wedding gown by Vanilla.

Hotel Pokrovka proved to be an ideal venue for the event, not only for its central location, but also for its outstanding interiors, fit for the most demanding brides and their parties. Elegant and stylish, eccentric, arty and eclectic, adorned with palatial furnishings, and valuable artworks, the hotel offers everything for brides and grooms, and then some. Within its walls, you will find one of Moscow’s most prestigious pampering temples, Spa by Algotherm; and a culinary sanctuary, Meat&More, which recently reopened for the season, with an exuberantly new, contemporary menu, inspired by local traditions, but also reflecting international trends.

Sati Kazanova.

Sati Kazanova photographed inside Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka Moscow

Participants at the Wedding School event had the opportunity to tour the hotel, discovering its palatial rooms, perfect to satisfy any luxury-desiring sensibilities. More than the tour, the Wedding School was an opportunity to taste wedding sweets by confiserie JennieRose (and an amazing wedding cake), and to leave with valuable organic cosmetics from Melvita.

wedding school

The wedding cake was provided by confiserie JennieRose.

The programme included a gorgeous themed show, workshops on how to plan a wedding budget, lectures on the latest wedding trends in Moscow and abroad, photography tips from some of the most prestigious local photographers, recent trends in wedding decor by White Décor, raffles and prizes, and much more.

Sati Kazanova

Sati Kazanova talks about wedding flower arrangements.

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Girl, under a shower of petals.

Prague is a city of diversity, with rich history, a fascinating art scene, and, most importantly for tourists, a vibrant festival calendar, encompassing everything from gastronomy, to fashion, film, music, and religion. During the Spring and Summer of 2014, Prague will celebrate its multicultural diversity with passion and panache. This is the ultimate festival guide for 2014, to inspire you to celebrate with the city, and with Mamaison Hotels & Residencies.

Holešovice Fashion Market

The Holešovice Fashion Market announced its April event to last between Friday 25 and Sunday 27. This is a great occasion for travelers, as well as for local residents, to buy original fashion and accessories directly from local designers and manufacturers. There will be fashion shows, music, and dance, to enhance the atmosphere, and to make the experience complete for everyone.

Location : HOLEŠOVICE MARKET, Bubenské nábřeží 306 Praha 7 – Holešovice

night of the witches

If you happen in Prague on the last day of April you will witness a unique local festival, with pagan roots: Paleni Cardojenic, translated, the “night of the witches.” The festival marks the last night of Winter, and the beginning of the Spring. This is the night when the witches come out to bring misfortune into the world. According to the local tradition, burning witch effigies on a pyre would keep their malefic magic away. Several fires will be lit on Petrin Hill to mark the tradition on April 30. Many restaurants, cafes, and cultural institutions around the city will organize special events to mark the date too. One of the largest gatherings, with contests, food and live music, takes place in the Ladronka Park.

Location: Petrin Hill, Ladronka Park, and others.

Prague Spring Festival

Prague Spring Festival (Photo © Jiří Bělohlávek )

The 69th edition of the Prague Spring Music Festival kicks off May 12, to last till June 2, 2014. Several venues across the city will stage competitions, concerts and other events. A special festival concert by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra will be held Monday, March 24, in advance of the official opening date in May.

This is the most important cultural event of the Spring, and a must for music lovers. Among the highlights of the festival:

  • Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana will appear at Prague Spring on May 24 in a programme featuring the music of Mahler and Strauss. Venue: Municipal House – Smetana Hall.
  • The Hilliard Ensemble will be ending its professional career in 2014, and Prague Spring may be your last chance to see them together in concert: May 30, at Rudolfinum – Dvořák Hall.
  • The Konvergence chamber ensemble will be performing at St Agnes’ convent, on May 19. In the programme: five world premieres, including Quartet No. 3 by Pavel Zemek-Novák and Viola Walk by Peter Graham, among others.

Other stellar participants include the Vienna Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Prague Symphony Orchestra.

The Czech Beer Festival is at its 7th edition in 2014. It will take place between May 14 and May 31, at the Areál Výstaviště exhibition grounds. The festival will bring together some of the best local breweries, showcasing over 70 brands of top quality Czech beer. But there’s more to the festival than good libations. Beers will be paired with equally rewarding cuisine, and the atmosphere will be enhanced by local bands, performing live, every day.

13th Prague Fringe Festival

Dubbed “the most beautiful fringe festival in the world” by Tony Lankester, CEO of the National Arts Festival in South Africa, the Prague Fringe Festival offers a diverse programme, of theatre, comedy, music and entertainment. This is an international event, with plenty to see for English-speaking guests. Participating venues: Divadlo Kampa, Divadlo Inspirace, A Studio Rubín, Divadlo Na Prádle, and other small Prague theaters. The Fringe Festival takes place from May 23, to May 31, 2014.

The Prague International Music Festival United Islands celebrates its 11th edition in 2014, and it already ranks as the city’s largest open-air music festival. The festival opens with the traditional Club Night on June 11, and it will last till June 24, 2014. Participants include Nylon Jail, Vložte kočku, Voila!, Lanugo, Kieslowski, Palermo, Love Earth and many others. The complete programme is available online at http://unitedislands.cz/

Location: Kampa, Střelecký ostrov and Kinsky Garden.

Metallica By Request: Aerodrome Festival only lasts one day in July, but it is set to attract thousands of fans at the Incheba open air arena. Fans of heavy metal will see Alice In Chains, Children Of Bodom, Kvelertak in concert, before the stage will be taken by Metallica, whose performance will be the peak of the event on July 8, 2014.

Location : Incheba Open Air Areál Výstaviště 69, Praha 7

One of the top festivals in Prague, the Summer Festivities of Early Music are celebrating their 15th edition this year, between July 14 and August 6. The festival is focused on Medieval music, and takes place at several historic locations, including the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, the Troja Chateau, the Břevnov Monastery and the Prague Castle.

Contemporary Circus and Theatre Letní Letná

The International Festival of Contemporary Circus and Theatre Letní Letná gathers together new circus companies from around the world in a unique celebration, which embraces a wide variety of cultural and artistic manifestations, including street art, photography, concerts, open air shows, and much more. The festival has something in store for everyone: there will be at least five shows per day for children. If you are in Prague between August 17 and September 2, 2014, don’t miss it.

Location: Letná Park