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Autumn, in Bratislava, is associated with excellent wines and matching foods, music festivals, and colors that take your breath away. This is one of the most charming times of the year to visit this part of the world, and to experience the city like a local. If Slovakia’s capital had a front door, it would come with a huge postcard of its most iconic landmark, the Bratislava Castle, a central eye-catcher for residents and tourists alike. This Slovakian gem dominates the views from your window at Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava. Its colossal structure is mirrored in the art adorning the walls in rooms and lobbies, in contrast with the contemporary interiors designed by Jestico + Whiles. The residence ranks among the most popular in our beautiful city, for both location, and outstanding value.
Beyond the walls of the hotel, the world outside opens with countless possibilities for the curious traveler. Waves Bratislava comes first, with a line up of concerts, panel discussions and presentations, which will keep you entertained for the first four days of October, in 13 venues, all located around Namestie SNP square in central Bratislava. Acts like Bokka (PL), Pins (UK), Fallgrapp (SK), Katarzia (SK), Näo (FR), Joy Wellboy (BE) and Fismoll (PL) bring to the city music with international potential.
Beautiful Vineyard Landscape with road (Pezinok-©-TTstudio-Fotolia.com)
On the Small Carpathian Wine Route, at the beginning of November, on Deň otvorených pivníc, the cellars of the region open with top varietals; Veltlinske Zelene, Rizling Vlassky, Frankovka Modra, Rizling Rynsky and Modry Portugal, to name a few of the more famous. About 80 wineries participate in the event, and many other small cellars along the route open their doors to show their fine wine-making traditions. But, for first time partakers, the Malokarpatské múzeum Pezinok (Small Carpathian Museum Pezinok), 20 km northeast of Bratislava, is the best to take in the history of viticulture and winery under the Small Carpathians. The museum offers a tour of the cellar, a permanent collection of wine-press machines from Central Europe – the largest of its kind, as well as tastings of local wines. If you are in the region, don’t miss the cellars of the Pezinok Castle, a former moated fortress turned chateau, which are now home to the National Wine Salon (Národný salón vín Slovenskej republiky).
And who would want to miss the Bratislava Jazz Days or “Džezáky,” which take place at Incheba Bratislava from October 23rd to 25th, and at the Old Market hall on October 27th? This is one of the most important jazz festivals in Europe, and features jazz in all genres, as well as well known performers.
Come late November, the Christmas markets of Bratislava will open with worlds of tradition and cheer. Book our site to learn more about them, in a future article.
Summers are the best time to explore this magnificent city, and nothing can be more fun than to visit it with little explorers, who will enjoy many of the beautiful things Prague has to offer. The parks are true oases of green, fresh and landscaped to resemble palatial gardens, with colorful flowers, and tall trees.. The streets are equally welcoming, with something fascinating at each turn: here a street artist blowing huge soap bubbles, there a cozy cafe that serves out of this world chocolates and desserts. And sure, there are always those attractions designed exclusively with children in mind.
Merlin’s KinderWelt is located more than 2 ½ hours drive from Prague, in Chvalovice, but it is well worth the trip, for a great family day out: visitors will enjoy bumper boats and bumper cars, Archimedean screws, Carnival carousel, butterfly-shaped cart for two persons, Children’s train, Ferris wheel, climbing frames, kiddy bob, nautic jets, mini golf, racing course and much more.
Mirakulum is about 50 minutes drive from Prague, in Milovice, and local children love it, especially for its mini zoo with donkeys, sheep and goats that kids are allowed to pet. But there’s much more to explore and play with at Mirakulum: a wooden castle with slides, suspension bridges, giant swings, mazes, climbing frames, and tunnels, and much, much more. You will see many people gathered around barbecues, playing, or just relaxing in the sun.
If you cannot leave Prague, but you are looking for a safe playground for children, try Hafikov: this is a great choice rain or shine, as it is an indoor area, at the Galerie Nove Butovice. There are toys, slides, and everything your child could need to have a blast. You can shop while children play safely, and, if you get hungry, enjoy a slice of pizza or another snack at Pizza metropol.
To escape the heat of the summer, and to splash around in a water park, head over to Hlavní Město Praha for Aquacentru Šutka. This offers many attractions, including Finnish sauna, steam bath and 50 m indoor pool, suitable for recreational swimming and competitions, as well as training pool, ideal for mothers and children.
The Funicular Railway is also a wonderful activity to do with children. The ride is fascinating, taking you from Lesser Town all the way up to Petrin Hill.
The National Marionette Theatre (Narodni divadlo marionet) is a must see: it still plays Mozart’s Don Giovanni using classic marionettes. But it also offers other puppet performances for both adults and children.
Finally, Sea World, at the city zoo is both fascinating and educational. At the Výstaviste fairgrounds you’ll also find a number of other popular attractions, such as the Krizík Fountain. The most fascinating exhibition of the Sea World is the GALERIE KROKODÝL which offers a view of the dangerous world of alligators, caimans and crocodiles, including their regular feeding.
A charming European destination, Warsaw is as interesting in Winter, as it is in Spring, or any other season. With activities and attractions for every budget, this is the perfect cityscape, any time of the year. To enjoy a great time as a couple, or as a family, take advantage of our Winter Early Bird discounts, and save 20% at Mamaison Hotel Le Regina Warsaw or Mamaison Residence Diana. For those of you planning a trip to Warsaw this season, here’s what we recommend.
First, have a blast at the Winter Town at the National Stadium. This is the second edition of a festival of sorts, that brings you 3 spectacular ice rinks, an ice hill with a slide and pontoons, and even an ice bar. Of course, there are many other exciting attractions: shows on ice “Kings on Ice” and “Xtreme Ice Show,” but also a disco skating rink and toddler activities every morning.
Escape the gloomy days with a visit at the Wilanow Palace, and lose yourself inside the Labyrinth of Light, a light art installation covering over 1000 m², in the garden at the Orangery. This year, the theme is Alice in Wonderland – and the labyrinth offers attractions for young and old. 2015 marks the third and last year when the Labyrinth of Light art installation can be seen by visitors at the Wilanow Palace. You have time till March 15, 2015 to see it. The Royal Garden of Light is open every day from 09:00 till 16:00 – tickets are affordable and grant you access to other attractions at the palace, including the Labyrinth of Light, Garden of Imagination, and the Golden Courtyard.
Labyrinth of Light, photo by Marcin Mastykarz
Till February 15, 2015, you can still visit the largest Lego exhibition in Poland, which is on display at the National Stadium. On display, a 11-metre-long Titanic model, built with more than 500,000 Lego bricks; the new LEGO – Volvo excavator; the mock-up of the Simpsons family house in Springfield; Lego renditions of cars of the Polish communist regime era; and much more.
Don’t forget to like Mamaison Hotels and Residences on Facebook for even more exciting travel news and updates from Warsaw, and for special offers from our hotels and restaurants.
Budapest is one of the best places to be this summer. The city is a blend of ravishing scenery and parties that attract visitors from all over the world. If June was marked by rivers of beer, the rest of the summer opens the stage for music and art.
Czech Beer Festival in Budapest, the 7th edition.
The annual Czech Beer Festival (Cseh Sörnapok) stretches from June 17 to July 13, enough time to bring hundreds of beer-lovers at the Városháza Park, not only to enjoy a selection of beers from over 25 Czech breweries, but also to savor specific culinary treats, to watch the FIFA World Cup in the VIP tent, and to participate in many other entertainment events.
At the end of the month, beginning June 27, and lasting all through the first week of July, visitors to Budapest can attend the 19th edition of Budapest Pride, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender film and cultural event with a feminist and anti-racist approach. The festival offers discussions, concerts, parties, and more. There will also be a parade on Saturday, July 5, 2014 on the route City Park – Heroes’ Square – Andrássy Avenue – Bajcsy-Zsilinsky út – Alkotmány utca – Kossuth Square.
Keeping up with the cultural trend of the summer, don’t miss WAMP, Budapest’s monthly design market, on June 29, which, on this occasion, will be open from 11 am to 10 pm. In July, WAMP will be held on the 6th, a Sunday, and finally, your last summer chance to buy creations by contemporary Hungarian designers, including art, clothes and accessories, will be August 3. WAMP takes place at Erzsébet tér.
Celebrated in 14 countries connected through the Danube river system, Danube Day is an homage to the river, and to its wildlife. There will be several events for all ages, at multiple locations on the banks of the river. Mark June 29 in your calendar, and don’t miss the events, which have a strong local note.
Vajdahunyadvár Summer Festival
Another must-see event of the summer, the Vajdahunyadvár Summer Festival, takes place in the courtyard of Vajdahunyad Castle from July 10 to August 7, 2014. Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vára), is a castle in City Park, built between 1896 and 1908, and designed by Ignác Alpár after the Vajdahunyad castle in Transylvania, Romania. The festival features classical music, swing, klezmer as well as traditional Hungarian gypsy music. Don’t miss the closing concert, on August 7, performed by the 100-Member Gypsy Orchestra.
More music, this time accompanied by dance, will take place, like every summer, at the Carmelite Courtyard on Castle Hill. The event, titled An Evening of Dance in the Carmelite Courtyard, takes place between July 30 and August 14, and features folk dance, flamenco, tango and modern dance. The event is organized by the National Dance Theatre, Nemzeti Táncszínház.
And what would your Budapest summer be without the Sziget Festival, which attracts over 400,000 people every August? This year, guests staying at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest and Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest can attend the festival at the Shipyard Island (Hajógyári sziget) from August 11, till August 18.
End your summer in style, on St. Stephen’s Day, celebrating with the locals Stephen I, the first king of Hungary and founder of the Kingdom of Hungary. The event, held on August 20, is not exclusive to Budapest, but takes place all over Hungary, with day-long festivities (concerts, dance, arts and crafts, beer, cuisine, and more) followed by spectacular fireworks.
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.
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.
Mamaison volunteers at TeSzedd Mozgalom 2014.
Mamaison Hotel Andrassy Budapest and Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest, as well as La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge at Hotel Andrassy, are now participating in an important social responsibility initiative, the 4th TeSzedd Mozgalom (YouPick) campaign organized by the National Waste Management Agency of Hungary. This campaign is part of the larger Europe-wide Let’s Clean Up Europe initiative, organized with the financial support of the European Commission.
The TeSzedd Mozgalom is a volunteer event, and it takes place, since Friday, May 9, in the City Park, one of the most popular gathering places for the locals in Budapest, and all around the city. Volunteers from all around Budapest, gather trash from the streets, and collect it in green TeSzedd bags. Organizers provided everything needed, including gloves and bags.
The three Mamaison properties volunteering for the activity joined forces with other local businesses and institutions, including the Őrség National Park, Magyar Post, MTI the National News Agency, and many more.
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 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).
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.
Tandemugrás "Millennium Tandem Team" Tandem Skydiving Hungary
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 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
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
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.
Tandem skydiving (Image © germanskydive110 - Fotolia.com)
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.
Ostrava is not the usual candidate for “active travels.” In fact, the second largest urban agglomeration after Prague in the Czech Republic is more known as a laid back family retreat, or is known for lively nightlife. But the picturesque countryside surrounding the city opens a world of possibilities for active travelers. Beyond its superb professional golf courses, Ostrava has all the conditions for year-round active holidays.
Below, you will find a few excellent recommendations for our guests at Mamaison Business & Conference Hotel Imperial Ostrava, but also for any other city visitors, interested in discovering the active side of Ostrava without the traditional travel guides.
The sports complex Ostrava-Poruba offers excellent conditions for aquazorbing. The complex is also a favorite of the locals for swimming, volleyball, miniature golf, beach volleyball, badminton, netball, football and other leisure sports.
Location: Rekreační 74/236, 708 00 Ostrava – Poruba
Phone: +420 736755999
MOTOranch provides professional gear and accessories for Quad bike fans, as well as fans of all-terrain vehicles. Additionally, the company offers helicopter rides, trips and excursions with various all-terrain vehicles around Ostrava, rentals, and a number of other services for companies and leisure travelers.
Location: Mariánskohorská 58, 702 00 Moravská Ostrava
Phone: +420 602 77 44 56
Albrechtičky kart hire centre is a great choice for karting. It is located at the former parking area of the airport Mošnov, between Albrechtická and Petřvaldík. The track was converted to allow six go-karts to race at once. This is also a great place for team building events, and for private parties.
Phone: +420 603 517 006
Check out Xfly.cz for paragliding in Ostrava. The company offers tandem flights above the beautiful Moravian–Silesian Beskids, which are located a short hour drive from the city center. You will fly with some of the most experienced pilots in the country.
Phone: +420 608 435 430
Air Hit Morava is one of the most popular choices for tandem skydiving. The company offers jumps every Saturday and Sunday from April to late October. You’ll jump in tandem with Vlastimil Blaha, inspector for tandem jumps, with more than 30 years experience in the field.
Phone: +420 607 150 150; +420 602 775 235
Another excellent choice for parachute jumps is Paraklub Ostrava, which offers everything from training, to tandem skydiving, and even physical examination performed by medical doctors.
Location: Na Břížku 367, 747 66 Dolní Lhota (20 minutes from Ostrava)
Phone: +420 777 122 233
If you are looking for the perfect family activity, choose horseback riding, at one of the stables offering lessons and trips around Ostrava. Sk Mušketýr, for example, is quite popular in the Summer, when most of its horses take tourists to explore the countryside. But you can also count on Sk Mušketýr for weddings, and other special events.
Location: Vlčkova 391/40, 710 00 Ostrava – Slezská Ostrava
Phone: +420 733 760 300