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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.
The Prague Carnevale 2016 is a Bohemian event, an Amadeus-style carnival full of surprises. The festival begins with a masquerade on January 29, and ends with a concert of Baroque music at the Clam-Gallas Palace.
The traditional masks meeting takes place at the Old Town Square on January 30, at 15:00 – this is the event that marks the official opening of the carnival. It is followed by the masquerade at 20:00, when there will also be live music performances, as well as food tastings. Some of the most interesting events of the day include the competition for the best mask, and the Race of the Golden Pig. The same day, in the grand residence of the Clam-Gallas Palace, you can attend the concert “In the Gardens of Goddess Pomona,” featuring the Opera Barocca ensemble and soprano Jana Bínová Koucká, under the artistic direction of cellist Ondřej Michal. To attend the concert you need to wear a costume and mask.
The rich program of this year’s edition makes this one of the most promising carnivals in the Czech capital. There will be a Mardi Gras soiree on the 6th and the 7th of February at the palace, after baroque music concerts, part of the famous Prague Opera Barocca, as well as a concert and matinee on January 31. The official carnival stages in the Old Town and Wenceslas Squares will feature theatrical and acrobatic performances hourly for the whole duration of the festival.
There is also a special ball for the smallest attendees, gondola tours on the Vltava, and romantic, Baroque-style carriage rides on the streets of the old town. Don’t worry if you don’t own a costume and mask, there are rentals available at Boudoiru Franzise Wussina, where you will find sublime Baroque dresses and accessories. Here you can also buy handmade original masks.
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.
August ends with an ice cream festival in Prague, but the fun is just about to become: come September, the city continues to celebrate all kinds of things that inspire travelers and locals alike. But, if you want to say “goodbye,Summer!” in style, the Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstaviště Praha) are the place to be on Sunday, August 30, for Prague’s coolest festival. Get your family and friends, and go to enjoy a world of flavors, from local ice cream makers, and from international visiting exhibitors. You can partake in tasting sessions, and enjoy the day in a beautiful environment with an interesting program.
Then, in September, visit the Prague City Gallery at Troja Castle (Zámek Troja) for even more gourmet treats. Prague’s Foodparade is at its 5th edition. This is a family-friendly event, with an interesting children’s corner, beautifully decorated, with colorful balloons, where kids can join a cooking workshop, draw and play. Adults can enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared by famous local chefs and by luxury boutique restaurants. Of course, the festival couldn’t be complete without artisan wines, delicious coffee, good beer, exotic cocktails and delicacies from around the world. The festival lasts two days, from September 5 to 6.
KampART 2015 on September 5 is an open air event, with free entrance. It will feature urban music and art, at Kampa, a park on an island between the Vltava River and its side branch, Čertovka. This is also where you will find Kampa’s pottery market from September 5 to 6, which will also feature a cultural program for the whole family. Kampa is also home to Museum Kampa, another Prague must-see. Plus, this beautiful island is regarded as one of the most romantic spots in the city.
What would September be without the Dvořák Prague festival? This kicks off on September 6, and lasts till September 23. It takes place at different locations around the city, and will feature the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, led by Christoph von Dohnányi, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Soloists will include such brilliant artists as Piotr Anderszewski, David Garrett, Lisa Batiashvili, and Gautier Capuçon, among many others. Check out the listed website for information and full schedule.
If you want something different, the first American-style Low&Slow barbecue festival in the Czech Republic is scheduled for September 12 and 13, and it’s called Bohemian Bluegrass. 24 professional BBQ teams from around the world will gather at Smíchovská náplavka – Smíchov riverside to cook chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket in a competition for cash and prizes, and for a chance to compete in the Jack Daniels World Championship in Tennessee. Of course, you are invited to taste their creations. The family-friendly event is free for children. Some of the most talented musicians in the Czech Republic will play bluegrass music to entertain visitors during the festival.
To end the first half of the month, we’d like to recommend the Ladronkafest at Ladronka – Sports and Recreation Area on September 12, 2015. This is the largest leisure time festival in Central Europe, featuring concerts, extreme sports, creative workshops, and much more. Free admission.
Come back soon, or follow us on Facebook, to find out what the second half of the month will bring.
If you are a Mamaison guest in Prague, and you already know the hidden beauties of the City of a Hundred Spires, adventure out of the metropolis, to the countryside, not far from Strakonice, where you will find the oldest, and best preserved watermill in Bohemia.
The watermill originated in the Middle Ages, sometime in the late 1500s. The first documentary reference dates from 1654, and there is evidence that the trees used to build the ceiling of the granary were cut in 1568.
This architectural treasure, still fully operational, was converted into a museum, where you have the opportunity to join a variety of traditional events, like the Carnival, the Harvest Festival, Christmas, and many others. One of them takes place October 25, 2014, and celebrates the traditional South Bohemian pig-slaughtering. This celebration, held each year around the same day, marks the end of the tourist season in Bohemia, and represents an occasion for visitors to the Czech Republic to learn more about authentic local traditions, to experience the lifestyle of the countryside, and to sample culinary delicacies specific to this area.
The event attracts large numbers of local residents too – an opportunity to experience their friendly hospitality first hand. Thing of the festival as a family adventure, and bring your kids to teach them about life at the farm, storage and preparation of food, respect for tradition, and more.
The permanent exhibition of the watermill shows ethnographic items with focus on agriculture, including growing and processing of several important crops and cattle breeding, traditional meals, and local customs. For those who don’t want to leave the mill empty-handed, there’s a souvenir shop, selling local arts and crafts.
If you planned a day trip, don’t miss the ecological farm nearby, U starýho kance (At the Old Boar’s).
Hoslovice, U starýho kance (Image Michal Klajban on Wikipedia)
This is a family-run guesthouse, offering accommodation, but also a variety of activities, including horseback riding for all ages, fishing, farming activities, traditional dining, and even traditional pig slaughtering.
Fishing in Hoslovice (Image courtesy U starýho kance)
Last, but not least, stop in Strakonice, to visit the castle, which now hosts the Museum of Central Otava Basin. The Hoslovice Watermill is part of this museum. If your time at the mill was a rewarding cultural experience, what you will discover in Strakonice is a wealth of information, a beautiful architectural landmark, unique religious sites, and an outstanding garden, with castle safari where children and adults alike can see Ouessant sheep, Dutch dwarf goats and Cameroon goats, ponies and more.
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.
When Nature puts on a coat of green, Budapest shows off her true colors under the blissful sun, while the locals get together, to celebrate a new season, as well as ancient traditions, alongside cheerful new festivals that lift up the spirit, and transform the city into a joyous stage of dance, music, culture and art.
The local Húsvét traditions, the Hungarian Easter, attract thousands of tourists, especially at the Easter Market on Vörösmarty tér, where you can buy seasonal treats, authentic crafts and souvenirs, all while enjoying traditional Hungarian foods, specific to this holiday.
Some of the most popular attractions continue to be the Buda Castle, where you can enjoy the finest of Hungarian traditions, art, culture and gastronomy; as well as the Budapest Zoo and the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, both very close to Mamaison Hotel Andrassy and Mamaison Residence Izabella.
After Easter, Budapest continues a sun seeking quest with the Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura) at the Füvészkert Botanical Gardens (officially ELTE Botanical Garden). The festival takes place the second, and the third weekends in April. Pick your date, and enjoy the sun, the blossoms, and the early Spring breeze.
May Day is a public holiday in Hungary, as well as most Eastern and Central European countries. In Budapest, this is an occasion to gather and celebrate together at the Városliget city park, where you will enjoy traditional foods, local beers and refreshments, music, contests and many other fun, entertaining activities.
After May Day, don’t miss the Budapest International Wine Festival, Rosalia (May 9-11 at Gesztenyés kert); the sun safeguards the boatmen on the Danube as they race in the European Dragon Boat Championship on May 11-12, and their fans gathered on the Rákóczi Bridge to watch the race.
Floralia, is a must for sun seekers in May too. A celebration of Flora, the goddess of flowers and Spring, the festival is an opportunity for you to feel and party like a Hungarian. Add the Museum of Aquincum to your itinerary if you happen to be in Budapest on May 24-25.
Floralia is one of the most interesting Spring festivals in Budapest.
It’s easy to find the sunniest spots to enjoy the Spring in Budapest, but don’t forget that the best way to celebrate is by meeting the locals, and getting to know them. Just like the brightest stars in the skies, Bulgarians are kind-spirited, welcoming, and warm, with beaming sunshiny smiles during this season. Welcome to Budapest!